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Will eBay ever be a safe place for collectors to buy stamps?  
 

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Pillar Of The Community
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Posted 06/13/2018   07:10 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
If someone is spending $1500 and not know what he or she is buying, there is not much you can do. They will likely lose more.
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Al
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Posted 06/13/2018   07:29 am  Show Profile Check revenuecollector's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add revenuecollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Doesn't anybody have a problem with this scenario?


It's not that people don't have a problem with the scenario. If (1) the seller won't respond, (2) eBay won't take action, (3) eBay won't walk back the anonymity of bidders (that is NOT going to change), and (4) ASDA won't take action, then what do you suggest be done that is more effective than walking around with torches and pitchforks shouting at clouds about it?

It's already been suggested that more buyer education resources are a start. If you don't see that as viable, then fine. What are you proposing that is REALISTIC with respect to expectations? Some of the "proposals" I've seen floated here are pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking, e.g., " eBay should hire experts in all the collectibles fields to police all the listings." Not going to happen. Not reasonable to expect a business to do that.

Re: the ASDA. Newsflash: collectors are not their customers. Dealers are. Collectors complaining to them is not going to accomplish anything. An argument can be made that then we should be exerting influence on the dealer members of ASDA and work up to "the leadership", e.g., a letter writing campaign.

Sadly, there's a problem with that as well. Many of the ASDA members are strictly old school, i.e., show dealers only. I know of several that don't even have email addresses, let alone a web site, let alone buy/sell on eBay. You approach them with this issue and there is ZERO connection or context. They'll wonder what the heck you're talking about.

I don't know that the ASDA tree is likely to bear any fruit.

More and higher profile buyer education resources are the way to go, in my opinion. However, you need to be careful about how they are created, where and by whom. "Outing" bad sellers by name has its legal risks as well. Don has mentioned this in the past. It's not as much a risk for you and I, but more so for the site owner.

Here's an example that just happened to me personally within the last 2 weeks:

I own a music website and forum. Every year or two I'll get a record label, band, or musician, that is unhappy with negative press, reviews or discussion about them. They'll contact me raging and ranting about suing me if I don't take the offending content down. 95% of the time it's bluster from a keyboard commando. I matter of factly tell them that I cannot take action based upon anonymous emails that anyone could have spoofed, and that if they wish to send me a formal request in writing, upon the letterhead of a currently licensed law firm, I will consider the matter.

That usually escalates the threats and ranting, and then it just evaporates and goes away. Well, this last week, apparently the complainant was serious enough about the matter, despite the ranting and raving, to do something about it. I was put in contact with a real law firm who proceeded to issue the takedown request in writing.

I then had to weigh my options. Given that this is now "real", do I stand on principle and allow the content to stand regardless of potential consequences? Since this is a hobby for me and doesn't generate considerable income, do I want the risks involved in not acquiescing?

This scenario is the type of thing that Bobby or any other host of a forum where content/claims/discussion about other parties takes place has to potentially deal with.

It's not always cut and dried.
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Posted 06/13/2018   07:55 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Apples and oranges. Selling altered, outright faked and deliberately misdescribed merch is not the same as producing music that attracts negative opinions.
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Posted 06/13/2018   08:02 am  Show Profile Check revenuecollector's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add revenuecollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Apples and oranges. Selling altered, outright faked and deliberately misdescribed merch is not the same as producing music that attracts negative opinions.


It is most certainly NOT apples and oranges. If the party who is being written about feels that said writing has damaged their reputation or ability to engage in business, the potential ramifications to the site owner are the same, regardless of whether the criticism/discussion is legitimate, or what the topic is.

You've heard the saying that "truth is an absolute defense to defamation". That is absolutely the case, but that doesn't mean it will prevent the aggrieved party from bringing suit. Anyone can sue for any perceived slight, regardless of merit. The case may ultimately fail, but many business owners have gone bankrupt defending against cases that had no merit.

