Did I just get a counterfeit version of the Who Can I Be Now Bowie box set?

Discussion in 'Marketplace Discussions' started by factory44, Feb 3, 2017.

  1. factory44

    factory44 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Pittsburgh, PA USA
    I held off on buying this when it was first released, honestly, because I didn't have the cash. I bought a sealed box last week from an eBay seller with 100% positive feedback. Price was around $60. I need some help to see if I've just bought a counterfeit box set.

    The first thing that made me wonder is the box itself. When I tried taking the contents out of the box some of the CD sleeves were stuck; stuck with glue that obviously hadn't dried before everything was put in to the box. I have pieces of black paper from the inside of the box embedded in my Diamond Dogs sleeve.

    The next thing I noticed is that the box is barely big enough for the contents. In fact, everything was crammed in to the box so tightly that the inner box is bulging. My Five Years box isn't like this. Everything in that box fits perfectly.

    Also, some of the mini vinyl replica sleeves look shoddy; like the pieces that were glued together to make the sleeves are mismatched sizes. Again, all of the sleeves in my Five Years box are pretty near perfect. One of the David Live jackets in this box is coming apart because it wasn't glued/put together correctly.

    One thing that really stands out like a sore thumb is the protective sleeves that hold the CDs themselves. They are all too big and stick out of the CD jackets quite a bit. The material that was used is so thin that the protective sleeves are all wrinkled. The protective sleeves in my Five Years box fit like a glove and are made of a thicker, higher quality material.

    The last, and biggest thing that makes me think this box is a counterfeit is that the CDs are not gold. They are silver. The publicity for the box set said that the CDs would be gold, just like the Five Years set. Does anyone out there that bought the box last year have silver, not gold, CDs?

    I'm looking forward to everyone's responses. I want to know if I've been ripped off, or if the quality of this box set is not nearly as good as the Five Years box.

    Thank you one and all.
  2. Musicisthebest

    Musicisthebest Forum Resident

    Manchester, UK
    It doesn't sound good, but I've only bought individual (gold) CDs from boxes broken up by eBay sellers.

    It might be worth looking at the matrix numbers on the CDs themselves (I need a magnifying glass to do this) as this is often a tell tale sign of a counterfeit.
  3. footprintsinthesand

    footprintsinthesand Reasons To Be Cheerful Part 1

    Haren, DM
    You've answered your question quite effectively. You get what you pay for. One consolation: they probably sound and look better than the official 99 remasters.
  4. factory44

    factory44 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Pittsburgh, PA USA
    Do you have the box? Are your CDs gold? I've posted here to gather information. If I've been sold a counterfeit I'm going to return it for a refund. Thank you for any information you can provide so that I can make an informed decision on what to do with this box.
  5. Sounds like a boot and a sloppy one to boot (pardon the pun)

    We need pictures....

    Mine are gold, the discs fit in perfectly, no glue and the inside of the box isn't bulging.
  6. footprintsinthesand

    footprintsinthesand Reasons To Be Cheerful Part 1

    Haren, DM
    No I don't have this box, but I've seen this discussion before and believe the real deal should have gold discs >see official announcement and unboxing video @4:00

    Who Can I Be Now? (1974 – 1976) details - David Bowie Official Blog

    Last edited: Feb 3, 2017
    DrBeatle and factory44 like this.
  7. My set looks nothing like what you describe and it came directly from Amazon (not a third party) day of release.

    I never looked at the bottom but they are gold colored. Everything fits perfectly --one give away would be the printing on the LP replica covers, booklet, etc.

    Is anything slightly fuzzy or there's some bleeding along the edges?
  8. factory44

    factory44 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Pittsburgh, PA USA
    Thank you for your reply. What's weird with my box is that some of the covers look really good. But others, like Diamond Dogs, look faded and slightly fuzzy. The spines on just about every sleeve are far from perfect. Printing isn't crisp. Almost nothing in this set looks as nice as the Five Years box. One of the reasons I posted was to see if there was a drop off in the quality of the product from the first box to the second. From what I've read here so far I'd say there wasn't.
  9. kwadguy

    kwadguy Forum Resident

    Cambridge, MA
    Every crook selling counterfeit box sets on Amazon has 100% feedback. They prey on the clueless. When someone figures it out and complains, there's always some story about how they didn't know, how they are so sorry, and let me give you your money back without any pushback. They hope that makes you feel guilty about leaving negative feedback. And it works.

