Deceptive or Smart Buyer? You Decide!!

I feel I got conned into selling 45 stamps at a 30% discount by what I call a deceptive buyer, but perhaps I'm wrong. I received a message asking if I had more US 209's available than the 100 I had listed at either 40 cents with faults or $1.15 without faults. He was willing to pay 80 cents each. I advised that I didn't and broke down the quantities of each available. He then said, "I'll take the stamps without faults and however many of the faulty stamps that have minor faults". The breakdown resulted in my selling a lot of 84 stamps for about 5% less than my original asking prices.

Yesterday I received a mysterious shipment from a "well known" stamp dealer from which I hadn't ordered any stamps recently. Enclosed were ALL of the faulty stamps and a refund request for 80 cents each. If they didn't want the faulty stamps, why not say so? Unless they thought I wouldn't sell them the good ones alone at a reduced cost. In which case they would have been right. Reluctantly I made the refund because I made the mistake of not notifying the buyer that the different type stamps (with or without faults) in my mind were actually sold at two different prices with the average being the 80 cents that was offered. I made the refund to the person who had paid for the order who was different than the one I communicated with and shipped the stamps or the one who returned the stamps. I don't understand why they fail to use their company name when purchasing, but only when returning stamps. Also I ask that anyone returning stamps, notify me first, but apparently that is too much ask.

Personally I won't be buying any stamps from this dealer nor will I answer one of their flyers asking if I want to sell my stamp collection. By the way, they don't sell on HipStamp under their name nor under the person to whom I shipped the stamps.

I thought I would share this, so others can be aware of potential pitfalls when making up special lots requested by buyers. I know I learned my lesson and will be handling this type of transaction differently in the future.


  • 17 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • $0.32 says I know who it is. They did this crap to me last year and told them to go get bent and not to bother me again. Ordered an item from me then returned it saying it didn't meet their high standards.
  • John,

    I can see what may have happened and some of this could have been avoided by being clear in your communication with the buyer. If you did not specify it in your communication with the buyer or have it written in a listing that X amount of stamps were charged at one rate and the others at Y the buyer very easily thought that the price of each one was 80 cents at the time you sold them, and that should have been done up front. It's possible they would have kept the faulty ones if they knew that those were included at a reduced price, and not at .80 cents ea. They may have thought that that was too high for the faulty ones. Buyers can not read your mind or your intentions.

    Now that being said it also doesn't make any sense that a buyer would offer to pay you MORE for the faulty stamps than what you have them listed for in the first place. The buyer also could have also asked to make sure there was no problem with the communication also as to what exactly what he was getting and at what price.

    On the other hand with the fact it sounds like you are dealing with 2 different people it's also possible that the seller is trying to pull a fast one so to speak. It's impossible to say from what little bit of information you have given us.

  • John, I'm just curious.....did I win the bet?

    And Michael, if this is who I think it is, this not a "buyer" in the conventional sense. I may be wrong but this smells the same as my experience with them last year. Straw buyer with one name, actual "person" paying for the order is different, then a mysterious shipment with returned items and a letterhead letter asking for a refund due to....whatever reason.
  • You won. Bought stamps and supplies from them as a kid, but not anymore. No more sales to them now.
  • Greg,

    I do understand the people involved were not normal buyers, but if John had spelled it out, at worst case he could have cut the refund in half just by communicating a little bit better.
  • John, I did too even going back to the days before they split their stamp and coin businesses in two and you spelled it out quite clearly. Like ringing the dinner bell. And communication is not the issue here with these folks other than to tell them to go get bent (in a nice way of course...not angry or upset). Which, so far at least in my case, they did.
  • Michael,

    I learned my lesson and will spell it out better in the future to other buyers. I just wish they hadn't told me they would buy stamps with minor faults and then not honor their word. Not only does it cost me selling fees, but time to relist. If they had been honest with me, I wouldn't have sold them any stamps at their price and would have asked a higher price for the stamps they wanted. I think they knew that and tricked me by saying they would accept some lower priced stamps in the mix which helped to offset the loss I was taking on the higher priced ones.
  • John

    I think it is a totally appropriate business practice to give the benefit of the doubt to an end buyer/classic retail customer. They are the backbone of this business. Resellers who act in this manner should be called out. The canard that 'you weren't explicit enough in your terms' is hogwash.

    Report the buyer to HIP stamp trust department. Explain the circumstances. Let them know that you will no longer be doing business with this buyer and that you reserve the right to cancel any future offers or sales.

    Time, mental energy, lost paypal fees, having to relist... This deception has cost you alot more than 80 cents on 40 odd stamps. Shame on the scammer. Expensive lesson learned.

  • edited March 10 2 LikesVote Down
    oldest scam in the world.. :-) and it still works! bait and switch in reverse LOL and it looks so innocent to others- until it is pulled on you- and you realize you just been had :-) . I used to sell gemstones and this one is really the most common scam. you sell the buyer a large lot and the price negotiated is a lot price.. then the buyer tries to return most with a few high-grade items kept at the lot price. simple solution is tell the con artist to return the lot as it was shipped to them - in full. then refund if returned correctly but beware .,. many times the best items are switched or stolen or with "cant find them" excuse. people that use this scam will do much worse to you if you let them. The power of this scam becomes a lot more apparent in very large purchases.
  • edited March 10 2 LikesVote Down

    It's known as CYA in case of a Paypal dispute, should it go sideways and go to that point. There are a few regular retail buyers that would do the same thing. The reason for doing so is that it's NOT left up to a he said she said type of deal. It's in black and white to limit your liability.

    Second of all by doing so it makes it a bit harder for someone to try to scam you as the terms are spelled out in black and white in writing.
  • Something similar would happen to me in my career in home remodeling.
    As with a lot of things there is an economy of scale. A small job can be expensive
    because half my time can be showing and setting up tools and equipment.
    The job will start out big, then it's "what if we did this, but not that" or " what if we did that but not this" and a bid for a dozen different scenarios. Then they'll ask for a break down of cost for each individual part of the job. Stringing you along until you're committed. In the end, the job
    will be reduced to the crappy little money losing job, I would have walked away from.

    Please don't be that kind of person.
  • edited March 11 1 LikesVote Down
    Alan - I’m in IT, and I’m on the opposite side of those situations.

    We’ll do RFPs with multiple vendors. The vendors incur thousands of dollars in expenses in hopes of being selected for a contract that will be worth significant money over time.

    My rule is that we cut a vendor loose as soon as it’s apparent they won’t be chosen. It’s not fair to them to continue to incur costs just so that we have an arbitrary number to choose from in the final decision. Let them spend their time on viable prospects. Don’t waste people’s time and money.
  • It would be nice if this unscrupulous buyer were identified.
  • edited May 20 1 LikesVote Down
    It’s Mystic Stamp. I don’t know why people are afraid to say the name.
    The last time I got an approval selection from them (because I had responded to an offer in which you cannot opt of their approvals), I returned them using that same wording, "They do not meet my high standards."
  • Yup, not afraid to say it either...Mystic Stamp straw buyers. Haven't bothered me since (that I know of).
  • Fear of committing libel, which it isn’t because truth is a defense. I don’t understand why anyone would buy from Mystic. Their prices seem to be the highest around, and I believe they overgrade their stamps.
  • Don't be afraid. They have more of my money than I care to share. Don't mind that, my own decisions. Got a lot of nice stamps from them over the years. But this straw buyer thing is a pain when it happens. We are small fish as the "little guys" and don't need to be or have the resources to be the "approval services to the stars". All I have to say on the issue.
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