In this post I'm going to outline some of the basics to buying anime figures on the popular auction site Ebay. With sellers from all over the world listing countless numbers of items each day there will be fakes, counterfeits, and bootlegs. However with the info I provide in this article I hope you the reader can avoid these illegal copies too.
Feedback - Looking at the users feedback and score is a great way to get more info about who your buying from. With this you can see what other buyers have to say about their experience with the seller. Take a look at the ''negative" and "neutral" feedbacks. I have seen people say they were sold bootlegs in some sellers feedback profile.
Photos - It is said that a picture can speak a thousand words, and since this is the internet, photos are extremely valuable. Always, look at the photos provided! If a stock photo is used check the sellers feedback, location, item price, and item description. Remember that a stock photo of a genuine item can be used to sell you a fake.
Description - The description is another important way to identify the authenticity of an item. Avoid any listing that says "Chinese Version". These are bootlegs, no question about it.
Price - Pricing can play a large role in spotting a bootleg, as well as the seller location. If it seems to good to be true... well you know where I'm going. If you don't though let me give an example. A legitimate version of Max Factory's Figma #100 Hatsune Miku append is worth about $40 USD. If you look on Ebay however you might find there are plenty readily available for around $20 USD. What do alot of these cheap fakes have in common, well I'm getting to that...
Location - Yeah this really is important as well.
China - Now I don't meant to offend anyone with this but it seems the majority of fakes are sold by sellers in China. So far it has been my rule of thumb to just not buy from anyone selling items that ship from China or Hong Kong. I'm sure there are people there who do sell legit items, and I respect those individuals. But with the odds being what they are I don't think its worth the risk.
USA - I use to think that if you bought a figure from a US seller your were pretty safe as far as authenticity. Well maybe there was a time when that was mostly true but now it seems that is not the case. What has happened is that people here in the US are buying fake products wholesale from China/Hong Kong and selling them here. With the above info though you shouldn't have trouble finding them.
Japan - Since this is the birthplace of anime I consider buying from Japan to be the safest. However buying direct may cost more due to shipping and the currency exchange rate at the time.