Topps continues the ‘Bait and Switch’ approach to redemptions

First and foremost I’m a collector of sports cards, so with full disclosure I am personally waiting for two redemptions to be fulfilled from Topps.

 

BPBWXVUQN4  2012 Bowman Platinum Baseball Auto Relic Refractor of Jose Altuve     Pending

BPBJLLXDJM  2012 Bowman Platinum Baseball Bowman Black Auto of George Springer  Pending

 

 

There it is, ‘Pending’.  The collectors least favorite word when it comes to redemptions.

For those who haven’t experienced the glory of redemptions, here’s a brief overview.  Card companies want to fill products with great player inserts so product will sell well, so they get players to sign cards for them.  They must abide by the rules of the MLBPA and of course deal with representatives for each player.  It’s a business, and there is a lot of money going around.  Sometimes they can’t get the player to sign in time so they use a redemption card to fill the space of the players card in the hopes that they will still get said player to fulfill their end of the obligation.

The only problem is, sometimes the players don’t sign.  The companies don’t pursue and then there are these redemptions sitting in a list like the one shown above gathering dust, if you will.  The other problem is the card companies don’t seem to have any sense of urgency in the matter.

Topps isn’t the only culprit, just the one I’m writing about.  Panini America ( Tracy Hackler, more specifially)does a great job with announcing redemptions that have been fulfilled which pleases the customer base. Their weekly redemption update can be found here.

Companies will say that sometimes redemptions are a necessary evil, and sometimes they can’t be prevented.  There are probably some truths to that statement, but collectors don’t seem to care.

I don’t.

I don’t know of any other retail industry that sells incomplete products.  Shirts without a sleeve?  Refrigerators without the door handle? Cars without the battery?  If you sell a product it should be complete, if not DON’T PUT IT ON THE MARKET.

For me, I’d rather wait and have everything done correctly.  I don’t appreciate the bait and switch that comes with unfulfilled redemption cards.  It’s unfair and bad business.  The card companies aren’t exactly swimming in profits.  Not anymore- there is no room for customer dissatisfaction.

To be clear- I’ve had redemptions before and I’ve had them filled.  I’ve also had issues with missing hits that have been replaced within a reasonable amount of time.  The problem is- the current state of redemptions isn’t the same experience with everyone.  On a recent Twitter ‘poll’, some collectors said they have redemptions pending from 2011.  A YEAR AGO!

It’s time for some accountability. Collectors are spending hard-earned money to purchase things that are meant to make them happy.  Collectors are having a tough time ripping through cards and finding that black and white card with the hopes of getting something nice.

How has your redemption card experience gone?

Leave a comment a share your story.

 

  • Erling Crousse

    Oh I’ve got a GREAT redemption story. It starts about 7 years ago…

    I was getting back into card collecting after years of not. The hockey lockout allowed for an AMAZING crop of new rookies coming in for the 05-06 season. So I got back into it and started chasing my Crosby’s. I also am a Senators fan, and my favourite player is Jason Spezza. So, with a clear credit card and reckless abandon, I went after anything and everything I could get my hands on. One card I picked up was a Dual Auto Ryan Getzlaf/Jason Spezza Rookie Inspirations from the Rookie Update set. Bought it off of eBay, redeemed it through Upperdeck’s website and now it’s time to wait.

    So after a few months, this being my first exposure to redemptions I didn’t know how long they should take, I sent UD an email asking what was up. The said in process blah blah blah and I should wait a little longer. So I did.

    Another few months down the road, still nothing. So another email. They said they were having difficulty getting the card made, so told me to choose an alternate player. Problem was, the player I wanted, Spezza, was the one I had to replace. Joy. Well, at this point, I also sort of, kind of, not realy liked Eric Staal. So Stall/Getzlaf it was. So I waited.

    And waited…

    And waited…

    And then COMPLETELY forgot about it. COMPLETELY. I had gotten out of collecting since money totally dried up, and forgotten I even had a redemption.

