Connect with us
Fanatics Scam

News and Editorial

BUYER BEWARE! Fanatics Is Selling Counterfeit Sports Memorabilia!

BUYER BEWARE! Fanatics Is Selling Counterfeit Sports Memorabilia!

Most visitors to the TealTownUSA website or listeners of our podcast know we are not Fanatics fans. We find their designs uninspired and homogenized, their product quality is abhorrent and inconsistent, and the lack of attention to detail is documented almost daily on social media. While the product on the various online outlets they manage such as shop.nhl.com, nflshop.com, and mlbshop.com are licensed and authentic, Fanatics owns other sites that are selling counterfeit sports apparel.

Since we’re known for being fanatically anti-Fanatics, people on social media regularly send us horror stories and photos about their Fanatics orders. Whether it’s jerseys with the wrong number font, a backwards nameplate, or shirts that seemingly fall apart after a single wash, the stories keep on coming. Until now, all the Fanatics merchandise featured in the photos sent to us were at least authentic, even if it took buyers months to receive their orders.

This latest horror story was sent via Twitter. They posted photos of a licensed and genuine replica Reebok Premier San Jose Sharks Joe Pavelski jersey purchased at the Sharks Store next to the “authentic” Premier jersey just bought from SportsMemorabilia.com. The jersey from Sports Memorabilia is a blatant fake as you can see in the photos from the tweet.

Fake Pavelski jersey
We found the site listing and the jersey they advertised reads “Autographed Joe Pavelski Jersey – Reebok Premier 2016 Stanley Cup”. While the jersey appears to be legit in the poorly lit photos, the customization renders it fake once you see it in-person.

  • There is no captain’s “C” on the front (there was no photo of the front in the site listing)
  • The letters are pressed directly onto the jersey without a plate
  • The font of the letters is inaccurate
  • The Stanley Cup patch stitch work, coloring, and placement is inaccurate
  • The sleeve numbers are inaccurate
  • The number on the back is oversized and features square holes in the number rather than rectangles
  • Pavelski’s signature in the photo from the site appears to be different than the on the jersey received which means the jersey received is likely not the one in the photo

SportsMemorabilia.com did issue a full refund after being informed the jersey was not authentic. Despite SportsMemorabila.com admitting the jersey did not meet their authenticity guarantee, they’ve relisted the Pavelski jersey back for sale on their website at the same price!!! This proves they are knowingly and purposely selling fake merchandise.

While the jersey itself appears to be an authentic Reebok Premier replica, no licensed retailer could sell this as legit with the clear inaccurate lettering and patch, despite their Authenticity Guarantee. Notice that their guarantee is not promising that the autograph is authentic, but that the “memorabilia and collectible” is genuine.

Authenticity Guarantee

Now, you might be asking yourself “what does this have to do with Fanatics?” The answer is Fanatics owns and runs SportsMemorabilia.com.

At the bottom of every page on SportsMemorabilia.com, it reads “Fanatics, Inc., All Rights Reserved. No portion of this site may be reproduced or duplicated without the express permission of Fanatics, Inc“. Also, a quick check of the domain name registrar shows the site is registered through the same company.

We rely on the listings of our trusted 3rd party sellers

During the return process, when asked why the jersey wasn’t authentic despite the website guarantee, we’re told the customer rep on the phone call responded “We rely on the listings of our trusted 3rd party sellers”. This excuse is a cop out. Fanatics is running the site and telling customers each item is guaranteed. It’s the responsibility of Fanatics to validate each item and verify the authenticity and failure to do so is negligent.

After digging deeper into the site, we came across several laughable and obvious fakes. Have a look at some of these more noticeable counterfeit jerseys still available on SportsMemorabilia.com. Notice that every page features their “Authenticity Guarantee” in the upper right corner. Pay particular attention to the prices.

 

Zach Parise Jersey

Fake Minnesota Jersey

Jeremy Roenick Jersey

Fake Chicago jersey with fake nameplate

Joe Sakic Jersey

Fake Colorado jersey featuring style never worn by Avalanche

And here is a short list of more fake NHL jerseys we found:

FYI, the Roenick jersey shown above is also listed on eBay, at a substantially lower cost.

