As an Authorized Dealer of Trollbeads I have a stake in stating the case of why not to buy your Trollbeads on Ebay. Obviously I want to protect the brand but my somewhat biased position does not overstate the fact there will always be scams by sellers offering "authentic" Trollbeads which are not Trollbeads. This is a buyer beware for the new collectors. I will repeat throughout while there are reputable sellers on Ebay but these are not the sellers I am referring to. If you have been following my blog or my posts on Trollbeads Gallery Forum you know where I stand. I offer up what information I receive for you (the collector) to take in and do what you want with. It seems I send these warnings out every couple of years to keep the newer of the dedicated collectors in the loop.
Forgive me my strong mindedness on this issue but I've been a dedicated dealer for a very long time, I have a strong connection to the Trollbeads company/family and to Trollbeads collectors around the world. For these reasons I feel it is my duty to warn collectors about counterfeit beads. Thousands of these beads have sold and continue to sell and with each bead sold there is one more chance that your collection can become less valuable. It doesn't even matter if you own a counterfeit bead or not. History has shown brands that are counterfeited are ultimately negatively affected. Why else do brands spend billions on long legal battles against counterfeiters? If you collect Trollbeads and you want to protect the future of your collection then it is your duty to stay away from these sellers.
I started a thread on Trollbeads Gallery Forum which brought out good points on both sides of the aisle because as mentioned there are reputable sellers on Ebay. It is always good to get a conversation started to share information and in this case you have me telling you the perils because I have seen first hand how bad the situation has been. With any brand once it gets to a certain level of desirability the counterfeiters are already pushing product off their conveyer belts. You need to keep in mind that the manufacturers in China are so adept at counterfeiting everything that nothing is sacred. Antique specialists at the Smithsonian are confounded at the degree of competence in copying everything from antique paintings, furniture and jewelry. If you think you can judge a Trollbead because it has a LAA hallmark forget about it. The stamp is easier to copy than the bead. But with that being said I know there are also sellers on Ebay who are serious collectors whose bead collections are evolving (as collections tend to) and this is their only outlet to sell. We need to keep this in mind too. So as you read the snippets of the thread keep in mind it boils down to three things.
1. Purchase from Authorised Trollbeads Dealers.
2. Purchase from known reputable collectors. (Takes research)
3. Just keep in mind one thing: Buyer Beware.
The following are excepts from our Forum thread and being shared here to help educate new buyers. I am pasting in the way the comments appeared and I've stayed as true to the thread as I could with my cutting and pasting abilities. I think I am supposed to mention something about the opinions below may not be those of this blog...or something like that. It may seem fragmented but just take the information as you want and as you will see we have sellers protecting their position in the light of my comments against fraudulent sellers.
I started the thread by posting the photo accompanying comment.
This is a chain someone ordered thinking they were ordering a real Trollbeads chain. It is NOT a Trollbeads chain. I received this photo through a dealer. They received it from a customer who asked them if this is an authentic Trollbeads chain, as even the collector knew something was wrong. I have to admit I never even thought the chains would be be copied. Not only are the beads being copied but the chains are too. Buyer beware.
Comment: Collector 1
Always good to be warned, there are some really ruthless people out there.......many thanks for this Louise xxx
Comment: Collector 2 (new to TB)
that is sad, but more common that we think that folks try to make money off other unsuspecting folks. What is the tip off that it is not real? The weight? I am fairly new to TB and I would have been fooled........You have to admit, a serpentine chain is a serpentine chain. They have been made for a long time. What makes it authentic TB? A hallmark or something else? Or is it not silver? curious I am......
(note to collector 2: The Trollbeads chain is a much different chain from the standard Foxtail from the strength to the weight and to its construction)
Answer: Collector 3
The Troll chains do have the LAA mark on the large ring end and I suspect that weight does also play a part in this item.........I know many who have recently bought from one particular eBay seller have said that the weight is not what it should be.
Sad fact but there are fakes about but it's forums like this that can help and make us all be more aware :-) xxx
Comment: Louise Rogers
I feel self serving when I say this but if you don't buy from an authorized dealer or from someone you personally know you're asking for trouble. Ebay has destroyed the validity of many brands and while this is one side of the Auction site...it is very valid to be careful. We all have too much invested in this lovely and historic family owned brand to want to see it hurt as all of us are hurt each time a fake Trollbead sells. There are collectors here on the Forum that sell on Ebay and you just need to know the good from the bad!!
Comment: Collector 4
I have to respectfully disagree. All authentic Trollbead foxtail necklaces & bracelets are NOT marked "LAA". I don't know why, but they are not. I have 4 Trollbead foxtail necklaces that I purchased from an authorized TB dealer and two are marked 925, but two do not have any hallmarks that I can see. I have posted some photos below. All these necklaces are authentic Trollbead necklaces. but yet none of them are marked "LAA". Two have the 925, but non have LAA.
