What have others said about these articles?

Comments about this site

Last updated   27 October, 2004

I present below some of the feedback I have received since I published the first eBay article (on the Hialeah fake overprint seller "atdinvest") online in June, 2001.

I welcome feedback of all kinds, as it serves to mould my site, giving it depth, credibility and currency. Many comments passed back to me have given me a warm, fuzzy feeling, whilst others have made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end! But all have influenced what has been written here, and the way it has been written. I have ridden the waves of criticism and so far have come out on top!

Thank you all for your feedback!

Click here to see feedback for:

Tip of the iceberg eBay - forgeries, fakes, dodgy sellers, scams
the tip of the iceberg


(TOTI website)
13 October, 2004

I am just so surprised how long it takes to prove a scam to e-bay. I reported this 8 hours before the auction was to end. I wish more people would go to your web site. Do you mind if I put a link to your web site with all my listings? Just want inform others.

6 October, 2004

.... thank you for some very interesting and instructive articles on your webpages on forgeries on eBay.... What I wanted to ask you was your permission for us to translate and include a few of your articles in our site, especially the articles with help for buyers and sellers on how to 'act nice'...

13 May, 2004

.... I think your (and SCADS') site is invaluable as "permanently" stored information that can be accessed whenever needed. I don't have time to follow the Chatboards all day, and I'm likely to miss any "important" threads...

14 October, 2003

I have been visiting your site for quit a while,and I really like the info.you provide.I think your doing a great service for the collecting world in general.

5 February, 2003

You deserve THANKS for bravery, trying to warn bidders of eBay abuses. Keep up the good work.

23 January, 2003

SHERYLL-OSWALD... Thank you for the info! I've spent the last half hour bouncing around the links on the e-bay fraud sites. i did't realize things were so bad here in e-land! My faith in the general kindness of strangers is shaken!!! one thing for sure, i'll never be able to order chicken fried steak again with a clear conscience.

2 December, 2002

Sheryll, the two sites [SCADS and TOTI] are amazingly impressive. If you keep this up, you will end up quite famous. I am actually learning a lot about stamps from your site, thanks to your efforts and those of others.

28 November, 2002

Sheryll, Congratulations on another mention (TOTI) in the December Glassine Surfer.

September, 2002

(Mid-Cities Stamp Club, September 2002 Newsletter)
...... I would highly recommend that anyone contemplating bidding on stamps (especially high-priced US stamps) to read these articles and learn from them...... The lesson to be learned here is "Caveat Emptor"!

31 August, 2002

Thanks for the contribution you have made to the hobby. I truly appreciate it. <snip>

We need both sites like yours and also dry factual presentations.

22 August, 2002

After perusing the data, I must praise your choice of words in apologising...... Your tact just about bowled me over. Hopefully all is back on track and you are a little less "forthright" these days.

15 August, 2002

(PBS Jim Lehrer Newshour report on eBay)
...... complainers are censored by eBay and barred from the site......

9 August, 2002

(r.c.s.d. newsgroup posting "Web site recommendation")
...... hurry up and read! This site should be mandatory to philatelic users of eBay! It covers the same fraudes described in Bob's post, but goes much wider in topic and in naming suspect sellers at eBay. Updated frequently.

Highly recommended reading, although kind of depressive.....

19 July, 2002

...... Your issue is different, and far more important. That website of yours is a great education, both for newer stamp collectors, and for newer eBay users......

18 July, 2002

Sorry to read of your suspension. The work you have done is exemplary and valuable. Many people apreciate it, I'm sure. Sorry if that sounds gooey, but I think it's true.

18 July, 2002

Never, ever give up!

While ebay has done you a great disservice, I'm sure you'll be updating your site appropriately - Keep On Keepin' On!

17 July, 2002

Sorry to hear about your suspension from eBay. You will be missed and your return anxiously awaited.

You've done and continue to do a great service for collectors with your forgery identification work. Please keep it up.

17 July, 2002

It's all worth it and appreciated by countless collectors in need, few of which we will ever know about.

