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  1. YG_Rulz

    YG_Rulz Jul 31, 2023

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    Putting this out there for everyone's benefit. Bit of a long story, so if you're bored, go straight to the end

    A quick summary first:
    Watch in discussion: Monaco Cal.11 CAW211P 2023 manufactured
    Price quoted: £4,000 (buy now price, open for offers)
    Portal: eBay
    Seller: beauty_business (established in 2013, 98.3% positive feedback from 1000+ persons)
    Assurances (from eBay): eBay Authenticity Guarantee, seller accepts returns and refunds.
    Assurances (Personal level): Paypal purchase protection, American Express purchase insurance
    Confidence in online purchase: High - thorough knowledge of what the Monaco should look like and the online authentication check, especially for a modern watch

    My first concern about the ad was that it said "Tag Heuer Monaco Chronograph CW 2113 Blue Steve McQueen Box&Papers 2023".

    During the transactional period, I was messaging the seller for over 8-10 days as the seller was not prompt in replying. I had asked the seller for a photo of the serial no. or the warranty code to check the online authenticity and the reply back was that it couldn't be sent to avoid potential clones being made in the future - I've heard this before and seems like a reasonable comment. I did receive a photo of the case back with masked serial number. The caseback was perfect with the numbers on the serial number visible (not the letters). This also confirmed that the watch was really the Cal.11 CAW211P, and not the CW2113 as advertised. This would have been important in case a CW2113 was sent and eBay challenged that it was in line with the ad description.

    The final transaction of £3,600 was carried out through my Amex linked to Paypal. The watch was meant to go to the authenticator and then come to me. The Royal Mail tracking details that were uploaded were not valid and after enquiring, the seller had "forgotten" to dispatch the watch. This was already 7 days after the watch had supposedly been dispatched. The watch was then sent the next day, arrived at the authenticator on Day 2, dispatched from authenticator on Day 3 and it was in my hand on Day 4.

    The watch itself and the contents of the watch box were perfect, which also included the hang tag. Upon taking out the watch, a few cautionary flags started coming up:
    Amber flag: The serial number was different from the photo that was sent to me. Honestly that was fine till I got the watch.
    Red flag: Upon checking the serial number and the warranty code on TH-WAS, no result came up. Upon attempting to register the watch on TH website, the serial number was not getting recognised.

    I quickly ran a Watch Register check and nothing alarming came up. The next day I took it to my local AD, who also confirmed that the watch was original, but the warranty might not have been activated from the original boutique's / AD's side, due to which it was not coming up. I was assured that since the hang tag had "03/2023" on it, the standard 2-year warranty will be considered till 2025 at least.

    I still wasn't convinced, so I called up LVMH. The first reaction from them was the same as what I got back from my AD - that the warranty might not have been activated by the original seller and that they cannot do it over the phone.

    Upon probing further came the heart sinking words - "Sir, the watch is stolen". It seemed that a few watches were purchased online through TH website using a fraudulent Apple Pay account. By the time TAG Heuer realised this, the watches had already been delivered to one of those shell company addresses. TAG Heuer could not retrieve the watches so they did the next best thing of deactivating and flagging the serial number.

    Thankfully I had all my Monacos registered on TH website against my account, so once I gave that information to the LVMH representative on the phone, it was clear that I was a genuine collector who also got stuck with this hot potato. The TH / LVMH representative on the phone was very clear and understanding on the way ahead. Their first reaction was "Sir, the watch is genuine and you can keep it if you want. But it does not have a warranty and if you ever send it back to us for any issues, we will seize it." I really didn't want to be associated with a stolen watch and ruin my relationship with TAG Heuer, so I decided to send the watch back for a refund. I asked TH/LVMH to send me an email confirming the stolen watch information in case eBay asked me for it. The only thing that TH/LVMH asked me for were some photos, eBay transaction details and the details of the eBay seller which were sent to them. There was also a verbal agreement with TH/LVMH to not carry out any actions from their side till I got a refund.

    The return request was made with eBay under the heading that the item is not as described (citing that the watch could not be registered). The watch was sent back to the authenticator and I received the refund back this morning. TH/LVMH have now been informed about this for any further (legal) action.

    So a few things I learned:
    1. Always buy watches online when you have high confidence about their authenticity.
    2. Always have ways to dispute a transaction to secure your money in case things don't go as planned.
    3. eBay Authentication Service should be taken with a pinch of salt. The ad description said CW2113, but the photos of CAW211P were posted and the full set of CAW211P was sent and authenticated.
    4. eBay does not have an option for returning a product which is stolen or counterfeit. You can raise an issue with eBay that a product is stolen, but you need to be a law enforcement agent to do so. Bottom line - if you're stuck with a stolen watch and the seller does not accept returns, then eBay will not do anything unless the police are involved.
    5. The local ADs do not have the information that a watch is marked as stolen by LVMH. This information is exclusively held my LVMH sales team to ensure privacy.
    6. Register your watches on the company's website to ensure that you are a genuine collector.
    7. Always call LVMH customer support and talk to them about such issues. They have more information that the ADs.
     
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    Edited Jul 31, 2023
  2. Jim Dollares

    Jim Dollares Jul 31, 2023

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    You're a brave man, buying these things on shady places like ebay.

    Number 3 is funny, the authenticators did not react to the listing being a CW2113 but the watch they received was a CAW211P :rolleyes: my confidence in them authenticator experts keep growing
     
  3. imagwai

    imagwai Jul 31, 2023

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    Great write-up and a cautionary tale indeed.

