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American Memorabillia Las Vegas auction house filed bankruptcy

based on a report from the chicago sun-times in Oct 2011 (shows u how uptodate we all are) the "fixer" of consumer complaints indicates that the ; American Memorabillia has filed bankruptcy which was a significant delay in a buyer receiving some $1800 from a sale dating back to 2008.

We learned that Susan Kieta, whose real name is Kieta Kieta (yes, you read that right), filed for bankruptcy May 31 2011 in Nevada, declaring almost $3.2 million in liabilities on assets of only $493,537. The list of creditors runs about 50 pages.

Sidney Fields noted the article in a discussion on some sales that one of the AML members was using.   Thought it deserved it's own thread for tracking.

Here is the full article

http://www.suntimes.com/news/zimmermann/8218791-452/at-memorabilia-...

 

Tags: american, american-memorabillia, auction, auction-house, memorabillia

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seems one of the creditors has won a decision and recently (1/2012) given a writ of execution.  For those not familiar with a writ - that is an order that can result in seizure of assets in order to pay the judgement;

Default Judgment (Judicial Officer: Baucum, Suzan)

Debtors: American Memorabilia (Defendant)
Creditors: DEEANNA LLC (Plaintiff)
Judgment: 07/08/2011,   Total Judgment: 5,309.36

 

another one from FRONTEER DIRECTORY COMPANY OF NEVADA INC against John & mary Kieta and joseph moreno for unpaid transactions seem to have languished for several years due to unserved papers (where have I heard that before).   Appears the bill was perhaps paid but the case still appears to be open.

Pulled these comments over here as they seem to be applicable as well;

 

 

Sidney FieldsReply by Sidney Fields Mike....just curious about why you're using American Memorabilia?  Have you had positive dealings with them before?

I ask because I know of consignors who were stiffed and I have been told (but have not yet obtained the papers confirming) that they filed for bankruptcy protection last year.

DB Reply by DB

Sidney - doesn't sound promising based on that article especially with the sales dating back to 2008.   Sounds like the "fixer" is a tad behind the collectable way of life.

 

The amount you got back isn’t quite what you expected, but it comes very close — and in view of the heaps of complaints about American Memorabilia, the Fixer thinks you’re actually pretty lucky. We learned that Susan Kieta, whose real name is Kieta Kieta (yes, you read that right), filed for bankruptcy May 31 in Nevada, declaring almost $3.2 million in liabilities on assets of only $493,537. The list of creditors runs about 50 pages.

In working on your problem, the Fixer found numerous tales in the memorabilia industry of forged signatures, questionable authentications and unpaid debts. This is an industry in need of watchdogs. There’s an old journalism saying that if your mother says she loves you, check it out. That goes double for anyone selling a Babe Ruth autograph.

 

i had a problem after the dec. 15th auctions as in NOTHING was paid for before christmas and money barely started trickling in after the first of the year. but i've had things like an ohio state team signed basketball go for almost $300 and gotten paid, no problem.

in talking to their few sales reps, they've had lots of problems with people being paid and NOT shipping for a very long time. but for now, they pay for a lot of the authentications on items (they appear to use JSA) out of their own pocket.

on the bad side, i have had a few (well, 2) items that have never been paid for and look like they will never be paid for (including a william shatner signed bust that i have put back up. but the numbers of items that i have been paid for, the numbers are better than on ebay. the percentage i pay is better than ebay and i have no ebay account (i personally screwed that up over 10 years ago). i did buy a cal ripken signed 16x20 before christmas for my uncle and NEVER received it.. but quickly received a refund when i told them that i hadn't gotten it about 2 weeks after i paid for the auction. but i have a feeling that the seller didn't want to part with it for under $75. which was too bad for me as it was authenticated by JSA... but this gives me the feeling that there are a few dealers that they are giving this break to without making them send the item in before it is put up for auction.

so, for a few months, i haven't had any real problems. a lot of stuff doesn't sell. but with what they are willing to do to work with me, it's fine for me. and if i don't get paid, the item never goes out! and that works PERFECTLY for me

 

Sidney Fields Reply by Sidney FieldsThanks, Mike.

