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Is it normal or legal for retailers to resell Chinese eBay products?
I was walking by a Claire's accessory store in the mall recently, and something caught my eye...
A black mini top hat.
It was the same exact top hat that I had bought from a Chinese seller on eBay for about $2.80, with free shipping.
Everything about it was the exactly the same. The feathers used, the lace with the polka-dotted pattern, the clips underneath, and the laced brim.
The only difference was that the material of the hat itself was slightly different, like they just covered the original hat material with a different black fabric(one was satin and one was velvet).
What bothered me most, was that the price of the hats was greatly marked up, to $12.50. That's pretty much $10 more, and a huge percentage markup from the $2 I spent.
I do know this hat has several listings from different sellers on eBay as well, but I am not familiar with law regarding overseas trade or resale, and this has gotten me curious.
Is this a common or legal business practice for well-known mall stores to do? If not, do they require some sort of license allowing them to do this?
I mean, I wouldn't be surprised if it's legal, and I can accept it if it is, but still it's kind of a surprise to me, since I used to always shop there as a kid, before I had the internet or income.
I can only think of two scenarios in which such sales would be illegal:
1) If they were forged trademark goods
2) If the country of origin label (required in the US) were forged or missing
eBay sellers often buy up new electronics when they are first released and hard to get and sell them at inflated prices, so why would there be a problem when the reverse occurs, and a brick-and-mortar (or flea-market) retailer buys stuff on eBay and resells it.
There is no legal limit on the markup. If you can find somebody to pay it, you can charge as much as you want. The only exception to this I know of is profiteering by marking up essential goods at the time of a disaster -- which clearly would not apply to tiny top hats in any circumstances.
This is "ordinary business enterprise": buy cheaply, mark it up for your customers, make a profit.
I was looking for some chainsaw parts the other day and found Chinese wholesale parts for one tenth the price the local shops charge. If the local shop buys 10 units from China and sells one or two of them at the markup price, they have already paid for the entire lot, whether the rest of them sit on a shelf for five years.