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Thursday, May 29, 2008

BEING SCAMMED ON EBAY: SCHIAPARELLI FAKES

Well I wasn't going to talk about this so soon after writing about the Miriam Haskell I got duped on via Ebay, but after losing sleep over this one last night, I figured I may as well vent and get it out of my system now and just maybe help others who fall victim to this kind of thing.

First off, let me tell you that as far as Ebay and PayPal are concerned, it's my own damn fault this happened to me. Okay, I'll give them that. I made the mistake of buying off eBay. But even if I had bought this rubbish, fake jewelry at an Ebay auction, the person selling it is selling fakes and guess what? He's been doing it for years and he's still doing it. ARGHHH!

So here's what happened. He's been selling what he calls Schiaparellis for months now. I had my eye on one. Again, I should've listened to that inner voice that told me the piece didn't quite look like a Schiaparelli. But it had the cartouche, the signature, all of that. I should have consulted the Schiaparelli experts in my vintage jewelry group before diving in but I didn't.

Intending to do a BUY IT NOW, I contacted this seller to ask about the condition. By the time he replied, someone had opened the bidding so I couldn't "buy it now" any longer. I mentioned this to the seller. He said if I wanted to pay his reserve, he'd end the auction. I agreed. First mistake!

After I paid him directly via PayPal (& outside ebay of course & second mistake) I asked him how come he has so many Schiaparellis. After all, they're pretty scarce. He said he had 10 boxes of stuff from some estate. I asked if he had more I might like. He sent me photos. I saw two others and we agreed on a price. So I sent him more money, happy I hadn't had to fight others for a Schiaparelli on auction. Third mistake!

While I waited for my jewelry to arrive (over $500 worth!) I came across a community board thread on Ebay by some buyer who was wild! She'd just purchased Schiaparellis from someone on eBay and they were fake. The more I read the thread, the more I panicked. This was the same vendor!! My skin started to crawl. My jewelry group were all talking about it. They said this seller had conned many others but was still selling on eBay regardless.

In my panic, I wrote to the seller asking about this and whether if I wasn't happy when the stuff arrived i.e. if I wasn't convinced these were authentic, could I return them. I got an email saying yes I could. I breathed a sigh of relief. Then the stuff arrived. Visit these links to see what they'd sold me:

http://www.vintagejewelryshowcase.com/fakeA.htm

http://www.vintagejewelryshowcase.com/fakeB.htm

http://www.vintagejewelryshowcase.com/fakeC.htm

The Schiaparelli experts in my jewelry group confirmed my findings: ALL FAKES! I wanted to die! $500 gone on garbage. But wait. The seller had told me they'd refund if I wasn't happy right? No worries! WRONG AGAIN! I emailed and emailed. I opened a dispute in PayPal. The seller responded once saying I'd asked them to end the original auction. LIES! Then no more responses, no agreement to refund.

I escalated the dispute to a claim. PayPal instantly closed my case as the item was purchased off ebay...not covered by their Buyer Claim Policy. Where to next? My credit card company. They said send it all back to the seller and give us the tracking information and if they haven't refunded in 30 days, we'll take it from there. I breathed a sigh of relief ... till today!

I made the mistake of trying to email that bum of a vendor once more asking him to honor their promise to refund. Are you ready for this? They told me their policy, clearly stated on their ebay ads says "no refunds". They didn't even address the fact they've sold me fakes. It doesn't matter that this wasn't an Ebay purchase anyway so their stated policy is irrelevant. And now for the cruncher: they're sending this rubbish back to me because after all, they're honorable eBay sellers who do supply what someone paid for even if it's fake! GRRRRRR!!! What do I do now?!

I hope some of you out there who buy, sell and collect vintage jewelry will read this and stand warned. I hope any of you who might also have fallen victim to eBay scammers will add your experience and comments. I don't know how this will end up but if this blog has alerted at least one other person to the dangers of buying online, it will have served its purpose. BUYER BEWARE has never been truer!

If anyone reading this wants to know who this scumbag is, email me. In a future post, I'll explain a bit more about how and why PayPal wouldn't touch this and tossed out my case. It will alert you to how you are NOT covered when you buy on other online sites using PayPal. Bookmark my blog or RSS it.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, I am so sorry to read of your scam on Ebay...it really makes me wonder how these people get away with it, or if they themselves know the items are fakes. If they do, it would seem to be illegal, or at least Ebay should prosecute these folks.
I cam across your lovely blogs because I was doing research on a Schiaparelli Set I have had in my collection (not as extensive as yours, but close!) for years now. In a recent move, one of my most favorite pieces broke. I was devastated, but have devised a way to attach the area it broke in by using a jump ring. It is not noticeable really, but takes away the true value to the piece now. Anyhow, I have decided to sell it as is, sadly. The bracelet is absolutely incredible. Never in my years of collecting have I ever seen one quite like it. I am certain in it's day it was sold only at a high end shop, circa late 40's, and would have been expensive even back then.
Let me know if you would like to see a picture of it. Maybe you know more about it than I do.
I have bought and sold on Ebay over the years under the name OwlVintage. I have 100% positive feedback and would never intentionally rip anyone off. I stand behind my designer items and offer full refund if I have made any grave error. Shame on that seller who took you for 500.00. KARMA will get him.
Feel free to email me at Wiseowl@dc.rr.com. It would be fun to email with you. Your blogs are gorgeous and fun!
Best wishes,
The Wise One!

