Bidder Tips: Disputing Lot Descriptions


Bidders and auctioneers should follow procedures when disputing lot descriptions. Here are tips for bidders. Tuesday we will share pointers for auctioneers.

When bidders receive a coin that has not been accurately described, they need to be sure to follow these procedures:

  1. Read the service terms. All sales are usually final when the hammer drops, especially as they pertain to grades. Grading is in part subjective (within a few points on the Sheldon scale). Many service terms state no refunds due to grade or condition as described on Proxibid. This type of complaint won’t hold up in a dispute.
  2. Know the exceptions to all sales final. An auctioneer cannot state a coin is gold when it is base metal. Neither can an auctioneer sell counterfeit or replica coins as authentic. Exceptions occur when an item is presented as something it is not.
  3. Deal first with the auctioneer. If you suspect you have a counterfeit or an item that differs significantly from what is described, see if the auctioneer will take back the lot. If not, you’ll have to prove your case.
  4. Prove your point. Send the auctioneer a note, copying in Proxibid Customer Service, that you are going to send the coin to PCGS, NGC, ICG or ANACS to verify your suspicions. Take your coin to a dealer for submission or do so yourself. (See this post for instructions.)
  5. Contact Proxibid Customer Service with the evidence. Take photos of the report by your grading company verifying your suspicions and then contract Proxibid, which will open a dispute in your name.

Describing coins accurately is important if auctioneers want return customers. The Unified User Agreement requires accurate descriptions: “Significantly Not as Described” (SNAD) Claim – means an action taken by a Buyer against a Seller when the Buyer has purchased an item that arrived but was significantly different from the item description.

We have never encountered a problem when we have provided evidence. We worked with auction companies on more than a half dozen fakes and always received refunds. We recently had the same experience with a coin that was described as a rare variety when it wasn’t.

Tuesday we will share tips for auctioneers involved in disputes with bidders.

Proxiblog is an independent entity with no connection to the auction portal Proxibid. Our intent is to uphold basic numismatic standards as established by the American Numismatic Association and the National Auctioneer Association and to ensure a pleasurable bidding experience not only on Proxibid but also on similar portals such as iCollector and AuctionZip.


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