Fraudulant seller on HipStamp and eBay - "trust but verify"

My apologies if I am posting this within the wrong discussion topic. I am quickly learning to "trust but verify". Last year I purchased three stamps from seller abigaisteel3 off of eBay. I just had them certified based on advice from a trusted stamp dealer friend, and all three (US Scott #'s 141, 143, and 144) were determined to be fraudulent by the Philatelic Foundation. The grills are counterfeit on each. I am currently seeking recourse through eBay but am not hopeful because the transactions took place over a year ago. I am likely out of luck but the least I can do is inform other potential buyers. Unfortunately this seller is now also on HIpStamp as well so buyer beware! That seller's listings consist largely of "grilled" stamps and counterfeit coils derived from imperforate stamps. Any advice would be appreciated other than "don't be so gullible"!

Comments

  • 26 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • A 'find seller' search here and on eBay for 'abigaisteel3' came back with no hits.
  • I was able to find that seller's eBay listings here: https://www.ebay.com/usr/abigaisteel3?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2754

    It appears the seller changed her name to Abigailstamps on HipStamp. My apologies.
  • No need to apologize. Its good to have the correct info out there for everybody to have a heads' up. Thank you for posting it, and good luck with resolving your issues on eBay. If you paid with PayPal, I would also suggest getting them involved, as they may be more helpful than the mutts on eBay.
  • edited June 4 1 LikesVote Down
    On any high valued stamps especially with grills you would want a certificate otherwise you are taking a risk. It is also wise to know the sellers conditions before buying. For example

    "obtaining Certificates of Authenticity"
    Notice that a stamp is being submitted for a certificate must be made at the time payment is made. No refunds will be made after 120 days after the sale date unless extra time is granted. Due to the high cost of obtaining certificates, we will only refund the cost of the stamp and not the cost of the certificate for stamps that sell for less than $100 that comes back with a negative certificate. Stamps that sell for above $100 will receive a full refund for both the price of the stamp and cost of the certificate if it should come back not as described.
    For u.S. Stamps generic certificates from the philatelic foundation, pse, or the aps are accepted.
    Note "graded" certificates or "encased" items are not accepted.
    Proof of inability of a competent authority to express an opinion are not grounds for return."

    Buyers are often willing to gamble on these stamps in return for a good deal but many are fakes. Most honorable sellers would refund you for your purchase. Here is a prime example https://www.hipstamp.com/listing/143-used-f-vf-cat-3750/26410471
    Good luck. It should be noted that sellers who purposely sell a lot of questionable high valued material without authenticity are usually doing a disservice.
  • "It should be noted that sellers who purposely sell a lot of questionable high valued material without authenticity are usually doing a disservice."

    "Disservice"? More like fraud than anything else. They know exactly what they're doing. Contact them and challenge them regarding their listings. See what kind of a response you get back.
  • Mark,

    I take it the seller did not issue you refunds for these items. Correct?

    Your best bet at this point is to take the matter to the USPS and FBI as they sold you counterfeit or spurious articles.


  • Please note the words "we are of the opinion that ......".

    Remember that there is often no concurrence on the question of whether a stamp is legitimate of spurious between authenticating services. Stamps issued good certs by one organization may be issued a bad cert by a different organization. Sadly even politics can play a role in determining the legitimacy of a stamp as certain dealers are favored by certain organizations and by certain experts as well.

    Everything is not always as it appears

  • Michael, you are correct although some very few of these stamps may check out. It is a gamble and most of the time both sides of the party know that. However, if a seller sells something that is bogus they can easily take it back and refund the funds. Who would even want these predicaments besides a handful of slippery dealers?
  • I agree with Michael Generali's opinion that this is fraudulent activity by the seller rather than just "an oversight". I have a complaint in with eBay but am not hopeful of a successful resolution given the lack of timeliness on my part. The next step is contacting the FBI. It's my hope that at the very least I will get her kicked off of eBay. I am assuming that since this activity didn't occur on HipStamp, Mark will not take action to remove her unless a complaint were lodged with respect to a purchase on this site.
  • Mark,

