eBay Hit with Lawsuit Over Coin Listing Policy

by CoinNews.net on January 23, 2008 · 9 comments

eBay Faces Lawsuit over Coin Listing PolicyA lawsuit was filed Jan. 10, 2008 against eBay, the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Professional Numismatists Guild (PNG) for defamation and unfair and deceptive trade practices.

The suit was filed in United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida by National Numismatic Certification, LLC (NNC), ASA Accugrade, Inc (ACG), PCI Coin Grading, Inc (PCI), Treasure Gallery, Inc., Sovereign Entities Grading Service, Inc.(SEGS) and Centsles, Inc. The suit seeks damages:

 

" … in excess of $75,000.00, exclusive of costs, interest and attorney’s fees and for temporary and permanent injunction relief …"

 

At the root of the suit, eBay’s policy change limiting the listing of coins as certified

eBay’s policy page on selling currency sets out the requirements in listing coins or paper money. Key aspects outlined on the page are prohibiting counterfeit sales and providing full disclosure on anything that could affect a listing’s value. This policy and elements surrounding an update and announcement to it were driving forces in the lawsuit.

In Sept. 2007, eBay updated their policy for selling coins. eBay limited the listing of coins as certified to those coins that had been graded by these, and only these, selected grading companies:

  • Numismatic Guaranty Corporation (NGC)

  • Numismatic Conservation Services (NCS)

  • Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS)

  • Independent Coin Grading (ICG)

  • ANACS

The plaintiffs complaints in the suit are directed toward claimed construction mechanisms of eBay’s udpated policy, the way it was stated and the ANA press release announcing eBay’s policy change. They claim actions essentially branded their graded coins as "counterfeit" and/or their companies as dealing in counterfeit items. In specific regards to the ANA press release, the plaintiffs say they:

 

“… have been injured in their respective abilities to carry out their professions, trades, and occupations and have been exposed to distrust, hatred, contempt and ridicule … As a direct and proximate result of said defamatory conduct, Plaintiff have lost considerable income and profits and their goodwill has suffered immensely …"

 

The lawsuit seeks a trial by jury in federal court.

Full Legal Filing

For precise legal information, the entirety of the filed lawsuit may be read here:

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Rob Barry March 19, 2008 at 12:03 pm

Whenever th slab is opened by a fingernail or a coin so easily as are so many by SEGS and GCGS, one must question the grade of the coin inside. Is it possible that a coin graded MS-70 or PR-70 inside a slab that when dropped is exposed to the elements or worse falls out of the protective capsule completely, that the coin can be considered “perfect. I say no! The slab must be sealed, securely -period! There can be no questions. Anytime there is a question, the confidence in the company which grades the coin comes into question. I fail to see why there is any arguement over the need for a securely slabbed coin. Either the coin is sealed or it cannot be considered the grade claimed. Once sealed, let th experts scratch their heads. Trust, the issue at hand, is something that must be earned and constantly proven. Without trust, all coins are suspect. ALL Coins!

Rob Barry

Adrian Pitt March 20, 2008 at 11:37 pm

In Response to Mr. Rob Barry’s post. SEGS capsules are the most difficult to open in the entire industry. You need a hammer and an anvil or a drill. You must be thinking of SGS, Star grading service, located in Ohio. They have “bubble gum” type capsules and a gold seal at the top of each capsule. If you opened a SEGS capsule with your fingernail then it was never sealed. You are absolutely correct the “seal” is of the utmost importance. The act of having your coin graded and encapsulated is nullified if the coin is not secured… a waste of time and money.

Frank Provasek June 18, 2008 at 4:55 am

On the PCGS.com message board, this 1909-S Lincoln is the subject of “guess the grade”

http://i265.photobucket.com/albums/ii225/arizonajack/1909sp009copy.jpg

The vast majority of members guessed slider AU55/AU58. It was revealed by the owner to
have been graded MS63 red/brown by PCGS.

OBVIOUS very light wear…dullness in the open fields, color difference on the high points..all of the
diagnostics of “how to tell the difference between slider and true Mint State” as taught at the ANA
grading summer seminar.

But it meets the philosophy of “market grading.” Flashy, a better date, slight rub, but “the market
dictates an Uncirculated price, not an AU price” (from the PCGS grading guide.)

Ironically, such coin would have been called AU58 by both PCI and SEGS, which are banned by ebay.

