PTS Code of Ethics


The Council believes that it is in the interests of the trade as a whole to set down the following guiding code of business practices applicable to the philatelic trade and intends to take suitable action in the event of any flagrant breach of the code.


General Principles

All forms of business and business practice in connection with stamp dealing shall be carried out creditably and with professional integrity to the highest commercial standards and the principles of good trading shall be upheld.


ARTICLE 1.  Forgeries and repaired, re-gummed or faulty stamps.

Counterfeit stamps shall never knowingly be offered as genuine. Faulty or repaired stamps shall never knowingly be offered as perfect. Unofficial reprints shall never knowingly be offered as originals. A buyer shall never knowingly be misled as to quantity, quality or specification. If it is wished to sell items which are not postage stamps, which are in unused condition, or have been valid for use in the national or international mails, their status must be described.

ARTICLE 2  Sale of illegal material. 

It is not acceptable for members to sell counterfeits, labels, stamps, covers or other material where it is illegal to do so.


1 Stamps/labels that break UK or the law of the country in which the label is sold - for example where there is breech of copyright or exposure to infringing public decency -  should not be sold by PTS members, for such sales are clearly in breech of the general principles of good trading.

2  Stamps, labels or other material that are issued or created by a third party but purport to be issued by a genuine postal authority will be construed to be counterfeit. Members must satisfy themselves and the Council if requested to do so that the sale of such material is not illegal.

ARTICLE 3.  Professional liability.

(a)  Should a member, as a stamp dealer, or any one employed by him or authorised by him to act in his name, supply stamps and/or other philatelic material which do not accord with his description of it, the member must accept full responsibility.  The member must refund the full purchase price or may replace the unsatisfactory material with material according to his original description, subject to the satisfaction of the buyer that it is so.

(b) Where a member supplies a stamps and /or philatelic material with a certificate of genuineness his description must agree with and include that of the certificate in its entirety including remarks concerning condition. Provided that the certificate is from a recognised expert or expert committee then the member will be considered to have met his obligation under Article 1 and is not required to provide a refund or replacement under Article 3(a). Any claim that the certificate is incorrect is a matter to be taken up with the expert or expert committee by the claimant.

(c)  If a member finds himself unable to guarantee the genuineness or condition of any particular material, he may sell such described as "believed to be", "apparently" or "possibly" and "but not guaranteed to be" such an such.  He may also write on his invoice words to the effect that he accepts no responsibility to accept the return of the material unless the description can be proved false or misleading.  This is the only way in which a member may attempt to sell material "without recourse".

(d)  A member must insert, in his written contractual terms, a clear and conspicuous statement that the contractual terms stated do not and will not affect the statutory rights of a "consumer".


1  In the event of dispute the onus will be on the buyer to prove to the satisfaction of the Society that the stamp or stamps in respect of which he wishes to claim are the actual stamps bought from the member and have not been treated, marked or altered in any way.

2  Providing the description of the stamps at the time of the sale was correct, any subsequent alteration in their catalogue status will not provide grounds for their return to the member.

3  If the member does not specify any time limit to his responsibility, it will be assumed that the normal legal period of six years applies.

4. A recognised certifying expert or expert committee shall include those of the PTS Expertising Ltd, Royal Philatelic Society and the British Philatelic Association. A recognised expert or committee is one that; has an expert who is highly regarded for certifying such an item, undertakes proper diligence in reaching the opinion, records the opinion and can uphold the opinion. There must always be doubt if the most obvious expert is not used.

5. Members are reminded to ensure that a certificate belongs and that the condition of the stamp or item has not changed since the issue of a certificate.

ARTICLE 4.  Identification of stamps.

When selling any stamps at a figure exceeding £50, a member will, on demand, give a detailed invoice.

ARTICLE 5.  Advertisements.

A member must not publish misleading advertisements purporting to sell what he has not got or to give what he has no intention of giving.

ARTICLE 6.  Adequate stocks.

Within reasonable limit of his judgement a member shall not advertise any item without having adequate stock to complete orders that he reasonably expects to receive within seven days.

ARTICLE 7.  Refunds.

Unless otherwise agreed in writing at the time the order is placed, a member must at all times refund, on application, all moneys he may hold in respect of orders which he may not be able to execute.

ARTICLE 8. Transactions with the trade.

(a) Members must accept that it is the practice of the trade to check all deliveries as to quantity within seven days of receipt and to assume that delivery has been correctly made unless a claim is made within 28 days from the date of delivery.

(b) Members when trading with other members must make clear the contractual terms preferably in writing and abide by them.  If no special contractual terms are negotiated the standard terms and conditions of the seller will apply.

(c) Members shall not send unsolicited material.

(d) Members must not return deliveries without the agreement of the seller and any such returns must be complete and in the condition of delivery.

ARTICLE 9.  Trade descriptions.

Members must abide by the rulings laid down by the Society.

ARTICLE 10.  Investing in Stamps

The Philatelic Traders’ Society represents members who trade in philatelic material and who provide professional expertise.  Investment advice and encouraging philatelic investment is outside the scope of the Society.

Members who undertake such activity must not implicate the Society in any way.

ARTICLE 11  Certificates & Warranties

(a) Members who sign certificates of genuineness must satisfy themselves and, if requested to do so by the Council, that they have the expertise or they can rely on the expertise of others to make such a certification.  With the exception of the PTS Expertising Ltd the PTS logo or any reference to the association must not appear on any certificate of genuineness or attachment.

(b) Members may give a warranty that they will replace the material or will reimburse a customer. A reference to the membership of the PTS is permissible.

ARTICLE 12.  Auctioneers.

Members, when acting as auctioneers or in a similar capacity, will be expected to observe the general principles specified above but will not be required, unless not to do so would conflict with the observance of such general principles to, observe the specific provisions contained in Articles 1 to 12.


Members are reminded that auction "rings” are illegal under the Auctions (Bidding Agreements) Act 1927