    My recent experience with eBay authentication goes like this... I sold my 114270 Explorer. The authenticators approved the watch and paperwork as genuine/original but could not authenticate the box as being original to the watch and hence the whole transaction was unwound, despite the fact that my listing had stated that the box may not be original to the watch and was clearly photographed in my listing. I had to re-list without the box.

    So from my experience they were somewhat over-zealous.
     
  4. abrod520

    abrod520 Jul 31, 2023

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    The eBay authentication service is garbage. There are all sorts of stories about them damaging watches, passing them on with missing parts (I've seen documented cases where watches were received without crowns or casebacks), flagging vintage watches as fake when they are well documented as genuine, the list goes on.

    Along with the decision to charge sales taxes and very high fees for sellers (thus forcing them to raise prices to ridiculous levels), unfortunately my days of buying on eBay are long since over.
     
  5. Jim Dollares

    Jim Dollares Jul 31, 2023

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    At least it gives a false sense of comfort and security for beginners :thumbsup:
     
    Yago likes this.
  6. imagwai

    imagwai Jul 31, 2023

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    I have bought and sold using it. As long as you accept the limitations and slight risk, then I think it's actually a good thing. I've appreciated having the watch looked over as a buyer, and as a seller, it gives me confidence that I'm not going to get someone claiming it's a fake and mess me around with refunds, etc.
     
    McBeardy likes this.
  7. abrod520

    abrod520 Jul 31, 2023

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    It's really intended more for handbags and shoes etc, and fake Rolexes. But the blanket policy of 'every watch over $2k USD' hurts the vintage trade
     
  8. abrod520

    abrod520 Jul 31, 2023

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    Might be someone else you're thinking of!
     
    dtf likes this.
  9. bpsmith

    bpsmith Jul 31, 2023

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    I was very dubious of buying used before. This has convinced me to never risk it. ;)
     
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  10. dtf

    dtf Jul 31, 2023

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    This is the universe telling you to keep the Explorer
     
    imagwai likes this.
  11. Mspeedster

    Mspeedster Jul 31, 2023

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    Yes, for me the peace of mind is worth the money spent buying new from an AD or Boutique compared to the savings of buying pre-owned or grey market. The possibility of getting a stolen watch wasn't even top of mind until hearing about @YG_Rulz's ordeal.

    However, when hunting for a piece from the back catalogue or vintage there's really no option other than used. Except for the rare cases of a NOS model sitting at an AD.
     
    bpsmith likes this.
  12. bpsmith

    bpsmith Jul 31, 2023

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    I am just sticking with AD or Outlet at a push.

    I understand the old model situation though.
     
  13. imagwai

    imagwai Jul 31, 2023

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    Universe causing me stress by preventing me selling a watch I needed to sell to pay the credit card bill for my Datejust more like! :D
     
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  14. YG_Rulz

    YG_Rulz Aug 1, 2023

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    This whole experience for me didn't really put me off from buying through online portals, but it did cement my belief in taking personal precautions. I consider myself a frog in a well who only knows Monacos and knows them well, hence I'm quite confident in purchasing these watches online.

    The main thing to keep in mind is to make sure you have ways to protect your money - end of the day, that's what matters
     
    paysdoufs likes this.
  15. paysdoufs

    paysdoufs Aug 2, 2023

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    Well - that is actually the aspect that I would be most interested in (Admitting that they could not identify the Monaco of @YG_Rulz as fake or stolen)… —>

    What level of added security does this service actually really provide to the buyer (and also seller)? Particularly if things get litigious (e.g., the buyer finds out that a watch is fake or contains fake parts despite having been “authenticated” by eBay)?

    Or is the fact that you can be reimbursed by eBay the actual perk?
     
  16. paysdoufs

    paysdoufs Aug 2, 2023

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    So it’s somehow your fault that the Swiss keep raising prices… :p :whipped:

    ;)
     
  17. Mspeedster

    Mspeedster Aug 2, 2023

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    I fail to see your logic. How does buying only used watches stop prices from going up?
    Someone's got to buy new, otherwise there would be no used watches for sale. LOL
     
  18. bpsmith

    bpsmith Aug 2, 2023

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    Of course. My total of 2 watches has single handedly change the whole industry. ;)
     
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  19. YG_Rulz

    YG_Rulz Aug 2, 2023

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    That's a good question. When the watch comes through eBay authentication, they put a band around the strap/bracelet to cover the back of the watch (check the photo). The idea is that if you open the band, then you won't be eligible for returns. The way I see it is that there are two ways that you can get returns for an authenticated watch:
    1. directly from the seller if they allow returns - in which case I don't see why having or removing the eBay band would matter.
    2. from eBay if you challenge the authenticity service - for which you need that band to be intact (much like the "warranty void if broken" stickers)

    Through eBay chat, I found out that if you are not happy with the outcome of the authentication service, you can return the watch under the category of "item not as described". You can do this irrespective of whether the seller allows returns or not. Also, you don't need to provide any evidence to corroborate your claim that the item is not as described.
     
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    matthew_VA and paysdoufs like this.
  20. paysdoufs

    paysdoufs Aug 3, 2023

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    Guys - it was obviously an innocent attempt at a bit of humor… :coffee:
    Anyways… In the absence of any reliable data re. how many units any given brand is moving, it will always remain guesswork to judge the success of their respective strategies.