Concerned about the worsening quality of dealers here.

I was just lured by an HS email to check out all the listings at "up to 70% off." Well, of course, you know there are those who will abuse the system, putting greatly inflated "original prices," so that they can have a huge %-Off sale. One guy has his "original" prices set at double Scott value so he can claim he's giving you 80% off. The worst one I saw was from a dealer giving (HOLY COW) 98% OFF. Even at that, his sale price was 20% above Scott.

Of course, it's easy enough for most collectors to determine the true and fair retail value, but the point is, these guys are just turning this site into another ebay, and it's going to drive potential customers away. I've seen too many comments on different forums where people were already skeptical about doing business on HipStamp. This kind of activity only feeds that skepticism. Plus it's unfair to the dealers who truly have % Off sales for fairly priced material to begin with. Search results just get cluttered up with these bogus sales.

I guess that's the price of success. There are too many dealers and too many listings now to even attempt to maintain a certain degree of integrity.


  • 64 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • I agree, Ive noticed it since the onset of the pandemic as folks just list and list with bizarre ethics...jKml5-1596636734-2208-quiz_question_image_-mobile_store
  • Ditto on that Hombres'. I guess I have hope that the cream will rise to the top and the more sophisticated buyers can see through it but it does have the potential to do some needless damage to good reputations. What can be done about it though I guess. They pay their fees to the site like everyone else. Maybe if they realize that nobody is buying and there is no money to be made doing it, they will weed themselves out naturally. Also, charging ~$6.00 for shipping a 50c item is a bit aggressive too. Maybe. Just my 2c.
  • I agree whole heartily with Ted. There is an accumulation of absolute garbage that is starting to develop on here.
  • When you permit a link between HS and Ebay, you bring the well know riff-raff and garbage with it. Is it a necessary evil, or should the link be broken and the fraudsters booted from HS to restore faith in the integrity of HS and its buyers and sellers?
  • hhmmmmm interesting point of view........... anecdotally.. I looked at 14 sellers who would qualify and only 1 has an eBay link it would appear.. perhaps I was just unlucky in my selection., just as I am picking lottery numbers :-)

    I think Ted is spot on. ..oh and by the is not. .'starting to accumulate' it has been there for a while, just getting worse.

    buyer beware I guess...

  • There's a whole lot of mighty fine dealers and material here, however......

    My main peeve with the junk dealers is that they waste my time and eyesight. I just paged through a bunch of crappy 2c & 3c on piece items, not even identified by catalog numbers ("US 3c green"), and all priced at $5. What a bargain. Then there are all the Disney/Elvis/Diana Islands and other modern wallpaper countries. I recently saw stamps from Redonda, an uninhabited speck of land owned by Antigua. (Eyes roll)

