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APS Disciplinary Actions trend  
 

 
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Posted 12/08/2016   08:44 am  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this topic Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Message
The APS lists ‘Disciplinary Actions' on the website for years 1995 through 2106. It is a listing of suspended/reprimanded and expelled American Philatelic Society members. When I compiles the list, I noted an interesting trend and would like to hear opinions on what others think what explain it.

There has been a clear drop off in the number of members who are listed each year. During the same time period there was a corresponding drop in membership but this does not seem to track well with this trend. The year 1999 saw the largest number of actions with 40, last year was the lowest with just 1, this year there have been just 2. As the chart below shows there has been a large trending decline in the number of disciplinary actions.



I somehow doubt that human nature has changed over this time period and would expect the number of annual actions to be roughly the same as a percentage of total members. In fact, I expected a possible increase in this time period since the number of members who have turned into ‘dealers' by listing online has certainly increased over the same time period; giving more opportunity for ethical breeches. A cynical opinion might assume that APS has lowered the ethical standards so not to add to the declining membership ranks (hopefully this is not the case).

Does anyone have a more intimate knowledge of any changes in how Disciplinary Actions may have were tallied during this time period and could explain this trend?

Does anyone know if this list published on the website is complete for these years?

Do staff changes impact the number of Disciplinary Actions?

Anyone have other opinion(s) on what we are seeing here?
Don
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Posted 12/08/2016   08:54 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add knuppster59 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Dumb theory here....declining memberhip = lower money on hand to pursue disciplinary cases? Also, maybe it is not a high risk area and resources are being allocated elsewhere. Again, I don't know much about the whole process so these are very high level thoughts.
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Posted 12/08/2016   09:22 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ldhaber to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Simple, Since 1995 there has been an increasingly higher volume of sales through non-traditional, online venues such as eBay by sellers who are either not APS members or do not advertise their APS member. Hence defrauded buyers do not pursue the issue through the APS either because they are unaware of the seller's APS status, the buyer is not an APS member, or the buyer gets a refund through eBay and is satisfied with the result.
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Edited by ldhaber - 12/08/2016 09:25 am
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Posted 12/08/2016   09:36 am  Show Profile Check BeeSee's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add BeeSee to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I agree with ldhaber. Years ago most of my philatelic purchases were from APS dealer members. Now most of mine are done online, through non-members, or I do not even know if they are members.
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BeeSee in BC
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Posted 12/08/2016   10:53 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add txstamp to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
One additional possible variable - eBay and the history of the eBay stamp police so to speak, such as Bill Weiss. The big spike around 1999 or so, lines up with the early days of the wild west eBay. The stamp community was very actively policing eBay and may have hit a few APS members in the process. Over time, for obvious reasons, the level of engagement on eBay policing has gone down.

Also, unrelated, over time there have been a few well-documented criminal cases such as the bid shilling ring of dealers who were prosecuted some time ago. I don't have any data, but I have to believe several were probably APS members - such an event like that will cause a spike for a given year - but is not a trend (we hope).
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Posted 12/08/2016   2:31 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ikeyPikey to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Just to take a wacky positive PoV:

Perhaps the ease of refunds thru eBay/PayPal has established a new "just give them their money back" ethos that has propagated out into the larger hobby.

1) APS-member dealers were compelled to adopt the instant-easy-return-and-refund policy for eBay sales, and

2) saw that the world did not come to an end (got accustomed to it), and

3) extended it to all of their customers, reducing the grounds for complaints.

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey

Edited to add: The 1995-2002 numbers are volatile, but are clearly varying about a stable mean. It is from 2002 that we see a steady decline.
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Edited by ikeyPikey - 12/08/2016 2:35 pm
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Posted 12/08/2016   6:13 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
What you need to know is how many complaints have been received and resolved without requiring disciplinary action.
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Al
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Posted 12/08/2016   10:57 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add chasa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Another answer: Most of the people on the discipline list are there for "failure settle philatelic indebtedness". I suspect most of those are not rogue dealers but rather irresponsible buyers. There is little chance an irresponsible/criminal online buyer will get netted by the APS.
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Posted 12/19/2016   06:55 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add floortrader to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Two reasons for the change, eBay and PAYPAL now handle more disputes maybe as much as 100X more ,people no longer need the APS to get involued . Second their is a bigger pool of buyers who are not APS members and don't know about the APS services .The old story of don't sell junk to a society member wait for a "bunny" to come along .
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Posted 04/09/2017   12:12 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DrewM to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
It's probably all of these factors to some extent. The option that seems most likely to have produced this result to me is the change in stamp buying/selling away from APS identified sellers to more generic online seller like eBay. When there was a problem before, the APS would get brought into the dispute. Today, when there's a problem, either eBay, PayPal or the credit card company is brought in. APS is not involved because the seller/buyer is never identified as an APS member.

Either that or we really are seeing the dawn of a new age of honesty in stamp collecting. As for me, I welcome the new era of honesty, trust, and fairness and am happy to see a new day dawning!
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Edited by DrewM - 04/09/2017 12:13 am
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Posted 04/09/2017   06:39 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
A new honesty? If paypal is a reason for fewer complaints, then it is being enforced rather than naturally occurring.
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Al
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