Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thai Amulets - Frauds, Fakes, and Overpricing

We had a look at eBay 2 nights ago, and now we're sorry we did. Ebay has become "amulet fraud central" from what we saw in just a short amount of time. Apparently someone can have more than 15,000 good feedbacks and be selling "pure gold" Buddha, Shiva, Kwan Yin, Ganesh, and other Thai amulets - for just $150 at a time.

First of all, the price of gold is so high ($1,600 per ounce) that the size of "pure gold" amulets this one seller is selling means he is losing his pants selling the amulets so cheap. Obviously the amulets are NOT pure gold. In fact, he is selling about 80% of the same amulets that we sell at our online shop. We never claim they are pure gold - that would be lunacy. The amulets are gold plated in some cases, painted gold in others. The cases we have are nearly all gold-plated, because pure gold cases are very soft and quickly turn bad with dings and scratches.

So, this was one find at eBay. Here's another...

Amulets that we sell for under $100 are being sold on eBay for $150 even up to $400 USD! Wild claims are made to justify the price, and buyers are paying these prices in some cases. Ebay allows anyone to see how many of an item have sold if there were multiple items available. In one case, an amulet that we sell for $29.95 sold 5 times for $99.95 plus shipping costs. No free necklace. No free gifts like we always give either...

Then we looked at the high-priced market... amulets over $1,000 USD. There are hundreds upon hundreds for sale from between $1,000 to $30,000 USD. Nearly all of these amulets are made of clay - and very easily faked. How hard do you think it would be to fake an amulet that was made a century ago? What about 8 centuries ago? Find the right materials and mold yourself an amulet - and say it is hundreds of years old and sell it for $18,000 USD on eBay.

It's really quite scary, because the market wouldn't be so big on EBay unless people were paying those ridiculous prices for junk.

Out of the 20 some ads we looked at on eBay for amulets, I'm guessing that 18 of them were absolutely false, misleading, and the amulets were not worth even a fraction of what was asked. There are many mislabeled Thai amulets - calling a bronze Ganesh in a gold plated case for instance - an "Emerald Buddha Amulet".

Come on, where are the validity checks at eBay. The entire site is just full of junk sellers looking to swindle Thai amulet buyers. It must be the same in many markets there - gems, pendants, gold things, anything of value really.

If you are considering buying amulets at eBay - please don't. Save your money and take a trip to Thailand and buy directly from the Buddhist temples - like we do, so you are 100% sure you are not being scammed.

Thais scam Thais and foreigners. Foreigners from New Jersey are selling what they call "authentic Thai amulets" and they have the names wrong on most of the amulets - they can't tell a Buddha from a Shiva from a Ganesh from a Luang Phor Tuad or Klai. It's scandalous. I hope you don't choose to buy anything from eBay in the Thai amulet market. It's too fraught with risk.

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