17 July, 2002

I was not surprised that Sheryll was sidelined, it was expected as she was naming names and that is something that Ebay deplores. Seeing that she had asked our friendly hit and run Pinkie, Daphne if it was OK and hadn't received a reply then the bullets should not have been fired but it is too late, the decision was over Daphne's head (what else is new).

16 July, 2002

The detail of your work is astounding. I feel a naive bunny to have assumed that the vendors on eBay are all such nice guys!

8 July, 2002

My compliments to your work and your web site of eBay forgeries, fakes, dodgy sellers and scams! As a rather new eBay user, I have read your work with great interest......

30 June, 2002

Dear eBay and Daphne,

I note you have finally begun to break up the very constructive work done by Sheryll Oswald in attempting to educate stamp buyers about massive philatelic fraud running rampant on eBay.

Oswald's work was an opportunity for eBay to become a class operation. eBay has failed 100%.

I have not sold any expensive stamps on eBay for many weeks now and I have no plans to do so in the immediate future. In other words, you're losing money: I am selling only cheap postcards, because your venue for stamps is absolute garbage. In other words, your protection of criminals on eBay is preventing me from selling stamps on eBay. How does that work? Well, when you have a garbage venue, you realize garbage prices, simple as that.

You are also completely missing out on business from world class philatelists of good repute. The amount they could sell on eBay if eBay had any ethics at all and if they agreed to sell on eBay would be hundreds of times what you're getting out of your criminals now. In other words, by protecting criminals, you are losing money RIGHT NOW.

I know that you and your legal retainers think eBay is immune from everything in the legal arena. You will definitely find out sooner or later that it is not. Today I read in the newspaper where members of a bid rigging ring made up of some the largest U.S. stamp dealers that operated with impunity for nearly 20 years is under Federal indictment, and I am sure they will be convicted. Damages they will pay from civil cases brought by the States of New York, California and Maryland will in some cases be TRIPLE what they stole through bid rigging. And they will likely be going to prison as well. It could happen to eBay also, and it will if you people continue to protect criminals.

Postcards work fine on eBay because what you see is what you get. With stamps, such is not the case, and I'll tell you one last time: either hire some experts to moderate your listings, or expect to have a massive legal disaster sooner or later. Of that I am 100% certain.

I have only been telling you this for your own good.

This is the last time I am going to comment on this matter. I also will not be answering any more of your surveys because you obviously don't pay any attention to them: you wasted my time and effort in that regard.

No reply is needed--have a nice day

30 May, 2002

I must applaud you for your site. It's been a great eye opener. Even though I don't collect any the areas covered by your site, it is very useful to know which dealers to handle with extra care.

27 May, 2002

Nice site, I hope it protects someone from buying unwanted forgeries on Ebay. It's The Good Oil.

24 May, 2002

You do good work and people like me do appreciate it. I just try to direct people to your articles.

23 April, 2002

I truly believe your work is going to be the founding cornerstone of contemporary philatelic ethics for the 21st Century. It's a work that's been needed for a long time in this business.

15 April, 2002

Your "crook" website has been a terrific help to a lot of people.

25 March, 2002

I have read all your pages several times in the last several months. You have a GREAT website! Very well written.

8 March, 2002

I don't know if you got the word yet, but your web site appeared in print this month, in the March, 2002 issue of the American Philatelic Society's monthly magazine, American Philatelist. A web version of the article is at the address below:

http://www.stamps.org/services/ser_GlassineSurfer.htm

Congratulations!

24 December, 2001

Have just come across your expose on forgeries, scams fakes etc. I am quite amazed by the amount of problems w r t selling fakes and forgeries on eBay - never realised it. I have bought material from some of the people involved (e.g. atdinvest - I have asked them to supply me with some background info on these so-called forgeries - but to date have received no reply).

