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Philatelic Code of Ethics

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Membership in the American Philatelic Society is a privilege extended to those persons and organizations deemed worthy thereof and is not a matter of right. Membership may be maintained unless the Board of Directors determines that the conduct of a member has been such that, in the best interest of the Society, membership should be suspended or terminated.

For guidance of its members, this Code of Ethics has been duly adopted by the Board of Directors and by the authority vested in it by the Constitution and Bylaws of the Society. A breach of ethics by any member reflects, directly or indirectly, upon all other members. Such a breach shall be considered conduct prejudicial to the welfare of the Society and cause for disciplinary action by the Board of Directors.

As a member of the American Philatelic Society

  1. I agree to support and be governed by the Constitution and Bylaws of the APS and such amendments, resolutions, and policies as may be established.
  2. I agree to abide by all federal, state, and local laws relating to philatelic matters.
  3. I agree to conduct myself so as to bring no reproach or discredit to the APS, or to impair the prestige of membership therein, or to philately.
  4. I agree neither to buy nor sell philatelic items of which the ownership is questionable, and to report promptly to the proper law enforcement agencies information on suspected stolen material.
  5. I agree to correct promptly any error I may make in any transaction.
  6. I agree to assist in the prosecution of violations, of which I have knowledge, of laws pertaining to philatelic matters, and to report promptly to the proper law enforcement agencies any such violations.
  7. I agree not knowingly to sell, trade, produce, or advertise repaired, altered, or otherwise modified philatelic items unless that condition is clearly stated. I further agree not to sell, produce, or advertise counterfeit material in any form, in violation of any law.
  8. I agree to fulfill all contracts made by me, either orally or written, to make prompt payments upon delivery, and to return promptly any item that is not satisfactory.
  9. When exhibiting, I agree to display only material from my own collection or else to state clearly the contrary intent.
  10. I agree that substitution of stamps or covers, in circuits, approval selections, auction lots, etc. is dishonest and is cause for expulsion.
  11. I agree to bring known examples of irresponsible or unethical tactics to the attention of the societies in which I hold membership and which embrace this code.
  12. I agree to conduct myself in accordance with accepted standards of morality and courtesy in philatelic activities not specifically cited in the code.
  13. Requests for extension of time to return purchased material while awaiting expert opinion is not an acceptable reason to hold up payment for same. Prompt refund shall be from the seller should the material submitted for opinion be deemed other than as offered or described by the seller. Unless otherwise previously agreed, the seller shall also bear reasonable costs for obtaining the opinion if material is other than as offered or described. The buyer shall inform the seller immediately after receipt of any expert opinion. Requests for extension of time must be in writing.
  14. I agree to read, understand, and be bound by the "terms of sale" conditions before submitting an auction bid or placing a philatelic order.
  15. If I should be found guilty of unethical or unlawful conduct, the record thereof may be disclosed to other philatelic societies of which I am a member.
  16. I agree that any dispute concerning philatelic transactions in which I am involved may be settled by arbitration mutually agreed upon by the parties involved.
  17. I agree not to knowingly participate in any way in the advertisement, sale or trade of any philatelic material using any deceptive practices including, but not limited to, false or misleading claims of sales scarcity, value, condition or investment potential.
  18. I agree that no dealer or auctioneer knowingly shall represent in any way, including, but not limited to, a prices realized report that a bona fide sale of a philatelic item at a given price has occurred when, in fact, no change of ownership did occur.
Every member is bound to adhere to the Code of Ethics. The Code is recognized and highly respected in the organized philatelic community.
The three-member Board of Vice Presidents, which serves as the judicial body of the Society, investigates alleged breaches of the Code of Ethics. The Board assures a fair hearing is accorded to the parties involved and its rulings are binding upon members.
Should you become involved in a philatelic dispute against another APS member, the Board of Vice Presidents and the Code of Ethics are your assurance of a fair, due process investigation. While this is one member benefit we hope you'll never have to use, we're proud to provide this beneficial service to organized philately.
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