***Please see REGULARLY UPDATED INFORMATION at the end of this Guide***
**Please see my ABOUT ME page (link below) for a current list of RG shirts to avoid**
I am writing this guide to let all members know about a clever scam involving the sale of ROBERT GRAHAM men's shirts on ebay. I am an expert in the brand and have personal contacts within the Robert Graham company. I have sold over 3600 Robert Graham shirts on ebay since 2007.
One seller on ebay, who sells lots of men's RG shirts each month, has figured out a way to scam unknowing and innocent buyers. Here is how she does it:
She is located in Southern California and has 2 ebay accounts (now at least 3 accounts...see below). One is a "private" account which is her "buying" account. She buys Used/Pre-Owned Robert Graham shirts from other ebayers for low prices. She buys between 25 and 80 Used Robert Graham shirts each month from this private account.
Her other account is her main ebay account which is her "selling" account. She takes the Used Robert Graham shirts, steams or cleans them if necessary, attaches a spare Robert Graham or department store price tag, and miraculously, the Used shirt is now New With Tags. She has done this at least 900 times in the last 30 months, and she makes anywhere from $50 to $300+ profit on each one. In 2011 she sold a RG VERNET XL shirt for $399.99 as NWT that she bought as Used/Pre-Owned for only $56 two months earlier. The pattern is easy to spot once you know how it is done. I have confirmed with eBay that this practice constitutes fraud as well as item misrepresentation.
How does she have so many spare RG or price tags? She has bought thousands of RG shirts from outlet stores over the past few years. Most of them have 2 tags...a Robert Graham tag and a store price tag. It is very easy to remove one of those two tags and "save" them for future use.
She uses an automatic bidding program when buying the Used shirts, as she always bids 2 or 3 times in the last few seconds of the auction. I wonder how many of you out there have been outbid by her at the very end of an auction. You were bidding on a Used Robert Graham shirt that you wanted for yourself or a family member, and she stole it away to list it as NWT and make a large profit on it.
Let me share a personal example: I sold a brand new Robert Graham Black "HARAY" Limited Edition hand-numbered (#477/640) shirt to another ebayer in 2009. He wore it and had it cleaned for over 2 years. Then he sold it as Used in May 2011 to this dishonest eBayer's private account. She proudly listed it 2 weeks later as NWT on her main account and took a picture of the hand-numbering inside the placket. I went back to my saved listing in Auctiva from 2009, and sure enough, it was the exact same shirt I had sold back in 2009...#477/640. There was only one of this number ever made, and she had put a plain tag on it and sold it for a $134.50 profit.
She has the perfect cover for this scheme, because very few members have called in to complain. The reason: She only keeps the Used Robert Graham shirts that are in pristine condition. The others she returns (I have contacted those she has returned shirts to, and every time there was an "issue" with the shirt...some damage, a cracked button, etc... so that she couldn't resell it). As any Robert Graham fan knows, the shirts are made to the highest quality, and if the original owner has taken good care of the shirt, it will look new for years to come. This seller has perfect 100% positive feedback (with a few revisions), so no one would suspect her of pulling a scam like this on the side. But she does it on a daily basis.
So, what can you do? If you see a Robert Graham shirt for sale on eBay from this seller from 2007-2010 that is listed as NWT, be very suspicious...especially if the listing states that it was "recently in a retail environment"as she often claims. Also watch out for "Brand New with Robert Graham Tag", or "price tag only...the RG tag pictured is from a previously sold shirt". These also are tip-offs that these shirts are part of the scam. If anyone is concerned about a previous RG purchase they made, or worried that a current listing may be fraudulent, please let me know as I have detailed records going back to 2010.
I hope this guide is helpful. I took the time to write it because I hate to see members continually being taken advantage of by this seller. Please click the YES button below if you agree.
JANUARY 1, 2012 Update: Thanks to all who have contacted me! Many of you were suspicious of shirts you had purchased from this seller. I'm glad I was able to provide the item numbers of when they were bought Used. Lastly and to no surprise, this seller is now making her fraudulent listings "private listings"...further proof that she is trying to hide what she is doing.
FEBRUARY 22, 2012 Update: Bad News: We have now confirmed a 3rd account that this seller is using to make huge profits by adding extra tags to Robert Graham shirts. Just last night she listed 8 shirts as "NWT" that were bought as USED or NWOT between January 7th and February 3rd from this 3rd account. Immediate calls were placed to eBay Customer Service and Trust & Safety, including the reporting of the item number pairs.