I am still fairly new in stamp collecting and as a seller (and buyer) I agree wholeheartedly in that one should be as honest and open as possible w r t descriptions etc. I never realised the implication of of adding "Lot sold as is" to my listings. I will in future rather give the option to return items if not 100% satisfied. I suppose by being still an inexperienced collector, I am fairly blase at what I buy (i.e. if I have bought something which is not to my satisfaction, I basically just accept it as a poor buy, and don't query or ask for a refund.

Anyway, your information will stand me in good stead, and I can only improve my future listings (and buys) with the help I have found today!

23 August, 2001

I've just read your updates on fakes and forgeries and I want to tell you how much I appreciate all those articles of yours. It's been a long time of discussions among members of the Stamp Board and denunciation of misdescribed forgeries on eBay, but you made the move to really analyze this plague and make a site about it.

The importance of your work is tremendous because of the context, wide spread of deceiving forgeries and fakes around the world by eBay. Bravo!

'Modern forgeries and fake overprints from Hialeah/Miami/Sunshine State on eBay' article

"atdinvest" - fake overprints and modern fake imperforate blocks and sheets on eBay

Released:    17 June, 2001

25 April, 2004

I didn't realize you'd been attacked so rigorously and disbarred from e.Bay for daring to bring to light this creep. I join others in saying 'good on you!'

8 July, 2002

...... Since returning, in the past few hours, I have read much of what you and your colleagues have reported on, which I find absolutely remarkable. From what I have read it is obvious that you have all given considerable time in an effort to frustrate sellers who attempt to sell total junk by the use of innuendo, suggestion or imputation, that the item/s have some redeeming features which might yet turn out to be genuine, when, in fact, they know perfectly well that the item they wish to unload is a total fake in all its respects.

Some of the purchasers of these items have paid high prices, for what is in my opinion, totally worthless pieces of paper. I myself have purchased some of these in order to inspect them and use them at some stage to fight the forgers.......sorry, but I believe they are NOT FORGERS, BUT ARE FAKERS !!! I do realise that the various authorities (including Ebay) seem to have given you short shrift, by virtue of their inactivity or disinterest but nevertheless obviously your battle is proceeding......

12 August, 2001

I really found your article on forgeries in NAPE very interesting. I have gone through your internet pages on the same subject and bookmarked them. As a dealer, I need to be up with the play on these.

25 July, 2001

Thank you very much for pointing me to your article. I'm embarassed to admit that I'm one of those who fell into the trap of believing that these are classical forgeries. I laud your efforts to educate the philatelic community and alert us all to these modern forgeries.

30 June, 2001

Sheryll CONGRATULATIONS!! You've finally done it! I've been ROFLMAO and woke my NPS in the next room. The rantings remind me of a small child who just got caught with their hand in the cookie jar. Lash out with anger, blame someone else, then feign superiority and justification. I so agree with <snip> and <snip> with their assessments of the level of intelligence that everyone has been dealing with here, but, then, it doesn't take much intelligence to produce the stuff they've been selling.

Again, my heartfelt CONGRATULATIONS and Thanks for a job well done!!

30 June, 2001

S2 I SAW YOUR PICTURE IN YOUR WEBSITE,AND I JUST HAVE TO SAY THAT IS THE UGLIEST PERSON THAT I HAVE SEEN IN MY LIFE,NMO MATTER WHAT YOU AND FRIENDS DO ,ATDINVEST IS REALLY STRONGEST THAN EVER BEFORE,I MEAN IT

25 June, 2001

I see a real lack of coordination in philatelic matters such as this. I hope that with publicity, we can begin to co-ordinate, philately, law enforcement, and the courts. It can be done - your efforts have proved this.

By the way, long searches through e-bay has revealed other forgers, perhaps more dangerous to serious philately than the Hialeah people. Care to bid on some US Postmaster Provisionals, Mauritius #2 and #4- all on covers for $9.95 (US)?

'Peter Winter and 
          the modern German forgeries on eBay' article

Peter Winter and the modern German forgeries on eBay

Released:    28 July, 2001

30 October, 2001

Keep up the good work on Ebay......we need to encourage as many collectors as possible. Recently, a friend of mine purchased a valuable collection from Germany only to find that half of the valuable items were forgeries. He sold the collection and vowed never to collect again.

