Fraudulent Merchandise – Know What To Look For When Buying Online.
Buying online is always a risky business. It’s a lot safer than it used to be with buyer and seller protection available now through major companies, and the fact that internet shopping is now a lot more common than it used to be.
However, there are still things to look out for, especially when buying through private sellers on sites such as eBay.
Let’s talk about autographs for a moment. If you wanted to buy a signed book or photograph, and you typed “Robert Pattinson signed picture” into a search engine, you are guaranteed to get a long list of places where you can buy one.
How do you know you’re getting a genuine signature? Of course, something that has been obtained in person at a premiere, convention or fan event isn’t going to have a certificate of authenticity, so what proof can you look for in order to know if the item you’re looking at is genuine?
Check that the seller has got all their facts straight.
- Which event did they attend and get the signature? (Dates and venues)
- Who else attended the event – if it was a fan event/convention, who organised it?
- Full names of the actors and the roles they played
- Photographic evidence of both the signed item AND the item being signed.
- Personal photos from the event.
Google is our friend here, or ask other fans. The seller, if they are genuine, should be able to give you all of this information, and should be happy to divulge also.
At conventions, or signing events, you may get a full autograph, but at many of these events you’re not allowed to take photos with the guest signing. However, there may have been photo shoots or opportunities available, which could help as proof that the seller has in fact met the cast member.
Read the listings very carefully. Some signed items could be photos with the signatures PRINTED on them, therefore making them copies of the originals.
Please also be aware that because the premieres and fan events are so busy, the cast don’t sign their full names anymore – so if you’ve camped out for days and you are lucky enough to get a barrier spot and get an autograph, it’s more than likely just to be an initial. Sadly the actors are on a tight schedule and can’t stop for everyone and sign in full. So someone who states they’ve attended a premiere, and had the entire cast (or at least the main three sign for them, and there is three, complete signatures, it’s more than likely going to be forged/counterfeit. At conventions, they tend to have a little more time to sign.
So what can you do if you spot something for sale online that you believe to be forged? On eBay for example, you can report the item and have it removed. Instructions are on the listings.
Unsure if something is real? Unless there is proof, I’d leave well alone. The only way that you’d know one hundred percent that you have a genuine item, is if you obtained it yourself.
Stay safe online, always pay via Paypal or by credit card on a secure server. Check the sellers credentials or feedback score. Protect yourself as a buyer and as a fan.