I just recently had an enlightening experience participating in an online auction. This particular auction was a fundraiser for a fantastic cause, raising funds for cystic fibrosis awareness. Before I go any further I want to make it clear that what i’m about to share is in no way a reflection on the cystic fibrosis organization, but rather on my interactions with the auction house itself.
That having been said, there was an abundance of fantastic items ranging from collectible coins to furniture. You name it, it was in the auction. Everything was being sold online, although the auction house did provide an opportunity for bidders to view the items in person before the bidding began. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to see the pieces in person. This was my first big mistake. You should always view auction items in person if given the opportunity. This gives you the chance to really look them over to be sure you know exactly what you’re bidding on.
I looked over the items available online and decided to bid on a couple of designer purses for my wife. I’m not an expert in hand bags, so not checking them out in person was a bit of a gamble. The latest issue for auctions and even on eBay is fakes. Anything from purses and clothing to jewelry and any other high value items are being faked in foreign countries and sold in the US. It’s a billion dollar buisiness and It has become an epidemic.
I assumed that because this particular auction was being hosted by a well known and respected auction house, Roller Auctions of Denver, that I should be safe. Purchasing a knock off hand bag never really crossed my mind.
This was another big mistake.
I bought two purses and before I picked them up, I decided to have a friend who knows his hand bags look at the pictures I had been given. After one look, he was able to tell me without a doubt that they were fake.
I was astonished. I figured the auction house must not know that these purses were fakes, so I decided to speak with them. I assumed that with this knowledge, they would be sure to let me out of the sale. Unfortunately, I was wrong. I had to pay up and take the fake purses.
Once they knew they had fakes listed, Roller Auctions should have recalled the items and returned them to the organization. It is against the law to sell fakes, and claiming ignorance is not a viable excuse in the eyes of the authorities. It is the responsibility of the auction house to know what they’re selling. Unfortunately they had an inexperienced staff, and they went ahead with the sale. I could have made a big stink about it, but I chose not to. In the end, the money was still going to a good cause. I decided to go through with the purchase and if nothing else it can serve as an example for all of you.
There are plenty of people that want to take your hard earned money, and they have access to the millions of fakes being imported into the country. If you have bought a name brand purse, article of clothing or piece of jewelry from someone other than an authorized dealer, there’s a very good chance you have a fake on your hands. Always make sure you do your research before you buy.
Here are a few tips to help you avoid a fraudulent purchase:
- If it’s too good of a deal, it probably is.
- Even if it comes with the dust cover, it might still be fake.
- Most high end bags are labeled with a serial number. Try looking it up to verify if it’s real.
- Just because, as in my case, it’s sold by a reputable auction house does not mean you’re safe from fakes.
- If someone is selling as is, where is, you need to be careful.