Jeremy Roenick Jersey Jeremy Roenick jersey - eBay

 

Not Just The NHL

The literal billion dollar question of course is… why are pro sports leagues, like the NHL, NFL, MLB, NBA, and MLS contracted with Fanatics?  Were Bay Area franchises like the San Jose Sharks, San Jose Earthquakes, San Francisco GiantsSan Francisco 49ers, Oakland Athletics, Golden State Warriors, and Sacramento Kings aware of this disreputable and illegal practice of selling fake merchandise before signing their contracts? Check out these ridiculously bad counterfeit 49ers and Giants jerseys for John Taylor and Sergio Romo currently available.

John Taylor Jersey Sergio Romo Jersey

 

While it’s obvious the Taylor listing is fake by the nameplate alone, the Romo one is comically bad. The Giants wear cream jerseys, not white. Only their grey away jerseys feature “San Francisco” across the front and the font they use is totally different from this abomination. If you think that’s bad, pay particular attention to two Romo jerseys available to purchase.

Sergio Romo duplicate

SportsMemorabilia.com is selling two different Romo jerseys on their website, but they’re using the same photo for each listing. Compare the non-framed jersey photo with the framed jersey photo and you will find it’s the same jersey with a frame photoshopped around the first photo. This is some of the most unethical and deceptive business practice we’ve ever witnessed. How is this legal? How can a fan expect a jersey or autograph to be legit when they’re using 1 photo to sell multiple jerseys? Fanatics is purposely defrauding the consumer! 

But Wait! There’s More!

Fanatics is not only using SportsMemorabila.com to sell counterfeit swag on unsuspecting fans, but Fanatics owner Michael Rubin also purchased, and is using, the once reputable SteinerSports.com. Have a look at two completely different counterfeit Evgeni Nabokov jerseys recently for sale on both of these sites.

steinersports

As you can see from the photos, these are blatant fakes. The one on the left is slightly better because at least the jersey looks like it might be a legit replica jersey and the correct font is used. However, the teal outlines on all the numbers are the wrong shade and off-aligned. The one on the right is just laughable as the number font and materials are wrong and they use the ticket stub in the photo to hide the logo. When the consumer is being asked to shell out over $400 for an autographed jersey, shouldn’t the consumer expect the jersey to be authentic? No licensed reseller could legally sell these jerseys.

Not Just Jerseys!

Fanatics also has a bad habit of adding inaccurate inscriptions to autographed merchandise. Case in point, Barclay Goodrow:

 

barclay goodrow puck

For those fans that might be unaware, Barclay Goodrow scored the game 7 winner in overtime, not double overtime. When you score the biggest goal of your career, you remember every little detail. If you can’t get a simple detail correct and ask a player to purposely write the wrong thing, what else are you screwing up?

Despite the fact that 99% of their replies on Twitter are apologies, it’s clear Fanatics doesn’t care about Fans. While the product they produce is substandard, at least it’s licensed and official. The fact that they are knowingly and purposely using other sites to sell fake jerseys, and other memorabilia, that take advantage of unsuspecting fans is inexcusable and fraudulent.

Any teams and leagues working with Fanatics should immediately look into terminating their contracts with this monopolistic, unscrupulous and deceptive company.

19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. David

    August 6, 2020 at 6:43 pm

    Its bad customization. The jerseys are 100% real.

    • AJ Strong

      August 6, 2020 at 11:28 pm

      Some of the jerseys they sell are 100% real. However, there are several jerseys on their site that are 100% fake like the Roenick, Parise, Hasek, Kuraly, Cheevers, and Romo jerseys listed in the article. There’s also an Erik Haula Vegas jersey that’s an obvious fake as it doesn’t even have the NHL shield on the collar.

      None of the jerseys we listed could be sold at a licensed outlet which was part of the point of the article. Since Fanatics owns this site, they’re ultimately responsible for the listings. Also of note, the Roenick jersey listed in the article for $385.99 is also currently listed on eBay $249.99. It’s clear they’re purposely trying to rip off unsuspecting customers.

