by Rupert Insider
In the last two weeks we have seen how Duncan Oldham of Koptalk sells fake “official” champions league balls with fake signatures and fake certificates of authenticty. Click here for story.
We have also seen how he sets up charities and then fails to publish accounts or even issue receipts. When he starts a charity he claims he is unwaged and is too poor to contribute, himself. After the charity he boasts about the expensive, gadgets, cars and properties he is suddenly able to buy for himself. Click here for story.
Today we have an example of how he has joined these two cons – the memorabilia and the charities. Its quite an old story but interesting in that it demonstrates the evolution of his dirty tricks. It comes from one of our contributors whose user name is Tom Yorke.
This is his story:
In 2000/01 LFC won the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup.
Oldham advertised that he had 10 shirts signed by the squad.
He would auction them for charity. Each shirt would come with a certificate of authenticity.
Each shirt would go to the highest bidder. Bids were to be by email.
Tom bid £250 sterling. It was a mighty quick auction because he got an email back the next day from Oldham. He accepted the £250 offer. Mysteriously, overnight, Oldham had established that most offers were in the £200 range so he would now let the shirts go on a first-come, first-served basis and – like the parable of the feeding of the five thousand – the ten shirts had now become illimited. He could “easily” get more. And of course his sole motivation was charity!
> > I'll offer £250 (sterling) for one of the signed shirts > Thanks
From: “Kop Talk” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: RE: Signed Shirts Date: Thu, 8 Nov 2001 13:29:54 -0000 Hi Thanks for expressing an interest in one of our signed shirts. It's not possible to identify all of the signatures but that can easily be done with people who have more time on their hands than us :-) Official club merchandise e.g. books etc carry just about all of the autographs. We do now that they include Michael Owen, Steven Gerrard, Robbie Fowler, Markus Babbel, Jamie Redknapp, Sami Hyypia and Gerard Houllier. Each shirt is new and all of them were signed at Melwood. A letter accompanies each shirt stating that they were signed in person. We will accept your offer of £250 for a shirt even though we know some are sold on for much more, even as high as £500 or more. We have put a shirt aside for you and will keep it for 7 days to enable you to send payment and full postal details. On clearance of the funds we will then see that the shirt is prepared and packed accordingly. The shirt will e forwarded to you by recorded delivery of which there is a charge of 10.00 - if you want to chance it and not have recorded delivery, we will ay the normal postage charge on your behalf. Cheques should be made payable (£260 secure post or £250 normal post) to: " koptalk.coN" and sent to:- Reserved Items, KopTalk.coN, P.O. Box 145, Scarborough, YO12 7XU, ENGLAND. Please allow up to 28 days for delivery .http://www.KopTalk.coN n-- Duncan Oldham Editor & Producer http://www.KopTalk.coN
Now Tom thinks he ought to have been more wary back then. How could an auction turn into a first-come, first-served, and why was he paying £250 when Oldham would be selling others for £200 or less. KT did not post any information about how many other bids were received or even what the highest bid had been, and no mention was made how much the auction had raised for charity.
But in those days KT claimed to be the largest site supported by many, so who was Tom to be suspicious?
Because Tom lived in Ireland he bought a sterling draft for £260 (£10 for postage) and posted it to Oldham. The draft could not be made out to “cash”. It had to be banked by the recipient who was Oldham/KT. Tom later discovered that the draft had been banked. But he received no acknowledgement. Nor did he receive a shirt, let alone a certificate of authenticity.
Shortly after, Oldham trumpted on his site that he had sold KT to Footymad and he was going into retirement in a “beautiful new house in Formby” to enjoy his newfound riches.
He claimed he had no input into the Footymad site.
He provided no contact address for himself or the new owners.
Due to the move I haven’t had time to update the site but ti doesn’t matter any more as this is the last one!
As you will know, we’ve bought a lovely house in Formby and we’ll be soon sending out invitations to family and friends of our house warming party that we are holding in our new bar – everyone is welcome! It’s only a small bar, nothing flash but we have made it look a bit more welcoming.