In addition, I have purchased three Trollbead bracelets over the last few years from three different authorized local TB dealers and 2 are not marked "LAA". Only one is marked with the "LAA" hallmark, but all three are marked "925". So I guess what my point would be is that Trollbead's Headquarters has made it hard to tell what is real - and I guess what is not. As all of my necklaces and bracelets are authentic but yet they are not consistently marked.
I do think one must be careful where one purchases Trollbead items, but lets not put all eBay sellers in the "bad" category as fraudulent sellers. There are many eBay sellers that are honest and selling authentic items at a discount. But just because a foxtail bracelet or necklace is not hallmarked with "LAA" does not mean it is not an authentic Trollbead chain. As I have several chain that prove this. They are all authentic, yet not marked consistently. I think it could possibly have something to do with where or what year TB produced the chains. Some items could be at a dealers for years before you purchase it and therefore it could be marked differently than one that is produced today by Trollbeads.
Here are some photos of hallmarks (or lack of hallmarks) on bracelets and necklaces. All authentic Trollbeads, but each different.
The photos below are from Collector 4.
Comment: Louise Rogers
Great Photos Thank you.
Comment: Collector 4
Your welcome :) I love this forum and I think it is so incredibly great that it is here for all Trollbead collectors. It provides so much useful information - all in one place. This forum provides a great place to convey accurate information, warnings and general knowledge in all things Troll. So I for one am grateful that you have created this "place in space" where Trollbead collectors can come together and learn. And I can only image the amount of time it takes to keep it up and running! So I would like to say thanks for creating it :)
There are times when a hallmark means nothing as I have written about this in the past too. If they can fake the bead or the chain they can fake the hallmark! Just KNOW your seller!
Comment: Collector 4
I truly agree with that statement "know your seller". That is excellent advice! :)
Comment: Louise Rogers
The other issue to note here is Feedback rating system. I knowingly bought fake Trollbeads once just to see them and when they came in I contacted the dealer and told them I knew they were fake and...shock of all shocks (and I mean this) I was told I didn't have to return them but if I gave him positive feedback he would refund my payment! So how many people do you think say no to that? So you know how cheap he gets them for if he can just throw them away!! So he had a perfect rating but now we know why. I worked with Trollbeads on this (a few years back) and they took him down but I am sure he was up again under a new name.
Comment: Collector 4
That is crazy! And this is what gives ebay a bad name. This is what infuriates me over sellers like this!! Hopefully that person is long gone. Or so we hope so. In other words, I hope they have not popped up back on ebay under a different name and playing the same dishonest game. As I know that some sellers do that.
In this case, the seller was using "feedback extortion" to get you to leave positive feedback for him. This is against all Ebay rules and is grounds for being suspended from selling on Ebay. Which is what Ebay did in the end to this person. Thankfully!
The feedback system does work better now, as opposed to a few years ago. And that is because buyers do have the upper hand over the sellers. Which (as a seller) I do not think is truly fair, but I can understand the need for it due to some dishonest sellers. And that is that buyers can leave negative feedback for sellers, but sellers cannot leave negative feedback for buyers. This has allowed buyers to leave TRUE feedback for sellers without buyers being afraid of sellers leaving retaliatory negative feedback for them. So now buyers are not afraid to leave truthful and negative feedback for sellers - if they have a problem with the item that they purchased.
But when other buyers agree to such behavior (buyer leaves positive feedback and then he will get a refund) as you have mentioned from this dishonest seller, the buyer is doing a very BAD disservice to Ebay's feedback system. The buyer is lying and not providing an honest opinion of the transaction. What the buyer should do is leave negative feedback to WARN all other buyers to stay away from purchasing from this buyer. That is how the feedback system was essentially setup to work. It is a system to warn people of transactions that have problems. Unfortunately, sometimes it doesn't work the way it was designed to. But nothing is perfect and foolproof.
Comment: Collector 5
I very rarely buy beads on eBay for all the reasons mentioned, but, when I am interested in something on there, I ask other collectors if they are familiar with the seller, look to see if the seller accepts returns (right or wrong, I feel that if they don't, then they don't really stand behind their listing and I find that suspicious), and lastly, ask the seller if they are a member on any of the on-line fora out there. If they are, then I open a dialogue with them on that forum to ensure that they really are who they say they are. I do not ask them to complete the sale outside of eBay, it is more of a way to verify their identity and trustworthiness. This is not necessarily foolproof, because I have heard of sales going bad and even the other forum moderators could not resolve the issues BUT the seller's reputation was damaged. I do have a list of collectors who sell on eBay and I would not hesitate to purchase from them!
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