    When it doesn't work, they usually know how to game the eBay system to get feedback removed. People say things like "seller is a crook selling counterfeits" and the seller will tell eBay they are not a crook and they get it removed.

    So that's how it stays 100%

    Best thing to do is get your money back then leave a feedback saying "received counterfeit box set". Leave it at that. It might get removed, but at least you tried to protect the next sucker.
    eddiel, PhantomStranger, Dave and 2 others like this.
  10. kwadguy

    kwadguy Forum Resident

    Cambridge, MA
    BTW...This box (and the previous one) HAS been counterfeited. Apparently you can get it for around 35 Euros from Ali Express:

    David Bowie Wonderworld Message Board: Who Can i Be Now on Ali Express

    The counterfeit discs are silver instead of gold in the legit box.

    Return that piece of **** you bought and make sure the seller pays return shipping and leave negative feedback once you have your money back in the bank. (But don't mention the word feedback in your correspondence with the seller...EVER).
    Dave, lightbulb and factory44 like this.
  11. YMC4

    YMC4 Forum Resident

    SF Valley, CA.
    is anything from China (Ali Express) real ?? this is a serious question, not a mock...
    i genuinely wants (needs) to know if anything on Ali Express is real or if they're all knock-offs.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2017
  12. kwadguy

    kwadguy Forum Resident

    Cambridge, MA
    I imagine any food products listed as containing antifreeze are real.
  13. formu_la

    formu_la Pigs whisperer

    Toronto, Canada
    OP, do your CDs have proper matrix numbers? Just curious.
    I have individual releases in jewel cases from the first box. They are silver, but I am pretty sure they are legit. Purchased from ImportCDs, and all numbers on the discs are correct.
  14. factory44

    factory44 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Pittsburgh, PA USA
    I'm not at home right now, so I can't check the numbers for you. Maybe the individually sold discs are silver, but the box set discs are supposed to be gold. It's mentioned here in the next to last paragraph:

    David Bowie / Who Can I Be Now? [1974-1976] full track listing and details
  15. formu_la

    formu_la Pigs whisperer

    Toronto, Canada
    I am sure they must be gold in the box. As I say I am just curious how good the fake can be. Do they bother with matrix numbers?
    You don't need to check it "for me", but that would be the first thing I would look at.
    factory44 likes this.
  16. Yeah mine looks great and I got one for someone for Xmas no complaints looked exactly like mine.
    factory44 likes this.
  17. kwadguy

    kwadguy Forum Resident

    Cambridge, MA
    Now that we've determined it's a fake, your next move is to get it taken care of.

    Will be interesting to see what story the seller makes up. I expect they will be very very willing to refund your money just to keep you quiet.

    Be certain they are all lies, of course.

    Again, do not mention the word "feedback" in any email with the seller. Not in any context. If the seller mentions that word, do not acknowledge it. If you do, you will make it trivial for the seller to get any feedback removed.

    If the seller gives you any issue at all, just open a case with eBay.
    eddiel likes this.
  18. factory44

    factory44 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Pittsburgh, PA USA
    Thanks to everyone who replied.

    I've got the return set up through eBay. I won't have to pay return postage. The seller didn't have much to say. He said he will remove his other Bowie box sets from eBay...

    Thanks again everyone!
    Galley and cboldman like this.
  19. GMcGilli

    GMcGilli Well-Known Member

    Richmond BC Canada
    I'm interested in this thread since I've been shopping on Ali for many years. I'd never thought about music though. So I just looked - and yes - the box set in this thread is available there for $34USD. Since it's counterfeit I won't post the link (maybe frowned upon?).
  20. I've also been looking around, interested in buying this box set, and I started noticing sellers on Amazon stating, "discs are silver rather than gold," which was a red flag to me. I asked a friend who has this box set what color his discs are and (after responding, "That's a rather personal question"), he checked, and his discs are gold. Through further searching, I've found nothing where Bowie's site, or any other official source, indicates that silver discs are now being used instead of the gold colored discs advertised in the promotional materials for this set.