'eBay 
        - the good, the bad and the downright ugly' article eBay - the good, the bad and the downright ugly

Released:    2 August, 2001

5 April, 2002

By the way - I do appreciate the watch-dog groups and ran for APS Office twice to help. I do also like your analysis - very well done.

'Spotted a misdescribed fake on eBay?' article Spotted a misdescribed fake on eBay?

Released:    11 August, 2001

4 November, 2001

I read your article in detail some time ago when it was first posted, and I not only enjoyed it but found it helpful and informative.

2 November, 2001

I've enjoyed scanning through your many articles .....
..... I'm going to put my nose in the stamp chat room often from now on!

'Selling a possible fake on eBay' article Selling a possible fake on eBay?

Released:    11 August, 2001

10 September, 2001

I checked out your site and you are doing a great service for collectors - keep up the good work as I am sure you know it is very difficult to compete with unscrupulous people.

The sad part is, if the half the effort these people put in to deceive was used for a straightforward transactions they would be successful for much longer and for more money than the quick buck over time. Furthermore, virtually all the collectors that have been badly burnt never return, therefore less money available for the hobby overall.

'U.S. Classics on eBay - as is' article U.S. Classics on eBay - as is

Released:    1 October, 2001

1 February, 2003

Thank you very much for the service you are providing to the stamp hobby. I am a 40+ year stamp collector, member of APS and 25+ year Linn's subscriber and I have never come across such a helpful site as this. Until now I have not purchased stamps on ebay, recognizing the difficulties inherent in the task, but now I feel a little more confident, despite the shysters out there. Thanks again for putting in the time to do this for the rest of us.

13 July, 2002

...... I very much appreciate your hard work and efforts as it relates to ebay. My only concern about being included is that the title says one thing and then you will list my name. I do realize that you will say positive things about me, but how many people will simply read the title and see my name associated with it.

I do try to catch every fake and alteration before I sell it. However, I am still have a ways to go to make sure I can spot everything. There seems to be a bunch of altered stamps out here. I do stand 100% behind anything I sell. I have sent refunds because the customer said it was altered and it was not.

Please let me know how we can answer my concerns so we can accomplish your goals.

12 July, 2002

I don't know if i have emailed you before, but i'd like to say that i am very proud to see someone try and put and end to sellers of altered and misrepresented stamps... I have read your articles many times over the last month... and I completely agree!

I recently bought a group of stamps from "pcheltenham", not knowing that he was known to sell altered stamps..

also.. ... "chickfrdstk" seemingly will spend ungodly amounts of money for damaged stamps.. or stamps that are readily alterable... (straight edge stamps are a key)

...... but like i said before, I am happy to see that you are spreading the word, and I have emailed many people to take a look at that page too.

12 July, 2002

...... I reread your article frequently to remind myself of the frauds on ebay, and of course ebay does nothing to get rid of them. You are performing a valuable service to stamp collectors-wish there was a better way to deal with all the crap. By the way, <snip> also buys Shulercrap's stuff and resells it.

16 June, 2002

Your webpage served me by making me more careful.......

I am now prepared. I have a stereomicroscope and I use it. I have caught some unreported faults, and repairs. I always check scans for reperfs using Photoshop. I can spot a reperf now in a few seconds. I find a LOT of old stamps have been reperfed. I've bought a Scotts Catalogue of US Stamps. Have not brought myself to start dipping yet. I worry that it could hurt it.

Just thought you would like to know that you have helped me.

7 June, 2002

......Anyway, I know you've had tons of people tell you nice things about your site; I just wanted to add my two cents. I don't have the time to go to the chat board, but I send people there, especially people who are fairly new to U.S. stamps. I know a lot of excellent information goes through there. Thanks for the excellent service you're providing.

23 May, 2002

I just wanted to take a second to tell you that your messages made me a wiser person. I have read over the material you linked to and found it very helpful. I am able to detect tampered stamps better.

