BBB warns against overvalued Obama merchandise - Tucson Local Media: Business

BBB warns against overvalued Obama merchandise

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Posted: Wednesday, January 28, 2009 12:00 am

The Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona warns consumers against spending too much for fairly common memorabilia items associated with the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Posters, buttons, coins, plates, cologne and bobbleheads are just a few examples of the kinds of Obama memorabilia that are getting snatched up by Americans who want to own a piece of history.

But for those who are looking to get rich off of such merchandise, the Better Business Bureau warns that the only value for most Obama memorabilia is sentimentality.

“For memorabilia to become worth much money it would need to be quite rare, unfortunately for Obama collectors, there is a glut of merchandise being sold nationwide,” said Kim States, BBB of Southern Arizona spokesperson. “There’s nothing wrong with buying a plate or a coin celebrating Barack Obama’s inauguration, but consumers need to be aware that the value of the item might be purely sentimental.”

Some experts estimate that consumers have already spent as much as $200 million on Obama memorabilia.

While most of the memorabilia attached to the Inauguration of President Obama are not worth much, that doesn’t mean that everything is worthless, States said.

Some experts say that items associated with the Obama’s senatorial stint would be more desirable than items from the presidential race.

For consumers looking to own a piece of history, the BBB offers the following advice:

Get educated: Collectors should research the value of Obama-related items before they begin purchasing memorabilia, especially if they are interested in purchasing pieces that have the potential for substantial appreciation in value.

Confirm authenticity: Confirming the authenticity of memorabilia is rarely easy. Autographs can be verified by a third party, but for other items, the collector should feel free to ask the seller questions about the item, including how the seller came to own it. If the seller can’t answer simple questions, then the collector should walk away.

Make purchases with a credit card: Consumers should always purchase items with a credit card if they are shopping online. If the seller turns out to be fraudulent, then the consumer can dispute the charge with the credit card company and may be eligible for reimbursement.

Purchase items from a reputable seller: When shopping online, collectors should look for the BBB seal on Web sites and click on the seal to confirm its legitimacy. If there isn’t a BBB seal on the site, shoppers can check a company with their local BBB before they buy.

Don’t be fooled by empty advertising claims: Just because the seller claims that a commemorative plate or coin is of limited edition, it doesn’t mean that there weren’t millions made. If the item is being widely advertised, chances are, it’s too common to actually gain much value over the years.

For more information go to www.tucson.bbb.orgor call 888-6161.

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