    Fast forward to this summer. I went back home to visit my parents for summer vacation and GUESS WHAT WAS WAITING FOR ME?!??!? A padded envelope with, you guessed it, my Getzlaf/Stall dual auto card in a bubble envelope from UD. I want to say it made my day, but it also made me shake my head. Almost 7 years after I started the process, I got my card.

    There, how’s THAT for a flawed process…

    • http://iheartbaseballstuff.wordpress.com danolaurel

      Seven years is unbelievable. And unacceptable.

  • Shane

    I have been waiting for a 2011 bowman Mastroianni auto and a 2012 topps tier one white auto crowd pleasers of Matt Kemp. Both were redeemed right after release of the product.

    Have called and left numerous messages for topps over the last 3 months (1-2 a week) to see if they will replace them, but no one returns my messages. I call at various times during their stated business hours, listen to David Wright recording for about 10-15 minutes, get transferred to someone’s mailbox, pray that It does not say mail box full, and then leave message.

    I have also sent numerous emails and get the automated response that they received my email and will get back to me and guess what no
    email response either.

    Not sure what’s going on since I always get a representative from upper deck and panini on the first try. They also answer all my questions and solve all problems professionally and quickly.

    I have given away or sold all my unused topps redemptions and will not be purchasing their products until they fix their problems.

  • Chris

    Funny, I have been waiting on a Bowman Mastroianni forever too.

    • Shane

      I finally got a living person on the phone after months of leaving emails and messages, and quickly asked for replacement cards after telling them their customer service sucks. They asked if I had any other player that I wanted. I told them kemp tier one white auto is numbered to 25, so I would like Strasburg, Profar, or Tavares auto, and I don’t care what I get for Mastroianni because he sucks.

      A couple weeks later I was sent a David justice chrome auto which is not available in packs for the Mastroianni and a Strasburg 2010 topps chrome refractor #/499 for the kemp. I am happy with the $ value in the replacements, but still feel someone should sue the hell out of them for false advertising player’s autos that aren’t even in the product.

      • Chris

        I just received the exact same Justice auto as a replacement for a Mastroianni refractor auto. I am not real happy about that.

  • randy

    Can’t wait till they go belly up

    • http://www.sportscardmagazine.net danolaurel

      While I dont see that happening, I do feel that they will need to do a complete overhaul on their customer service and redemption system. It’s a matter of time, but they may lose customer in process…

      • randy

        May be, they just lost me and anybody else I can sway into boycotting them!

    • Joel

      I have 5 redemptions pending right now! The first two I redeemed were in November 2012! I have another 2 pending redemptions in under Panini’s Playoff Contenders, and thats been about as long as November too.

  • Dave

    21 redemptions and counting all topps ufc
    some go back to 2010 knockouts and 2010 series 4.
    great work topps!!

  • Willy

    I have submitted for 2 Topps redemption cards of Matt Kemp’s in 04/2012. I am still waiting. In February i miraculously was able to get through and talk to a customer service person to inquire about them. He said: “bottom line, it’s all about money. The player representatives are holding out for the maximum amount”. But, i said, isn’t the redemption card a business obligation ? Otherwise why issue it and get paid by buyers if it’s not guaranteed. That’s like buying goods from merchants and they take your money but don’t deliver what they sold. He replied that if i can’t wait, he can suggest substitute cards of equal value. That is “assuming” they can even determine the value of something that doesn’t exist. So i replied that i will wait a couple of months. I bought the 2 cards on ebay and only 15 and 25 of each were to be redeemed. I paid top dollars for them. Frustration set in and i called Topps again a couple of weeks ago. It was impossible to get through to anyone. I left messages and got no replies. Then i decided to chance it and selected a different department. Some “respectable” guy at Topps by the name of Dwight Sinclair answered and i explained to him why i was calling: His reply, and this is truthful and no b.s: “You are not even a customer so go pound sand and fuck yourself”..Nice going Dwight…I researched this guy and he owned the Bazooka gum brand before selling it to Topps. Very professional and a class act !!!!!!!I have yet to hear back wrt all the voice mail messages i left for customer service. I have been collecting for only 3 years. I did submit one redemption card earlier for another player and did receive it 6 months later.. But for now i am out several hundred dollars on these Matt kemp cards and also concerned about 3 more cards i submitted for redemption of Corey Seager’s which also cost several hundred dollars….Any suggestions anyone ???? Is there a legal recourse ??? Thanks.