    Well. I feel better now...
  • We have found the problem with the silly high prices on HS is that their punters have got used to making low offers and having them accepted - even when this discounted price is higher than we would charge anyway.
    We have put many items in our HS store at our standard prices. We then get offers below our already reasonable prices. Unfortunately with HS you can't add any text to explain it is already cheap enough when responding to to offers. There is no point in accepting offers that would lead to a loss.
    Maybe we need to increase our prices a bit so offers become viable. If you can't beat them, join them!
  • Some days as I sit cataloging and pricing material, I consider the market and my bottom line (I really hate to price something below what I paid for it), then my eyes glaze over and I think about offers and % off sales. It is hard to avoid the trap of overpricing an item "just a little" to cover the next sale I have in mind. I think probably we all do it once in a while, especially when we see what others are charging. There is a thin line separating a fair price for the customer, a fair price for the seller and a price that will actually sell. That people blur the lines is a given in the brick and mortar world as well as the Hipstamp world. There isn't a lot we can do about those who blur or totally erase those lines. All we can do is offer what we honestly consider to be fair prices and hope the reward is that we will still be in business tomorrow.
  • Fees were increased here the past year <-That should help. Almost every site has similar issues. Delcampe tried a few ways to control cheap stamps. :-) that did not work out so well. Over regulation in itself is an issue. A fine balance is required. Also stating certain non normal country topical are not stamps is another can of worms I doubt a site wants to tackle. Best way is to adjust search or use the search tools available to help avoid the items some don't care for?
  • I have never been happy with the "discount" sales approach and believe most buyers are knowledgeable enough to recognize a "real discount" from a "fake discount." While it may be discouraging to see those who set ridiculous initial prices, I don't believe it really hurts any site, other seller or would cause someone to leave a site. Personally I don't believe in offering any discounts and have not done so for many years. Therefore I don't need to worry about "pricing" an item to adjust for a "sale discount." I never saw that it helped to increase my sales. It only decreased my profits. I try to price items fairly and am willing to wait until someone comes along to buy the stamp. I'm currently selling stamps that were listed back on StampWants along with stamps that were listed recently.
  • Interesting discussion especially in view of a previous discussion about listing items with a cat. value which some said was a waste of time, not accurate etc etc.
    Except that a cat. val. of 2017 is better than an imaginary value set by a seller that wants to offer a "great discount". All my listings, all 33,000 of them have a dated cat. val., and the selling price is always the same percent off, be it a common QEII definitive or a less common commemoratives. They eventually both sell. A collector who has an empty spot to fill will pay a logical price. There is no need to boost the value to make a 70% off sale.
    My sales are hitting a all time high and my customers are very happy and come back on a regular basis.
  • edited March 2021 1 LikesVote Down
    Oh Dear!!! ......I've just started a 4 Day discount sale (8% off) as this weekend is prior to the end of the month.

    Buyers on this site appear very well educated and I doubt they would fall for the old 70% off sale ploy?

  • I appreciate everyone’s comments. Of course most sellers are smart enough not to fall for the ploy; my concern is new visitors to the site who are not sure, yet, if they can trust this site. If their first exposure to the site is the inflated prices and bogus sales of these POS dealers, then off they go, spreading the word on their favorite stamp forum to stay away from the shysters on HipStamp. I’ve seen too many of those comments already, concerning listings for trashy stamps at VF prices.
  • I have been frequenting HipStamp for just about a year now. I have made a bunch of purchases from many different sellers on the site. I haven't returned any of my purchases as I have been satisfied that everything has been, at minimum, "as described". I have never felt the need to leave negative feedback for anyone. I don't believe that anyone has outright cheated me. I think I have had a positive experience over the past year. I enjoy browsing the listings, buying the stamps, collecting them and talking about them. I especially like these forums where anyone can have their say.
    I like HipStamp. I like the sellers, most of whom have been helpful and willing to answer questions.
    I don't think HipStamp is going to hell. I think it is a growing stamp community and a good place for learning about the hobby.

  • As a collector who sells his duplicates here I have never been a fan of % off sales. The % off means nothing if the material is not properly priced to start with. I do price 90% of my offerings at a % of SCV- usually 9-12% but occasionally more (Russian stamps mostly). Likewise, I try to never pay more than 10% for anything I want for my collection. Hopefully the people who overcharge (one way or another) will be weeded out overtime by the buyers not falling for sales stunts.
  • it's not any different than what you had at stamp shows or brick and mortars. It's far easier here to weed out stuff that you have no interest in buying here. Try price checking at a show where there are 35 dealers and see how easy it really is. Try checking the type of material they are carrying at a show. Here you can do it in a matter a minute or so depending on what you are looking for. The biggest reason why you would see all of that is when one is browsing. That's the whole purpose of using the filters that Hipstamp has built. I would guess that after a point most of the buyers will have placed the sellers they want to deal with in their favorites. You can do that on Ebay too. The first sellers I look at are those in my favorite sellers. I know the type of material they carry and if they something I am looking for I will buy from them first. (The only times I ever have to look at those other type of sellers is in the bowsing stage, outside of that I never see those type of sellers or material.)
  • Duehr makes a couple good points. Comparing prices at a stamp show, even local ones, is impractical if not impossible. His advice to identify sellers who are honest, experienced, and helpful, and then place them into your favorites file. Here’s a couple of my pet peeves with some sellers on HipStamp: 1) Sellers who show scanned images of XF or better centered issues and then ship stamps of lesser quality. Some will hide behind the “Quantity X” notation but that should not excuse them from sending stamps of lesser quality. I pay the asking price but warn sellers that I return any stamps that do not meet or exceed their scanned images. My “favorites” sellers all ship the exact stamp in the image shown. 2) For tenured collectors it is laughable (and frustrating) of how some dealers label “Good” to “Fine” stamps as “XF” or sometimes “S” stamps. Buyers (and certain sellers) may want to get some available software like EZGrader and they will quickly learn how difficult it is to get just a “VF” graded stamp – at least as judged by the stamp collecting trade. Still HipStamp serves a purpose, and with the dearth of shows this past year, a useful resource for building one’s collection and filling in some holes. The buyer just has to beware of the pitfalls.
  • Good points all, Dan.
  • I agree. New collectors beware. Read read read. Knowledge will keep you safe
  • Give the buyers the tool to BLOCK selected sellers from what they look at on HS. Then buyers will weed out the sellers who take buyers as idiots, with false advertising, sales that are not sales at all, or inflated shipping charges.!
  • Honestly, that would be a great feature.
  • Ralph,

