August 14, 2019
The original title of this was supposed to be “Bootleg Beware” … but I think this actual title fits appropriately.
I thought the time came to confront this head on. I’m talking about BOOTLEGS. Da-da-daaaahhhh!
For newcomers, and some people who don’t know, the word BOOTLEG means manufacturing and selling cheaply made copies of an original thing (i.e. dolls, figurines, props, cosplays, etc.) to make a quick buck. These copies almost always contain figure malformations, wrong or missing accessories, wrong or missing stands, incorrect paint jobs, and in some cases, the wrong item in the packaging all together….or even no item in the packaging at all.
Side note: A lot of resin figures in the garage kit crafting communities are labeled “bootlegs,” but since a lot of the original resin kits are over $1,000 per original unpainted figure, I think the bootleg versions are sometimes worth it. In fact, there are some resin figures that are only sold through bootleg recast websites, because the original figure isn’t created (like a resin figure made from an artist’s picture).
BOOTLEGS have gained an unsavory reputation due to many, many people claiming they’re “ugly,” “cheap,” or for whatever reason. Sometimes, this is the case, but in the prop making, resin figures, and crafting communities, this is mostly prejudged notions…since, ya know, there’s no way I’d buy a $900 wand for my cosplay, bring it with me to anywhere, and let it get damaged, lost, or stolen. In this case, a hand crafted copy of something for $80 that accidentally gets broken in 3 pieces is better than the wand you spent $900 on.
Anyway, BOOTLEGS of popular and unpopular merchandise have been bought and sold since the internet began. It became widespread and known on the Ebay website. At least back then, sellers had the decency to tell buyers that the thing they sold was a bootleg. More importantly, buyers had the brains to ask if the thing they bought was legitimate or bootleg before buying it. Like, that was a legit thing buyers did! They asked questions! People used their brains instead of pointing fingers and pushing blame. MIND BLOWING, RIGHT?!! Few problems occurred back tgen for sellers, because buyers knew what they were getting. And few problems occurred for buyers, because they didn’t go into any transaction ignorant or blind.
Nowadays, it’s typical knowledge to DO YOUR RESEARCH before buying something that’s $10 when, everywhere else online, the thing is being sold for $90. As long as I’ve been collecting merchandise, it has not been considered rude to ask the seller if anything is bootleg or legitimate. When a buyer asks if something is legitimate or bootleg, the seller should answer honestly. Though…some sellers aren’t honest. [Like that girl who sold me a bootleg item from 2010….but that’s a blog post for another day.)
I’ve grown a brain after the first year of collecting. I figured out if something was legitimate or bootleg by researching it, and as a seller, I kind of expect my buyers to have brains. Most people just assume that if it’s for sale, it’s not a bootleg. What?! Always, ALWAYS ask the seller if what your buying is a legitimate item or a bootleg knockoff! I know of several people, someone I even dealt with this week, who sold me something that was a bootleg, but they tried to pass it off as legitimate. I confronted the seller with “I will pay for this, BUT I demanded that they explain to me why they tried to sell me a bootleg item worth no more that $10 and they try to sell it to me for $50”. I also sent them the evidence of my findings: the legitimate item photographs next to their item with links to bootleg copies, and information I found. (The item I was interested in had the incorrect color paint, the item’s stand was the wrong design and wrong color, and I sent a link to the seller of an ebay listing with a photo had the seller’s item was on to prove my research even further.) As a buyer, I asked questions! I got blocked, obviously, but it goes to show that you can’t trust every seller [or buyer] willy nilly just because you want something shiny or “cool” you see online.