    Besides that, the pther issues you describe with the box and its contents sound very, very bootleg-y. As someone else mentioned, check the matrix/run out numbers on the playing side of the disc (but outside of the data area). These numbers are usually in the silver part of the CD, around the inner ring, but sometimes there are numbers (mould codes) in the plastic part of the inner ring. Many times, fakes will use the bar code, or a part of the bar code, or the catalog number, in the area for matrix numbers, just to make it look like there are specific matrix/run out codes. Certainly bar codes are sometimes legitimately present in the matrix/run out code area, but on legit discs, they are usually accompanied by matrix codes and sometimes other data (at least after 1993 when the practice of using matrix numbers began).

    I don't have the matrix/run out info for the US version of Bowie's "Who Can I Be Now?" box, and I am not even sure if there really is a different edition for Europe and the US (the "Five Years" box seems to have been the same for Europe, the UK and the US), but even if there are different editions of the "Who Can I Be Now" box for Europe and the US, the information below, reprinted from Discogs' data regarding the European "Who Can I Be Now " box, might be useful to you.
    • Barcode: 0190295989842
    • Matrix / Runout (CD 1): 0190295989163 AG30277-01 manufactured by optimal media GmbH
    • Matrix / Runout (CD 2): 0190295989750-01 AG33385-01 manufactured by optimal media GmbH
    • Matrix / Runout (CD 3): 0190295989750-02 AG33385-02 manufactured by optimal media GmbH
    • Matrix / Runout (CD 4): 0190295989156-01 AG36553-01 manufactured by optimal media GmbH
    • Matrix / Runout (CD 5): manufactured by optimal media GmbH AG42780-01
    • Matrix / Runout (CD 6): 01902959891712 AG36237-01 manufactured by optimal media GmbH
    • Matrix / Runout (CD 7): ?
    • Matrix / Runout (CD 8): 0190295989132 AG30276-01 manufactured by optimal media GmbH
    • Matrix / Runout (CD 9): 0190295989675 AG30279-01 manufactured by optimal media GmbH
    • Matrix / Runout (CD 10): 6476062 AA12207-01 manufactured by optimal media GmbH
    • Matrix / Runout (CD 11): 6476072 AA12208-01 manufactured by optimal media GmbH
    • Matrix / Runout (CD 12): 0190295989637 AG36238-01 manufactured by optimal media GmbH
    • Mastering SID Code (Except CD 10): ifpi L575
    • Mastering SID Code (CD 10): ifpi L574
    • Mould SID Code: IFPI 9742
    • Rights Society: GEMA/MCPS
    • Label Code: LC30419

    I hope this helps. I had a similar question a couple of years ago about The Beatles' "US Albums" box, and discovered that this forum is a great resource for that kind of information (and much more).

    PhantomStranger and factory44 like this.
  21. factory44

    factory44 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Pittsburgh, PA USA
    My box was definitely a boot. I received a full refund for it. I bought a copy at a local store and it's the real thing; zero problems with the sleeves or the inner sleeves, and I got gold discs.
    musicfan37 and Dave like this.
  22. Dennis Metz

    Dennis Metz Born In A Motor City!

    Fonthill, Ontario
    I had no idea that this set comes with gold CDs. Why didn't they do this with the first box?:cheers:
  23. The Five Years box has gold CDs as well.

    Counterfeits exist for both Bowie boxes. I'll say the counterfeiters did a terrible job with their Who Can I Be Now boxes. They are shoddy work even by the standards of mass produced Chinese bootlegs. I ended up with one and the sleeves barely fit, the ink runs, and other production issues. Sometimes the counterfeiters do good work. Who Can I Be Now is not the case.
  24. Yes. I checked my first Bowie box to make sure I had not overlooked the absence of gold colored discs after the issues with the second Bowie box started to surface. Nice gold discs in well made sleeves and outer box.

    As an aside, I am really looking forward to this third Bowie box because it covers my favorite period of his music. And, to those interested, the discs in the third box are also supposed to be gold colored. That's a nice touch since it apparently helps to "out" the bootleg copies. Hopefully, the bootleggers won't start pressing them on gold discs.
  25. Brother_Rael

    Brother_Rael Forum Resident

    Scottish Borders
    I can buy a 12CD Bowie box set from a Chinese seller for £26 when it's routinely about £100 in the UK?

    This is the Beatles box sets all over again.
    Dave and LivingForever like this.

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