Linn’s reported last week that eBay, the giant online commerce site, decided to shutter its popular oversight programs that helped identify and remove problematic stamp listings.
EBay cited costs and other issues in its decision, but it said that it remained committed to maintaining a marketplace where sellers and buyers can interact with confidence.
Some of the dealers who worked with eBay on the oversight programs are understandably concerned that problems with fraudulent and misdescribed listings will continue, and perhaps increase.
We sympathize with these concerns.
Nonetheless, the overriding rule to remember is this: let the buyer beware.
Of course, there is no substitute for knowledge. And the best way to gain that knowledge is from other collectors.
When I began buying items on eBay in the late 1990s, my understanding of 19th-century postal history was scant at best.
Before bidding on any cover that caught my attention, I would study the listing and ask the seller questions.
If the seller did not provide images of the cover, I asked to have them added to the listing or sent directly to me. Such a request has never been denied.
Additional, more specific questions would be sent to collectors or specialists who understood the postal history of the era.
They invariably would point out things that I had missed, or would identify suspect markings or other telltale signs that the item had problems.
In most cases, when such issues were pointed out to the seller, the listing would either be removed, or the seller would point out the problems in the listing description.
On occasion, the seller did not take kindly to having an item called into question. When that happened, I crossed him off my list of trusted sellers.
The point of all of this is acquiring the necessary education to avoid making a purchase that you will regret later.
In the meantime, we await whatever changes eBay might make in the wake of discontinuing its oversight programs.
Linn’s digital edition delivered on Saturday
In cased you missed it, we announced last week that the digital edition of Linn’s, beginning with this Aug. 11 issue, is now available two days earlier: on Saturday instead of Monday.
This change is yet another acknowledgment that news is now available in seconds and minutes, not in hours and days.
We feel that it makes more sense to get the news to you in a more timely manner. Once we have the news, there is no reason to hold onto it any longer than is necessary.
Also, it is our hope that a Saturday delivery to your in box will afford you more time to read and enjoy each issue without the distractions that typically mark the start of the work week.
Once you have finished reading your issue of Linn’s, be sure to check Linns.com regularly for the latest philatelic news from around the world.
We post new content there on an almost daily basis.
If you haven’t tried the digital edition of Linn’s, an annual subscription costs just $19.99.
To receive 52 digital issues of Linn’s, go to https://subscribe.amospub.com/lsn/SubscriptionNew.