Regarding Questionable KOOL Collectibles

This is a special alert with regard to activities of certain sellers offering items in the eBay Internet auctions who appear to be manufacturing fake items and attempting to pass them off as genuine collectibles.

In order to avoid a lawsuit or the unexpected knock on my door by large men who profess an unseemly interest in my kneecaps, I have chosen not to mention specific names.  However, the following should give you sufficient guidance to avoid being taken by a particularly unscrupulous seller.

If you find a KOOL penguin item (particularly an old cigarette lighter or fishing lure) on eBay that you have never seen before, please consider the following:

  • Is the seller in the Louisville, Kentucky, region?

  • Is the image somewhat small and indistinct?

  • Does the seller profess to be "new to eBay" or otherwise have no knowledge or expertise regarding the item being offered.

  • Does the seller decline to accept the forms of payment ordinarily accepted by other sellers?

  • Does the seller claim to have acquired the item from an estate sale, flea market, or Goodwill store?

  • Does the seller guarantee the buyer's satisfaction or, rather, is there a "no refunds" policy?

  • Is the auction a "private auction"?  This is a tactic that makes it impossible for other collectors to alert unsuspecting bidders.

  • Does the seller have a significant number of negative feedbacks?  If so, has the seller responded in a rude and arrogant manner?

In addition, you might want to do an eBay search for lighters and fishing lures, limited to sellers in the Louisville region.  You may be surprised to find that there are sellers operating under different eBay names whose listings have characteristics similar to the above.  This suggests that the offending seller is operating under more than one name or that there is a group of associated sellers operating in the same manner.

Indeed, there seems to be a regular little fake-manufacturing enterprise operating in the Louisville area.  A review of recent eBay activity of one of the seller names discloses that a large number of unmarked cigarette lighters have been purchased from various sources.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that someone is buying old cigarette lighters in quantity, attaching labels and pictures to them, and then attempting to pass them off as collectibles.

In the past, when activity relating to these fake items has been brought to the attention of eBay, I got the impression that eBay was primarily concerned about the copyright infringement of the tobacco, beer, and soft drink companies whose names have been affixed to these items.  But the main concern should be with the buyers who are sometimes paying top dollar for items that they are misled into believing are genuine collectibles.  If you feel that you have "been taken" by a seller of the type described herein, I urge you to post negative feedback.  I should alert you however, that you should also expect a rude response and possibly a retaliatory negative to you as a buyer.

I trust that this warning will be of value to some of you.  The bottom line is that this sort of activity is a stain upon the reputation of the eBay community.  Your response to it, either by refusing to buy or by posting negative feedback, will go a long way toward ending this activity and banning the offending sellers from eBay permanently.

If you have had an experience with such a seller, I would be most appreciative if you would share the details with me.

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This page created and maintained by Jim Lowe
First appearance: February 5, 2002
Last updated: February 5, 2002

© 2002 by James R. Lowe, who reserves all rights to the content of this page.