But while the vast majority of members here recognize that the coin is slightly worn, they nonetheless
congratulate the owner for getting an MS63 grade.

joe karl October 1, 2008 at 8:54 pm

Coin Dealers Sue eBay In Antitrust Class Action

Class Action 2008/09/03 08:55
eBay conspired with the American Numismatic Association and the Professional Numismatists Guild to exclude small coin dealers and grading services from the Internet coin market, four plaintiffs say in a class action antitrust complaint in Federal Court. Universal Grading Service claims the defendants, including Barry Struppler & Co., conspired “to obstruct the ability of the smaller coin grading services to participate in the coin marketplace on eBay.”

Led by the Professional Numismatists Guild, the defendants did this by forming an “‘Internet rules committee’ made up of coin industry insiders, including Barry Struppler, in his capacity as then ANA governor and chairman of the ANA Consumer Protection Committee,” the complaint states.

It continues: “(A) primary purpose of the PNG ‘Internet rules committee’ from 2001 through 2004 was to interfere with and obstruct the ability of the smaller coin grading services, including UGS, to participate in the then burgeoning coin marketplace on eBay by, among other things, formally and informally accusing Plaintiffs of selling ‘counterfeit’ coins and otherwise engaging in fraudulent conduct with regard to purchasing and selling certified coins and/or grading coins that were purchased and sold on the Internet via eBay.”

Plaintiffs claim the defendants formed their “Coins Community Watch group” for the purpose of defaming and excluding smaller coin services from the marketplace.

Plaintiffs demand treble damages and an injunction. They are represented by Marina Trubitsky.

Attached to this 39-page complaint are 46 pages of exhibits

roger h October 4, 2008 at 1:44 pm

i would just like to say that one coin dealer on ebay is just there to rip you off i have got coins from him in cases and the case would say unc.1944d whatever and it would not be the rigth coin in that slab

usgoldcoins1999 October 7, 2008 at 3:32 pm

Ebay used to be the place to confidently buy and sell certified rare coins, at least until the last 2 years. Even with new Ebay guidelines that banned unreliable grading services that went in effect earlier this year, there are more crooks and fraudulent coins on Ebay than ever. It’s a shame to say this, because for years I bought and sold hundreds of certified coins with no problems. when I did get ripped off for $5,000 in October, 2007 Ebay was absolutely no help in either banning the the Ebay user before he defrauded more people or in helping to recover my money. The Rare Coin Community needs to establish it’s own auction website, which is monitored by people who really know and love rare coins. Heritage Auctions charges so much, you are left with little or now profit from the sale of your cherished and rare coins that you have held held for years. Ebay Security is a real farce– their “experts” know little or nothing about rare coins. By the way, almost all knowledgable collectors know to buy only coins graded by NGC or PCGS.

cjlogan November 4, 2008 at 12:56 am

FIRE DONAHOE PETITION!

Search:

“Ebay Stockholders and Sellers Calling For Immediate Termination of John Donohoe CEO”

at petitiononline.com

ralph foster July 29, 2009 at 11:40 pm

At the age of 8, that was 61 years ago, I bought, and sorted out better coins, from rolls of coins from the banks. Over the years I built up a coin inventory and eventually a business. Through handling a coin I know more about it than looking it. Today I am an E-bay power seller,[ralpht.foster] and have a solid five figure volume each month. After E-bay fees most my coins are sold near melt value. One thing I know for sure–when a coin is put in a plastic holder–regardless of by whom–I will always doubt its authenticity. A true coin will remain true–long after these grading services and E-bay pass into history. Very truly yours, Ralph T. Foster

check out the new [encased] Chinese counterfeits …….

David Reed September 19, 2010 at 9:50 am

I have been buying and selling coins on The eBay Web-site for a number of years as a hobby and to attempt to bolster my fixed income.(I am 76 years of age.) I am perplexed as to the reasons for the exclutions of many old really established grading companys. In my humble opinion I do strongly suspect that one or two of the newer grading compnys are set up to sell coins in a wrong and clever manner to unsuspecting collectors and hobbists. I do not believe that the older well established companys have, or are following this trend.
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Some of the sellers on The eBay web-site use strong gold and yellowish lights and other means to cover up imperfections, scratches, wear, and other distractions on their coins. Some of these allowed practices are obvious frauds in my opinion. I hope you agree. Why have these and others wrongful and hurtful practices been allowed to continue up to the present day?
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There are more and more unmarked copys of many United States Coins being made in China being placed up for sale and auction on eBay and should be addressed as such.
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Why has this corporation picked upon some of the old school honest ( well established for many years) grading companies only without a fair and formal court hearing?
Thank you. Dave.

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