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The Authentic Experience

About 2 years ago eBay asked me to participate in a new program called Enhanced Member Reporting (EMR) for the Autograph and Entertainment categories.   It was the first time in my 12 years on eBay that eBay began to take noticeable action against the proliferation of scam operations. In particular, the massive number of online autograph forgers.   I recall one forger who sold an estimated 200,000-300,000 forgeries operated unscathed for about 4-5 years on eBay before they finally, after an onslaught of complaints, removed this individual from eBay.   But, not before he made millions$$ and even worse flooded the autograph industry with these forgeries.  

 

The outrageous part of this was that he was a very low level, unskilled forger. Every week he would post about 2000 forgeries on the same blue paper, and the same style forgeries of Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Humphrey Bogart and the list goes on.  Of course he sold these for a tiny fraction of their value , but he didn’t care because he had no overhead except for a lot of blue paper and blue flair pens. .   I know of several people that were reporting him to eBay back in the days when eBay just “looked the other way”. It was painful to see so many people/victims getting ripped off. Sure, we all hear, buyer beware and “anyone ignorant enough to buy a ridiculous fake deserves what he gets”. But, not all these inexperienced eBay buyers deserved being victimized by these eBay “crooks”.  A friend of mine just wanted a special gift for his very sick son who was a big Elvis fan.   He was an inexperienced eBay user and assumed everything being sold, with a COA was legitimate.  It was also painful for me to have to give him the bad news about the forgery he had bought.

 

Meanwhile, about 5-6 years ago someone referred me to Rob Chestnut who was the VP of eBay Safe Harbor at the time.  Rob was the first person I met at eBay who actually cared about this issue of blatant fraud.  It was uplifting to see action finally being executed against some of the most notorious eBay autograph forgery operations.  I even suspect Rob may have butted heads with executive management over this issue, because soon after the “cleanup” began, Rob was gone. And, I soon noticed my forgery reports were “falling on deaf ears” AGAIN and forgery operations began to gain new life.

 

The EMR program is not perfect (I still watch a forger of cartoonist art like Charles Schulz continuing to operate on a regular basis for the past 10 years). But it has been a step in the right direction.  And, I will go out on a limb and say I am proud of eBay management, even if much too late, to finally be taking an active stand in circumventing many of the fraudulent operations on eBay.  Even if it only amounts to a fraction of the illegal activity.  Below is part of the email I received today. Note, the second most active category,  Sports & Entertainment Memorabilia.  I am sure you can guess what makes up about 99% of the reports for that category?

 

“We would like to thank your participation in the Enhanced Member Reporting (EMR) program. For 2 years now, this program has been very important in reducing items that should not be listed on eBay and has improved safety for the eBay community.

 

EMR Statistics

·         In March, we took action on 75% of the reports submitted by members of the Enhanced Member Reporting community.

·         Top Reported Categories:

o   Clothing, Shoes, & Accessories

o   Sports & Entertainment  Memorabilia

o   Jewelry, Gems, & Watches”

 

Meanwhile., take a look at a report I wrote about this subject a couple years ago and share with anyone you think could benefit from tips on How to Avoid Getting Ripped Off on eBay or other online sources. . .

http://www.cvtreasures.com/safe-buying-online-guide-page-2

 

 