  • Andy M.

    I currently have 6 outstanding redemptions with Panini and at least 20 with Topps. My oldest with Panini is 3 1/2 months. My oldest with Topps is 7 months. I have received 4 redemptions from Panini, 3 of which I was satisfied with, and one not so much. I have only had one redemption filled by Topps. At least they sent the right card.

    As I was watching a Panini product opened last night, I saw the dreaded black-and-white, too thin to be a booklet card come out 3 times in 10 boxes(4 cards per box). That’s a 7.5% rate. And that was a 2011 product. The worst part is that the cards were from 2011. I’m sure the rate will be higher for 2012 and 2013 products. The part that bugs me the most is that the card says “Dear Valued Collector”. If Panini or Topps valued me as a collector, they would cease using redemptions, or IOUs as I call them, and put autographs in their product at the stated odds. Someone needs to get an Attorney General on the case of Topps especially to get this mess cleaned up.

    • admin

      Agreed. Unfortunately it’s not all on the card companies, so there needs to be more repercussions on the players who agree to sign stuff and never do. They need to just start knocking on people’s doors.

      • Steve

        Even they aren’t affiliated with the organization, I had to resort to filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau in order to just get someone at Topps to listen. That’s pretty sad.

  • Chris

    I have been waiting for over a year on several redemptions as well. Mostly Matt Kemp. I’m over it. Topps customer service is horrible and I will never buy any of their products again. They got my money so I guess that’s all that matters.

    • steve

      See the comment on the previous post. It’s at least worth a shot.

  • Chris

    I have at least 15 cards pending with Topps. Some of the 2012 Sterling cards have arrived so it gives me hope, but I have two of the 1/1 silver cards pending and I am really concerned that Topps will never get them and send them to me. They are really high end cards. If they don’t show up I will seek legal recourse. I don’t know if there is any but with cards valued in the $1k range there has to be some responsibility. I don’t know about other people but I have issues with the wrapper redemption program too. That system is a joke as I have been burned by topps.

  • Larry

    They have taken the fun out of collecting, only hurting themselves down the road. Hobby or retail are they different? other than the price, cause you get redemptions in hobby that don’t get filled. Maybe a strike on buying is needed to wake them up. The bad side of that is, the effect on our local hobby shop’s, that just get by. Would not want to lose mine, took forever to get one close to home.

  • Steve Franklin

    I too have three Topps redemptions waiting. 2012 Five Star’s Matt Kemp and Robinson Cano. From the posts I can probably forget Matt Kemp. The one I’m really waiting on is the 2012 Topps Chrome Sepia Bryce Harper Autograph. With the amount being paid for Harper redemptions, Topps should be getting these done quicker. I too, am done with redemptions, I will only buy actual autographed cards. The crazy thing about the Harper is that he DID sign the Topps Chrome Blue ones for the set, so why is the other’s taking so long.

