I am going to omit or change the names here so that I do not identify the dealer involved.

There is a dealer on eBay who uses a name that has nothing to do with his business. There is nothing wrong with this. EBay allows you to use any account name you want as long as it is a name not already used by someone else.

Here is the meat of this story though.

This dealer is a member of the APS and ASDA. I know because years ago I bid on some items he listed and won. When they arrived, they had his return address on the envelope. I knew exactly who he was.

His listings on eBay though do not divulge that he is a professional stamp dealer. In fact, his scheme is used to attract bidders with its folksy story line.

All of his listings are the same. There is boiler plate text in each listing how this old gentleman (letís say, Grandpa Joe) has been a stamp collector all of his life and he was selling his collection after not receiving a fair offer from other stamp dealers. The story goes on that Grandpa Joe drives this old, jalopy of a car and brings envelopes full of stamps to him every week to sell them on ďthat computer thing thereĒ.

Bidders conjure up this picture of an elderly Grandpa Joe in his broken down car. The guy does not have much money. They are bidding on these stamps thinking that they are helping out an elderly old man. Itís an indirect sympathetic plea for bids!

In my opinion, here is the real story. This dealer has been using this Grandpa Joe story for over ten years now. I highly doubt Grandpa Joe ever existed. If he did, he must be passing 100 by now.

What this dealer is doing is buying collections just like I do. He has a retail store. But he also sells online with his folksy story. No one is dropping off envelopes of stamps every week. Whatever he cleans out of a collection and thinks he can list on eBay to sell it; that is what he does.

He is not doing anything illegal. He is deceiving buyers though. First, I do not believe the old gentleman exists. So he is lying about who owns the stamps. Second, he never reveals that he is an ordinary stamp dealer. There are some people who think that all stamp dealers are just crooks. And for those people, he is probably taking some of their money if they bid on his auction lots.

I have mentioned several tactics that all businesses use to attract customers and get them to spend money. Having a folky and humble story like this is just another angle meant to sell stamps.

On one hand I admire his imagination for this marketing trick. On the other hand, Iím taken back a little bit that I believe that he is lying about the circumstances of which these stamps are acquired.