Whether you have been collecting corkscrews for a year or 30 years, I’m sure you’ve seen a fake corkscrew or two. It’s not to say that they won’t open your bottle of juice, but rather that the piece has no real collectible value, since it was produced, altered, or put together with the sole intent to profit by deceit.
These sellers have become quite savvy when it comes to selling these pieces on our favorite auction site. They use bad photography, vague descriptions, and even tricky wording when it comes to listing them. Just because they don’t use the word ANTIQUE, AUTHENTIC, or REAL, doesn’t mean that their intent to sell it off to a Corkscrew Collector for a large sum of dough is any less.
So what to do when you’ve purchased a piece off eBay, that you believe is NOT THE REAL DEAL, FAKE, or possibly a corkscrew that was PUT TOGETHER? Open a Dispute with EBAY. You are covered under their Buyer Protection policy. DO NOT OPEN A PAYPAL DISPUTE. PayPal does not recognize or consider any communication that you have had with the seller via eBay messaging, whereas eBay will take into account all of this information.
I’ve got a personal story to share about buying outside of eBay….
About 6 weeks ago, (as luck would have it, the ad is still live), I discovered an advertisement for a 1874 Burgess & Fenton single lever corkscrew. Asking price? $1400!! After some quick research on the piece, I knew it was a deal I had to pursue! I emailed the seller, and they responded quickly, and even with additional photos. The seller wanted to use an escrow shipping service that would hold the funds until I received the piece. There was a website, contact information, and money transfer instructions. What was the red flag you ask? The company did not accept PayPal or Credit Cards. They would only accept a wire transfer via Western Union. HUGE RED FLAG!! I highly recommend to any corkscrew collector to NEVER TRANSFER FUNDS VIA WESTERN UNION, unless you know exactly to whom you are dealing with. Once you pass on the Transaction Information, you have basically given FULL release of your funds.
The fraudulent ad was copied from a Sept 2011 eBay listing for a Burgess & Fenton listing.
The very best way to prevent yourself from becoming a victim is to become informed! Ask a fellow collector for a second opinion on the listing. Research the piece, so you can compare prices, photographs, condition, and markings.
Peter Borrett has a whole website page set up that is quite informative of some sellers and corkscrews that are known to be sketchy. Check it out by CLICKING HERE