**Also, we see she has changed the name of her "private" account as of today, February 22, 2012. Not to worry, we have the new name of this account and will be tracking it daily. This info was also supplied to eBay Customer Service and Trust & Safety.**
MARCH 11, 2012 Update: As of today, over 800 eBayers have read this Guide! Here are a few of the many comments I have received: "Thanks for taking the time to pursue this important issue so steadfastly", "What she is doing hurts the integrity of eBay", "It is unforunate I did not read your guide prior to buying from her", "I realize now I was swindled. What can I do?", "Someone should file charges against her for the sale and interstate shipment of fraudulent goods", "Sad to say I have purchased a number of shirts from her in the past year, but never again", and "Thanks for letting us, the unsuspecting buyers, know about this scheme."
MARCH 26, 2012 Update: In the last 30 days, she has bought 43 New and Used RG shirts on eBay in order to resell them, outbidding many potential buyers during the last 5 seconds of the auction. Those shirts are showing up as soon as 2 weeks later for resale, with anywhere from $50 to $100 being added on to the price she paid. Is using this tactic the right way to treat customers...outbid them and then make them pay up to $100 more for the shirt they wanted?
MARCH 27, 2012 Update: The scam artist continues to evolve...and we are reporting each incident to eBay. For example, here is a new way she is deceiving buyers: She uses pictures of models wearing NEW RG shirts when selling USED RG shirts. Some pictures even feature RG tags. This gives the impression that the shirts are NEW (when in fact they are USED), and I'm sure more than a few buyers have been fooled. She will not be able to use this method of deception when eBay finally changes its policy, but I'm sure she will use it up until the last possible minute.
Also, the amount of exaggeration (and flat out lies) in some of her listings is amazing. Here are a few quotes that are completely false: "Totally sold out for full price online and in stores" (nope...many are available at outlet stores and discount online stores for much less), "Just released - in stores now for full price" (not true...this is a 2010 style and has not been available for full price in almost 2 years), and "You may never see this shirt offered on eBay again" (not really...she just bought 3 of this style in the last 6 weeks...so chances are it will be available again very soon). All this hype is just another example of dishonesty in the pursuit of profit at the expense of unsuspecting buyers.
APRIL 1, 2012 Update: The Queen of Trickery (as one eBayer refers to her) was quite busy today...no rest on the Easter weekend for her! She bought 9 RG shirts today using 2 different eBay accounts, one for as low as $29. Several others were in the $40 to $60 range. In all of these auctions, she swooped in during the final few seconds and outbid those who were hoping to win the shirt to actually wear it. We estimate these 9 shirts will generate a total profit of between $700 and $800 when she resells them, so not bad for a Sunday's work. On a side note...I had a meeting with a RG rep this past weekend, and he was going to have dinner with Mr. Stock that night. I filled him in on some of her dishonest tactics, and he felt that Mr. Stock would be interested to hear about this. Wouldn't you love to eavesdrop on that conversation?
APRIL 6, 2012 Update: This week we saw the birth of another new scam. In certain Used RG shirt listings, she now says the Used shirts were only "worn once". Since we've made it more difficult for her to sell USED as NEW (although she is still doing it), she is doing everything possible to make it seem that a Used shirt is "Almost New"...just worn one time, so in essence, it could pass for New. This is an attempt to squeeze out every last penny from unsuspecting buyers and appears to be an act of desperation. We checked the eBay listings of those Used shirts, and there was no mention of the shirts being worn only one time. So we contacted the sellers of those shirts, and they confirmed that they never advertised any information about the number of times the shirts were worn.
So in summary, although the scams keep evolving (up to 5 scams now), the underlying premise remains the same...trick buyers by any means possible to get them to pay the highest price. As one eBayer wondered last week..."How does she sleep at night?"
APRIL 16, 2012 Update: Our scammer was busy over the last 2 days. She used 2 different eBay accounts to outbid genuine buyers in order to win 7 Used RG shirts. At this pace, she will buy over 100 Used RG shirts on eBay in the next 30 days! Imagine all the eBay bucks she will earn on those 100 purchases. And guess what...I was one of her victims today! I was outbid by her on 2 RG shirts that I wanted for myself. I'll still be able to buy them in 3 or 4 weeks...I'll just have to pay $200 more for them.