    If you go that route also talk to the USPS as they deal with mail fraud.
  • edited June 4 1 LikesVote Down
    Mark what did Abigail stamps say about the issue? It appears they have many other questionable listings i.e.
    https://www.hipstamp.com/listing/us-144-1870-71-carmine-perf-12-h-grill-used-f-vf-scv-2500/21684568
    Wow just looking at their past sales they have sold more H Grill Bank note stamps than I have ever seen and these are rare stamps along with Washington/Franklin coils. Maybe they can find or produce some Orangeberg coils...
  • And yet they have a 100 % feedback rating here
  • edited June 4 0 LikesVote Down
    Astonishing Carol, but I suspect their gig is up... What is the saying a fool is born every minute or a fool and his money are soon parted. This is one of the major reasons the stamp community suffers.
    http://www.theswedishtiger.com/144-scotts.html
  • "Abigail....you got some 'splaining to do"
  • Of course items that are returned and refunded, usually earn the seller positive feedbacks.
  • He has 100 percent positive feedback. I just checked, as of D-Day. How does ebay allow that.
  • Reminds me of something my Dad told me way back when. "If you want to ruin something, get money involved." It is one thing if someone wants to pay a ridiculous price for a common stamp because it is certified as a XF/S stamp, but to fraudulently alter stamps to deceive a collector for monetary gain is what ruins stamp collecting. I will not buy a valuable stamp that could faked without a certificate.
  • edited June 8 0 LikesVote Down
    That's true Mark didn't disclose how this seller responded and the details what he actually paid. Collectors gamble all the time on these stamps and most of time they are counterfeits so yes you have to be careful. It's a shame folks try to sell the bogus
    issues but there is enough demand.
  • Unfortunately I haven't heard anything back from Abigailstamps stamps "what a shock!". I filed a complaint with eBay but so far haven't heard anything back and she remains a seller there despite eBay's representative telling me there have been some "problems" with that individual. I wish Mark Rosenberg would take the initiative and kick her off of HipStamp, but so far that hasn't happened either. Perhaps he doesn't regularly view these threads. Should I use the "report user" link within Abigailstamps's listing to bring this to his attention?

    Here's another issue I've had purchasing another high dollar bank note stamp, sold to me as an original gum #155. I purchased the stamp linked below which I sent to a very reputable stamp dealer friend of mine in preparation for getting a PF cert. He told me the stamp is a shaved down Scott #166P4 card proof, regummed and reperforated on all 4 sides. Luckily the seller honored my request to return the stamp. However, it's been relisted on HIpStamp by the same seller as a regummed #155 at a lesser selling price. It's unfortunately that yet another stamp seller with good feedback numbers has elected to market a fraudulent stamp to recoup some of the cash they likely spent in initially acquiring that stamp.

    https://www.hipstamp.com/listing/usa-155-very-fine-mint-regummed-lightly-hinged/26057776
  • edited June 9 0 LikesVote Down
    How do they have the nerve to relist a reperforated proof it's clear not only from the sharp perforations, the paper type, and brightness of imagine. If something looks too good
    to be true, it usually is. I've purchased a few like this myself so you live and learn but if a stamp is
    reperforated generally steer away.
  • edited June 9 1 LikesVote Down
    155-CSM
    155 PSE85

    That stamp listing has ??? written all over it.
    The top stamp is the one in question. Compare it to the one below it, a PSE certified VF+ Grade 85, valued at $2150.
    I have no doubt the Brand CSM stamp would grade at 90, more likely a 95, which, even in no-gum or regummed condition, is valued at $2600-3250
    That brings up the $64,000 question. Why would a dealer forego a certificate, then obviously undergrade and underprice a super-premium-quality stamp, and leave $2000 or more on the table?
  • The seller is looking for a dupe.
  • B.I.N.G.O. We have a winner!!!
  • Can I block a seller? :wink:
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