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Autographs AmericaSelling Fake Signed Stuff

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I purchased a signed Van Halen guitar off Ebay in 2008 and after paying for the item Ebay alerted me that the item may be fake. I immediately put a stop to the payment and I tracked the company down who provided the Certificate Of Authenticity (copy attached) that came with the guitar. The company was Autographs America that operates out of Ravensdale. Their website is http://www.autographsamerica.com I contacted them with regards to the guitar and asked if they could shed light on the authenticity, etc. I emailed back and forth with a person named Brian Burns. Brian insisted that he obtained the autographs in person in 1983 and sent me a scan of a concert ticket stub. I asked him to please get a statutory declaration of his story signed by a public notary and that way if I ever sold the guitar, the person would not have to go through what I went through with regards to authenticity.

I received a promissory note with regards to the guitar and Brian Burns signature was witnessed by a Sky Benson. As far as I was concerned that was good enough and paid for the guitar.

I was surfing the web and came across a website that alerts people of internet scams and to my surprise Autographs America was on the list. The website is located here: http://allreaders.net/memorabiliascams/autographsamericacom.html

I contacted the owner of the website and told him my story. He promptly contacted me back and asked me to email a copy of the promissory note so he could also do some investigations of his own. He said he made contact with Sky Benson via email. Sky replied by saying that there is no Brian Burns; his real name is Brian Burkel. I contacted Sky Benson myself and asked if he witnessed the document signed by Brian Burns and he replied that he did . He seemed to have changed his story in the email sent to me.

After reading everything that has been put on the all readers site, I am convinced there is no Brian Burns. I contacted Autographs America and asked who Brian Burns is and they said he is the bald guy in the pictures on the website and to never contact them again. Quite honestly I dont believe them. Now I am left with a worthless signed guitar, as the one thing that guarantees its authenticity is infact fake.

I lodged a complaint with the FBI cyber crime unit. I have also lodged a complaint with Linda Mead who is Manager of the Notary Public Program in Washington State. I also lodged a complaint with the sheriff in King County who said they were unable to assist due to budget constraints.

I have also contacted PSA/DNA for their opinion of the guitar and they have said it is "Likely Not Genuine".

I am sure I am not the only one that has been ripped off by these people and the more I read the more I am amazed that nothing can be done to get rid off them. They are ripping thousands of dollars from people.

Responses

  • Fr
    Fraud Exposure Jul 02, 2009

    This company is about to be indicted by the FBI. Better start getting your money back from your credit card company before they freeze their assets.

    0 Votes
  • Fr
    Fraud Exposure Jul 02, 2009

    This company produces its own certificate of authenticity. Owner Brian Burkel alias is Michael Rigore and Brian Burns. He changed his name because of his coviction for drug dealing. He spent close to 8 years in prison. Now he sells fake memorabilia instead of drugs.

    Check out www.allreaders.net and /link removed/

    Contact FBI and notify them of your forged items.

    0 Votes
  • Ru
    Russ35 Jul 03, 2009

    Hi I bought two items end of last month.

    When I saw the scam thing I immediately tried to cancel payment from Paypal but it was too late funds went out of account.

    I rang the company customer service I was told it was an order line as it was Saturday my order could not be cancelled there!

    I have made a demand for refund via email and Paypal. Not one reply. They even have the cheek to just send me an email flyer adverising a better discount on more purchases!

    I have sent further emails requesting whether the item has already been sent out as they send out the next day They usually send tracking email according their website when the item is sent out the next day.

    I have received no email. The telephone call (really expensive as one was a mobile) set alarm bells ringing the chap was able to take orders but not cancel an order the day after delivery! I said it was a **** customer service. I told him that I had heard about the fakes. He said 'Havent you seen other companies had bad things said about them?'

    Avoid them at all costs. I should have waited as because I tried to get a refund I probably wont get my fakes or my moneyback.

    What can I do I what to join the case against them. I paid with deit card and Paypal funds so I cannot get a credit card refund? I an in UK

    I cannot asfford to lose this kind of money over £100

    0 Votes
  • Ch
    Cheryl C. Jul 03, 2009

    I Paid for 2 Signed guitars, paying over $4, 000. Once recieved the guitars, one of the signatures of the band members was dead at the time the guitar would have been signed. The signature all looked like the same persson signed the artist. The company owner Brian Burkel/Michael Rigore refused my complaint.

    This company is a SCAM...

    Contact Police Now!

    0 Votes
  • Ch
    Cheryl C. Jul 03, 2009

    Autographs America SELLS FAKE MEMORABILIA!

    DONT DO BUSINESS WITH AUTOGRAPHS AMERICA.