APRIL 22, 2012 Update: THIS IS THE MOST EGREGIOUS SCAM TO DATE!! THIS SELLER SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF HERSELF!! She is now asking sellers to end active USED RG shirt listings, even those with bids, and sell them directly to her outside of ebay, which of course is against ebay policy. I guess she hoped it would be harder to track her this way. However, we know her pattern, so we figured it out in a matter of minutes. I contacted the seller of the USED Robert Graham Limited Edition White HARAY shirt on April 9th and asked her why the shirt was no longer available for sale. She admitted to me that she sold it to this dishonest seller, outside of ebay, and that it had already been mailed. I called ebay customer service immediately and explained the story in detail. I predicted that in 2 weeks, this rare USED Limited Edition RG White HARAY shirt would be for sale as NEW on our dishonest seller's main account. And guess what? Tonight she listed the USED Limited Edition White HARAY shirt, but as NEW. The shirt was originally advertised as "size Large but with with the size tag missing". And just as we knew would happen, when our dishonest seller listed it tonight, she mentioned in the listing that the shirt is a size Large Sample shirt but that "the size tag is missing". I just got off the phone with ebay Customer Service and Trust and Safety. This listing violates two ebay policies, and may be the final act of deception. By the way, she is asking almost $300 more than the original starting bid. So what does everyone think of this? She is asking sellers to end USED RG shirt auctions early, even those with bids, and then sell them as NEW for almost $300 more. Is this the type of seller we should support? Should this seller be allowed to continue taking advange of buyers on ebay by lying to them? Maybe it is finally time for an organized boycott. Will anyone join me?
APRIL 23, 2012 Update: What an interesting day! It seems our favorite scammer could not decide on the Item Condition of the shirt I described yesterday. First, the listing stated both "NEW WITH TAGS" and "NEW WITHOUT TAGS", with the pictures clearly showing a new shirt with tags. Then after another quick call to ebay customer service to report this, she changed the condition to "PRE-OWNED, PRISTINE CONDITION, ONLY WORN ONCE". Then a little bit later she changed it to "PRE-OWNED, PROFESSIONAL SAMPLE USED FOR PHOTOGRAPHY...MAY HAVE BEEN MODELED/WORN". So, which is it? NWT? NWOT? USED Worn Once? USED WORN AND MODELED? I called ebay again, thoroughly confused (not really...remember this shirt was purchased outside-of-ebay as a USED shirt), and they told me that there were several concerns with this listing, one being the fact that models wearing new shirts with tags were pictured in a USED shirt listing, a no-no according to ebay policy. Another concern was the constantly changing Item Condition. So you have to ask yourself, if a seller would go through all this trouble to try to deceive you about the condition of this shirt (with a starting bid of over $360), how trustworthy and honest is she? Should we support this type of behavior? And finally, if we hadn't called in to ebay to report this item, would she have listed it as USED?
APRIL 30, 2012 Update: It's been a very busy April for our "royal scammer". She bought 63 Robert Graham shirts on ebay this month alone! She used at least 2 accounts to do this, and in every case she outbid legitimate buyers in the last few seconds...nothing new here. With an average markup of $100 per shirt (and much more in some cases), she will make an easy $6300 on the resale of these RG shirts. Tonight she listed several RG shirts, and just looking at several of them, I noticed that deception is present in almost every listing. Don't believe her hype...it's just another one of her tactics to trick you.
MAY 20, 2012 Update: I'm sad to report this, but she is back to her original scam...selling Used RG shirts as New by adding spare tags. Just in the past few days she listed several shirts that fit this description. It's amazing how the Item Condition of a shirt improves (and the asking price skyrockets) after she adds a tag to it. I contacted one of the ebayers who sold her a Used RG AZORE 2XL shirt back in early April and provided the item number of that shirt now being sold as NEW WITH BLUE ROBERT GRAHAM TAG (code for a plain RG tag that was added...not the correct style tag). The seller saw the listing and wrote back to me "That is fraud! I bought that Robert Graham 2XL shirt Used at a Salvation Army thrift store for $3.00". So let me ask...how would you feel paying a NWT price for a RG shirt that only 2 months ago was for sale as Used at a Salvation Army? She obviously doesn't care how you feel...she only cares about deceiving you and making a nice profit at your expense. Don't worry...all of this was reported promptly to ebay Customer Service and Trust & Safety. Update: She later sold the RG AZORE 2XL shirt (that was bought used for $3 a Salvation Army Store) for $136 as NWT....just shameful.