    It's not going to happen. There is reason why even Ebay and Amazon don't allow buyers to block sellers. As long as the sellers are the ones who are directly paying the Hipstamp fees, they are entitled to a certain amount of service in which their listings will be shown. The buyers themselves are NOT required to pay any fees to use Hipstamp services.

    Did it ever occur to you the reason they don't do it is due to certain legal issues that may crop up if you allowed buyers to be able to block sellers? Why do you think it's the reason they built the filters instead of just building a block seller list? It would have been a whole lot less costly and much easier for them to do so in the first place.
  • I was with Bidstart but left when the SG debacle occurred. I have just returned to Hipstamp and purchased a 12 month subscription. I have a Ebay shop too and am trying to entice customers over to Hipstamp. After reading this and other comments on this forum I am wondering if I have made a mistake. The negativity I feel directed to me as an outsider is stunning. My shop is full of low price items with very few duplications I rarely discount. I do not sell expensive stamps so doe this make me any less a reputable trader. I am sure there will be wave of critics prepared to attack the comments and I wish you well. Hipstamp cannot grow without new traders but I wonder how many would survive in this environment. Any way cheers to you all even those who would have traders like me run out of town.
  • edited April 2021 8 LikesVote Down

    I would not worry too much about the comments on the forums. Most of the buyers don't actually use the forums. I grew up in this business and many of the comments are the same type of comments that some of them had 50 years ago. My folks and I were one of those dealers that some of them would have given us grief back in those days because we carried a fair amount so called sand dunes and CTO wallpaper stamps. My folks started the business when I was 11 back in 1969.
    One of the things my mom would do was when she got price lists from some of the wholesalers and she would have us mark sets in the lists that we liked. Part of it was that she was trying to get kids interested in collecting stamps, and if we liked the sets then she knew other kids would be too. And most of them were inexpensive sets. (It should be no surprise that none of the sets that we picked had any dead dudes in them and very little of any so called classic material.)

    In the early 1980's we were able to get a table at Milcopex which is the largest show in WI. At that time the man who was in charge of running the show was having a problem with many of the sellers not wanting to be near the kids table. He asked us if we would be willing to do so and we had no problem doing so. (The schools at that time would bring kids in on field trips on Friday.) Those days were fun to deal with the kids. Once the show opened we would have kids 5 and 6 deep around our table. (And we had a lot of stuff that they could for a quarter or 5 for $1. They were small packets of from anywhere of 15 to 25 stamps.) It was more fun dealing with those kids than dealing with the grumpy old goats. (And there are both buyers and sellers that are a bunch of grumpy old goats who have a tendency to think that their way of doing things is the only proper way of doing things.)

    And we also had an older gentleman who never bought any thing else other than packets. (He bought thousands of dollars worth of those things.) I have no clue at all what he was doing with the stuff but he was having fun with it and it's all he wanted to buy. There is no accounting for the buyers tastes. You can go anywhere from just buying stamps to fill a space in your book in which condition is not an issue (Including stamps that are ripped, torn or shredded) or collecting every possible town cancel on a specific stamp, up and including only collecting XF to Superb pre 1900 MNHOG classics.

