Buying Authentic Soccer Jerseys on eBay

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As a seller of authentic Soccer gear here on eBay, I am writing this guide to help buyers (especially new members looking for unrealistic bargains) to identify small glitches in products that separate the cheap, almost worthless fakes from the genuine and authentic items that carry their value for the entire lifespan of the product. It is quite long, but I'm sure every single buyer questioning authenticity of products will find it useful. Hopefully it also can be of help in clearing eBay of scammers, as it will be exposing nearly every trick they use to con innocent buyers who are just after a bargain!

Now, Before listing distinguishable differences I would like to list the reasons that you should NEVER purchase a jersey you suspect to be a fake:

1. Jerseys that are not officially licensed are sold ILLEGALLY and are WORTHLESS! Sure you may have picked up a great new Manchester United Jersey for $40, including postage on a Buy It Now option, but it's production cost is actually only around $4 or less per item. Practically worthless and an enormous rip-off!
2. Sellers of these fake items multiply their importing costs in profit by up to 10 times what they paid! Its criminal in every sense of the word!
3. Your money is going to the guy working in an Asian sweatshop on a few cents/hour, and to the average Joe Blow down the road looking for quick (but also cheap and dirty) dollars!
Money from authentic purchases supports your favourite club, the players, the big brands (although they may seem like the enemy at times, if Nike and Adidas sell at a higher volume, your next purchase from them may be cheaper), and the honest business person genuinely trying to supply quality products.
4. Fake jerseys on first inspection may seem good quality, but may only last a couple of washes until things start going bad - stitching coming apart (also bad stitching jobs), logos and emblems falling off, patches cracking etc. Your $40 has now been an utter waste of  your time and money!

Now I will list as many points I can think of that should set alarm bells ringing!

Firstly, #1 - Price: For any jersey that comes plain on the back with no extra sleeve patches, anything under $40 (or $45 including free shipping) is nearly guaranteed to be counterfeit!
I have done a lot of research on jerseys in my time of being a collector/seller. The absolute cheapest a new season (12/13) singular plain authentic jersey can be imported into Australia right now for is around $55-60 (unless there's a sale)
For jerseys with sleeve patches and/or printing on the back, don't buy anything new cheaper than about $65-$70. They're most likely fake too. Genuine Printing costs around $20+ per name/number set and sleeve patches cost around $15+ per pair (also unless there's a sale)

#2 - Listings: There's a few things to look for in sellers listings.
Pictures: Do they have their own pictures, or just a manufacturers image? You want to be able to see what you're actually buying, not just a computer image!
Feedback: Any neutral or negative feedback (even if there's only 1 compared to 100 Positives) should be treated with caution. Most buyers leave their positive feedback as soon as their item arrives. They dont worry about inspections and only find their problem after a few washes, possibly weeks down the track. By then its too late to do anything about it and its basically money down the drain!
A single neutral or negative feedback complaining of anything fake that has no seller response should be seen as someone selling counterfeit products. Avoid these people at all costs!
Check the number of feedback. If it's low and they're claming to be selling genuine, ask them any questions you like to test them out! Newer members either avoid or try to talk around the harder questions, PRESS THEM AS FAR AS YOU CAN!

#3 - Sizings: Many sellers with counterfeit products, both in Australia and overseas, only stock products in either Mens M or Mens XL. If you notice this, stay away at all costs!

#4 - Wholesale Items, Listings including 'free' items (shorts, socks etc), Poor grammar in Listings: When it comes to 'Wholesale' in terms of Soccer gear, don't bother. Its generally very poor quality and fake!
Authentic shorts aren't cheap! The real deal can cost anywhere between $30 and $60 per pair! A listing at a low price with 'FREE SHORTS INCLUDED' Is a dead giveaway. Authentic socks will cost you at least $15 or more, so if they're passing them off as 'free', don't go there
If a listing has poor grammar or seems confusing, don't trust it.Also if a seller expects you to wait 2-3 weeks for an item listed on Ebay AUS to arrive, it may well be coming from a counterfeit warehouse somewhere overseas.
Also some sellers will refuse to use the words NIKE, ADIDAS, UMBRO etc in their listings. If there is no brand listed, don't trust it

#5- Actual Item: If you are satisfied with a sellers listings, communications and photos, but still may be unsure after purchase, as soon as it arrives examine the jersey closely!
If you're new to purchasing jerseys and want to check the quality, please ensure you can have access to a genuine jersey which you can use as a comparison. Maybe try your local sports store and check the following things out for yourself:

When an item first arrives, check the quality of the bag (if there is one). If it's genuine there should be a brand logo on it for Adidas and a sticker with a coloured trim (colour depends on size. There's Yellow, Red, Blue and Green) for Nike. Writing on bag should be spelt correctly. Any typos and you've got a fake.