June 10, 2012 Update: Her original scam...selling Used RG shirts as NWT...unfortunately continues. Just yesterday she listed some RG shirts as NWT that were bought USED from one of her other ebay accounts back in February and March. One she bought Used for $61, and now she is asking $199.99 as NWT for the starting bid. Similarly, another was bought Used for $60, and miraculously it is now NWT also with a starting bid of $199.99. This style came out in 2007, and cannot be found New in any "retail environment" (as the listing claims). We've known for 6 months that one of her buying accounts is registered in another name (and in another state). But just like clockwork, the USED RG shirts that are bought with this account show up as NWT on her main account a month or so later. This has all been reported to ebay Trust and Safety, including the item number pairs every time she makes another fraudulent listing. It's amazing the lengths she continues to go to just so that she can take advantage of innocent buyers for a profit. How many of you out there would enlist a friend or relative (and their ebay account) to hide what you were doing? It was easy to figure out, and we even used Facebook to confirm the connection once we found out the full name on the NY-based account.
July 1, 2012 Update: I thought I would list some of the Used RG styles she has bought using her multiple ebay accounts over just the last 3 months. Many of these have already been re-listed and sold for a much higher price...some as NWT that were bought Used. However, some of them are currently for sale or yet to be listed, so be warned if you see any of the following styles from this seller: CESAIRE White (L), BLUE VELVET (2XL), NAIPAUL (XLT), AZORE (2XL), EDEN ROC (L), ZIGGIE (L), HANA KA TO (M), MORRISON Black (2XL), LEONE (L), ISLEY (L), JOHANN (XL), CHELSEA (XL), CAYMAN (M), MATRIX (XL), THE BEST (4XL), AGAM (L), FOLSOM (2XL), CAYMAN (2XL), SHOGUN Blue (M), BECKETT Blue (XL), CHICK (3XL), CHELSEA (L), ELECTRIC CIRCUS (L), SIDE SHOW (2XL), NORTON (2XL), BENNY (L), TWIST (XL), GRETSCH (2XL), GOTH (XL), BIARRITZ (L), PRESTON (2XL), ROCKET MAN (XL), ENDLESS (M), LEONE (M), PRISM (XL), CONKLIN (2XL), CHANCE (XL), MASTERMIND (XL), SIR ROLAND (2XL), OLD MONEY (2XL), GUJARAT (L), MARSHALL (2XL), WILL (L), LYONS (2XL), FOLSOM (XL), LOVE CITY (2XL), LOVE CITY (M), YUKIO (L), SPIEGEL Blue (L/XL), DENOYER Blue (L), ENDLESS (M), BECKETT Blue (L), NYRO Blue (3XL), FUMIKO (3XLT), THOMPSON (L), BIG BAMBOO White (XL), SISTA (XL), BOBOLI (XL), AGAM (L), THE BEST (L), CORTEZ (3XL), YUKIO (2XL), LEONE (L), and MORI (XL). These styles were bought Used for very low prices...some for under $40. Again, this is just a partial list, but I wanted to let you know some of the specific styles and sizes.
October 9, 2012 Update: Big news! The tactics of this dishonest seller have reached all divisions of the Robert Graham Company! I spoke to my RG contact this week, and he mentioned that emails warning of this seller's ebay scams were sent out by RG Corporate in NY to all RG employees including reps, dealers, stores, and showrooms. She claims to be the "largest RG seller on ebay", but she is not endorsed by the RG company. In fact, they are considering whether some type of action may be necessary to protect the reputation of the brand.
November 4, 2012 Update: This brazen seller continues to list RG shirts dishonestly and with one goal in mind: to trick you into paying high prices so that she profits. For instance, just back on October 15th she bought a RG VERNET 2XL shirt for $84. Now just a few weeks later, she already has it listed for $395! By outbidding geniune buyers at the end of the auction, she now plans to make a profit of over $300. She claims "You might not see this style for sale again, ever!" However, it was just for sale on ebay and will be again...for much less than she's asking. The exaggeration, trickery, and lies continue, and she has absolutely no shame. The listing states this shirt was "recently in a retail environment", but it wasn't...it was bought on ebay just like the majority of RG shirts she has for sale. I still don't understand how this tactic gives the buyer "an exceptional purchase experience" as she claims. And there are many other examples...one bought for $36 on ebay is now for sale for $109. Another bought for $88 is now for sale for $145. And the MAURICE 2XL shirt she bought for $75 is now listed for $179.99.
Some good news...this Guide has now been viewed by 3700 ebayers! Little by little we are making a difference...making ebay safer. I receive many messages each week in support...and pledges never to buy from her again. Also, the Robert Graham company is getting more and more upset with her tactics and how it reflects on the brand. My RG contact is close with Mr. Stock, and although I can't mention any details here, I am aware that the RG company is considering options right now of how to deal with this seller and her scams.
