In 2017, Australian hardware giant EBay offered to buy a full set of the company’s Easter tablefence hardware for a nominal sum of $10,000, as part of an ongoing online auction.
The company’s eBay account was flagged as a possible buyer and its listing went up on the site within days, attracting thousands of bids.
But after a cursory search, it turned out the hardware was actually purchased in 2013 by a British company called Fortessa.
“The original eBay seller was the original owner of Fortessa table furniture,” said EBay spokeswoman, Liza Taylor.
“The auctioneer, however, did not buy the tableware directly, instead they sold it to the British company, Fortessa, for £7,000 in December 2013.”
“Fortessa supplied the UK with their original design for a number of years and had been a supplier of Fortess tableware to Fortessa for some time,” she added.
“However, in 2014, Fortess ceased to be a supplier to Fortess, and Fortessa became Fortessa furniture, in order to be able to fulfil the orders it had already received for Fortess.”EBay’s listing of the original Fortessa product was initially flagged as an online auction, but it was removed after a short time, due to the high volume of bids, Ms Taylor said.
Fortessa’s tableware was originally produced in the late 1800s and the company began selling their own products in the 1970s.
“It’s been the perfect match for Fortessa to provide the tablefencing that is so popular in this country,” Ms Taylor told Business Insider.
“We have a very clear vision of what Fortessa’s design is, and it fits our design perfectly.”
Ebay, which has more than 300,000 members worldwide, also has a number on their website for its Fortessa brand of furniture.
“If you are a Fortessa fan, you can be confident you will be thrilled by our Fortessa wood tableware,” they write.
“As Fortessa has grown, so has Fortessa and so has our business.
If you have an interest in Fortessa Wood, then you should consider purchasing some Fortessa tables.”
It’s not clear what, if any, other Australian customers of Fortress have been offered this particular set of Fortes tableware.
But Fortessa did not provide a specific response to the recent claims.
EBay has since responded to the eBay listing, saying the items listed are currently in the “production stage”, and the “potential buyer is Fortessa”.
“Fortess is very proud of the incredible value they have delivered to the Australian furniture industry over the past two decades, and is continuing to invest heavily in the production and supply of our products,” it wrote.
“Fortesse’s design has been used by many industries across the world, from furniture manufacturing to film production, and we are confident that this quality, and the value of its products, will be enjoyed by consumers worldwide.”
The company did not reply to Business Insider’s request for comment.