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to drop a line and tell you how helpful your blog was to me. I recently purchased a pin at a local thrift store that was (more or less)signed Schiaparelli. I viewed the pin before it was priced and reviewed ebay auctions with the manager to determine a fair value. At the time I didn't know about the knock-offs so I didn't question the signature, I mostly deal in vintage clothing. When I got home I dove into my costume jewelry books and realized it could be a fake. I even took it to the mall where I am selling and had others look at the signature-still nothing certain. It wasn't until I found your blog and followed the picture links that I knew for certain mine was a fake. Thank you so much for posting such clear pictures of the signatures. It was extremely helpful! I wasnt able to compare it until I found your info! oh, and I am only out $20 dollars, it was worth it for the education. Thanks Again!

CRUISEROO said...

Thanks so much for your wonderful comment. Reassures me that the time I spend on this blog isn't wasted after all. Thank heaven you only paid $20!

Anonymous said...

If I read in an auction that a seller will pull the auction to sell to a high bid - I report the item to Ebay, as this is against Ebay rules. If, through Ebay emails with a seller, they suggest the same, I report the item to Ebay and in the reporting notes state the seller told me so in email (Paypal can track Ebay emails). I'm so sorry you were caught up in this. Please, please... no matter how MUCH you want something - if a seller's feedback is less than 99.7 (this is my limit) don't deal with them. Or if you see any red feedback - read it! It tells you what type of person you are dealing with, especially if they reply rudely to the bad feedback. One bad feedback and if it seems reasonable, then I might deal with a seller. I have been on Ebay 10 years, and I follow this religiously, no matter how much I might want something. These rules for myself have saved me much grief, and my feedback is almost at 900 and is 100%. As my grandmother taught me - "When in doubt - DON'T!" Another suggestion - use google image search to find the same article on other sites (I do this). Having photos and descriptions from other auction sites helps in determining the quality of what you see on Ebay. Although I can't recommend Goantiques.com very highly, there are plenty of others out there you can use for resource. And, as you learned, ALWAYS use Paypal and never complete a transaction outside of the Ebay rules. I have had problems with 2 items in 10 years, and Paypal instantly helped get my money back for me. Good Luck to you!

Anonymous said...

After looking at the scans of the Schiaparelli fakes, I am not so sure that they are fakes, the tags sure look to be fakes but I was able to see a lot of the markings and they appear to be the same as the unsigned pieces that I have. I've been very surprised to have found so many(unsigned)Schiap pieces being bought and sold on ebay (as I do)without anyone knowing that they are Schiaps. I use a 30x loupe to look at jewelry and let me tell you, it may not be a good idea to see markings that identify a certain designer if no one else can see them because they use a much weaker loupe,anyway, I have about 10 Schiap pieces at the moment that are unsigned but they are marked with the initials ES, La Schiapa, and her complete signature (visible only with a loupe and with a scanner like you used to show the fakes). The same markings are showing on your scans of the fakes especially the first two, the last one I'm not totally sure. I think the person who sold you those wanted to maximize the value of the unsigned pieces by adding the fake tags. What I've noticed, is that most jewelry was marked in numerous places, including rhinestones, stones, pearls, what have you, and especially Schiaparelli, her markings show up on the front of the piece a lot of the times. So don't throw away your 'fake' Schiaps, they might be real.

CRUISEROO said...

Thanks very much for your insights into this issue. For myself, since I am not so much a collector as a seller, being able to authenticate a piece for a prospective buyer is of prime importance i.e. buyers want to be sure something is a Schiaparelli or Sherman or Weiss or whatever and if there's any doubt in their minds, they are not willing to pay what one is asking for a "possiblity". So I prefer to stick with signed pieces that raise no doubts. The pieces involved in my "scams" were looked at by Schiap experts who had no doubt in their minds that what I had been sold were fakes. That's good enough for me. Even if they were wrong, how can I convince a buyer otherwise??

Marta said...

Yes, I understand, I'm a seller too, so its preferable that the piece be signed, however, as you have now experienced, just because the piece is signed it doesn't mean it is authentic. That's my dilemma also, I have these pieces that are not signed, and yet they are authentic because the markings are all there (I doubt anyone would fake the markings and not fake a signature tag). Knowing that a lot of designers put out pieces that were not signed, the only way to positively identify them is by finding their marks.Of course you look at the style and findings on the piece to see if they are in the usual style for that designer, however, as we all know, that can be faked also. I feel more confident that a piece is legitimate if it is marked and not signed than if it is signed and not marked. Collectors are missing out on a lot of items out there if they expect a signature...but that's a different subject, deserving of its own blog.

CRUISEROO said...

Thanks again Marta. HOpe you'll write that blog piece for the rest of us to read.

Anonymous said...

i just went through all my stuff, and I found a Schiaparelli that I bought at a thrift shop in Florida. Its signature is in script on the earrings and on the clasp. It is white fake pearls with white milk glass clasp with aurora borelis stones. The clasp and the earrings are sea shell design. Is this something that people are interested in? I you can reach me at nrmmoran@aol.com

CRUISEROO said...

I think most collectors of Schiaparelli would be interested in anything signed "Schiaparelli"