"Don't get F@%$ed!" How to: Protect yourself when making online purchases.
We here in RACC (Real Autographs Collector's Club) take buyer protection very seriously. There are many discussions that have taken place with fellow collectors and dealers alike, that have molded many of the rules & decisions that the admin team have put in place.
One of those big rule changes this year was only allowing RACCtrusted.com sellers to be able to sell within the group. This included responding to ISO (in search of) posts, consignment opportunities, and obviously posting items for sale within the group.
We based this off of many reasons. There are many places to buy and sell autographs in the world. However not all of these places are safe for people searching for legitimate autographs. One of those biggest online sources being eBay, also houses the most forgeries for sale with no interest of cleaning up the industry-- As they make a profit on every item sold regardless of its authenticity. Everyday more and more forgeries find their way into collections, due to either misplace trust or not enough education in the marketplace; This has to change.
We have provided a quick link to search through all of our RACCtrusted sellers eBay accounts here: https://www.racctrusted.com/ebay/ in hopes that a "too good to be true" item isn't purchased elsewhere on eBay.
We have tried our best to only allow sellers who have a great reputation in the autograph community to become RACCtrusted. This does not mean these sellers are the ONLY trusted sources of autographs in the world, but a lot goes into making sure we do our part in protecting the 10,000 members of our autograph community.
If someone sends you a response via message to an autograph you are in search of, make sure you ask them if they are racctrusted, have them privide you their id and check on www.racctrusted.com/sellers to make sure they are legit.
As a collector I am very proud to see the steps the admin team have consciousnessly made to protect our members. Previously to only allowing RACCtrusted sources from selling, we had many people purchasing from either sellers who were less than reputable or we were too late removing a post before an unsuspecting member got hussled. We couldn't vet every possible seller who joined the group. We are doing our best to do just that now.
I also want to state, I don't get paid to do this. I personally only help moderate this group because as a fellow collector I want to do my part in helping this community thwart the forgery industry a tiny bit, by making sure only authentic autographs wind up in RACC collectors hands. I believe this to be a principle RACC was founded on.
While we have always promoted buying only from RACCtrusted sources before this, we have and still are trying to make it as apparent as we possibly can to educate on how important both trust AND study is when purchasing an autograph.
While providing trusted sources is important, educating our members properly is as well just as necessary! We all sometimes forget we were all new to this hobby at one time. This is exactly how forgers make their money, by providing items that might appear like a steal, but in reality they are taking a run with YOUR money!
Always ask for opinions on the item you are about to buy BEFORE you commit and send money! That will save you the headache on returns or potentially be stuck with a fake hanging on your wall. While third party authentication (TPA ) services aren't always perfect, it is at least a good start when looking to make a purchase. Just remember TPA are humans who can make errors too.
I would however suggest taking the time to study the autograph YOURSELF. Find authenticated examples from whatever time period it was supposedly signed in and do your own signature study. That way, you aren't only taking someone elses word for is authenticity!
Knowing whose opinion to trust is just as important. While many members of the RACC community are very good with helping authenticity questions, not all opinions are equal. I would personally suggest using a service like autographcoa.com for a little extra advice if you are still left with a lingering doubt.
...And lastly PLEASE for the sake of all humanity, ALWAYS pay using "GOODS & SERVICES" when making a payment via paypal! This is the only way you can be certain that you will be able to dispute any problems that may arise!
Payment via "FRIENDS & FAMILY" is at a risk not worth taking over saving the seller that 3% added fee they will be taxed from paypal. Let the seller know it IS NOT anything against them, but you only feel comfortable knowing you will be protected in case of any problems that may occur. If they don't understand this, then they possibly aren't someone you should worth the risk of doing business with anyways.
I would personally rather pay the seller an additional 3% then potentially be out my entire amount paid if something turns wrong! If you pay $100 for an item, it is only another $3 added to the final value. A reputable seller should know that when accepting "GOODS & SERVICES" this is a fee for THEM doing business via paypal, but we should all take a fair and balance approach when trying to attain a great business relationship with a trusted seller.
If either of you have trouble figuring out the fees of your purchase using "GOODS & SERVICES" you can use this trusty link:
If you have done business previously still use your best judgement on usings "FRIENDS & FAMILY", remember YOU are still paying fees when using this method to send via paypal...All you have done now is added a risk to it. If this is someone you trust and know for 100% certainty that they will take care of any issue...Then this is something you may consider.
Do NOT under any circumstances send money to someone via Western Union! I have seen people get screwed this way. Honestly, stay away...
This is all just the tip of the iceberg in collecting, but we are a growing community that will continue to evolve. Thank you all for being apart of it.
If you would like more information on what it takes to become RACCtrusted, please contact www.facebook.com/officialracc or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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