So it seems the lesson is...not to send in the items for pre-sale consignment.

There are complaints from quite a few people who sent their material in...had it sell and then never got paid.
In fact the company outright tells people the best way to get their money is to become part of their frequent seller program.  That way they supposedly get their back amounts due when new items of their sell.

And I personally know someone who never got paid and then saw one of his items up for sale on EBay by the guy who bought it from AM.  The company reaped fees from both the original seller and the buyer and the original seller still hasn't been paid after more than 2 years.

At least they don't appear to be selling fakes.

i just don't know about the other stuff you are talking about... i've only been selling there since november. i don't know about them not paying the seller on items. but i would also say that it's on both the company (AM) and the seller to do their own paperwork on an item. so as to not have these types of problems... i see that there are THOUSANDS of items on AM every few weeks, and it would be hard to keep track of everything that any one person has on there. plus, with the way i am doing it, i can keep track of everything i am selling on the site once i put it on. and i'm doing almost all the legwork with them just putting my items in a "featured" section every once in a while. i'm doing all my own advertising etc. so, unless someone goes through the categories or just finds the items themselves, they aren't getting any bids. i don't see american memorabilia advertising anywhere.. i don't even see them have a facebook page (although they have a way of linking to MY facebook page if i want to (but i don't want to overburden my friends with stuff that they have no interest in since most of my friends want no part of autograph collecting.))

 

Michael Kasmar-AutographPros.com Reply by Michael Kasmar-AutographPros.com Sidney, I've sent items in and been paid promptly without problems.  I've also bid and received my items in a timely manner.  I have seen these same stories posted online and I wonder if this was jealous competition out there doing an online attack against them.  Regardless, I can only speak from what I know personally and after dealing with them countless times for years, I have only had great experiences with them.  

Michael Kasmar

2011 UACC Autograph Dealer Of The Year

Thanks, Michael.

The info is appreciated.

It does make me wonder whether there effectively may be different standards at work...one for prominent reputable dealers such as yourself and another for everyday people who are collectors but not not professionals.

There are a LOT of collectors on this board so I assume some of them will chime in if they've been defrauded.  There's a HUGE DIFFERENCE between what you may find on boards like the "Ripoff Report" and what you'll find here so I'd trust posts here more than anywhere else in this regard.  Here people are asked to back up their claims, etc.  From my research it appears the handful of complaints found were from a few years ago and again, several of those complaints appeared to me as a coordinated attack.  I think the right approach here is if you have questions or concerns simply call them so they can clear them up.  

I'm aware of a former American Memorabilia consignor in the New York City area who has been waiting 2-3 years for about $8,000. He was not aware they filed for bankruptcy, so I don't know if they sent him a notice.

Mike, I know you'll correct me if I'm wrong (and please do), but it seems that you essentially use American Memorabilia as a site to host your sales.  And they make money each time one of your items sells.

So essentially they profit by allowing you to use some of their infinite website space.  It's similar to the old E-Bay business model in this case. 

As long as your business is ongoing with them, it seems they have every reason to make sure you get your share...because they can keep profiting at almost no cost as long as you keep selling there.

That's not the same circumstance that some of the complaining consignors are in.  They're typically one-time sellers and not professionals. They seem to have sent their items in pre-sale. The transaction is then entirely out of their hands (unlike your situation since you retain possesion of the items).

I know one of them personally and I'm familiar with the details of his situation.  The complaints I see in various web postings have fact patterns almost identical to what happened to him.

 

 

 

glad to see they some eventually are receiving funds but It doesn't seem to be myth, Mike.

complaintsboard has some interesting commentary except perhaps for one who just keeps repeating an ad...

I wondered about the buyer's fee as I found no "upfront" disclosure anywhere on their site when I was looking at Aring's listings.  It would appear to me that would be extremely deceptive.

Tons of Hidden Costs to Buyers!
When buying from an american memorabilia auction, they neglect to mention anywhere on their website or in the help/knowledge bank that you will be charged an additional 20% buyers fee on top of the auction price. All auctions now have this buyers fee, but most are 10-15% at most. The horrible thing is that they make sure not to let the buyer know until they get the invoice...

