How to Protect Yourself in Internet Auctions

As stamp volume increases via transactions on the Internet, people who want to make a fast buck selling dubious items also grows.

Since stamps bought through Internet auctions seem to be one of the biggest areas of concern for all auction transactions contracted for over the web, it remains up to the stamp and cover buyer to be on guard when bidding and purchasing merchandise via auction.

Here are some of the problems that have been reported regarding Internet stamp transactions:

  1. Forgeries are being sold to collectors who aren't aware of the vast and active world of philatelic forgers. They often enhance lower quality stamps to make them appear better, and then offering them for sale at higher prices.
  2. Forgeries are spotted on the Internet by knowledgeable philatelists, and the seller is contacted explaining and detailing the forgery, yet the item remains listed on the Internet, and is eventually sold.
  3. Many of the items being offered and sold are described by amateurs, and after the material is paid for and received, the item is found to have major quality and repairing problems.
  4. When the "error" is pointed out, sellers have sometimes refused to refund the money paid for the item.
  5. Items are bought and paid for, and the seller claims the item was mailed. But it was never received.
  6. Items are being mis-catalogued. One collector bought three different U.S.A. Washington-Franklin definitive issue stamps from the same Internet seller, and all of them were misdescribed using an incorrect Scott Catalog number.
  7. Internet auctions seem to have an attitude of "You bought it, it's yours."
  8. One Internet auction firm discovered that an unscrupulous seller was entering nice comments about his own service using assumed names and email addresses.

There is only one method available to the buyer today that will help assure protection. That is to ask the Internet auction firm what they will do if an item is misdescribed, not shipped, or any other possibility. Then it is up to the buyer to make an informed decision. Fortunately, most of the transactions on the Internet work out to everyone's satisfaction.

That's great news unless you are one of those who didn't receive your paid-for merchandise, or if you are a buyer who received a misdescribed item. It's still a Buyer Beware situation.