American Philatelic Society

Precautionary Measures

Proper communication between the parties is a key factor in the success of all transactions. The majority of complaints could be eliminated if the parties involved would document transactions in writing.

Keep Thorough Records
Whether you are a dealer or a collector, buyer or seller, keep thorough records of all transactions. Copy any contracts/terms of sale, order, auction bid sheet, correspondence, front and back of canceled checks, postal mailing and proof of delivery receipts, advertisements, and auction catalogues. Make notes of important transactions made by telephone. It is suggested that you keep a diary or calendar.

Safeguard Sending of Items
Be sure to use signature or delivery confirmation, certified, insured, registered, or another protected mailing or shipping method to safeguard any philatelic items you are sending. Save the shipping and mailing receipts for at least two years. See Protect Mail Shipments for further information.

Fulfill Contracts
The APS Code of Ethics specifies that APS members agree to fulfill their contracts and know and honor the sellers’ terms. Placing a bid in an auction is a legal contract that obligates the bidder to pay for any lot(s) he wins. Further information for Buying at Auction is available.

Clear Agreements/Terms of Sale
Vague descriptions, uncertain pricing, lack of agreement on timing and other unsure commitments set the stage for misunderstandings. Written agreements/terms of sale should include:

  1. Description and condition of the item(s)
  2. Price
  3. Timing of payment and delivery
  4. Expertizing policies (Can you get an extension if you want to have an item expertized? Who pays the expert fees, you or the seller?)
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