DB...you've done a lot of useful work here for which we all should thank you.

One other interesting point that may not have been mentioned.  

I believe that Reggie Jackson has intitated litigation against AM.

thanks.  Sometimes we have to deal with the facts, whenever possible, and see where it leads us;

it would certainly be correct in terms of the litigation you refer to; 

Plaintiff: Reginald Jackson
Defendants: American Memorabilia, Inc., Resurrection Jackson, Martinez Jackson, Jr. and Victor Moreno
 
Case Number: 2:2011cv01106
Filed:

July 5, 2011

which state was the bankruptcy filed in?

BCase No. 11-CV-01106-KJD-GWF

ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S  MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

UPON CONSIDERATION of the motion filed by Plaintiff Reginald (“Reggie”) Jackson

for a preliminary injunction to prevent Defendants American Memorabilia, Inc., Victor Moreno, Resurrection Jackson, Martinez Jackson, Jr. and a John Doe known as “Wayne” (collectively “Defendants”) from selling or transferring (i) a ring Mr. Jackson had made for his father to wear which is in the style of the 1977 World Series Championship ring presented to Mr. Jackson by the New York Yankees (the “Jackson Custom Ring”) and (ii) a watch the New York Yankees

presented to Mr. Jackson to celebrate his 400th home run (the “Jackson 400 Watch”), the supporting memorandum of points and authorities, the supporting declarations of Mr. Jackson and Joe Jackson, the evidence, the record in this case, and for other good cause shown;

THE COURT HEREBY FINDS THAT:

1. Mr. Jackson will suffer irreparable injury if (i) the July 7, 2011 auction is not

enjoined and the Jackson Custom Ring and Jackson 400 Watch are sold or transferred to third parties; and (ii) the Court does not require that the Jackson Custom Ring and the Jackson 400 Watch be placed in a safe and secure location where none of Defendants or even Mr. Jackson can transfer them to a third party or remove them from the jurisdiction of this Court;

2. Mr. Jackson is likely to succeed on his claims for replevin and quiet title, because

Mr. Jackson has demonstrated that he has superior right to title and possession to the Jackson Custom Ring and Jackson 400 Watch, which title and right to possess he retained during the time he allowed his father to display these items during his lifetime;

3. The balance of hardships tips in favor of Mr. Jackson because issuance of the

preliminary injunction would merely delay the sale of the Jackson Custom Ring and the Jackson 400 Watch, whereas the loss of these items to a third party outside of Mr. Jackson’s family would constitute a severe hardship to Mr. Jackson not compensable by money; and

4. The public interest will benefit from granting a preliminary injunction because any third party who wishes to purchase the Jackson Custom Ring or the Jackson 400 Watch now or in the future will benefit from resolution of this case on the merits.

THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT, pending a full trial on the merits:

A. Defendants shall be barred from selling the Jackson Custom Ring and/or the Jackson 400 Watch;

B. Defendants shall be enjoined from transfe rring possession of the Jackson Custom Ring and/or the Jackson 400 Watch to any third party;

C. The Jackson Custom Ring and the Jackson 400 Watch shall remain in the safe deposit box at US Bank in North Las Vegas, Nevada subject to the joint custody of Mr. Jackson and Defendants during the pendency of this action; and...

@ Mike Aring, I think this sort of litigation happens to all the major auction houses.  Sometimes consignment items come up where original owners or parties claiming rights put a cease and deist.  Sometimes they win, sometimes they don't.  Also, at the bottom of each of American Memorabilia's auction item's pages is their "Auction Rules" link which states fees, etc. however I agree they could make it more clear but I'd imagine during sign-up it's stated.  I don't recall.  Heritage currently has a 25% fee.  R&R lists the 20% clearly in a box below description and SignaturePieces goes one step above that and even calculates what the total will be.  I don't believe any of these guys lists shipping fees.

on a typical $100.00 flat item from R&R it typically costs $131.00 with buyer's premium, shipping & insurance.

having said that, R&R has buyer's fee visibly noted.

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