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Ebay: Counterfeit Conspiracy.

 
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Bedrock of the Community
United States
11641 Posts
 Posted 12/06/2018  1:30 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add basebal21 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
If eBay wanted to take down counterfeit coin, currency and bullion listings, their reporting system would have choices for that -- they don't.


I'm not a defender of eBay by any means.

But here is the big thing a lot of you are missing, they DO NOT have professional graders on staff reviewing reports.

This idea that just because someone files a report it should be taken down when it's some random CS person looking at it is terrible.

If that is how it works what would stop someone from reporting every competing listing? I've been on the receiving end of that before.

Or how about if you don't give someone a big discount so they can get something for pennies on the dollar they just report all your listings ect.

There is a lot more to this and generally whenever they have gotten proactive all it has done is hurt honest sellers. Scammers will always find a way to scam.

To sort of sum it up, I'm not defending the scammers and ignoring a lot of China listings and too good to be true ones will eliminate most of them. That said there's a lot more to it though than just saying they should take something down because a random report was filed
Edited by basebal21
12/06/2018 1:38 pm
Valued Member
United States
196 Posts
 Posted 12/08/2018  5:29 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Ballyhoo to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Counterfeit coinage is not something new, nor will it disappear. Although in recent years with globalization and the advent of technologies where one can buy things and receive them quickly the volume increased dramatically. Politics have also played a larger roll in these fakes entering our financial market and hobby. As pointed out by another member, the powers that be simply can not prevent this from happening or continuing. At best we can only hope it be slowed by cracking down hard on the known "mints" within Chinese borders. A simple Google search lead me to a page of photographs with a well written article. So surely the government knows this as well. Strengthening our customs agency at home would be the most effective.

As for EBAY, there are two rules I follow before even bidding. The first, if it is a known coin high on the counterfeiter's list I buy only TPG coins. Even though these too are counterfeited it lessens the chance of being deceived. The second, even with listings from reputable dealers, I click on their link and look at their buying record. If they buy a lot from Asia or Europe I pass. Slabbed or not.

EBAY, as a company, exists to make money. No other reason. For that, I do not fault them. Where I do have an issue is their functionality as such. By that, I refer back to my second rule in the previous paragraph. To my knowledge every internet based company has a commuter system and network designed to protect them from unscrupulous individuals. I am 100% certain that algorythums exist which can monitor these same types of activity. Where the seller/listing originates, where transactions occur and the frequency of each. These in turn are compared to feedback ratings and replies, both from the feedback page and contact seller link. So, as most have stated, EBAY employees are turning a blind eye to an increasing epidemic.

I commend the staff and leadership of this site for their never-ending commitment to help protect the hobby. I for one thank each of you for such.
Valued Member
United States
179 Posts
 Posted 12/09/2018  11:57 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add edthelorax to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I love shopping for coins on ebay. I feel like I am fortunate to know how to spot most counterfeits. The best deals by far are raw coins. It is not myself that I am wishing to protect. It is the newer, young collectors that I am concerned about. At 50, I am one of the younger members of my local coin club. If we can't get and KEEP new numismatists, our hobby will die in the coming decades.
I agree that it is the responsibility of the buyer to educate themselves how to avoid possible copies in the first place, how to know the diagnostics for the coin they wish to purchase, and to get a professional opinion on the coins they buy.
I also understand that ebay can't just delist or even review every coin reported. They sure could review those that have been flagged say 3 or more times by separate users.
PCGS graded 160,276 coins in the last 30 days. that is about 8,000 a day if they only work 5 days a week or 5,300 if they work all 7. Now each coin is graded at least twice, so double that. If you have ever seen the video of them grading, it doesn't take long.
The majority of problem listings, the seller admits in one way or another that the coin is a violation of ebay's policy. These would not require a professional grader. A normal employee or two could remove the obvious and send the rest to a single professional. In 2017, ebay sold 88 Billion dollars worth of items with a gross profit of about 8 billion dollars. So adding 200,000$ for 3 salaries would take about .002% of that gross profit.
Part of the reason that there are so many listing to be looked at is the fact that they let a seller get away with it so many times before any real penalty.
I am not looking for a complete fix from ebay. Just a little help from them would take the weight off of those that are willing and able to volunteer their time so that the real problem coins could be addressed. (Those that aren't obvious fakes)
It has become our responsibility to protect our hobby and those that are just starting to show an interest in it.
Ebay is the largest coin marketplace in the world. That makes them the easiest and most logical place to start pressuring for change.
I love coins, I love finding deals on ebay, I care about those who are not fortunate enough to have experience.
We have the power to have changes made. I refuse to sit back and watch ebay let the Chinese kill my hobby.
Anyone is welcome to email me to discuss this in private.
EdTheLorax
Valued Member
United States
179 Posts
 Posted 01/01/2019  12:16 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add edthelorax to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
0 available 1000 sold
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Silver-Mor...202548738791