  • David Jackson

    I have only purchased 1 autograph redemption card and that was a 2012 Bowman Platinum Baseball Certified Autograph Relic Card Printing Plate Patch Jared Weaver 1/1. I was hesitant as I have pulled Redemption Cards previously and have had a mixed bag as to whether or not I received them. There is the initial shock upon redemption when you receive the notice that it will take 18 weeks to receive the card, then the surprise when 1 or 2 of them arrive within 3 weeks, then the dread of the fact the one you really wanted hasn’t shown up after 26 weeks. Personally I have never had a problem getting through to a live person at the Topps Customer Service line except right after Hurricane Sandy, so I guess I am very lucky. Now when it comes to hearing what I really wanted to hear that is a different story. I have yet to receive a single redemption card that went beyond the initial 18 week waiting period. There was one in particular that I was waiting on, Matt Harvey, and I was debating on whether to continue waiting when the Topps representative stated “We have received this players autographed cards for this years product so we are very confident that he will indeed finally return the autographed cards for last years product.” That told me all I really needed to hear!! I felt the player had no intention of signing the previous years cards or he would have done so and returned them at the same time he returned the current years autographs, so I took a player of equal value and wrote it off. I don’t know if Matt Harvey ever did send in his autographed cards but the exchange card now books at $100 and the one I got in exchange I can’t even get $1 for it so I sure am glad I didn’t buy it hoping to have that persons autograph!! But back to the Weaver card – I did actually receive that one and it was received in less than 3 weeks so it was a very pleasant surprise!!

    As for what I do now with the redemption cards, I never buy them on ebay because I no longer trust the players nor the card companies to actually provide what they contractually agreed to provide, and if I pull a redemption card I put it out on ebay for sale ASAP and just take what I can get for it. I do this even if it’s a player I would have liked to have kept because if the player can’t manage to live up to the obligation they contractually agreed to, then obviously they are not somebody that I really want to collect anyway!! The redemption cards should be the exception to the rule, not the norm that they are becoming. Maybe it is going to take the consumers boycotting the products that use the redemption cards to finally make it the exception again:((

    • admin

      Thanks for sharing. It is definitely becoming an issue on whether or not you want to hold on to the redemption card or not. What’s more frustrating to collectors is when players sign other cards, but not the one you have the redemption for. Have you heard of that happening?

  • Greg

    I’m still waiting on my 2011 Bowman Platinum Baseball Gary Sanchez / Jesus Montero Dual Autograph. Looks like I’m taking a zero on that one.

  • Clay

    Took almost a year to receive 2010 UFC Knock Out Anderson Silva auto. Been waiting over a year for 2012 Gypsy Queen Matt Kemp Auto. Have emailed and called. Never gotten a response…

    • Shane

      Rumor that I have been hearing is that he is not signing his cards because he is not happy with the contract that he signed with topps. I don’t think Kemp will sign anytime soon. It’s kind of like the athlete who doesn’t report to camp because he feels he is worth more then the contract he signed and agreed to.

      As for contacting Topps, good luck. Took me about 6 months of calling and emails before I was finally lucky enough to get someone on the phone. Good luck again. You are going to need it.

  • Frank

    I also have about 15 outstanding redemptions with topps….I got a girl on the phone about a month ago after an hour of david wright that has actually made me hate him to no end and she swore up and down I’d have 5 replacements in 2 weeks…lmao….I have the bowman mastioanni, who cares….but I also have a tribute 1/1 framed printing plate auto of kemp being replaced, a sterling prism Russell Wilson rookie auto #15 and a Anderson silva all on the replacement list…anyone care to guess how bad I got ass raped on these with replacements? How dou replace a kemp 1/1 auto? They asked me what I wanted for Wilson I said luck ( no shot). If they give me 20 cards to equal the value of the 5 I’m gonna go bonkers….topps can suck my ass!!!!!!!!

  • Jen

    Waiting on a Chris Sale #’d to 5 forever!

  • Jen

    It’s actually Five Star Silver Signature Red Parallel of Chris Sale. How do you replace this???

    • admin

      If you’re looking for a replacement you need to contact Topps customer service and let them know. You don’t know what you’re gonna receive and it’s based off of the value of the card you’re waiting on.

  • Robert

    Been waiting on a UFC relic card since 2010…… We are halfway through 2013 now…….
    They don’t even send updates or acknowledge that they owe you. Someone is going to sue them soon! Might be me!! Fraud is an easy case to win in court. Open/close. Bye bye Topps……

  • Rick

    still waiting foe a Berra 2011 Topps Tribute Dual Base Autograph. Was opened in Jan. 2012, but that’s 16 months ago. I see all sorts of Berra autos, not sure what the problem is. I too received Darryl Strawberry autos as replacements for some medium player last year. Not an official card, so doubt that it matches value of what I should have received. Someone needs to file a suit, see if that changes anything there.