I am amazed at the number of stamps that have been tampered with. In some issues more than half are suspect!

19 May, 2002

I attribute this entire operation to your information and first email. Frankly, I had placed the stamps from <snip> into my collection and gone on to other things. I probably would not have discovered the problem for years.

26 March, 2002

The addition of the before and afters on your web site is fantastic!!!

18 February, 2002

Just a note to let you know I think your website (eBay Classics - AS IS) is great. I have now seen several eBay user's link to it as they parody some of those terrible lots and dealers, trying to make the public more aware. I hope the visibility to your site and the links it contains will help some of the more novice collectors learn the easy way, and put these shysters out of business.

12 November, 2001

Thanks for the reference to your site on these Dealers??? I was wondering how they had the stock of the more difficult to find stamps. They make them. I am surprised that e-bay allows them to continue. I guess they have good lawyers who put the disclaimer together so that they are protected and nothing can be done. Again Thanks--Your article should be in Lynns.

1 November, 2001

Speaking of your web page . . . it may be pure optimism, but I can't help believing that the higher number of hits on your US page has something to do with more US stamp buyers looking for reliable information on misrepresented stamps (rather than the apology), and YOU are providing that information.

20 October, 2001

A copy of this email has been forwarded to ebay as well as my attorney who has been given your website to review as no rights have been given for use my name in any site or for referencing my auction items, as well as the slanderous comments you have made on your site in reference to me. You will be contacted further only if you slanderous attack continues.

11 October, 2001

..... So please remove any reference to me from your Web site and we will have no problems. And please tell your group that I am more than willing to entertain expert opinions about my lots and even to remove such lots, as long as the person contacting me first presents qualifications as being an expert on the subject.

3 October, 2001

Keep up the effort, because I do think your website is going to have a sizeable positive impact on the philatelic hobby in coming months and years!!

'Fraud on eBay - exposed!' article Fraud on eBay - exposed!

Released:    23 June, 2002

10 October, 2002

(MSNBC article Cautionary tales of two auctions - Phantom bids draw a warning; alleged stamp ring unchecked)
...... The SCADS experts have assembled a damning dossier showing that the ring has systematically purchased stamps with obvious flaws that diminish their value, then altered them to make them appear to be in better condition or to be different, more-valuable stamps......

...... The stamp sleuths use techniques that would be at home in the FBI crime lab to keep track of the sales, including microscopic examinations of the “before” and “after” versions that show they share flaws like uneven perforation that would otherwise be undetectable. The comparisons demonstrate “with 100 percent certainty” that the stamps have been altered, SCADS says.

The stamps are matched using a database that the group began assembling early this year after linking the various identities......

9 October, 2002

(MSNBC article EBay’s tough talk on fraud doesn’t withstand scrutiny)
EBay officials say they are aggressively fighting fraud in the massive online marketplace, but an investigation by MSNBC.com shows that the company doesn’t routinely inform customers when they have been ripped off or regularly notify law enforcement about apparently illegal activity on its site — even when presented with solid evidence of wrongdoing......

......In a case in which postage stamps were allegedly being altered to increase their value and then resold “as is,” eBay took no action to halt the auctions despite receiving a litany of complaints from a group of stamp experts who assembled detailed evidence on the purported scam......

5 September, 2002

...... By saying that you were "missing the boat", what I meant was that by allowing the argument with the perpetrators to be couched in terms of whether their "disclaimer" does or does not protect their sale of "altered goods" on e-bay, the truly actionable aspect of their conduct has been inadvertently passed by.

In general, a disclaimer that the items are being sold "as-is" would in many cases protect the seller from being pursued for damages incurred as the result of selling a "defective" product (a product that did not meet an exact description for example) on theories of breach of contract or breach of warranty. This would be similar to where a car dealer sold a car with a transmission that turned out to be defective although both parties thought it would work. The dealer might have breached its contract and/or its legal obligations in selling goods that it did not know failed to meet the specifications/descriptions as advertised, but an "as-is" disclaimer might serve as a defense to such a sale. These would be actions based in contract, as opposed to tort.