As a seller, I’ve only been rude to a customer twice in the decade I’ve been selling. TWO TIMES! The first time was when I sold something to someone, it arrived, and she attempted to file a refund for a scam and unshipped item. I, obviously informed her that I knew she had a long history of trashing previous buyers online, and I replied that I truly didn’t want to sell to her. She was the world’s worst human. NOT the world’s worst buyer. She was the world’s worst human! I also informed her that Hitler was nicer than she was, and trust me, if anyone has ever been deemed worse than the notorious murderer Hitler, that person is truly a horrible person, not just a bad buyer. I have piles upon piles of positive feedback to prove my good customer service, too, so I have experienced both the good customers and the psychotic-crazy-stalker customers. The second incident was quite recently when a customer bought an item that was never sold under $50 for my listed price of $10. The sale post even said [ Bootleg ] right on it. Even a half-blind monkey could see the giant word. When the customer got the item, she got beyond pissed. First, because the item I sold her was a bootleg, because…ya know…my sale post even said it was, and second, because she made the mistake of buying an item that’s usually $50 for $10. A 90% price drop on anything is almost never a good sign! Obviously, I got blamed for the customer’s inconvenience and bashed for selling something I marked as bootleg as authentic. So the customer claims I lied, but I’ve been posting and reposting the original sale post that clearly states [ Bootleg ] on it. I don’t think taking credit for someone else’s stupidity is right. Even when I started collecting in 2009, I read every single item description of anything I wanted to buy. I was definitely a noob back then. As in, if the item had my favorite show’s logo on it, I bought it, bootlegs or legitimate. Obviously, even I knew some of that stuff was bootleg, but I never trashed the sellers for my choices to buy bootleg. I’ll never be dumb. It’s always the customer’s choice, not the seller’s choice, to buy anything. Frankly, as a customer, if, or when, you trash and “expose” a seller as “selling bootleg items” when it’s your own incompetence for not reading the item description, it’s not any seller’s fault. It’s your own. Truth is, you’re simply a dumb buyer making a dumb choice, especially if the item is listed as [ Bootleg ] and you buy it anyway on the “hope” that it’s legit. Trust me, in over 10 years of buying and selling, no seller has ever sold a legitimately licensed….anything…that’s worth $50+ for only $10.
I kind of got off topic there. Anyway, the best way to tell if something is legitimate or bootleg is the PRICE. I’ll keep repeating myself: DO YOUR RESEARCH before buying something. ALWAYS DO YOUR RESEARCH. If you don’t know what you’re buying and you just buy stuff left and right based on pictures without reading any item descriptions, your choices are on YOU. The fault is on YOU. Not the seller.
I can’t tell you how many times someone has bought something from me thanking me for the $10 or $5 merchandise, receiving the stuff they bought for cheap, and then getting mad AT ME after they didn’t ask if it was legitimate or bootleg…and it’s even worse, blaming me for their choice to buy a bootleg without reading the description that even has [ Bootleg ] in the item description. Like, um…hello…? An item that’s normally $60 is being sold for $10 or $5! – That should’ve been the first red flag! Was there a brain in there somewhere when you bought it? Was the photographs and a live video not enough evidence it was bootleg?
The bottom line how to tell if something is legitimate or bootleg is:
- The most important thing: do research on the things you’re buying. Look up photos and live videos of the item you’re buying BEFORE you buy it. Don’t just be ignorant. Buying something without know what you’re getting is just…dare I say…stupid.
- Ask the seller if the item is legitimate or bootleg! Always! It’s not wrong or rude to ask questions. (Sellers ask me questions about the merchandise I have for sale all the time, even if they don’t buy anything.)
- Question the price tag on the item(s)!! 99.9% of sellers will never sell something that’s worth $100 for $10! It’s not wrong or illegal to ask the seller why the item is so cheap. Again, it’s not rude to ask questions.
The last thing I needed add is directed at buyers, since I have over a decade of buying online experience. I actually learned this truth in the first 2 months of buying things online. DON’T harass the seller and DON’T blame the seller for your own ignorance.
Harassing the seller, spamming the seller, and/or trolling the seller’s previous customers ensures you will never get to buy the things you want. Most seller hate drama and negativity. You will more than likely be banhammered and blocked online for trolling a seller. Harassing a seller is actually rude, immature, and stupid. As a buyer and a seller myself, sellers are not obligated to sell anyone anything. As a seller, we can, and will, refund your money and ghost you if or when you harass us. Why? Because kindness goes a lot further than harassing meanness. And! There’s always someone else who is willing to be kind enough to buy from us and not make us deal with drama.
