Report: #461542

Complaint Review: Autographs America

  • Submitted: Sun, June 14, 2009
  • Updated: Tue, August 25, 2009
  • Reported By: Queensland Other
  • Autographs America

Autographs America Fake Signed Guitar & Fake Promissory Note witnessed by public notary to back it up!! Internet Based Internet

* : Let the consumer decide

* : Your an idiot Burkel.

* : Brian Burkel and Brian Burns the same person: YES

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I purchased a signed Van Halen guitar off Ebay in 2008 and after paying for the item Ebay alerted me that the item may be fake. I immediately put a stop to the payment and I tracked the company down who provided the Certificate Of Authenticity that came with the guitar. The company was Autographs America that operates out of Ravensdale. Their website is . I contacted them with regards to the guitar and asked if they could shed light on the authenticity, etc. I emailed back and forth with a person named Brian Burns. Brian insisted that he obtained the autographs in person in 1983 and sent me a scan of a concert ticket stub. I asked him to please get a statutory declaration of his story signed by a public notary and that way if I ever sold the guitar, the person would not have to go through what I went through with regards to authenticity.

I received a promissory note with regards to the guitar and Brian Burns signature was witnessed by a Sky Benson. As far as I was concerned that was good enough and paid for the guitar.

I was surfing the web and came across a website that alerts people of internet scams and to my surprise Autographs America was on the list. The website is located here:

I contacted the owner of the website and told him my story. He promptly contacted me back and asked me to email a copy of the promissory note so he could also do some investigations of his own. He said he made contact with Sky Benson via email at Sky replied by saying that there is no Brian Burns, his real name is Brian Burkel. I contacted Sky Benson myself and asked if he witnessed the document signed by Brian Burns and he replied that he did. He seemed to have changed his story in the email sent to me.

After reading everything that has been put on the all readers site, I am convinced there is no Brian Burns. I contacted Autographs America and asked who is Brian Burns and they said he is the bald guy in the pictures on the website and to not contact them again. Quite honestly I don't believe them. Now I am left with a worthless signed guitar, as the one thing that guarantees its authenticity is infact fake.

I lodged a complaint with the FBI cyber crime unit which I have already done. I also lodged a complaint with Linda Mead who is Manager of the Notary Public Program in Washington State. I also lodged a complaint with the sheriff in King County who said they were unable to assist due to budget constraints.

I have also contacted PSA/DNA for their opinion of the guitar and they have said it is "Likely Not Genuine".

I cant believe no one can do more to get rid of these rip off merchants.


This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/14/2009 02:56 AM and is a permanent record located here: The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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Let the consumer decide

AUTHOR: Shane - (Australia)

So I can present you, the consumer,  with the evidence I have made a website that contains pictures of the guitar, certificate of authenticity, promissory note and a few emails and my thoughts on AA so you, the consumer, can make an informed decision before buying from Autographs America.

website can be found here:

Please note I live in Australia - so I have done very well to forge a Public Notary seal from washington state, a COA and anything else that Mr Burns seems to think I have lied about.


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Your an idiot Burkel.

AUTHOR: Shane - (Australia)

You are an absolute idiot.  You just constantly lie, lie, lie.  "many years ago I was a musician"  Oh really??  The promisorry note that was signed by Mr Burns was dated 5-29-2008.  Not many years ago in my book!!

You are so caught up in all your lying you dont know what day or year it is??

You want to take me to court for lying?  Well bring it on!!  Who is the one with the signed promissory note in his hands??  A legal document.  I presume you have legal documentation that your name is/was Brian Burns when you signed the document in front of the Public Notary??

Not one person I have shown the guitar too, whether it be via hi res pictures or physically inspected it has said that it is real.  Ebay pulled the auction when I tried to sell it because PSA/DNA suspect it is fake. I am the one who owns a worthless piece of firewood.

There is a great article written by Steve Cyrkin at Autograph Magazine.  I suggest anyone even contemplating purchasing something from Autographs America read what Steve has to say about not buying forgeries. 

Article can be found at

Also, Look at the fineprint on the Autographs America website when you register:

Authentication Guarantee

Every item purchased from us comes with a Certificate of Authenticity guaranteeing it to be authentic. Each item has been authenticated by American Autograph Authentication Services, and the user of the web site accepts the validity of the authentication at the time of purchase, and no other opinion of the validity of the autograph's authentication is acceptable.

Returns - Resolution of Disputes

Returned items are only acceptable, if they meet the Authentication Guarantee requirements for such a return. First, an agreement must be made by Autographs America that an item, or items, has, or have met the scope of proof to constitute a return, i.e., that the item, or items are, or, were absolutely not signed, or autographed by the artist, or artists in question, and that the purchaser can provide the burden of proof, other than an opinion of another authentication service that the item is not authentic. Otherwise, said items are not returnable, or refundable for any other reason. 

In plain English - you buy from our website you agree that OUR OWN authentication service (operated by Brian Burkel as well) says the item is real - we don't care what anyone else says.  What sort of authentication is that???  What sort of guarantee is that??  It means that if you take the item to a third party (as I have) and they say the item is fake, we don't care because you agreed to OUR terms when you bought from us.  Absolute rubbish!!!  Stand behind your product - if its real it will pass the test from any authentication service, or do you have something to hide???


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Brian Burkel and Brian Burns the same person: YES

AUTHOR: Autographs - (USA)

Brian Burkel used to be a musician, and his stage name was Brian Burns.  That was a long time ago, and many of his friends still call him by this name.  Like any other musican, who didn't make the 'big time' I dropped using the name many, many years ago. 

Please note that you can use ten different authentication experts, and each one will give you a different opinion, because that is exactly what it is.  It is NOT an absolute certainty.  At best it is a GUESStimate based on limited examples, or exlemplars, as the so-called experts want to call them. 

Likely Not Genuine.  But could it be genuine?  Absolutely!  This person wants to see the item as fake, so he's read this into the wording.  Does it say that?  No, it doesn't!  The authenticator was wrong.  They made a guess on their limited resources, and they were wrong.

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