Where the buyer has actual knowledge of "defects" or of the falsity of a claim or description and fails to disclose, an, "as-is" disclaimer will often not serve as a defense. If the perpetrator is, selling stamps "as-is", but at the same time (as would seem to be the case, here - note that the item description is not "possibly altered 153", but "144") is leading the buyer to believe that maybe the item really is the rare item he implies it is, when in fact the seller knows that the item is not the rare item because he intentionally altered it, a good argument can be made that intentional fraud, a tort, has been committed. Where the dealer is selling or advertising the item as something he has actual knowledge it is not, (i.e., selling a 153 he altered as a 144) this could be intentional misrepresentation of a material fact related to the transaction - fraud for short.

The fact that the item is sold "as-is" only goes to a single element of fraud - whether there was justifiable reliance by the victim on the misrepresentation. In these cases, the seller might argue that reliance on the seller's identification of the item as rare may be unjustified given the "as-is" disclaimer, thereby ultimately negating a claim for fraud, but the "fraud" scenario is a lot more dangerous to the crooked seller than a claim that the "as-is" disclaimer should not protect his contract to sell the item subject to the disclaimer.

Incidentally, in contract law, if proven, fraud would be a defense in favor of a buyer, rendering any otherwise enforceable agreement/contract void as if it never occurred (the legal term is "void ab initio"), and precluding the buyer's obligation to make payment.

Something that these people also apparently do not understand, is that in communicating these intentional misrepresentations over the internet and then consummating the transaction through the mail, there is likely a potential that the transaction is subject to federal wire and/or mail fraud statutes.

Bottom line, my opinion is that the sellers you mention in your web sites and others like them are treading on very thing ice whether or not the "as-is" disclaimer alleviates warranty or contract liability. Whether or not E-bay throws them off as sellers, some individual buyer may get bent out of shape and take them on individually. Given the amount of activity and the money involved, I'm sort of surprised that some creative attorney hasn't decided to take this on a class action case just to get the fees.

So, there you have it. One man's opinion. In the meantime, your web-sites are very informative and useful, and I am absolutely amazed at e-bay's cavalier attitude toward these specific examples of questionable transactions.

21 August, 2002

I took a look at your web site, and I commend you on a good job. I'm disenchanted as I read eBay response on your web site and quite frankly with all the disclaimers used in those descriptions there's really nothing that can be done at least as far as I can see.

10 July, 2002

I love your fraud/forgery page and I wanted to give you another example of pcheltenham's work.

I purchased this stamp from "percy cheltenham" so I was burned... Still the stamp is nice appearing even though it looks to be reperfed on 3 sides, however I wish I had the unaltered stamp instead - it had the stamp design showing more clearly and didn't have perfs into the design at the top.

Please share this with your colleagues and feel free to post on your examples page. Keep up the great work! - If I hadn't read your page I wouldn't have known to look through stazy4's history page to get the image of the original stamp.

2 July, 2002

...... You are doing an excellent job of not only investigating, but also keeping people informed. I wanted you to know that I am very appreciative.

28 June, 2002

Hi -- I appreciate your efforts to clean up the 'scoundrel' sellers in the ebay stamps section.......

Ashleigh's eBay buying tips eBay buying tips - I'm not getting burned again!

Released:    25 June, 2002

31 August, 2002

I love your web site and thought I would help with a small tip on paying for auctions which has helped me in the past. Use Postal money orders whenever possible. Sure it takes a little more time and effort but with a Postal money order you have recourse to the US Postal Inspectors should you be defrauded. I have had several money orders "never arrive" that miraculously appeared within a few hours of my mentioning the money order would be traced and turned over to the Postal Inspectors...... You also have the ability to file fraud charges with the Postal Inspectors.

I have in the past gotten burned buying from several dealers who knowingly sold illegal stamps and such. Your information helps a great deal.





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