    AUTOGRAPHS AMERICA SCAMMERS AND FORGERS

    0 Votes
  • Us
    user213609 Aug 01, 2009

    Scammer ### that the authorities do nothing about...read my story: http://members.ozemail.com.au/~tekdesk/

    0 Votes
  • Ti
    Tim Gordon Mar 12, 2010
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I bought 3 Guitars from AutographsAmerica and it turns out that none of them are Real!! I contacted Brian Burns AKA Michael Rigore and told him about the Guitars being Forgeries!! Brian did give me a call back and asked me if I had seen his new Home, that he advertises on his Website..His response was that he sold legitimate Autographs and that was how he could Afford such a large, nice home!! When I asked him for a Refund on my 3 Guitars, his response was that he didn't get such a big new home by giving refunds!! I did some checking and found out that he is using people in China to Forge all of his Memorabilia..His Guitars come from a small place in China, yet when they reach the US, they are Signed or Autographed!! The FBI is onto his scheme and knows that he is using the Postal Service to facilitate funds for his criminal enterprise!! Stay away from AutographsAmerica, you will NOT receive anything from them except Forgeries, and they will NOT refund your money!! I to have filed a Complaint with the FBI and the Sheriffs Dept!!

    0 Votes
  • Mi
    MightyVinyl May 07, 2010

    This guy is a scammer and a pretty damn stupid one at that. He is (or was until he sees this) offering a "fully signed Pink Floyd concert poster" from the Division Bell tour. It's signed by Waters, Gilmour, Mason and Wright. Problem is Waters had acrimoniously split with the others 5 or more years before this tour, and would never sign any Floyd stuff from after he left the band.

    This ### also offers 2 signed drum heads again signed by Mason Waters Gilmour and Wright. Problem is that signed drum heads really are a modern invention, and authentic ones from the day (Waters left the band around 1984) are extremely rare and extremely valuable. There might be 2 or 3 in the world. This bozo has two of them on his site for $100 each.

    Working with feds to get him shut down, but the wheels of justice turn VERY slowly.

    Also notice that the picture of "him" in most of the celebrity photos is very badly photoshopped into the frame.

    0 Votes
  • Sl
    slk12 Jun 28, 2010
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    For the past couple months I have been keen on getting my hands on a Linkin Park signed guitar. I came across the Autographs America website with the hopes of owning one and for one reason or another, the time to purchase a guitar listed within their site (Fortunately) wasn't something I could commit to. Travelling back and forth from their website browsing for new additions or sell outs, I came to realize that the pictures on their homepage didn't look ...even. The shades, colour and positions of the owner or whoever he is, is very poor and is quite obvious the images have indeed been tampered with to create a sense of reality and authenticity for this business. Not to mention, how every week is the so called "last week" for their advertised 75% off sale. All I can say now after researching further and eventually finding this complaint page with regards to Autographs America, is THANK YOU Shane and everyone else responsible for the comments posted here, for bringing awareness to those of us who have visited with the interest and intent to purchase from autographsamerica.com. I hope others are as fortunate as I am in finding this page before they decide to unknowingly throw their money down the drain.

    0 Votes
  • Wh
    what to do do Aug 08, 2010
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    i purchased a john lennon guitar and you could smell the new ink and the guitar was brand new (cheep one ) you cant even play them wen its to good to be true it is and all the guitars are no name brands that means all the same person is doing selling them the thing is we know better

    0 Votes
  • Wh
    what to do do Aug 08, 2010
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    hopeless

    0 Votes
  • Mb
    MB78 Aug 24, 2010

    I'm saddened to hear all of your similar stories but most of you are exactly right. I've been looking for a rare piece of music memorabilia for 10 years now and thought it was strange that Autographs America had the item and several others for pennies compared to the real stuff. When a company/someone is selling rare, signed memorabilia for a fraction of the going rate (75-85% off), it should raise a red flag that it is most likely a scam. If you aren't sure of the authenticity of your item, you can always send it to/take it to a reputable agency like PSA/DNA and have them review it; for a substantial fee I'd guess but if you paid so much for the item, what's another $100 or whatever to confirm? I believe PSA/DNA agents travel around the country to various shows so you could even save the shipping and take it to them. Although, with some of the items so cheap, you probably couldn't buy the cheapest Chinese guitar here for much less - without the fake autographs. Best of luck to all and I hope you get your money returned and/or day in court to fight these SOB scammers!!!

    0 Votes
  • Tb
    tbear610 Oct 14, 2010

    I am sick to my stomach to find out that the autographed albums I purchased from Autograph America, that are hanging proudly in my media room are with great probability forgeries. I am so glad I read these comments and stories before a bought something else (which I was about to do). I hope the owners and anyone else associated with them get put away for a long, long, time.