  2. Anthony

    August 8, 2020 at 2:05 pm

    SportsCollectibles copies ebay sellers ads and pics repost them as their own on their website and Amazon. Once you buy from them then they try and buy from actual seller and jack up price to their customers. The “custom” jerseys without name brand are not counterfeit or illegal. But why buy from them and not right from seller who has it on ebay and pay way less.

    • AJ Strong

      August 8, 2020 at 4:42 pm

      We never mentioned SportsCollectibles.com in the article. Based on a domain search, SportsCollectibles.com doesn’t not appear to be affiliated with Fanatics. However, SportsCollectibles.com currently has 2 black Evgeni Nabokov jerseys listed for sale. Neither jersey is made by KOHO, CCM, or Reebok which were the only companies licensed to make that type of jersey. If that style of jersey isn’t made by them, it’s a counterfeit and the sale of counterfeit goods is illegal.

      If a licensed retailer like the Sharks Store, Dick’s, etc… can’t sell it, it may not be considered counterfeit if it’s a real jersey with inauthentic customization, but it’s certainly not authentic and can’t be sold by them.

  3. Pingback: Fanatics Fails Fans - Teal Town USA

  4. Darius Naro

    August 24, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    It’s crazy to know that scams happen a lot, and it can be a bit difficult to know when it’s happening. That’s why I very much believe its important to make sure whatever consumers are purchasing is legit, I’m saying this because I had scam experiences on a variety of different things. However, when it comes to signed sports memorabilia it’s really a mystery to know for sure if what you got is authentic or signed by the actual player. Now I’m starting to realize if my probably authentic Goodrow jersey is the real deal. Suspicions came when I entered the authenticity verification number into the website for SportsMemorabilia, next thing I know its invalid. After that, I contacted the company about the issue and they said that they would send me an email allowing me to send them some photos of my jersey to them so they can verify it. Several days later, nothing.

    • AJ Strong

      August 24, 2020 at 5:49 pm

      Sorry to hear that. At this point, I don’t think I’d trust any autograph unless I got it myself or it came directly from the team.

  5. Shane Taylor

    January 2, 2021 at 4:27 pm

    I just got my Colorado Avalanche reverse retro jersey. The burgundy around the numbers is a noticeably different shade than the burgundy on the bottom of the jersey. It looks like a mock jersey I could have purchased for much less from a Chinese retailer. Also, I purchased a snap back hat and the burgundy color is leaching on to the white next to it. I wish the NHL would have left the hats to the pros. Fanatics Must be banking on mark up on these terrible products.

  6. AJ Strong

    January 2, 2021 at 5:57 pm

    Unfortunately, Fanatics is now the china knock-off of licensed apparel.

  7. You’re a douche

    January 9, 2021 at 8:10 pm

    Yes they are fake jerseys. They are custom jerseys….read what those are. They are not authentic jerseys and people that truly collect understand that.
    Does not mean the signature is fake. Stop acting like this is some big crime you solved. Understand what you’re talking about.

    • AJ Strong

      January 9, 2021 at 11:08 pm

      You’ve proved my point. People that collect DO understand. I am a collector and can spot fakes. Most people don’t know that what they’re buying is counterfeit which is, in fact, a crime and what the point of the article was.

  8. Hardy

    January 22, 2021 at 1:07 am

    This article is speaking different case.
    Fanatics did not run fake autographs. They are selling legit autographs including with 3rd party COA such as JSA, Beckett and so on. Those jerseys from 3rd parties COA are considered as customs or unofficial jerseys (so-called Replica jerseys).
    So if you want the official jerseys and 100% legit investment, only buy FANATICS, STEINER or UDA COA.
    Why Fanatics guarantee 100% on their page when they are selling 3rd parties COA? Because these parties are well-known and reliable in authentication in sports industries even tough they might miss the originality sometimes.
    Again, I would only go for Steiner, UDA and Fanatics COA to sleep well.

    • AJ Strong

      January 22, 2021 at 8:26 am

      It’s clear by your comment that you didn’t read the article. There are no references to autographs being fake. You can call the jerseys whatever you want… “customs” or “unofficial”, but what you can’t call them is legitimate or licensed. No licensed retailer would be able to sell those despite the guarantee stating “100% Authentic Memorabilia”. If selling these obviously counterfeit jerseys would break a licensing agreement, they aren’t authentic which makes their guarantee a lie.

