It's vital to be aware of fraud on Ebay if you are considering buying an old violin. This article is not meant to put you off buying via Ebay, but to give you a few tips to avoid falling victim to a fraudster.
1. Avoid sellers with poor quality photographs. It's easy to take clear, well lit photographs, so photos that are blurry, out of focus or dark can hide problems with the violin. Also, the seller should illustrate the quality and condition of the violins with lots of photo's. You want to see clear pictures of the front, back, sides, neck and scroll. You also want to see detailed close-ups of any repairs.
2. Avoid short descriptions. At the very least you need to know if there are any cracks, holes, rattles or repairs. You want all the dimensions, length of the body and total length, plus width and depth. The more dimensions the better.
3. Don't put your faith in labels. Most violins with famous and rare makers labels are copies. There are very few genuine instruments available, so you're unlikely to find one on Ebay. It's easy copy labels, CD's are available with facsimiles of old violin makers and there are plenty of books with illustrations of violin labels to copy.
Remember 99.9% of all violins with a famous or desirable makers label are fakes.
4. Ensure that the seller has a returns policy.
5. Never use money transfer to pay for a violin. Fraudsters usually require this method.
6. Always check feedback.
7. Ask questions before you buy. If you don't get an answer, don't buy.
7. Read Ebays advice on safe trading.
Buying an old violin - Fakes
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3 October 2007
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