Sometimes it comes down to who has the deepest pockets; who can outlast the other.

My apologies for the thread tangent...
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Edited by revenuecollector - 06/13/2018 08:05 am
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Posted 06/13/2018   08:17 am  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
ASDA could solve this problem by simply abolishing the use of the ASDA logo for memeber promtional purposes. It is the fact that they want the ASDA logo to stand for a quality seller without enforcing ethical standards that is the issue here..

This is not rocket science for an organization. If you want to have any kind of standards then you have to communicate them and then enforce them. The enforcement needs to support a mechanism for reporting violations, a way to mediate the inevitable disputes, and a way to communicate those outcomes of the mediation.

But I also notice that the number of reported APS disciplinary actions has dropped significantly over the last number of years. Many cynics would assume that the most obvious reason is that these organizations desire to hold on to every paying membership they can.

While I agree with Dan that hobbyists are not influential with ASDA, who are the stakeholders at ASDA? The stakeholders are the other paying dealers. Competitors. Obviously this is a big problem since it now opens the door for intentions beyond ‘what is best for the organization'. This is the same issue with Reedededge's campaign against Anthony's in this community. They are competitors in the coin world and we have to just take it on faith that Reedededge's intentions are pure.

The ASDA would have to make a lot ‘take it on faith' decisions, not anything any organization wants to do. It opens the door for a lot of political drama within the organization and certainly increases the odds of being sucked into more legal actions.

With all these potential issues, it seems clear to me that the ASDA ought to simply disallow the use of the ASDA logo for member promotional purposes.
Don
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Posted 06/13/2018   08:31 am  Show Profile Check revenuecollector's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add revenuecollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
ASDA could solve this problem by simply abolishing the use of the ASDA logo for memeber promtional purposes.


And here is where we get into conflicting goals for the ASDA. While disallowing member usage of the logo would stem abuse by members, it also would defeat the entire purposes of the logo, e.g., brand identitiy and heightened visability.

I'm sure that the ASDA encourages members to use the logo prominently in their advertising, in the same way the APS encourages members to use the logo.

Proposing that any membership-based organization abandon member use of the logo is a self-defeating premise.
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Edited by revenuecollector - 06/13/2018 08:32 am
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Posted 06/13/2018   08:42 am  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Dan,
The ASDA mission statement has a number of objectives that have nothing to do with the use of the logo.

Quote:
The American Stamp Dealers Association, Inc. promotes stamp collecting, keeps stamp dealers informed about in and out-of-industry regulations and happenings, opposes laws which would adversely affect the industry and its Members' livelihood, and acts as a liaison between stamp dealer member Associations affiliated with other recognized philatelic bodies. ASDA studies local and national legislation that relates to the field and publishes them with commentary. In many instances, the American Stamp Dealers Association, Inc. has been successful in securing the reversal of rulings which were detrimental to the stamp business.


It is not until the end of the mission statement that they throw in this (after-thought?)

Quote:
In short, the aims of American Stamp Dealers Association, Inc. are your aims: to publicize the professionalism and dependability of ASDA members; to promote the stamp industry and your share in it.


What I take away from the way the mission statement is written is that this is not the highest purpose of the organization. But I am an outsider looking in…
Don
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Posted 06/13/2018   08:47 am  Show Profile Check revenuecollector's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add revenuecollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Don,

I get that. My point is that proposing that any organization disallow member use of the logo for promotional reasons is most assuredly a nonstarter, as it would run counter to the (internal) best interests of that organization, regardless of any external benefits.

Then again, I'm a cynic.
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Posted 06/13/2018   12:41 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add cjpalermo1964 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
then what do you suggest be done that is more effective than walking around with torches and pitchforks shouting at clouds about it? It's already been suggested that more buyer education resources are a start. If you don't see that as viable, then fine. What are you proposing that is REALISTIC with respect to expectations?