      Steiner and SportsMemorabilia, both owned by Fanatics, are selling counterfeit jerseys at authentic prices. This is in fact a scam. Nowhere in the listings is the customer informed that the jersey is counterfeit or unable to be sold in a store.

  9. Hardy

    January 29, 2021 at 7:46 pm

    My friend, it’s clear by your comment you didn’t know what you are writing about. You talked about the puck with wrong inscription. Inscription always written by the players weather typo or not that is another debatable case. When you gave example one of Fanatics Bad Habits such as putting the inaccurate inscription, so you suggested that fanatics also played with the autograph? If that is not the indication of fake autograph, then what is?
    Memorabilia means to keep our favorite players objects (and in this case what most collectors would like to chase are THE AUTOGRAPHS). Without autographs those just another merchandises to cheer our favorite teams right?
    To see your perspective about this unofficial jerseys, lets put them side by side with replica jerseys. Do you think replica jerseys are original? If yes, based on which spec the replica is accurate and original unless it is official?
    Please put in mind autographed replica jerseys are cheaper compare to swingman and authentic autographed jerseys. Now, that is what we called types and grades. Even tough there is solid legit written parameter of this type or grade term.
    Furthermore, If collectors cannot believe Fanatics and it related webs, then which sites are really trustworthy for us to throw our money to purchase our favorite athletes objects? Isn’t it all official web pages of any sports promote Fanatics for their merchandises? Why not Ebay, Amazon or Alibaba?

    It will be better if your page to educate new collectors about what to choose and what is not when keeping memorabilia. Teach us about what kind of grade and type jerseys that we can choose based on our budget.
    Discuss about how to know, choose and trust and buy expensive unsigned and unscripted WORN jerseys or WORN OBJECTS if collectors would like to upgrade themselves into elite collectors. Etc.

    Just my suggestion. But if you stays with the argument about fanatics is a scam just based on your opinion, then, nobody can discuss so many things about memorabilia with you unless they just always agree with you.

    Am out.

    • AJ Strong

      January 30, 2021 at 9:25 am

      By your comment, it’s clear you either didn’t read the entire article or you didn’t understand it. The legitimacy of autographs is never called into question. The issue is that Fanatics is running 3rd party sites that are selling counterfeit jerseys. It makes no difference if the item is autographed because the guarantee specifies the item, not just the signature. Yes, there are authentic and replica jerseys in the NHL and both of those jerseys are licensed. A good amount of jerseys on the 3rd party sites are counterfeit that no licensed retailer could sell. If the item listing explained that the jersey is counterfeit, at least it would be honest. But these unscrupulous people know exactly what they’re doing. They are scamming fans.

      You want legit jerseys with authentic autographs? Get them straight from the team.

  10. Mike

    February 17, 2021 at 8:20 am

    Usng the word counterfeit instead of “custom” to describe the jerseys you are speaking of just shows that you are not a “true collector”.

    Custom jerseys are very common and are a way for fans to be able to afford autographed memorabilia. Custom jerseys generally will have a similar color theme to “official” jerseys, but will be just different enough and lack any trademarked logos to avoid lawsuits.

    A counterfeit jersey is a completely different animal. It would be an unlicensed copy with fake trademarked logos and licensing information.

    So as some one else above said, if you want to be informative you need to be informed yourself. If you have a problem with custom jerseys then just say that. But to call them counterfeit is actually slander, especially when you start implying that the signatures are “doctored” with inscriptions by random employees.

    • AJ Strong

      February 17, 2021 at 10:25 am

      You’ve obviously missed the point of the article so let’s address your points, one by one. Most people aren’t “true collectors”. The average fan or someone just getting into collecting will simply read the guarantee that states “100% Authentic Memorabilia and collectibles” and falsely believe the jersey they’re buying is completely authentic. FYI, the definition of “authentic” is “to be real or genuine, not copied or false”. So even if the actual jersey is legit, an inaccurate customization can render it inauthentic. If a customer took any of the jerseys listed in the article to a collector expo, they’d be laughed out of the room. True collectors don’t buy “custom” jerseys.