  • Charlie

    Thank You for all the comments. I bought several packs of 2012-13 hockey cards and received several redemption cards. Went on-line to claim them but need to wait till after this years hockey draft in June, as they are for the II pick and VII pick auto cards. WE’ll see what happens . Thank You for filling me in on the wait-hope I’m alive,if they do ever show up in mail-box.

    • admin

      Good luck and keep us posted!

  • t a k

    Like most of you I am about at the end of my rope with a redemption. I received a redemption card for a 2012 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks Yu Darvish Rookie Autographed Red Refractor, a 1 of 5, over seven months ago. It took four months for them to get the signed card from Yu Darvish, two months to certify and quality check it, one month sitting in the distribution center and as of today (seven months later) they can’t find my card in the system. After patiently waiting and calling to check on the status every other week or so I’m at my wits end. I am a loyal Topps/Bowman collector but after this experience I’m most likely going to switch to another brand or stop collecting all together.

    Two words for Topps: CUSTOMER SERVICE!

  • scott williams

    HI, I HAVE BEEN FIGHTING WITH TOPPS IF ANYONE CAN HELP ME, I AM TIRED!! I BOUGHT 2-2013 HERITAGE REDEMPTION CARDS FOR $800 THEY ARE GOOD FOR 2-1964 TOPPS UNOPENED 5-CENT WAX PACKS AND IT HAS BEEN 6 MONTHS AND I HAVE SENT 80+ MESSAGES, E-MAIL, PHONE CALLS AND EVEN OPENED A CASE W/ THE BBB OF N.Y. AND TOPPS DID NOT REPLY TO ANY OF THESE?? WHAT DO I DO , PLEASE HELP ME OUT!! I EVEN WENT TO THE NATIONAL CONV. IN CHICAGO ,10 DAYS AGO AND SIGNED UP FOR THE TOPPS MEET AND GREET AND GOT TO TALK TO THEM AND TAlked to topps rep. clay luraschi AND HE TOLD ME , HE IS SO SORRY AND THIS SHOULD NOT HAPPEN B/C IT IS NOT A SIGNATURE , IT IS FOR PACKS AND TOLD ME THAT EITHER A JEFF OR DAVID AT TOPPS WOULD GET IN TOUCH WITH ME WITHIN A WEEK FOR SURE, AND NOTHING, I WENT AND SPENT $250 JUST TO GO TO THE NATIONAL SO I CAN TALK TO TOPPS AND IT ACOMPLISHED NOTHING YET, I DONT KNOW WHAT ELSE TO DO, IT IS SAD THEY CAN JUST DO THIS TO PEOPLE?? HOW IS IT AGAINST THE LAW? THEY ARE PRETTY MUCH STEALING? PLEASE HELP, THANKS FOR CHECKING THIS OUT , SCOTT WILLIAMS PLEASE EMAIL M4E IF YOU CAN HELP AT dead74@live.com thanks again, scotty

    • Shane

      Good luck, took me almost a year to finally speak to someone for a kemp auto redemption. Leaving messages and emails were useless for me also. Many things with the sportscard industry has to be illegal. They advertise numbered cards with odds, but they don’t tell you they hold back some of the cards as replacements. That goes for 1/1 cards. I have a friend who got a superfractor 1 of 1 as a replacement for a high price redemption auto that hey could not get signed. This means that if you were busting packs for that exact card, you could open every pack in circulation and never have a chance to get it. This is the reason I don’t open packs anymore and sold all my topps cards.