It's not a problem. We don't have to worry at all.
Pillar of the Community
Canada
2072 Posts
 Posted 01/01/2019  07:55 am  Show Profile   Check silverwolf's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add silverwolf to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
It's not a problem. We don't have to worry at all.


yea, no kidding, I wonder what the buyer, who purchased 380 of them has in mind..
Pillar of the Community
United States
1716 Posts
 Posted 01/01/2019  09:19 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add tdziemia to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
From the original post:

Quote:
EBay only cares about profits


eBay's business model is to be the world's largest platform for connecting buyers and sellers.
They have no more interest in weeding out counterfeits than someone who leases stalls at a flea market.

I imagine their legal department has provided good guidance on exactly how much policing they need to do to avoid running afoul of U.S. law. Their shareholders should not be interested in their spending a single penny more than it takes to do that.

Yes, that results in uncertainty for collectors of certain kinds of coins. On the other hand, eBay has undeniably improved availability and cost for collectors, too.

I see no risk of eBay destroying the hobby. Collectors who get burned will move to buying from places that stand behind the authenticity of their products. Yes, they will pay more for that assurance. And a lot of collectors will blissfully continue buying there, never knowing they got burned.
Forum Dad
Learn More...
United States
19772 Posts
 Posted 01/01/2019  09:53 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add bobby131313 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
They have no more interest in weeding out counterfeits than someone who leases stalls at a flea market.


Then why do I have a contact at eBay that removes thousands per day? And please don't tell me they can weed them out with software when listed because they can't, it would make things worse.

Also, if you find counterfeits at a flea market in my neck of the woods the seller is new there and just hasn't been busted yet. The flea markets around here absolutely do care.
Pillar of the Community
Canada
1417 Posts
 Posted 01/01/2019  10:07 am  Show Profile   Check nickelsguy's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add nickelsguy to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
To those who do not know me here. I have FOUGHT eBay tooth and nail to get the policies we have now. Not the Canadian Gov't. Myself and one then Sgt. in the RCMP. For Years. Blaming eBay for counterfeits is just silly. I was even involved as a Canadian with the USA House of Representatives when they were looking at ways to put teeth in the Hobby Protection Act. PCGS was very generous with an award when I successfully had the largest counterfeit coin and bullion website (at the time) literally remove 40,000 fake coins and slabs permanently.

I have come to realize than numismatists are their on worst enemy's. Here is an article I wrote for Canadian Coin News a few years ago.

One simple question.....Are you part of the problem.

Counterfeits are here to stay! Are you part of the problem?

Counterfeit coins have been around as long as coins have. For a very long time I have attempted to thwart the efforts of those who attempt to profit from them. While some major victories have been won the proliferation of this bane to our hobby continue at an alarming rate. All we can do is educate ourselves as well as others and be constantly vigilante in our numismatic transactions. This is where we as numismatists have become our own worst enemy. The competition to acquire new material or snatch up a "real deal" or "cherry pick" an item from say for example Kijiji or eBay, caution and or common sense may not be used. The naive or inexperienced are most vulnerable at this time. That is not who I am aiming this instalment at. I hope that the inexperienced save this article and use the examples given and markers presented to assist them in identifying counterfeit coins coming from China. What I am really hoping is that the more experienced collectors and dealers realize that their reactions to counterfeit material may well harm the hobby as much as the fake coins themselves.

I will bet that every person reading this has told a friend of an amazing purchase or cherry pick or had a story of this told to them by a fellow collector. Now the real question! How many have told the story of being duped by a fake or have had that story told to them? I will bet that only the most intimate of friends share these stories or they are among the very few who like me believe that the sharing of scenarios gone bad educates all who are informed and may well prevent future crimes. Too many times I have had people tell me that "It is the price of doing business," or "I chalked it up to a learning experience." Almost every dealer/pawn shop owner I have ever spoken to have "education pieces" that they have been duped with. Again the two phrases above are used. But did the duped individuals notify the police? In some cases yes. It was nice to see the article in CCN about the fake bullion and the arrests made. This is the exception not the norm. The reasoning for not wanting to divulge the fact that they whether a dealer or collector have acquired counterfeit coins is complex.