    0 Votes
  • Br
    brad01 Nov 15, 2010

    It appears that the rip off is world wide. All I wanted was something signed by Ronnie James Dio and Bon Scott. It would seem that I still have nothing signed. The highway to hell album looked real until I pulled the sleave out and it had a back catologe of albums which included back in black. Last time I checked Brian Johnson was the singer on that album. It came out in 1980 sadly Bon had passed away before that came out. Sure it's about the money, but sometimes it's more than that. As for the Dio album who knows. All I know is there is an album on the web site called live evil. The album is signed by Ozzy Ozbourne when Dio was the singer on that album. Ozzy would never sign an album with the Dio line up. They could'nt stand each other.

    0 Votes
  • Jh
    jh79 Nov 23, 2010

    Why didn't I research this company first?! Should have known it was too good to be true. I have just purchased two items today only to read all of this. I have contacted my bank and they were unable to stop the payment however they have said that as soon as it shows up on my statement they can get the money back for me so I am just hoping that this will not be a problem and that it will all be sorted within the next few days. Anyone else who has made the same mistake as me and not researched first my suggestion would be to make the bank your first call. I don't understand how this company is still in business, why haven't they been stopped yet?!

    0 Votes
  • De
    demmo Dec 28, 2010

    Well I feel so fortunate that my Beatles and Hendrix autographed guitars are legit, over 6500.00 down the toilet.What I find most interesting is the legal authorities know what is going on and do nothing to stop it.
    I guess someone making over one million a year is just small change to them, put it down to live and learn.

    0 Votes
  • Sp
    Spike of Windsor Feb 12, 2011

    AS regards to people asking why dont the police move in and charge this guy, well you can only be convicted for selling forgeries if you KNOWINGLY do so. Well of course this [censor] of the earth Brian Burkel would never admit to that. The guy was bullied at school and bashed in jail and he will be severely bashed again and suffer chronic pain before his body leaves this earth.

    0 Votes
  • Lo
    loren serritella Mar 13, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I am really disgusted by this company. For Christmas this year I purchased 3 items.


    1) A Depeche Mode "Black Celebration" Lp, signed, for my boyfriend

    2) A Garbage signed 10 inch drumhead for myself

    3) A Tori Amos sign guitar with artwork, which is absolutely gorgeous by the way.


    ALL OF THESE ARE FAKE! I bought a Depeche Mode biography for my boyfriend for his birthday, which triggered my doubts. It was signed by the lead singer, and came with a SUPER COA. This thing was DNA tested, the whole nine yards. It looked nothing like what was purchased through Autographs America. So. I started comparing around, and have to believe the signed Lp is a total fake.


    I noticed on the website, the Tori Amos guitar is back. A different guitar, but the same Artwork by Tori. Odd. How many performers would do the same thing twice...and the signature is different. The one on my guitar is a good version, but fake. I had it verified through 2 seperate auto dealers. It also doesnt look like the CD she signed for me outside of David Letterman.


    The Garbage signed 10 inch drumhead was also back. Another duplicate. That one is fake as well. The only thing that matches are the "S" and the "M" for Shirley Manson. The rest of the signature is horrible.


    I have called them, sent an email...as well as sending the email to my attorney. My next step is to contact the police station where they are located.

    0 Votes
  • Lo
    loren serritella Mar 14, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I just spoke with Mr. Burkel on the phone, and he is a low life [censor]. Threatening me, he is a low life piece of [censor].

    I found his attorneys name and number, everyone who post's on this board should call and voice their complaints.

    The secretary commented that "He is in fact a client".

    Aric Bomsztyk Atty
    1422 Bellevue Avenue
    Seattle WA 98122

    Tel: [protected]

    0 Votes
  • Ed
    ed banky Jun 09, 2011

    Wow! I love the fake photos with the bands. Did a comedian cut and paste that ### for him? The Queensryche and Shinedown pics are exactly the same of him! Look at the little guy in the background over his shoulder. Was this a project for a third grade computer class? Godsmack - he's totally a different color that those guys! Dis he have jaundice at the time?

    Here's some others that he didn't post

    0 Votes
  • Sh
    Shane5971 Jul 02, 2011

    LOL- I live in Australia and there is a bloke over here trying to sell 4-5 autographed Bon Scott albums who is most likely a victim. Bon and all the other dead rock stars must be rolling in there graves.
    I haven't bought any of items of this maggot but I am surprised he has not photopasted one of his photo's onto the cover of the Sgt . Peppers album. Love the photo's...about as genuine as his crappy replica's.

    0 Votes
  • Ed
    ed banky Oct 17, 2011

    i think they're ok

    Comments

    0 Votes
  • Pe
    peacks Dec 03, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    can anyone help me in getting my money back? i didnt use a credit card and am devastated. im a student and can not afford to lose money this way. The sad thing is what i bought was a gift...

    0 Votes

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