Monetary transactions should be a no-brainer, right? Someone has something you want, you pay them money, and they will turn over ownership of the item to you in exchange. However, things aren’t always that simple. Sometimes, the proprietor runs into a shipping error or perhaps they oversold their stock. Then there are times in which it turns out the item you purchased was, in some way, a fake. I know I have, on occasion run into situations in which I have come across some less-than-scrupulous sellers.
EBay in particular was a source of three bogus purchases for me. I once attempted to purchase a copy of Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals back in 2011. The seller insisted it was in “Like New” condition. The reality couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only was the label severely damaged, the internal battery was dead and had to be replaced. Neither of these aspects were made clear; the seller didn’t provide a picture and yet he insisted it was pristine. The seller then refused to take back the item even after I told him it was defective, and eBay ended up ruling in his favor. Thankfully, I ended up getting the last laugh when I not only successfully replaced the battery, but also sold the cartridge for a higher price than what I purchased it for, which also covered the cost of the replacement battery.
The following year, I decided to see if I could get my hands on some Super Famicom cartridges. I learned of a trick that allows you to play them on a SNES console. All you have to do is remove two tabs from the inside of the console, and you can play a Japanese cartridge on it no problem. The first three games I ended up getting were Trials of Mana, Live A Live, and Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War (I later got Treasure of the Rudras after I mentioned Live A Live to GameStop clerk). A few months later, I wanted to see if I could get a copy of Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 as well. Released in 1999, which was three years after the release of the Nintendo 64, it is extremely rare cartridge, so I was ecstatic when I found a copy for about $40 from a seller in Thailand. Unfortunately, I quickly determined the cartridge was fake when A) it weighed more than a real Super Famicom cartridge and B) the text was rendered in English. Normally, one might think this is a good thing, but not only was the translation bad, the text didn’t display properly, rendering the goodwill moot. Unlike the above case, however, I was able to return it without a fuss – it wasn’t even that expensive.
As you all know, I’ve been reviewing the mainline Pokémon games along with spinoffs when I can. I realized ahead of time that I wanted to review the entire series, so I wanted to look into Pokémon Platinum. That way, I could play the generation I ended up skipping. By 2018, however, the cards became quite expensive, so when someone was selling them new on eBay for $30, I thought something was a bit off. A cursory glance online revealed that there were indeed people circulating counterfeit cards and how to spot the difference between a real one and a fake. Armed with that knowledge, I took a chance on the seller and made my purchase. Sure enough, using the guide I was given, I could easily spot the sham (specifically, the Nintendo logo’s font was incorrect). The seller must have realized that he had no leg to stand on, for I was allowed to return it. It was a bit expensive, but I did end up getting a real card, hence why I was able to review it a few months back.
Now, it may seem as though this is a pretty damning statement on the quality of eBay’s sellers, but in reality, I’ve gone through this process in brick-and-mortar stores as well. One time, I attempted to purchase a copy of Battlefield: Bad Company 2 for the PlayStation 3. When I got home, I realized I instead got a copy of the original Battlefield: Bad Company. The good news is that for all of GameStop’s many, many faults, they do have accountability when it comes to false purchases, and they fixed the error on return. The bad news is that Battlefield: Bad Company 2 has the dishonor of being one of the few games I ever quit despite making significant progress in it (hey, it’s not my fault the campaign was boring as all get-out).
This isn’t even limited to video games. One time, I ordered a copy of an album called Silent Shout by Swedish electronica outfit The Knife. The music store from which I purchased it goofed up and instead of ordering a copy of the actual album, they ordered a CD that had several remixes of the song “Silent Shout” that happened to be entitled Silent Shout. When I confronted the manager with this information, he abjectly refused to give me a full refund, though after a five-minute argument, he finally agreed to refund the amount of a used CD, which meant I was only out two dollars.
So now it’s your turn.
Have you ever purchased anything that turned out to be phony?