DALLAS, Nov. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- As soon as Kara Miller spotted the Kate Spade handbag on eBay, she knew she had to have it.
But when the bag arrived, it bore little resemblance to the online photos she had studied. It was clearly a fake. Miller lost the money and has not purchased anything from eBay since the incident several years ago.
"It was disappointing," said Miller, a marketing executive in Dallas. "Honestly, I didn't even bother trying to get my money back because I figured it would be a losing battle."
Miller's experience has long been a frustrating downside in consumer-to-consumer sale sites. But a new tool developed by an Olympic gold medalist could have prevented the fraud from occurring while providing protection to buyers and sellers.
Called Secure Trans, this new payment and inspection method could change how sales are made on sites such as eBay or Amazon.
Here's how it will work: Rather than shipping an item directly to the buyer, the seller would ship it to a neutral location, such as a retail store. The buyer would go to the store and inspect the item while being monitored by cameras and store employee. The buyer could accept the item and finalize the payment, or reject and have it shipped back to the seller.
Steve Lundquist, an Atlanta businessman and 1984 winner of two Olympic gold medals in swimming, developed the idea for Secure Trans after a friend purchased tickets to an Aerosmith concert. The tickets arrived too late, and the friend missed the concert. It took three months for him to recover the money.
"I thought, 'There has got to be a better way,'" Lundquist said. "A lot of people avoid person-to-person sales websites because they are worried about fraud."
Lundquist enlisted the help of Scott Hemingway, a Dallas attorney, who secured patents for Secure Trans.
"This patented technology will fundamentally change how consumers make online transactions in the future," said Hemingway, who specializes in intellectual property cases. "This eliminates fraud on both ends and provides consumers with a safer, more secure way to shop online."
Lundquist and Hemingway plan to implement the program with jewelry, watches, and collectibles but hope to expand to other high-end items, such as electronics and valuable memorabilia. The patented method could eventually help further the reach of sites such as Craigslist and online classifieds that now tend to involve local sales.
The partners are meeting with executives from various carriers and large retail stores that could serve as neutral inspection sites. Businesses would receive a small fee, Lundquist said, but the real benefit would lie in the additional foot traffic.
"People would come in and remember they need milk, bread or whatever," he said. "Businesses would need no extra staffing to do this, but would see more foot traffic."
Currently, companies such as eBay and Amazon have procedures for sellers and buyers to appeal cases, Hemingway said, but the process can be lengthy and often unsatisfying.
Secure Trans would streamline the process and protect buyers, sellers and companies.
"This will revolutionize person-to-person sales and guarantee safe, secure transactions with immediate dispute resolution." Lundquist said. "This takes fraud out of the picture."
Steve Lundquist is an Atlanta business executive. Lundquist won two gold medals in 1984 in the 100-meter breaststroke and the 400-meter medley relay. He is a graduate of Southern Methodist University, and he earned an MBA from Northwestern University.
Scott Hemingway is a partner in Hemingway & Hansen, an intellectual property law firm in Dallas. In his 20-year career, Hemingway has litigated patent, copyright and trademark disputes in U.S. Federal Court. Hemingway has extensive experience patenting semiconductor and computer-related inventions but also has worked on cases related to thermoelectric storage containers, aluminum baseball bat designs and frozen food preparation techniques.Media Contact:
Scott Hemingway Hemingway & Hansen, 214-292-8301, firstname.lastname@example.org
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SOURCE Hemingway & Hansen