Also To: Buyers
It is not anyone else’s fault but your own if you buy a bootleg item thinking it’s legit. There are thousands, if not millions, of online websites, videos, posts and information you can look up. There are collector and buyer websites that show the exact description information, correct colors, exact item measurements, legitimate photos from other people who own the item you want to buy, and there are even websites dedicated to posting photos with information about any bootleg versions. You just have to look it up. Sellers won’t hold your hand.
An example of hand holding: In 2017, I had to hold someone’s hand, virtually, and guide them through link after link, message after message, on whether or not what they were buying was a legitimate item or a bootleg. If I’m willing to do that for a buyer back then, I will do it now. It’s not bad to ask for information or for help. But buying something out of a rush and then blaming the seller for your own purchase is both ignorant and wrong on so many levels.
In a decade, I’ve never sold anything bootleg, but marked it as legitimate. I have, however, been blamed for successfully shipping a bootleg to a buyer and then getting blamed for selling them a bootleg when they didn’t bother to ask if it was a bootleg version or a legitimate item. It was even more pathetic when the buyer didn’t read the item’s description that listed the item as [ Bootleg ]. Trust me, if it was the real, legitimate item, it would have been sold as $40 to $90 since that’s what the legitimate items sell for everywhere else. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that a $10 item with a weird-looking paint job isn’t legitimate when the pristine, official item that’s painted correctly sells for $40 minimum. Even as a noob buyer in 2009, I knew this logic.
Thank you for reading this blog. I hope you found it informative. If you’d like more information on what’s bootleg and what’s not, send me a private message or email me.
I do not reply to Sailor Moon related emails or private messages on my Tracy social media account or email. If you need to contact me in regards to selling, buying, anime, and/or manga topics, please get a hold of me through my personal account and my personal email. All private messages and emails to my author information regarding non-author and book related things will be blocked. I like to keep my book obsession and anime/nerd obsession separate. I’ve had to block several people contacting me through my author information for asking about anything related to Sailor Moon and anime. Thank you for understanding that my loves for anime and Sailor Moon and books aren’t the same things.
For author and book related inquiries, contact my Tracy Millosovich social media account, my Tracy Millosovich author page, or email me at AuthorTracyMillosovich@outlook.com
For anime and Sailor Moon related emails, please email me at ChongMoonie@gmail.com
DO NOT send emails to my Tracy Millosovich email or my personal email demanding I speak to you. I will block you. All other “personal information” listed for me by bullies harassing me is either fake information to troll me, or inaccurate information found online.
Update September 28, 2019
I already mentioned this, but I want to make absolutely sure that all you people who read this blog post realize something. No matter how mant time blame is shifted or how many people point fingers, the fact of the matter is, t’s not the seller’s fault for a buyer’s incompetence for buying a BOOTLEG of something. Especially if that item was marked BOOTLEG and the buyer buys the item or items anyway. It’s like going to a car dealership, seeing a $70,000 car selling at $40,000 and buying the vehicle, signing the papers, and wzlking away with the car keys. And then an hour or a day later, getting pissed off at the sales person for your own purchase. No, customers are not always right/correct. Sometimes they make dumb choices, and hasty decisions.
HASTE MAKES WASTE. This should be tattooed on the buyers who make quick decisions without knowing what they bought, because they were too much in a hurry to buy something. I mean, again, if something that’s normally sold everywhere at $50 to $100 is being sold for $10, don’t be a dumb idiot and assume it’s a “Great Price!” It’s not any seller’s fault for publicizing that something they’re selling is bootleg, and a dumb buyer buys the item (that obviously has a bad paint job and was marked as BOOTLEG in big, bold letters) is authentic just because of the pretty pictures.