Legal remedies exist but for most parties they are unrealistic based on economics. Trademark cancellation has been mentioned previously. An FTC complaint could be made but the level of economic harm to the public probably is too low to get their attention. Civil litigation could be initiated by an innocent defrauded collector, possibly as a contingent fee class action case. All of these cannot be pursued anonymously or by "someone else", as some of these posts seem to want. Like pickpocketing in Barcelona, not every wrong has a remedy, so the situation is likely to persist until someone steps forward with a direct loss and deep pockets to bring a case.
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Posted 06/13/2018   3:56 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add floortrader to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Legal this and legal that ,getting sued always comes up when this subject is discussed . If you want a solution to this problem here it is ......but .......it is going to cost everybody money to correct it .

You can't have a free public access site because then you can get sued for putting out negative information about people . But you can have a limited access site for members only ,these members pay a fee to join and access the pages ,again members only . Each member signs a agreement that they will be held to the truth and only post what they know as the truth .

There will be a section for problem transactions with a seperate area for each person or dealer who you had issues with and explain what was at issue and if it was resolved . After a while the complaints will pile up from bad people ,each member can decide if they want to do business with the person other members posted about ,also you can take that list of problems and block those people from your eBay account .

Members posting their problems and issues is not a sueable issue because it is not public .Cost could be $2.00 a month and you would have a list of negative feedback posters , bad checks ,people who switch material and people claiming never receive items and all sort of stuff they pulled on other honest sellers . The biggest problem would be to get the $2.00 because everybody wants the information for free .
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Posted 06/13/2018   4:19 pm  Show Profile Check revenuecollector's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add revenuecollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
A private site would defeat the entire purpose of widespread buyer education. Sure, it would be a great little club for "those in the know" but it would never gain traction.

Additionally, making it membership-only would NOT protect the owner(s) from defamation suits. All it would take is one or more of the offended parties getting a stealth membership and voila!

You love private membership-only clubs, don't you?
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Posted 06/13/2018   4:35 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add cjpalermo1964 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Defamation can occur in any kind of site, public or private, regardless of any "truth agreement," but the standard for liability is a lot higher than "negative information."
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Posted 06/13/2018   5:46 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
What Floortrader describes was implemented on Stamp Smarter (without any membership costs) about 5-6 years ago.
Don
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United States
141 Posts
Posted 06/13/2018   6:00 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Reedededge to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
This is the same issue with Reedededge's campaign against Anthony's in this community. They are competitors in the coin world and we have to just take it on faith that Reedededge's intentions are pure.


Just to set the record straight, I have NEVER run up against Anthony's with any numismatic business whatsoever. I deal in certified collector coins and service the serious/advanced collector, and to the best of my understanding this is not Anthony's MO. Furthermore, I did not even know Anthony's dealt in coins until I came across their stamp listings on eBay. I started this thread (and others) but I am not alone in my disgust with this company and others like them. It may or may not be apparent by now, that I am significantly invested in this hobby. I take it personally when another entity misrepresents rare stamps, and by doing so, potentially devalues my philatelic investment. This is insulting, and more importantly, it is costing us collectors. A couple of my good friends have also gotten back into stamp collecting, and are acquiring some expensive properties. But, they too are watching intently and sizing up the landscape before they progress much further. Between the 3 of us, we could impact the stamp hobby. If 100 more like us got on board, it would GREATLY impact the hobby and associated stamp prices. But, how do we expect exponential growth to occur without policing our hobby? If we think the only ones getting harmed by this type of activity are clueless collectors, then we have our collective heads in the sand.
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Posted 06/14/2018   9:16 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Fredc to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I agree with Reedededge ( and others ) that this is a serious issue for collectors. The best solution ( although probably nearly impossible to execute) is to boycott eBay, and create a more reputable online stamp site. A site that is monitored by stamp experts who will take down obviously fake/altered stamp listings. eBay should have such an expert on its staff to field complaints and remove fraudulent listings. eBay belongs on the losing end of a class-action lawsuit for aiding and abetting these fraudulent sales.
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