Lets look at the motives:

a) Embarrassment. Absorbing the loss seems more beneficial than the loss of face in other collector or dealers eyes.

b) Recompense. If I involve the police I will be unable to recoup my losses either from the seller or by flipping it claiming ignorance. (this one falls more on the opportunist and not dealer/collector base).

c) Ethics. This one I always shake my head at. "Well I only offered peanuts for a multiple thousand dollar coin if real." As if the circumstance that the coin was fake negates the fact that the buyer attempted to acquire a very valuable coin for a minuscule amount. I do not feel sorry for this individual as they are no better than the fraudster by attempting to take advantage of someone while they themselves were duped by greed.

Every one of these motives actually harm the hobby. The lack of dissemination of information whether locally via local clubs, the press and police or nationally on coin chat groups or again in the press (CCN) hurts each and every one of us. Education is paramount. You are doing no one any good by being silent. Another may get duped by the same seller or scenario. If a duped individual leaves the hobby we all suffer in the end. The only people benefiting from silence is the fraudsters. If a fraudster does it once. Shame on him. If he/she does it twice. It is our own fault so shame on us. Are you part of the problem?

Here is a scenario which transpired right here in Trenton (my home town) within the last two weeks. It involves every thing mentioned and will demonstrate that acceptance of fraud and silence only breeds more of the same.

I was contacted by an individual (the opportunist) to authenticate a few 25 cent coins. 1875H and 1889. From the images provided there was no doubt to me that they were made in China. I met the individual to inform them in person that they were indeed fake. It turns out there were two of each date. I was then asked to look at images of an 1858 large cent this individual purchased previously from the same original seller but had subsequently sold at a profit apparently some time in the past. It was counterfeit as well. The individual who purchased the now flipped counterfeit 1858 simply chalked the counterfeit up as a learning experience and the price of doing business. Sound familiar? If the secondary buyer of the 1858 had gone public would it have made a difference? I believe so. The opportunist would never have purchased the 25 cent coins after unknowingly buying a fake 1858. The original fraudster would not have continued selling fake coins which my investigation has learned includes 1948 dollars as well.
The scenario was allowed to play out for all the wrong reasons.

Are you part of the problem?

In closing today's rant. What this site (Bobby and NSS)do is wonderful and very time consuming. But all the words of support and gratitude do little. Get involved. Educate yourself and others. Fight for your hobby. Do not expect big business to do it.

Mike Marshall
Edited by nickelsguy
01/01/2019 12:28 pm
Forum Dad
Learn More...
United States
19772 Posts
 Posted 01/01/2019  10:34 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add bobby131313 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Pillar of the Community
Canada
2072 Posts
 Posted 01/01/2019  11:00 am  Show Profile   Check silverwolf's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add silverwolf to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
well spoken words, for everyone to take a moment to read..
Pillar of the Community
United States
1716 Posts
 Posted 01/01/2019  11:40 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add tdziemia to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@bobby, I do applaud the sisyphean efforts of the collectors out here to get eBay to deal with the counterfeits issue, and didn't mean to detract from them in any way.

I am just saying that the kind of intervention this entails does not necessarily fit with eBay's business model, which is all about automation and efficiency. Turnover of over $700,000 per employee only happens with a lot of attention to efficiency, and trying to avoid interventions that disrupt it.

Valued Member
United States
179 Posts
 Posted 01/15/2019  01:20 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add edthelorax to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
How can one seller be allowed to continue selling on ebay when they have had over 100 counterfeit coins removed by ebay during the past 21 months?
Valued Member
United States
392 Posts
 Posted 01/15/2019  02:34 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jeffbuckes to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I loved ebay back when they opened 20 years ago - it was a relatively tight-knit group of sellers and buyers and a simple business model. But that model did not scale well. I'm sure that there are thousands of decent sellers out there - but I cannot and will not police their listings. It's a game of whack-a-mole! Same thing with craigslist and Amazon: tragedy of the commons.

Hats off to everyone who identifies and reports counterfeits and fraud on ebay - your job will never be done. Heck, I hope they pay you a commission for protecting their brand.
Valued Member
United States
179 Posts
 Posted 02/04/2019  2:11 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add edthelorax to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I sent APMEX a message asking for better photos of a 1882 PCGS PR65BR Indian cent because I couldn't see the coin they were selling in their pictures. This was their response.

"New message from: APMEX Top Rated Seller(406,399RedShooting Star)
Thank you for contacting APMEX. We have updated the listing with additional images. Please note that due to our large inventory as well as typically having multiples for listings, we use stock photos taken by our photography team. The coin received will match the quality and specifications of the coin shown, but will not be the exact coin. Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.

Thank you and have a good day!

APMEX Customer Service "

This is Ebay's policy:
"Include a clear picture of the actual item being sold - don't use stock photos"

I know I am wasting my time trying to talk to either of them, but I am going to anyway. Just so I can feel better about myself for not being proactive.

I will NEVER buy from APMEX again.

Ed
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