If that's fine, next check the following on the actual shirt:
Is there a paper layer covering the entire inner side of any of the sewn on parts of the jersey (club crest, brand logo, 'dri-fit' writing on bottom front of Nike Jerseys)? If yes to any or all.. it's Counterfeit!

If no paper layer, does the stitching on the outer edge of the inside of the logo and the club crest look clean and neat? If not, and/or if theres traces of paper left on the inside of the club logo, you have got a counterfeit

If you have a Nike Shirt from seasons 2010 to 2012  from one of the top clubs in the world, on the inside of the club crest there should be some kind of motto printed. e.g Man United's says 'RELENTLESS', Barcelona's says 'TOTS UNITS FEM FORCA', Arsenals says 'VICTORIA CONCORDIA CRESCIT'.
If this is missing, or the printing is dodgy (not straight, looks like it will easily come off) the shirt is fake!

Nike jerseys seem to be easier to spot counterfeits than Adidas. The next thing to check will give you a VERY clear indication of a counterfeit.
The AUTHENTIC Tag at the bottom right of a Nike Jersey.
First of all, the silver strip Must not be stitched at all. It must have a foil-like strip with clear printing that includes several of the Nike 'Swoosh' and the writing 'to every footballer in the world' This is hard to see and must be closely examined. Its often the best way to spot a fake.
The foil strip should look immaculate and not go any further than the stitching border on the inside of the authentic tag. Also inside the border should be written 'designed to the exact specifications of championship athletes'. If foil strip or the writing goes outside the stitching border, the stitching of the border isnt straight, or any of the words in the phrase are misspelt, then its a counterfeit item.

Adidas jersey counterfeits can be spotted by examining the circular Adidas patch on the bottom left of any shirt. It has a yellow trim for 10/11 jerseys, a black trim for 11/12 jerseys. If the plastic layer protecting the actual logo is at all bubbled, or appears to be rising, it is counterfeit

Other indicators of fakes can include:
Shirts that fit your size tightly around the shoulders but loose around the chest or much too big in length.
brand logos or club crests screen printed onto jerseys rather than stitched or raised plastic material

Brand Tags - these are easily copyable by the fraudsters. Tags on Authentic Nike jerseys include an 'exclusive product' tag including team crest. Also a plain black tag with a white swoosh, which also includes the other pages of tags on the inside. These two tags should be separate from each other and joined by two different plastic pieces. If all these tags don't exist, there's misspelling, writing or logos not properly centred or fading of tags, you have a counterfeit.
Adidas fraudsters are good with their tags, but they have one major downfall. On authentic jerseys on the back of the tag there is a space which shows the season the jersey is used in, i.e 2010-2012 for Liverpool, and also adidas product codes and terms. Fake tags are plain black on the back.

The above points are what you need to look for when trying to pick a genuine jersey from a cheap and nasty counterfeit. If you have done all the following and are still unsure, please take the jersey in to your local sports store or Nike/Adidas store for examination. They can give you any answers you may need and can show you exactly what you are looking at by comparing to a similar or same product in store.
However, I'm hoping this guide will help people to be more aware of counterfeits on their own, and help them to become a bit more knowledgeable about the kinds of products that are out there before they rush into a quick purchase and then run into trouble down the track

Counterfeitting has serious implications for the Brand companies, the Clubs themselves, the people doing business legitimately (such as myself) and for buyers.
In the end, every single counterfeitter will be caught, no matter how small or large scale, and the penalties involved are ENORMOUS!
DO NOT SUPPORT THEM no matter how good they say their product is or how cheap you can get their items. If you suspect anything please report the item/seller to eBay and they will be dealt with quickly and efficiently.

Thankyou for taking the time to read this guide, as long as it may be. I hope you have gained some knowledge from it, and it helps in decreasing and even eradicating fraudsters on eBay.
If you would like to see what items I am offering for sale please visit my ever-growing store here: http://stores.ebay.com.au/timmyssoccershack

Thanks, Tim

PS. A MESSAGE TO ANYBODY SELLING COUNTERFEIT PRODUCTS: No matter if you are doing it deliberately or just naively (check your stock if unsure): eBay have undercover buyers from the Brand companies who will purchase your items for examination and then leave positive feedback. While you continue selling they will go through procedures required, and next thing you know out of nowhere you'll receive a letter in the mail with a large fine and threatening more legal proceedings if you dont agree within a very short timeframe. Bottom Line - DON'T SELL FAKE, RUBBISH SOCCER GEAR! It won't be worth it to you at all..










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