Caveat Emptor: Buyer Beware
That you “only ever get what you pay for” is an old adage, but true; especially when the products or services you are ordering will commemorate, detail and highlight your family’s military, police or emergency service history, honour and sacrifice.
Here’s some advice that may help you avoid some costly, emotionally-charged mistakes.
First, the basics!
Make sure that the web site you’re buying from is a genuine business, and not some backyard, fly-by-night operation with no insurance (what happens if your medals get lost or stolen from a backyard shed or post office box?). Check these important points:
- The site has a genuine business behind it, evidenced by a business street adress, an ABN or ACN number clearly displayed, and a street-based telephone number – no post office boxes or mobile numbers only. Do a Google Earth search to check that the address is a business one, not a backyard shed or garage.
- Check with the Australian Securities Commission to make sure the business is registered and traceable) on the National Names Index – Check here.
- If you are sending original medals for mounting or re-mounting, always use registered mail (the same process used by Defence and recommended by the dress manuals for all services) to ensure that you have a signature and proof of delivery. it may take take a little longer but the peace of mind is worth it.
- If you are leaving medals to be mounted, always expect, and demand a signed receipt for them. Your medals are valuable not only for sentimental reasons but have a genuine market or street value often in the thousands of dollars and readily saleable here and overseas.
Not all of the problems that we had prior to establishing the Heritage Medals Group (you can read about that here) were with businesses that had no physical business premises – just post office box addresses or a back shed. But they figured (and continue to be a problem) in the experience. Have you ever tried to get your money back from a nebulous business with just a post office box address? Nigh on impossible. Consumer protection authorities in most states advise against dealing with businesses who advertise only a PO box; now we know why.
All the medals we manufacture are fully approved by the Office of the Governor-General and are either die-struck, or high-quality, injection-moulded alloys. For details, just click here. And yes, they can be rim or back-engraved to prevent against loss or theft. Oh yes, and we precision-mount medals; every time. Don’t just take our word for it; take a browse through the customer comments in the column to your right – select the ‘view all feedback’ link.
A word of advice to enhance the experience of your medal purchases. Remember the old phrase ‘caveat emptor?’
Make sure the replacement or replica medals you are buying are not cheap copies, but are genuine reproductions. From time to time, in advertisements contained in Association newsletters and military magazines, you will see what appear to be cheap replicas; but, they are either single faced, i.e. there is not a design on both sides of the replica (very common), or they are very cheap imports that are varied from the original design to overcome copyright infringement problems. In other words, they are approximate copies; not quality government-approved reproduction medals.
It’s also often the case, that riband to accompany these cheap medals is only supplied as an added-cost extra. Or if included, is a measly 150mm (enough for a swing mount, but nowhere near enough for correct court mounting). All medals we supply include 250mm of riband length for full size medals, and 150mm of riband length for miniature medals. The medals are supplied loose (just the medal and a length of riband), and need to be mounted in either court or swing style to be worn – see the page on ‘What is medal mounting?’ at the bottom of each page on the site for more information on mounting options.
Unfortunately, the majority of Australian manufacturers provide only medals made from brittle sand-cast pewter alloys; and the quality of these poorly-cast medals varies greatly. Most of the replica medals made in Australia, are heavily nickel plated, and although we source the best of them we can, in our opinion they often fall short on the quality front. However, having stated that; they are currently the ONLY approved replicas in Australia. Manufacturers constantly tell us that they have found through years of experience, that the Australian buyer will not pay the prices necessary to produce die-struck or injection-moulded high-quality replicas and consequently revert to cast reproductions.
Be assured, we are slowly working our way through the Australian Honours system, making die-struck and strong, precision forged injection-moulded reproductions approved by the Governor-General under our own Heritage brand, but that takes time and heavy investment in a relatively small marketplace.
Similarly, badges are often cheaply cast, making them very brittle indeed and subject to breakage on any protruding edges of the design. Often the clasp, or brooch component will break or fail making the badge virtually useless. On cheap copies you may also find that the plating is often poor and once scratched or chipped, will peel off entirely.
The moulds can also be of poor quality, again to avoid copyright problems or simply because time has not been taken to make a good copy; in every sense a replica of the original. Some badges we’ve been offered do not even have clasps or pins. The price is certainly forgotten once the quality is evident, but replacing poor-quality badges often because they break, shed their plating or the quality is just plain awful can be an expensive process. Better to pay once for a good quality item than many times over for poor ones.
So. Why Buy From Heritage Medals?
First up, we’re an ex-service owned and run Australian company; when it comes to medals and military memorabilia, we know what we’re doing. It’s also in your interest to consider the following points;
- A Warning!.
This site uses Internet industry-standard security encryption to protect your data as it transfers from your computer to ours to ensure that NOBODY can decypher your details. Further, we do NOT keep your full credit card details on the server; only the first four and last four numbers are stored temporarily on-site to make sure that even if our servers were ‘cracked’ by dishonest computer criminals, then any details they could access are incomplete and unusable. BEWARE of Internet sites that do not use secure servers when you place orders online – your personal data is NOT safe in those circumstances. For your protection, whatever and wherever you purchase online, our strongest advice is NOT to shop without the protection of full 256 bit encrypted secure servers, like the ones we use.
Heritage Medals is a division of The Small Business Network Pty Limited, a debt-free company formed in 1996 to develop outstanding customer service in a range of industries. The medals division (originally dealing in a range of militaria but recently concentrating on medal reproductions) was formed in December 2000 and now has years of experience with the manufacturing, research, protocols and sales of military and service badges and medals, changing it’s name from Militaria Direct to Heritage Medals in 2005.
Unlike many of our competitors, we are not a fly-by-night back-yard business that may be here today and gone tomorrow. We have a firm and total commitment to service and follow-through. We provide advice and assistance at no charge and we plough a fair percentage of our turnover (not profit) and resources to assisting military-based organisations. Our parent company, was founded in July 1996, continues to grow year after year and has expansion plans to develop into other states and territories of Australia and perhaps beyond.
Check our current business registration details, just click here.
Our company works with several accomplished manufacturers in Australia, New Zealand and in Europe and the USA. We know that our customers want the best product for the best price. We guarantee the best quality on the market at very competitive prices. Please, don’t be misled by companies offering low per-item costs and then adding inflated charges for usable riband lengths and other add-on and optional costs once you have placed your order. Our prices are certainly not the most expensive nor are they the cheapest – but fairly priced. We flatly refuse to stock trinkets.
The best way to describe the quality of our products is to see them first hand. Sadly, it’s difficult to tell quality by looking at pictures on the Internet; as a matter of fact digital photographs can be misleading – everyone’s monitor is different, so photographs render differently from one screen to another. Feel free to read through some of the reviews and testimonials by our customers from all over the planet (including currently serving defence, police and emergency services personnel) on the site here and perhaps like others have done, order a sample package to compare our quality with others.
As part of the checkout process here, you will be asked for a declaration as follows; “IMPORTANT: Please note… by continuing with this order I hereby declare that I am entitled to any badges, medals and clasps that I have ordered; or that I am a bona-fide collector and will not wear medals and accoutrements to which I am not entitled.”
It’s our way of attempting as much as possible, to support the integrity of Australia’s honours and awards system.
Copyright of all insignia of awards within the Australian honours system is the property of the Australian Government and the manufacture of replicas of all these awards has been approved by Government House, Canberra.