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When you stare a fraud in the face


Televet
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Its fun to browse through beautiful fiddles hanging in a nice little Violin Shop. During an extended afternoon, during which my eleven-year-old played a dozen or so violins, rejecting them one by one as she shopped for her first full size, I came upon a violin being sold as the work of a well-known, living Luthier, but with a rather dubious looking label and a knock down price tag.

I sent the Luthier pictures of the instrument and he unequivocally stated that is his not his work. What should one do in this situation? Its one thing when the luthier is long dead, but altogether more outrageous when they are still trying to make a decent living from their craft?

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Good for you! :) Now that you've put it in their lap, I know what I'd like to see the luthier do.  [Checks her stocks of popcorn and Montepulciano d'Abruzzo]  :ph34r:

 

All joking aside, IMHO, pictures of known frauds need to circulate just like those of stolen instruments.  The existence of these things put the reputations of makers, the wallets of  buyers, and the efforts of violin scholars at risk simultaneously.

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Let us say for example that the maker's name on the label is Marcel Foiegras ...

If the shop owner says "This is a good Chinese violin with an irrelevant label, the price is $1000" then who can complain. If the shop owner says "I don't really know what it is, I'm not selling it as a Foiegras, the price is $2000" then walk away, never return, name the shop owner here and let him explain himself to the Maestronet kangaroo court!

A violin does not become worth more for having a fake label.

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Televet,

 

How do you define "knock down price tag?"  Do you mean it was priced suspiciously cheap for an authentic violin by the maker whose name was on the label, or that it was priced as if it WAS authentic?

 

You also didn't really discuss any conversations you had while the person was showing you the instruments.  Small dealers/shop owners often have limited expertise;  if they are honest, they are happy to be corrected.

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Its fun to browse through beautiful fiddles hanging in a nice little Violin Shop. During an extended afternoon, during which my eleven-year-old played a dozen or so violins, rejecting them one by one as she shopped for her first full size, I came upon a violin being sold as the work of a well-known, living Luthier, but with a rather dubious looking label and a knock down price tag.

I sent the Luthier pictures of the instrument and he unequivocally stated that is his not his work. What should one do in this situation? Its one thing when the luthier is long dead, but altogether more outrageous when they are still trying to make a decent living from their craft?

Things like this have come up here a few times before. In most cases, we've "persuaded" the seller to take some kind of corrective action, if we were told who the seller was.

 

This issue has come up for many contemporary makers, including myself. In one case, I contacted  Ebay and the seller, and the listing disappeared quickly. In another case, the shop switched the listing from "Burgess violin", to "Antique Burgess violin", which would at least suggest that I didn't make it.

 

I don't know what eventually happened to the fake violin below:

 

post-17328-0-85920200-1447786917_thumb.jpg

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If he's genuinely selling this instrument as made by… and if it's priced high enough is that prosecutable fraud?

 

At any rate, If he's still trying to sell the thing as genuine after finding out it might be fake, I think you should go on Yelp and leave that information AND report to the better business bureau. You were smart enough to walk away; someone less experienced might not be. 

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If he's genuinely selling this instrument as made by… and if it's priced high enough is that prosecutable fraud?

 

At any rate, If he's still trying to sell the thing as genuine after finding out it might be fake, I think you should go on Yelp and leave that information AND report to the better business bureau. You were smart enough to walk away; someone less experienced might not be. 

That might be a good way to get yourself sued!

 

I think that this is best left between the shop owner and the alleged maker. 

 

The basic trust of the shop/dealer has been damaged. Do you go back to the shop and mention what you now know to them and allow them to gain your trust, or are you done with them? This might just be a case of ignorance, not fraud.

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Its fun to browse through beautiful fiddles hanging in a nice little Violin Shop. During an extended afternoon, during which my eleven-year-old played a dozen or so violins, rejecting them one by one as she shopped for her first full size, I came upon a violin being sold as the work of a well-known, living Luthier, but with a rather dubious looking label and a knock down price tag.

I sent the Luthier pictures of the instrument and he unequivocally stated that is his not his work. What should one do in this situation? Its one thing when the luthier is long dead, but altogether more outrageous when they are still trying to make a decent living from their craft?

 

It is good that you have informed the luthier involved.

I guess that it's now up to the the luthier to decide what course of action is appropriate.

 

The outcome mentioned in Post #21 in the following thread may be of significance:

http://www.maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/331161-another-mislabelled-violin/

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Thank-you all for your advice. I am a novice in this world and did not feel qualified to challenge the shop without being sure of my ground. Will L, the violin was suspiciously cheap for its purported identity. I think in the current case I will see if Luthier and Shop work something out over the next few days and if they don't then I will loose the Dogs of War!

 

It is a small Violin Shop in a small town, and at least a proportion of the Violins are there on Consignment. I specifically don't know about this particular instrument, and I think there may be some limited knowledge, but then again, my knowledge is pretty limited and I can use Google to check out auction prices as well as the next man. I will keep you posted.

 

Thank-you for your advice one and all. It is much appreciated.

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"That might be a good way to get yourself sued!


think that this is best left between the shop owner and the alleged maker."


 


No, you can't get sued for contacting the BBB. Check state laws before leaving a yelp review if you're nervous, but it's not (generally) illegal to do that either. Leave an anonymous review if you feel you must.


 


If you pointed out potential fraud and the owner continues to pass of the fake as real, then at the very least, you should report to the BBB. This isn't best left between you and the owner. Again, you weren't fooled; please think about the next customer.

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