December 1, 2012 Update: The scam artist bought at least 3 dozen RG shirts on ebay in November, most of them Used. Many of them are already listed for sale with pictures of models wearing New shirts...quite deceptive. She's already sold a few for high prices with absolutely no remorse. The 2 CHELSEA shirts she bought for $51 and $59.99 are now for sale for $127. The LAGODA XL she bought for $51 is now for sale for $129.95. And the MANN 3XL she bought for $68 is now for sale for $149.99. In addition, there were others like BLUE VELVET, RAWLS, HIGHWAY MAN, ABACO, and 2 LEONE's just to name a few. She keeps outbidding legitimate RG buyers, day after day, only to turn around and sell the exact same shirts for a lot more...not a very nice way to treat customers in my book.
January 1, 2013 Update: The RG scammer was quite busy in December, especially when you consider she was on vacation for half the month. She bought close to 50 RG shirts on ebay, most of them Used, including the ROYAL L, BETHEL 3XL, MATSUDA 3XL, BENNY L, THE BEST XL, RHYTHM XL, FOLSOM M, PETIFORD 3XL, P STEPHENS MC 3XL, HEWITT M, GAMA 3XL, BOPLICITY 3XL, TIDES L, MERENSTEIN L, HUDSON XL & 2XL, ZAREM 2XL, AUGUSTE 2XL, ALVAR XL, SAIKORO 2XL, SHOGUN L, MARSHALL M, SPANKIN L, TONIO M, POSH XL, and 2 SAMURAI 2XL's to name a few. She outbid me 3 times as well as countless others. Be on the lookout for these shirts, especially if she claims they came from a "retail environment". We know the truth...that they came from ebay, not a store...and that they are Used. Also, we highly suspect that she got a seller to remove at least 2 Used RG shirts (SIR ROLAND and HUDSON) to sell to her directly outside of ebay. This has been reported to ebay, and Trust and Safety is investigating.
February 12, 2013 Update: Another month, more scams. She bought over 40 (mostly used) RG shirts in January, and already some are popping up for resale as new with plain RG tags. The most outrageous listing this week is the Black HALLELUJAH in size Medium. She bought it on ebay on November 18th for $129.99. Now she has it listed for $363 and deceptively states it was "recently in a retail environment." This lie will net her at least $230, so I guess scams still pay on ebay. By the way, retail on this shirt was only $268. Why should you pay $100 above retail for a 3 year old shirt that was just for sale on ebay for a lot less? And concerning THE BEST size XL shirt currently listed for $399.99...it retailed for $298 and she bought it on ebay on December 18th for $107.50. It also did not come from a "retail environment". These continuing dishonest actions demonstrate that this RG scammer has no ethics. Is this the type of seller that should be allowed to sell on ebay?
February 18, 2013 Update: Here is another listing to avoid...the RG HEWITT in size Medium. The RG scammer bought it USED on ebay on December 13th for $154. Last night she listed it for sale for $363. This shirt only retailed for $298 when it was NEW. Now that it is USED she believes it is worth $363. Of course, all the pictures feature models wearing a NEW HEWITT shirt...just another way to deceive buyers. She claims that it is "impossible to get", but she bought it on ebay recently, and guess what...it will pop up again on ebay for much less in the near future. Beware of these tricks and lies. You deserve better than to be swindled like this.
February 23, 2013 Update: Avoid the SIR ROLAND in size 2XL she listed tonight for $299.99. She bought it Used 3 weeks ago for $71. It originally retailed in 2007 for only $188. Of course, models wearing a NEW Sir Roland shirt are pictured, breaking ebay policy on selling Used shirts. This Used shirt does not include the original cufflinks although she has them pictured in the listing.
February 27, 2013 Update: Please see my ABOUT ME page for updates on recent fraudulent listings including the RG LA TOUR (XL) and WHITE ROOM (Black Version) (XL). Also, the RG HEWITT size Medium (see Feb 18th Update) is back.
April 8, 2013 Update: The RG Scammer continues to buy 30-50 Used RG shirts each month on eBay in all sizes. Please see my ABOUT ME page for the latest info on which shirts to avoid. Also, she is making claims on her About Me page that are not true. She is no longer a Top-Rated Seller, and she does not offer the largest or most diverse selection of RG items on eBay. She is also not the largest seller of RG items on eBay as all of her listings state. In fact, most of her current RG shirt listings were bought on eBay, and she simply tries to flip them for a big profit.