AMajor Step in Fighting
Fraud in the
History has been made! The Federal Trade Commission and the Professional Show Managers Association (PSMA) have jointly taken a giant step in educating the public about fraud in the world of antiques and collectibles and the Wisconsin Antiques Dealers Association, dedicated to honesty and authenticity in the trade of antiques, has joined the effort!
A yearlong crusade, led by Nancy Johnson and Dordy Fontinel, board members of the Professional Show Managers Association, has resulted in the printing and mass distribution of hundreds of thousands of colorful informative bookmarks. Titled 'Antiques, How to Shop Wisely', the educational pieces give bullet points of information to be considered when shopping for antiques:
When shopping for antiques and collectibles, ask the dealer. How long have you been in business? How do you know any item is genuine, not a fake or reproduction? What are your criteria for identifying the item? Will you give me a written guarantee that the item is authentic? What is your return policy?
In addition, Johnson and Fontinel were successful in their request that Consumer Information on Safely Shopping for Antiques and Collectibles be added to the FTC website. The two women spent nearly six months working with the FTC on the specific information that is now available. The recently posted article may be accessed by visiting the FTC.gov website or simply googling "FTC antiques."
When PSMA President Nancy Johnson wrote an article in the Association's Winter 2007 newsletter entitled 'When Did It Become OK To Cheat Someone?', a commentary on our world's complacency about being defrauded, show promoter Dordy Fontinel responded and began a dialogue with Johnson about the problem of fakes and fraud in the world of antiques and collectibles. This dialogue resulted in Fontinel speaking with Sen. John Warner, subsequent meetings with his staff and the Federal Trade Commission.
Last June, Fontinel and Johnson met with Jeanne Bumpus, Director of Congressional Affairs at the FTC, and members of the planning and information division of the FTC. Their goal was to have Antiques & Collectibles recognized as "consumer items" and to encourage the FTC to take note of the rampant fraud, which is taking place under the guise of "Antiques." The FTC agreed and the process began. Knowingly selling a fake is criminal fraud in most states.
PSMA also feels that the bookmarks will provide a convenient opportunity for anyone interested in educating the buying public and fighting the cause. PSMA encourages show promoters, dealers, shop and mall managers, club members, and auctioneers to get involved, therefore PSMA is offering the bookmarks at their cost.
The battle has just begun! Now that the FTC has issued an Alert that selling an antique or collectible item that is not authentic is Fraud, Fontinel and Johnson feel more consumer protection will occur on the state and local level. Such fraud can be reported directly on the Federal Trade Commission site at: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/index.shtml. Choose the tab "File a Complaint."
These informative bookmarks are given to attendees of the Wisconsin Antiques Dealers Association shows held in Waukesha each October & February. They are also available from Iron Horse Antiques at their shop or at shows.
Or, to order bookmarks in quantity, send a check made payable to PSMA to the PSMA Offices, Attn: FTC Project, P.O. Box 30, Bloomfield CT 06002. The cost of the bookmarks, including Priority Mail, is $25 per 1000 or a single package of 200 for $10. (PSMA is a non-profit trade association of consumer show managers, with the majority of its members in the Antiques & Collectible fields.)
For more information, please contact:
Nancy Johnson, President
Professional Show Managers Association
Dordy Fontinel, Board Member
Professional Show Managers Association
The Federal Trade Commission has issued an Alert that selling an antique or collectible item that is not authentic is Fraud. Such fraud can be reported directly on the Federal Trade Commission site at: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/index.shtml. Choose the tab "File a Complaint."