      You wrote “Custom jerseys are very common and are a way for fans to be able to afford autographed memorabilia”. Explain how a “custom” i,e. unlicensed jersey is more affordable when it’s listed at the same price as a legit jersey. The prices on SportsMemorabilia are comparable to the ones on NHLShop. This is another deceptive tactic to lead naive customers to believe what they’re buying is 100% authentic. Visit any used guitar shop and you will see a Fender Stratocaster with the name “Fender” on the headstock because it’s an authentic Fender. You will also see guitars that have the same shape and look as a Fender Strat but not be an actual Fender Strat. A real Strat will always cost significantly more than a guitar that looks like a Strat because it’s authentic.

      The fact that you wrote “just different enough and lack any trademarked logos to avoid lawsuits” also proves the Fanatics-owned SportsMemorabilia is purposely trying to deceive uninformed consumers. On SportsMemorabilia.com, none of the listings cited say “custom”. In fact, the listings provide as little detail as possible and generally have very bad photos. A site for “true collectors”, such as MeiGray, feature several well lit and crystal clear photos of each item with a detailed description. Speaking of photos, it’s a red flag that SportsMemorabilia uses the same photo for multiple listings. These are purposely deceptive business practices employed to dupe buyers.

      You also wrote “A counterfeit jersey is a completely different animal. It would be an unlicensed copy with fake trademarked logos and licensing information.” There is currently a framed Brent Burns jersey listed for $1336.99 that is an obvious counterfeit jersey with an Adidas logo. So how is my claim they sell counterfeit jerseys inaccurate? I also never implied the actual signatures were fake. I wrote that some inscriptions were false which a box score can prove. I also encourage you to look up the definition of the word “slander”. You obviously meant libel.

      The fact that Fanatics is running these secondary sites rather than selling them directly on NHLShop.com should be a red flag for anyone. But if NHLShop sold any of the examples listed in the article, it would break their licensing agreement with the NHL. Meanwhile, NHLShop does offer some autographed jerseys for sale and the descriptions are detailed and even state “This jersey has been personally hand-signed. It is officially licensed by the National Hockey League”. So why are the photos and descriptions on NHLShop, a licensed retailer, detailed and accurate while many on SportsMemorabilia are deceptive or inaccurate?

      Finally, why did SportsMemorabilia give a full refund for the Pavelski jersey noted in the article? Because the customer proved to SportsMemorabilia that the item they purchase was not “100% authentic” and did not meet their guarantee. And what did SportsMemorabilia do once the jersey was returned? They relisted it, at the same price, and did not update the description to inform customers that the item was, in fact, not “100% authentic”. You honestly don’t believe that to be purposely deceptive and wrong?

      The bottom line is Fanatics is running multiple sites that are selling autographed, unlicensed jerseys without informing the customer the item is unlicensed despite a 100% Authentic guarantee. The title of the article is “BUYER BEWARE! Fanatics Is Selling Counterfeit Sports Memorabilia”. Fanatics owns SportsMemorabilia.com and SteinerSports.com. Both sites have the counterfeit Burns jersey listed for sale. So how it that title wrong?

  11. justin

    July 6, 2021 at 8:31 pm

    I recently purchased a jonny gaudreau jersey from fanatics.com, I bought it somewhat impulsively due to a 20% off deal and planned to use the 30 day money back policy to do more research other than my basic background check that I did before purchasing, it seems most of the items in question were not directly sold by fanatics and were all posted with separate descriptions and authentication that was not directly from fanatics, even the listing pictures were noticeably different almost like they weren’t being sold by fanatics. I guess I’m asking 2 questions, do you think my product is safe and is it possible that my theory is correct about the “counterfeit” items?

    • Teal Town USA

      July 6, 2021 at 11:09 pm

      Without seeing photos, I can’t be sure. But based on your description, it certainly would trigger my suspicions. It should also be noted that Fanatics runs other sites like SportsMemorabilia.com that sells fake jerseys.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Teal Town USA On YouTube

Follow us on Twitter

More in News and Editorial