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Do you use the "Report this Item" icon under each item?
I only claim that "relative" to 10-12 years ago , they ARE actually doing something. Enough? No! But, based on my own experience with the EMR program they HAVE removed a number of blatant forgeries I reported. BUt, they also have Ignored many items. BUt, the keyword is "relative" to doing Nohting like they use to.
The thing about eBay is that they have no real incentive to crack down on forgeries because if they did, they'd lose a LOT of money. All of these forgeries that are being sold on the site equals big bucks for eBay in listing fees, final value fees, PayPal fees, etc., etc., etc. These forgers provide a steady stream of income that directly affects eBay's profit margins, so kicking out these con artists doesn't make financial sense. EBay has a little "warning" that pops up when you're bidding on autographed merchandise, so as far as they're concerned, they've done enough to cover their a$$. It's not right, but when was the last time you heard of a company doing the right thing at the expense of making money?
To be a member of the EMR team, you must be a known and tested expert in your field. If this is the case, then you should continue to contact the Sports mem. Management. You WILL be tested to ensure that you are up to the task. They have to protect themselves by making sure that experts aren't just dealers who are targeting other dealers. It has happened in the past.
you forgot to add GAI Global to the mix. They are actually still an approved authenticater of E-bay and I haven't seen a real Mantle, Dimaggio or Williams photo with a Global cert in MONTHS. They are all putrid fakes. They represent 50% of the items available at aauction and buyers think they ar real. Now that's even funnier that Stat Unaunthentic beind sold as legitimate
You're right. GAI authenticated a huge number of Mantle, DiMaggio and Williams autographs from Florida a couple of years ago that JSA and PSA/DNA rightfully wouldn't touch. The total number might be 10,000+.
I just asked about his on another link.  10,000?????  Wow!
GAI is abominable! If you think they are bad with Sports, you should see the Non-Sports stuff they Approve!
I am the NASCAR authenticator for ebay's Enhanced Reporting ( I was actually the 1st member of the team ). Please feel free to send any questionable auctions to me and I will look at them. If they are suspicious of being forgeries, I will report them. So far, my percentage for removals is 98.2% The non-removed ite,s seem to be nothing but system problems.

If non EMR members report, the items are forwarded to many of the authenticators that work with ebay.

It takes the whole community to act against the forgeries in each section. So, let's all work together tighter than ever.
As a member of Global Authentics, I can not say anything for their NON-NASCAR items. However, we just launched the GAI Motorsports COA which includes my signature and is issued under my name. I want ALL buyers to know that I am responsible for the authentication.

Remember, Steve Sipe at GAI is still fixing the problems of the "old" GAI team. If you want to check your GAI item, just contact them. If it is deemed to be not authentic, they will correct the problem with a refund.
Thanks Brandon...Please "search Mantle, Mickey, then photos...... EVERY DAMN ONE WITH A GLOBAL CERT IS A FLAT OUT FORGERY. I BEG YOU TO POST 1 E-BAY listing right now with mantle that is not a forgery....Go ahead POST Just one. If I posted every global fake here it would be longer than "War & Peace" Let's see what YOU can do. If 98.2 of th 100 or so listings are all gone by morning, you've done good. If not, you really have NO IDEA WHAT You are talking about. I would never waste my time reporting every global certed Mantle photo. That's a reflection on E-bay and whoever still wants to carry a torch with their name attached.

Once you clean up Mantle, We'll move into Williams, Ted and Dimaggio, Joe.

As far as Nascar, I know nothing about that other than what has been dicussed on E-bay's forums. If you can help rid E-bay of 98.2 fakes, I say Good luck. My bet is NO. When you get every damned stinking Gloabal GAI Mantle off e-bay...I'll listen to you about Nascar....VVVVVVRRRROOOOMMMMMM


Respectfully, FUDD
PLEASE don't let your ignorance take over. your ability to comprehend what I said. Again, I 98.2% of NASCAR items I report are removed.

I have NO IDEA what a real or fake Mantle autograph looks like and DO NOT CARE! I know the debate...I find it trivial.

However, Since you are so passionate, Why don't YOU talk to Steve Sipe at GAI and do what I did..Offer your services to fix problems you see. GAI was more than happy to bring me on years ago and together, we cleaned up the NASCAR mistakes they had made. If you really care about the hobby and want to see these so called "fakes" taken off the market, Contact GAI. Steve will be MORE than willing to work with you. He happens to have a VERY tight relationship with ebay's trust and safety manager....we are able to remove quite a lot of forgeries through that department. If you are accurate, and NOT biased, we would LOVE to have you!

Too many "experts" and "know-it-alls" in tht area of the hobby. I will stick to what I know. which is NASCAR. I will keep AUTHENTICATING for FREE...Doing things that actually help the buyers. I will also keep removing NASCAR forgeries EACH day. I will leave the petty Baseball real or not real items to whomever cares.

I do think that there is NO shortage of authentic Mantle material though sice he had LARGE contracts for signing items. Those items didn't all sell from the wholesalers. Therefore, I think there is probably a set of people tht will do ANYTHING to keep those items OFF the market...Thus controlling prices and the market. It's why people are losing interest in the Baseball portion of the market mostly due to the shady dealers and know-it-all collectors...AND the forgeries. Again..Nothing there that I care about.

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