As a stamps dealer, you would think that my interactions with other stamp dealers would go smoothly. That is true most of the time. However, just like stamp collectors, Iíve had two bad experiences with other stamp dealers.
The first case happened about five years ago. I sent a large package of material I couldnít use to a dealer. I used the buy prices listed on his website. Two months went by, nothing. I sent the package via certified mail and I checked the USPS website. It was delivered. I wrote a letter inquiring if they received the package and when I would receive payment. No response.
Three months went by. Still no reply. I called the office. A woman answered the phone and said that they had received many packages and were behind in getting through them. Three months behind? There are times when Iím extremely busy, but never three months behind.
Four months now and nothing. I sent a certified letter. This time, I sent copies of my documentation and stated that if payment wasnít received in seven days, I was filling a formal complaint with both the American Philatelic Society and the American Stamp Dealers Association. This dealer was a member in good standing of both organizations.
Five days later, my check arrived in the mail. I had to resort to threats to finally get my money. That was unacceptable.
I had another bad experience six months ago. I had some excess material I couldnít use. I went to a dealerís website and looked up his buy prices. I sent the package to him, again certified mail.
I know he got it because he called and chastised me for sending it without notice. OK, but your website didnít say I needed to call first. All total, the material was under $2000. This dealer boasts about being one of the largest dealers in the business. If true, the $2000 of stuff I had was a drop in the bucket.
He went on to explain that his buy prices had changed. The ad on his website is four years old and outdated. Really? Than change your ad! Reluctantly, I agreed to the reduced price, now about $1500.
Two months go by, no payment. I call his office. He answers the phone. Yes, he remembers the package and thought it was paid for. Heís talking to his secretary while Iím waiting. Neither of them can find my original letter. He wanted to know how much he owed me. I could have lied and used the original amount. But Iím an honest guy and gave him the correct figure of $1500. OK, heíll get a check in the mail.
Two more weeks go by, still no check. I call again. He answers the phone with a cheery, ďBeam me up ScottyĒ. I guess he had caller ID. And he was a Star Trek fan. I was unimpressed. I never greet my customers in such a casual, almost condescending, way. Iím always polite and respectful. My parents taught me to call people Mister or Misses. Some of my customers prefer to go by their first name. I never refer to someone by a made up nickname. Itís very unprofessional.
Payment has not been made. I can tell heís peeved that Iím calling him again. If you had sent payment, I wouldnít be bothering you! He blames the secretary for not sending it out. Iím not buying his excuse. Heís the owner. There was a problem two weeks ago and we spoke about it on the phone. As the owner, itís your responsibility to make sure the secretary followed through with payment. You sign the checks. A light should have gone off in your head, ďHey, where was that check for Scott at? I didnít sign anything yet.Ē
Finally, three days later, he sent the check by express mail. I guess I was supposed to be impressed with his speedy payment after ten weeks of waiting. I was not. I was happy to have my money, finally.
Will I ever deal with these two dealers again? Never! Both of them are still in business and they advertise in several philatelic publications. If they treat regular customers like they treated me, I donít know how they stay in business. It could be that because Iím a fellow dealer, they decided that I could wait for my money.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. In the future, when I have excess material, Iíll find other outlets for it. There are plenty of other dealers out there. You wonít be getting any more of my business. I donít care if you advertise about having high buy prices. I donít care how big you claim to be. I prefer hassle free prompt payment.
On a more positive note, I deal with about a dozen other stamp dealers and all of those transactions have gone great. Just these two were a problem.
The advice to you is that if you have a bad experience with a dealer, donít go back. There are lots of stamp dealers out there. Find one that you like and stick with them. I have.