The Better Business Bureau is warning people about buying Michael Jackson memorabilia online.
The number of memorabilia items being sold on eBay increased drastically the day after the pop icon died.
The BBB says the value of most memorabilia and commemorative items is sentimental, meaning the currently inflated prices will drop over time.
They say t-shirts, special edition newspapers, magazines, autographs, gloves, posters, newspapers and more, are being mass produced and sold to fans. The BBB says the value of these items is dependent on their rarity, so these mass-produced items are unlikely to appreciate in value.
BBB has the following suggestions:
Collectors should research the value of all before they make a purchase.
Confirming the authenticity of memorabilia is not easy. Autographs can be verified by a third party, but for other items, the collector should ask the seller questions such as how the seller came to own it. If the seller can’t answer simple questions, the collector should walk away.
Make purchases with a credit card
Purchase items with a credit card. If the seller’s merchandise turns out to be fraudulent, the consumer can dispute the charge with the credit card company and may be eligible for reimbursement.
Purchase items from a reputable seller:
When shopping online stores, collectors should look for the BBB seal on Web sites and click on the seal to confirm the company’s legitimacy. If there isn’t a BBB seal on the site, shoppers can check out the potential seller at www.bbb.org.
The BBB also urges online buyers to research the seller’s eBay track record by reading buyer reviews. When shopping on Craigslist, go local and never wire money as payment.
Final advice... Don’t be fooled by "limited edition" selling points.