How To Shop On eBay
Unfortunately there are many scammers on eBay that are not selling memorabilia as the item is described. How to shop on eBay safely is something I want to share with you and help you avoid the scammers and find reputable honest sellers. So Is Ebay a Safe Place To Buy Autographed Memorabilia?
Authentic Autographed Memorabilia can be an amazing investment for any collector, prices of some celebrity or sports star signed memorabilia has been known to skyrocket especially after a major event or disaster. Take for example Kobe Bryant who recently was involved in a horrific helicopter accident, his memorabilia is selling at exorbitant prices and some merchant’s on eBay are asking for millions of dollars for some of Kobe Bryant’s signed memorabilia.
Michael Jackson signed memorabilia was the same in 2009 after he died, there are reports his memorabilia increased by 30 percent and was in high demand. So I guess if you purchase a high end sports star or celebrities signed memorabilia at the right time and at the right price you could make a nice return on that investment. I also want to point out that signed memorabilia is often overlooked as a gift idea. Although it would make quite an expensive gift anywhere from $200+ for authentic memorabilia (depending on the item and who signed it), the meaning and personal thought that goes into the gift is priceless and will also see an increase in price which not many gifts these days do.
But let’s get to what this article is really about……..
Is Ebay a Safe Place To Buy Autographed Memorabilia?
Ebay can not do much in policing the sales of signed memorabilia that is sold on eBay, in fact they do very little and this in effect has allowed many fakes to be sold to poor innocent victims who thought they were buying the genuine article. Unfortunately there has been many cases where customers have been left with worthless signed memorabilia that they paid a lot of money for, some have been fortunate enough to receive a refund when they realized it was a fake, others weren’t as fortunate and some customers don’t even know. See some people think because the item came with a certificate of authenticity that it has to be the real thing.
Unfortunately sometimes the certificate of authenticity can be just as fake as the item. Usually you can report it to eBay where it’s eBay’s policy to remove the merchant from eBay’s listing and the merchant is band from selling anything on eBay, you may also be lucky enough to get your money back. I don’t believe that’s sufficient punishment for something that I would describe as borderline fraud and deception but apparently the law is quite lenient when it comes to selling authentic signed memorabilia that isn’t authentic. So is it safe?….. Although there has been many sad stories there has also been just as many happy, some cases where the shopper actually got the genuine product at a good price and ended up having something meaningful and valuable to show off in there home. You can eliminate the risk when it comes to shopping for signed memorabilia on eBay if you follow a set of simple guidelines.
Things To Do When Shopping For Signed Memorabilia on eBay
1. First thing you need to do is research the seller. You need to click the Feedback Link which should be higher then 90 percent and sift through the feedback to ensure customer satisfaction. A high selling merchant would rarely have 100 percent satisfaction as realistically they can please everyone but if they do hit 100 even better. Never buy from a seller that has Private Feedback. There is no reason for private feedback other then to hide feedback that exposes a seller as a forger or to hide the unlimited supply of forgeries they have listed. These sellers often state they are protecting their bidders privacy by doing this. That is rubbish. Ebay takes care of bidder privacy already.
Also watch out for sellers that immediately remove the photo from the listing after you pay (or sooner). I have found a few of these sellers that use 3rd party picture hosting services and as soon as you pay they pull down the photo of the item your won. This prevents you from checking if the item you are selling is what was advertised. Continuing on with research on the seller next you want to see what the seller’s refund policy is just in case you do receive a fake. I usually find if you contact them before eBay they will refund you without hesitation. Just remember researching the seller does not mean what they are selling is authentic but it does give you a good idea of the merchant’s customer service history.
2. Make sure you read the description of the item thoroughly and repeat a couple of times making sure it doesn’t state things like replica or a copy or reprint. When you do your search on eBay be sure to use modified searches and use the dash to remove unwanted results: -rp -pp -reprint -preprint -print -rpnt -copy, also as I have stated a certificate of authenticity can be fake as well so don’t let that be a guide to authenticity.
3. Make sure the photos of the item are clear especially the signature, then look online at authentic signatures and see if they match to what you see on eBay. This still doesn’t mean it’s not a fake as the forger might be good, but if it is bad forgery then you have saved yourself time and money. Also, checks other items photos from the seller to make sure the handwriting isn’t similar.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask the seller plenty of questions. Things like what’s the sellers background, where he collects or purchases the autographs from. An honest seller will be happy to help you and answer your questions but you want to avoid coming across as inexperienced. There’s no point in asking if the items genuine because chances are they will just reply yes and avoid asking when and where that item was signed because the seller can make that information up by searching on google.
5. Watch out for cheap or unrealistic prices. You get what you pay for and although there are fair deals on eBay very rarely will you find a bargain. Realize what you are buying, if it’s a high profile celebrity or sports star and it’s going cheap then it’s a good chance it’s fake.
6. When you do finally buy and receive the item have a thorough look at your purchase, ensure everything is as described including the size of the item. Check the signature again to authentic memorabilia you found online. Also, check what type of ink was used. The felt tip pen wasn’t regularly used until the early 60s so if you bought memorabilia by someone famous that was signed before 1960 it would be in pencil or pen.
7 You can also send the details of the eBay auction to JSA (James Spence). GA (Global Authentics) and PSA/DNA (Professional Sports Authenticators) and they will you there opinion on authenticity before you purchase the item. This procedure is usually done within 24 hours giving you plenty of time before making a bid. Prices for this service are reasonable and provide extra piece of mind.
8. The UACC, PADA and AFTAL are doing their part and no blatant forger will be able to join their ranks. I recommend that you purchase from dealers that are fully registered with one or more of these organisations. The best is AFTAL as they have the strictest procedures. Any dealer who sells authentic material and is serious about this business will have put the effort and expense to become a registered dealer in one of these groups and you should be wary of anyone who is unwilling to do so.
9. Avoid private auctions, there is no reason for the seller to be selling items privately unless they are hiding something. Also avoid short duration auctions as this indicates the seller wants to sell their fake item as quick as possible. Be sure to note the auction duration when you consider your purchase.
Although there are many fake merchant’s selling invaluable items on eBay at high prices there are still many reputable honest sellers as well that deserve your business. I recommend doing your research and go through the list of things I recommend doing before purchasing and I believe eBay can be just as safe as anywhere online. I still highly recommend HollywoodMemorabilia.com and SportsMemorabilia.com for all your Autographed Memorabilia.
As usual please feel free to leave any comments or feedback below I am always happy to help!