      • scott williams

        YEAH, I HEAR YA, AND I AM NOT EVEN WAITING FOR A SIGNED CARD, MINE ARE PACKS , THAT I HAVE SEEN 8-9 SELL IN THE LAST 3-4 MONTHS AND TOPPS DID NOTHING TO GET THEM, IT IS THE SAME AS STEALING , WHAT THEY ARE DOING HAS TO BE ILLEGAL AND THE BBB OF NY TRIED TO HELP BUT TOPP WONT REPLY TO THEM, IT IS SAD, TOPPS IS SAD, AND TOTALLY JUST SAYING STUFF THEY SAY THEY HAVE TO GIVE US, JUST TO SELL BOXES AND THEN YOU REDEEM THE CARDS AND THEY DO NOT EVEN OWN THE ITEM THEY ARE REDEEMING TO US?? WHAT?? TOPPS WENT DOWNHILL FROM 15-20 YEARS AGO, KARMA SUCKS AND IT WILL CATCH THEM AND THESE REDEMPTION WILL KEEP BUILDING UP AND UP AND MORE AND MORE PEOPLE WILL OPEN CASES WITH BBB AND THEY WILL GET WHAT SHOULD BE COMING TO THEM, I HATE THEM!!! PLEASE DONT BUY TOPPS PRODUCT UNTIL THEY STOP THIS SCAMMING!! THANKS, SCOTTY

  • Griffin Kelley

    I have a redemption story that turned out for the better. About four years ago I came across a redemption card in a pack of 2011 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects for a Donavan Tate Rookie Auto. I redeemed the code, with Topps, on the back of the card and waited and waited and waited. I sent various emails and eventually they got back to me saying “We are doing all in our power to obtain your card. We thank you again for your interest in our products.”. Now I figured that the card would never come. But about a month ago I received a Johnny Podres Auto. They wrote a letter saying that the card had been made specifically for me and that they had done the same with other people who had had their cards delayed and gave them current and retired players. If anyone has had the same scenario please leave a comment. Thanks.

  • Arlene Wallace

    I agree. I have bought 10 entire 2013 update series boxes and I only do it for the special cards in each individual pack, and I still have 2 redemption cards that are pending……..and pending…..and pending.

  • Arlene Wallace

    And each box costs me $100!!!!! That is over a thousand dollars!

  • Kevin Dines

    i been waiting almost 3 years on some of my redemtions from topps,,,when i cracked a case of topps and get a redemption,i put it on ebay,,,let someone else have the headache,,,,,,,,,,,i have panini redemptions,,,since august i have sent in 30 redemption basketball and received 19 so far,,,,,,love topps customer service,ur caller 18 approx. time waiting 1 hr and 18 minutes,,,,,,,when u wait for 1hr and 18 minutes,u get disconnected,,,,,,,,,topps gfy

    • David Graef

      topps is the worst if i have to hear david wright for another hour waiting to be heard about redemptions ill go play in traffic..panini fills mine up fast ..the only time i got a redemption from topps in a timely manner was when i asked for a replacement

  • Krusen72 .

    I literally just got off the phone with Topps stating that after almost two years, Matt Kemp signed and i should be getting the card shortly. Topps is horrible about customer support. i’ve been calling these guys every 3 months for the past two years and one time I got hung up on because I asked to speak with a manager to ask about getting something equal value and after 26 minutes on hold, they hung up.
    also, there is no email, like Panini, that lets you know redemption has been shipped. again its on the onus of the consumer to check the website.
    I agree with you 100% about the whole bait and switch with redemptions. I will never purchase another pack again if it contains redemptions. just not worth my time.
    Topps customer service is substandard and I would love to write the president of that company to let them know. If anyone has an email, please let me know.
    Finally, I am with Kevin. F Topps!

  • Rory K

    My story with Topps/Bowman Redemption cards is not quite as dire as some other people on this page. However, it’s April & I’ve been waiting since September for 2 2013 redemption auto relic cards & getting nowhere with their so-called ‘Customer Service’. Meanwhile, I see these cards all over eBay & am left to wonder why I haven’t received mine. The word for now is ‘frustration’. Also, this is the end of me purchasing any ‘redemption’ cards from anywhere. Grrrrr… ;-)

  • BarryTheMuslim

    As long as the Lemmings stand in line to thrown down money for incomplete products, they’ll make them. You’re wishing they had ethics and/or a soul. You are wrong.