Supposedly “autographed” Roxette guitar just one more example of auction scams existing on eBay

Caveat Emptor. It's a latin phrase that should be stamped on every eBay auction page that involves the selling of an "autographed" item. It means "let the buyer beware."

  And it's definitely a phrase to keep in mind when dealing with Jeff Summers, a young man in North Hollywood, California, who along with his girlfriend Cathy Cuccia is in the business of selling autographed memorabilia on eBay – using the nickname of 99-1. "Roxette signed this acoustic guitar at Virgin Records in New York City," Summers wrote to describe a recent item he had put up for bid. "Wow! Look at the duo with the guitar at the actual signing. This was signed after the free show that they put on in the store. They played, "The Look" and "It Must Have Been Love" and a couple of others as well. It was great. If you are a big fan of this reclusive group, you would do well to win this awesome guitar. Good Luck!!"

  The problem is – as people who were at the event can attest – there was only one guitar signed there that evening, and that guitar belonged to RoxNorthAmeriFAN Alex Faraldo, who now has it hanging on the wall in his bedroom.

  Alex had gotten the idea of having Per and Marie sign an actual guitar shortly before the show. Borrowing the extra money he needed from another fan, he ran up a few blocks to a musical instrument store he had passed by on his way to Virgin Megastore in Times Square.

  The photo on the eBay auction site that was offered by Summers as "proof" that what he was selling was genuine, was actually a photo of Alex getting his guitar signed. Summers cropped Alex's head out of the picture, but still identifible is Alex's bag… from his job at Disney World.

  "I was very upset," remarked Alex in a telephone interview this evening. "I went through a lot to get my two guitars signed (he had another guitar – the one shown in the photo that accompanies this article – signed in Seattle) and Jen and I both were really disturbed by this."

  The Daily Roxette went "undercover" to investigate this auction, having been tipped off by an alarmed Alex that something was wrong.

  Using the handle "wtcguy" we bid on the item, knowing full well that – since it was a fraudulent item – we didn't have anything other than "play money" on the line.
  When the auction ended on October 11th, we had "won" the phantom guitar for $250 (and were later told he wanted an additional $35 for shipping).

  Despite being asked more than once, Summers never was able to provide the "buyer" with the brand name of the guitar, or a picture of it. "It's in storage" was his excuse for that. When questioned via e-mail by Alex's girlfriend Jen, Summer's reponse to her was "I got my guitar signed at the airport when they flew out, I got seven items done at that signing as well…I had my girlfriend there with me also."
  But when questioned over the telephone by this reporter, Summers switched up his story once again, and this time claimed the guitar had been signed just outside Roxette's hotel in New York. When presented with all these descrepencies, Summers finally admitted that he had lied. But rather than feel guilty or embarrased, he immediately tried to justify his actions (in this auction and apparently – by inference – other auctions) by saying "no one got hurt." Apparently, Summers believes that as long as someone gets an "autographed" item and believes it to be genuine, then that's all that's needed. Happy seller, happy buyer… a sort of "ignorance is bliss" situation.

  And the guitar? The one Summers had "autographed" by Per and Marie? In our opinion, it never existed. Summers was simply waiting to get the money… then he'd buy a guitar, forge the autographs, and send it out. As American circus impressario P.T. Barnum said, "there's a sucker born every minute."

EDITOR'S NOTE: TDR attempts to keep editorial opinion out of our news stories. There are, obviously, exceptions to that rule within this article. – LEO

This article was written for an earlier version of The Daily Roxette.
Technical errors may occur.

  ★ The author:
Lars-Erik Olson

  ★ Publishing date:

October 23rd, 2000

Internal reference code for TDR's Good Reporters: [tdr 111955]

This article was posted here on TDR in these categories:

Archive, TDR:Misc, vintage.

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