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.
· 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. . .
The issue of EBAY is like no other and they are allowed to continue even with the safeguards in place. They make it way to difficult to report an item. E.g here is there listing selection;
and you might think to use Frauduelent listing that "you" think are fraudulent and select from the sublist;
only to have it disappear into the big black hole of EBAY never to be heard from again.
So if people like Fuddjacal are so SURE it's not authentic then are they just making noise to make noise or reporting these items... then if they are "why" isn't there a listing of what's been removed, & why (they can mask the seller unless the seller is banned).
I have also heard that some get banned because they are novices and list something not realizing it's a banned item or banned coa (which is pitiful in terms of the limited people on it). Why isn't that link more promenant. Speaking of which were is that link as i have a hard time finding it.
louie - hmmm, very interesting but everyone knows the risk when they go outside of an ebay sale once it's over...
but speaking of risk, this statement is the one that's bothersome; "I still watch a forger of cartoonist art like Charles Schulz continuing to operate on a regular basis for the past 10 years" and yet nothing has been done. Why is information about EMR held close to the vest and only open to some? Why are reports and "walls of shame" not maintained?
So what is needed to bring these people down? If it's a court conviction then we are all in for a long wait.
Trust me there is no "Why is information about EMR held close to the vest and only open to some". I have no idea what goes on behind trhe scenes at eBay. I wish they would take up your recommendations. Becasue altough I think they are doing more then they did ten years ago (which WAS REALY ZERO), they coiuld do 10 times more. Anyone who has been on eBay for more then 10 years remembers the Countless OPEN , OBVIOUS Forgers. I don't mean skilled, but outright unskileld forgers.
I am not sure how that is relevant to authenticating autographs. Obviously you are sore about not being able to bid on the letter.
But, that’s life. And what I learned a long time ago on eBay is when there is something you really want, you had better make an offer. Because guess what? If you don’t someone else will. I missed out on more items, “Watching” them and suddenly as you experienced they disappeared. Sellers accept offers all the time. I had no control over whether he wanted to do a Buy it Now or sell outside eBay. I actually requested BIN because by NOT doing a BIN, I accepted a certain amount of risk. But, he wanted to sell offline, no other option But for you to insinuate I was unethical for making an offer is , well ridiculous. You are just PO’d that you didn’t have an opportunity to bid on it. And, not much anyone can do about that.
You're NOT PO'd??? Yeah, whatever. Like It’s not TOO obvious. You're in here having a big Hissy Fit about an item your ARE PO'd about not being able to bid on. So,you concoct this angry driven, ludicrous theory of unethical behavior.
The only thing obvious here is this discussion with you is not going to get anywhere close to rational. I WAS NOT the seller. I did not make the decision. So you think I should have refused the item because he would only do an offline sale? What fees did I "avoid"? This is just an absurd debate and I'll leave you to mourn your wounds and say whatever you need to, to get you through the day. I'll just leave it at that.
P.S. Per your other conspiracy theory "Do you use your position with them to benefit you in other ways" I have NO Position
wait a minute here - you both have Wayne's! Now I'm ticked off ~ now fess up, how many have you have been to the OC Airport?
One of these days - I'll find one without an inscription. Incidently, in the old corp recruits were always accused of trying to act like John Wayne and reminded just as quickly it was the "movies" and the enemy was not firing real bullets.
I don't consider buying offline a problem, just risky and a risk to the seller who I believe can get tossed off of ebay as I recall. But it happens all the time.
What's important Kevin & Louie is that if you are in a postion with ebay to leverage the type of suggestions made, Make them, then lest us know who, what, & where it went. SO we won't beat the same tom-tom and people like fudgy don't have to pick up their bat & ball and go home while he does his hissyfit.
Kevin, just cjanced upon this thread, very interesting!
I believe eBay also have an EMR program in mainland Europe, but not it seems in the UK. Here we had a great eBay forum that last year succesfully had removed a stack of forgers, and we did this without eBay's help too.
We simply got together and targeted a forgers buyers. By inviting them to our autograph forum on eBay, they would see that waht they had boufght was fake, and this then resulted in the buyers leaving negatives and asking for refunds. A stack of forgers had to call it a day! Sadly, eBay then gtwind of what we were doing, and threatened to close down the group, and changed the way the forums worked as well, so thatwe could not do the same thing again!
Now the forgers are back, although now we see that they have droped the usual signed 10 x 8 photos, and moved on to signed books and other items of much higher value. One of these sellers was recently arrested by the Met Police Art and Antiques unit.They called me the day aftr as they had seen my post about the seller on an eBay forum, and was abl to help them with some further information.
The most annoying this is that had been roporting another seller on an almost daily basis, who had also been offeri fake signed Churchill items (amongst others!).
Both of these are the same person, and are making a nice tidy profit from fakes. I and others have reported these on dozens of occasions, and when the first seller was arrested i even reported the last two for selling Churchill fakes on the same day, and told eBay that the should read the papers etc! eBay would have already known anyway, as the Police confirmed this themselves, but despite one man being arrested (he also had more than one seller ID), and other on eBay selling obvious fakes, ebay.co.uk did nothng at all.
The UK sellers are sick of this, and it seems that the UK office ignore all mails the receive. I often work wth our Trading Standards and Police on these things, and even they tell me the same stories.
How can i or ayone else get invoved with this EMR programe in the UK?