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Not so “RARE” phones, phony items and other such fakery on eBay

Started by Phonesrfun, March 17, 2011, 01:36:48 PM

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Ladies and gentlemen:

I think we need to look long and hard at how we as a group discuss and put down items that are not, let's say, totally honest on e-Bay or other things like Craig's List.  Some sellers are more than happy to receive correcting information, and many are not.

Many of us, myself included want the community of sellers out there to not defraud thier customers, and we want to passionately put that message out.  I don't disagree with contacting a seller individually with correcting information.  It is hard, however, to get involved with e-Bay directly if we have not been the one harmed by having bought such an item.

My only point here is that many, many sellers do some level of research, even if they come to the wrong conclusions about what they are selling.  Posts on this board show up in Google and Bing searches by topic.  We have seen on some occasions e-Bay sellers come by here to see what we on the Rotary Phone forum may have to say about a particular style or model of phone, only to find out that we have been publicly trashing their very auction.  Things can get pretty nasty when that happens.  I hope we don't want to be known collectively as a vigilante group.

Obviously, I am only one voice on this forum, and many of you will probably wholeheartedly disagree with what I have just said, and I am cool with that.  I have even participated in pointing out "discrepencies" in some recent auction discussions, but I am feeling a little guilty for having done so.

My 2 cents.
-Bill G

Tom B


Doug Rose


Dennis Markham

Great post, Bill.  Thank you for it.  We do want to be careful when discussing various items so that our comments are not libelous.  As someone said in a different topic, I think most sellers mean well and do the best with what knowledge they have or have gained in brief research prior to their listing.  Then again others may not be so honest.  I don't think there is any problem with pointing out discrepancies that are factual but it should be done tactfully.  And as Bill said, many sellers are happy to receive constructive criticism.  


Quote from: Phonesrfun on March 17, 2011, 01:36:48 PM
I hope we don't want to be known collectively as a vigilante group.

???  I thought Dennis deputized us all when we signed on with this outfit.   ;)
Visit:         WE  500  Design_Line



I always make a point to tell sellers that there telephones are fakes.  So far none of them have complained and all except one have changed the listing.  I don't think that the average seller wants to defraud anyone and get saddled with charge-backs and the like.  I know that a few members of the forum are currently or recently looking for candlesticks on eBay so I give examples of what not to bid on when I see them.  Although I am no expert on candlesticks, I am getting fairly good at spotting fakes.   I will not post links to the really good stuff I am bidding on.
Greg Sargeant
Providence, RI
TCI /ATCA #4409

Ed D

I am nowhere near the level of knowledge that you guys have about phones, and how to spot fakes.  And I only buy from ebay, not sell.  I think it is great that some of you take the time to contact the seller and explain in a calm manner why/how you can tell the phone is a fake just by looking at the photos, or reading the description.  Kudos to you!

And kudos to the sellers who listen to you, and then fix their auctions.

One thought that I have about why some may not change their auction after receiving the "bad news" is that the seller simply does not trust the word of someone they do not know.  Face it, I could tell the seller their phone is a modern-made reproduction that basically looks almost exactly like the real thing, or is a frankenphone that has been cobbled together at some point, and fools most people.

I could also be feeding the seller a big lie in hopes that he updates the auction to say the phone is a fake, thus eliminating most or all competition for that auction so I get a sweet deal.

Anyway, just my $0.018999 (allowing for cost of living adjustments, of course)   ;D


I agree we should at first be gentle about it. 

Here's the latest example: item no. 220756709975.  Seller thinks they have a D1 / 202.  In reality it's made by Telcer (Italy) and is a darn good replica of the Italian version of the AE 1A Monophone.  You can still buy that model new, for about $130 plus shipping from Italy.  Seller wants $250 for it in fair condition. 

What's going on here is, someone finds an object at a flea market or yard sale, and after a bit of quick research, thinks they have just found something really valuable (and acquired it on the cheap), and get emotionally invested in the idea that it's real. 

So now along comes one of us and pops their bubble: it really is only worth the $10 they paid for it at the flea market. 

It's natural for people to resist facts that contradict their emotional desires.  In this case the desire for not only the profit on the sale but for the personal validation of having found a high-value item.  Thus the value of being gentle when we first inform them.   "Hi, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but..."

However, protecting the public from fakes is more important than protecting sellers' illusions about themselves.  So if they don't respond to the "nice" approach, it's perfectly legit to threaten to report them to Ebay, and to follow through on that threat.

The ones who are most likely engaged in deliberate fraud may also play dumb, but sometimes they reveal themselves for example by writing back and cussing you out.  In that case turn 'em in with no delay and no Mr. Nice Guy about it. 


The seller wrote this:

"The designation "202" actually referred to the electrical configuration of these sets and the oval-base shape was called a D1. "

I guarantee that information came from this forum.


Bingster, I agree: they may have come here to do their research, and either jumped to a conclusion for emotional reasons, or decided to lift the language from here to help mislead the public.

OK, who's going to be nice about this and write to the seller?

Here's where these can be bought new:

Someone should pass that link along to the seller. 

The absolute give-away on this is the shape of the dial fingerstop, which is unique to Telcer's replicas. 


Ray K (Kleenax) recently commented here that he thought the word RARE was a little overused in the phone collecting community. That got me thinking that there are too many RARE phones on ebaY and maybe some of the better examples would be fun to point out. Thus, we now have the "Not so "RARE Phones" as found on ebaY" thread to add your favorite examples for everyone's viewing pleasure.

Here is one I just stumbled upon. Nothing very rare about a black (maybe it is Espresso Brown, still not rare) AE 80E but throw an Esso Gasoline Station picture under the clear facemat of the 80E and there you have it, an instant RARE and never seen before collectible telephone set!

Do you American's have Esso Gas down there? Exxon, Esso, Standard Oil...all the same thing but Esso has been the brand in Canada for the last 40 or more years.




Quote from: AE_collector on November 11, 2012, 02:21:51 PM

You Canadians were really behind the times.  That Esso picture looks like 1950s USA, not 1976 ;D



It must have been AE Canada that was behind the times but what else is new....

We had some "better" custom faceplates and even custom dial cards (mainly on AE phones that had the plastic FW with the card put in from the back) in some of our CO's back when you could get away with such things.... :)



Most US Esso stations changed to Exxon in 1972.

Before the federal broke up AT&T, they broke up Standard Oil (1911). In some states starting in 1941 they used the name "Esso" (SO=Standard Oil or ESSO=Eastern States Standard Oil).
Mets-en, c'est pas de l'onguent!

"C'est pas une restauration, c'est une rénovation."--François Martin.


1972...that would be just about the same time that I recall Sandard Oil stations around Vancouver getting a facelift and new signs saying Esso. I remember thinking "what the $@#& does that say?"

I filled up my Telus Truck at an Esso a couple of weeks ago and did a double take when I noticed that the new pump said Exxon on it. Checked all the others and they said Esso. One slipped through with the wrong branding.