Friday, December 30, 2011
Autograph Authentication Scams, Compliants, The Law
For years this website has been receiving complaints from collectors and sellers of autographs regarding some horrific experiences they have had with some of the high profile companies who "claim" they can authenticate autographs.
We find that on our own investigation on some of these companies we cannot find a single person on paid staff who is basically qualified to professionally authenticate an autograph.
In some cases you cannot find out who the actual individual is that authenticated the autograph you have submitted. COMPANIES DON'T AUTHENTICATE AUTOGRAPHS, PEOPLE DO!" In the event that you obtained a celebrity autograph in person and decided to spend your hard earned money to have someone authenticate it and it comes back as "not authentic" you will simply be told you have only paid for their opinion. Anyone including your neighbor can offer an opinion for free and that opinion has a 50/50 chance of being accurate.
To look at the backgrounds of some of the persons hired to authenticate autographs at some of these companies is nothing less than frightening. We will not go into detail here but ask why would you send your autograph and a check or money order to someone who only "claims" they can authenticate autographs. You don't even know who you are sending your item to and if you found out, you may be shocked.
These companies regularly authenticate rubber stamped, printed, secretarial signed and forged signatures as genuine. Just as bad in many cases they state that genuine signatures are not real. Very recently, one of the most public embarrassing situations ever was seen on national television in front of six million viewers. One person who claims to be an authenticator for at least two high profile companies appeared on a segment of Pawn Stars. This individual examined a movie script that actually was inscribed and signed by Al Ruddy, the films producer. The so called "expert" authenticated Al Ruddy's writing and signature as Al Pacino. This is just one of many examples of total incompetence exhibited by staff of these authenticating companies. More on this story can be found on this site (see August 25, 2011).
Signature Arts is overwhelmed with emails complaining about personal experiences with high profile companies who simply claim they can authenticate autographs. These emails always ask what can they do, what are their options because they feel they have been scammed.
Big brother is now watching!
If you have a complaint and want a file of your experience, email us your story and copy the Attorney General in the State where the authenticating company has an office. It is imperative you also copy in the F.B.I. with your complaint.
Your complaint can be one that you experienced either recently or a few years ago. It's important to have your complaint documented.