As from January 1st I will no longer be involved with the Kop Talk website, the site I have been involved with for the last few years. Family comes first and the deal I was offered to walk away and let someone else take over was too good to turn down. Maria has got a new job in Manchester of all places but it’s not too far to travel each day. There was no way I was going there!!
Anyway, any mail you send to our shared PO Box in Scarborough will soon cease. If you know me, please drop me a line and I will give you our new home address in Formby.
I’d like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Duncan, Maria, Charlotte and Robert.
After several messages to Oldham went unanswered, Tom looked around for how else he could deal with it. He posted on a LFC Usenet forum often used by Oldham in the past and asked if anyone knew his whereabouts or forwarding address. Nobody replied.Then Tom used the feedback function of the new Footymad site to leave several messages about what had happened – but never received a reply. This was one of them. Notice it contains further information including the original url on which the offer was made.
“On the 6th November 2001 the previous ownerkoptalk.co.uk/koptalk.com domains Duncan Oldham advertised the auction of signed Liverpool shirts on the koptalk webpage.
I bid £250 sterling and on the 8th Nov
I received notice by email that this bid had been accepted. I was told I could pay the agreed £250 and the shirt would be delivered by standard post, or I could pay an additional £10 and it wouldbe sent via registered post. I was informed to wait 28 days for delivery.
I posted a sterling draft cheque worth £260 on the10th Nov which I have subsequently found out was cashed on the 16th of Nov. I failed to recieve the shirt by christmas time, but I put this down to it being an international cheque and that it may takelonger than normal to clear.
On the 8th of January I sent another email to
email@example.com (which is the email address used to inform me of my successful bid) not knowing that the domain had changed hands. I received no response. Since then I have tried to use the web and usenet to find an email/postal address for
Duncan Oldham to find out the status of the shirt that I should now have possession of. All these efforts have come to nought.
Therefore, since it is now the 3rd of February and nearly three months has passed, my patience has ended. As the new owners of the koptalk.co.uk domain you have taken over the legal responsibility ofproviding to me a signed liverpool shirt as I was s I was
promised and as I have paid for. If I do not receivesome notice within the next fortnight from yourselves r Duncan about what happened to the shirt I was romised and when I will receive it, I will initiate legal proceedings to recover the money detailed on the cheque.
A couple of months further on Oldham took Koptalk back from Footymad.
(He has subsquently claimed he was in a court battle with them over the deal which yielded him a £50,000 award and costs from a court – and he used this money to buy his house in Wallsend. But who believes anything he says? We know his Wallsend house cost much less than that then and is now in the name of his estranged wife and has a mortgage).
Tom and many others feel pretty sure that Oldham continued to have input into Koptalk during its brief Footymad days. In any case now that Oldham was back in charge he could not avoid his responsibility to Tom. So Tom wrote again to Oldham at KT. As usual he received no reply.
Tom gave up. The hassle of pursuing it from Ireland was too much.
In fact that is one one of the lessons he has drawn from the affair – that Oldham preys on overseas LFC supporters because he knows they do not have access to the small claims court in the UK and that it is difficult for for them to pursue him. Tom’s original order was on an email that had a Swedish return address because that where his employers are.
There are other lessons to be learned from this insight into a real deal. I’m sure seasoned blog readers can work them out for themsleves. One of them is that Oldham hit on the idea very early that by claiming he was selling for charity he could probably get a bettter price.
I’d also like to point to Oldham’s behaviour when he thinks he has an escape. Those shirts were sold while he knew he was in talks to sell the site to Footymad. There have been signs lately that he may be trying for another cash grab before bolting.
We have received several emails about recent fishy deals.
All we can say is:
DO NOT SEND ANY MONEY TO OLDHAM-KOPTALK. DO NOT PAY FOR MEMBERSHIP IN HIS SITE. DO NOT BUY ANY OF HIS SO-CALLED “OFFICAL” MEMORABILIA.
And if you have been ripped off in any way, please write to us. Oldham and his website Koptalk and his sidekicks Steve and Katie are being monitored by authorities and any evidence we can collect might help them in their enquiries. Even if you do not want us to reveal your identity the information would be useful.
Thanks to Tom for sharing his experiences. Like him, we hope it will prevent others from being ripped off.