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.



7 responses to “Topps continues the ‘Bait and Switch’ approach to redemptions

  1. 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…

  2. 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.

    • 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…

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