    That's not to say that some of the sellers practices leave a lot to be desired. Unless the sellers is doing something illegal
    who is to determine what is too high in prices or shipping, or condition or any thing you can think of? Who's the one that decides if shipping an item at $6 is too high? Is $10 too high? (If he the seller is sending those items out via first class parcel with tracking is that really out of line for that service? If the seller is sending the shipments via Fedex is that really out of line?) If I as a buyer want to fill my book with ripped, torn or shredded stamps who is to say I can't do that? If I want to buy 10,000 of the same common stamp who is to say I can't do that?

    And if you could go back when Stampwants was first started and go back into the archives of the threads there some of the same ones that are still complaining about this since 2005. Some of the sellers that are doing some of these things were the same sellers they complained about then. One of the sellers they were complaining about the most bitterly is still listing and selling. I may not like what some of the sellers do, but I will defend the buyers rights to buy what they want from who they want and at the price they are willing to pay. The buyers are adults making adult choices, and they have the right to choose how they are going to spend their money.

    And never mind the fact that the whole premise of this type of thread comes across as the buyers are IDIOTS and need to be protected from themselves. Give the buyers a bit more credit than that. And never mind the fact that most of the people that purchase off the internet are a bit more educated about this than were 15-20 years ago.

  • edited April 2021 5 LikesVote Down
    And as far as ripped, torn or shredded stamps, we would have grandparents and parents coming in and asking for those so they could use those to teach the kids on how to handle stamps. (We would give them some) It wasn't a big deal if the kids mishandled the stamps as they were already damaged. At least they could learn how to handle them without ruining better stamps.

    Want to see a kid lose interest in collecting stamps, try forcing them to collect Washington Franklins. (From a kids perspective they are some of the most boring stamps you could look at. I've seen parents try to force their collecting interests on the kids and it never works that way.)
  • Ted,

    Just a quick question for you. Do you know for a fact which cats and years the seller was using and which Scott cat were you using? FYI there are sellers on here that have listings in which they even state in the listing that have cat values from Scott's 2010. (Never mind the fact that it's 12 years out of date.)
  • edited April 2021 0 LikesVote Down
    deleted because I cannot edit image. see next comment.

  • To David Peters: can you point specifically to comments on this thread you feel are directed at you? For my part, I was addressing the sleazy marketing tactics of certain dealers, and nothing in what you said about your store fits the description of my comments.

    To Michael Duehr: Yes and no. Yes, I know for a fact which catalogue I was using. No, I don't know which catalogues the dealers are referencing. So, what is a buyer to think when they are looking for Germany Scott #34, and come across this?

    The 2 on the left are not #34, but #42 with a 2018 SCV of $1.50. The 2 on the right have simultaneous CVs of $15 and $11.Image5
  • edited April 2021 1 LikesVote Down
    I would like to think that it was an honest mistake in this due to the colors that are listed in the cat. A 42 can look more grey than green depending on the variations in the ink that was used and due to the age and if that person didn't handle it very much. I have seen those 42's that are almost all grey with just a hint of green. (Which by the way Scott's lists a 42a which is called olive green.) And if the seller is comparing a 42a to a 42 which happens to be greyer than a normal 42, it would be somewhat easy to confuse those if you didn't have a 34 to compare it with.

    And by the way did you send a message to let him know in case it was a mistake?
  • One of my recent favorites:
    1923, Franklin, 1c, Size: 19¼ x 22½, Perf. 11, SC #596, CV $ 145762 ....asking only $1,200!
    SO.... I reached out to the seller ( who was polite and very nice). I suggested that it would only be salable with certification. It is likely a common stamp worth a quarter ( at most). But WHY would someone who thought they had a stamp worth huge money try to sell it at 1% "value", unless they knew it was NOT true. Online platforms create a level of boldness in terms of dishonesty that seldom existed in the brick and mortar era. Although we don't have a obligation to call out shady sellers ( or inexperienced " I inherited some stamps" people who make mistakes), we should raise concerns if we wish for the hobby to have a modicum of accountability. 34a53df14b8ecda03ad37d5eb2b384e6
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