Thursday, March 3, 2011

Collectors Want Upper Deck Back?

I can understand any collector wanting the cards that Upper Deck released to still exist because they did make some nice looking cards, but any company can do that with the right graphic designers and attitude towards cards. I’m wondering how many people who rave about Upper Deck have actually dealt with the company itself?

Back when it was a new product, I opened a box of 2008 Timelines. Unhappy with the ridiculous cards with the huge roller marks down the middle, I sent them in to be replaced. I didn’t get the replacement cards back until June 2009 after contacting them 5 or 6 times about the delay.

In May 2009, I opened two ridiculous boxes of Upper Deck. My basketball box shorted me a hit and the baseball box shorted me two hits and 4 of the packs only contained 10 cards instead of the 20 that are supposed to come in a pack. I sent emails that went unanswered. I got the attention of Chris Carlin via the Upper Deck Facebook page and finally got sent the basketball card that I was shorted. I continued contacting Upper Deck and then finally in January of 2010, I got some packs of series 1 and series 2 as replacements.

I submitted 7 “in stock” redemption cards from my Basketball Draft Edition case on New Year’s Eve. It is now March 2nd and the cards haven’t even been shipped yet. From what I’ve read online, in stock redemption cards are taking around 3 months to be redeemed.

I pulled a redemption card for a Michael Johnson autographed card that was never produced about 18 months after the release of the product. Even though it had been that long and the card still didn’t exist, I still had to wait 45 days before I could file a claim to have that card replaced with something else. Once I filed that claim, I was told that it would be 6-8 weeks until the card was shipped out. So, sometime in June I will most likely get some ugly card with no picture and a sticker auto from World of Sports that doesn’t come close to what the Michael Johnson auto should have been.

Last, but certainly not least, is my current experience in regards to the expired Ken Griffey Jr autographed box topper which is a case hit. I also pulled three other expired redemption cards for Stroke of Genius cards, but those don’t really bother me. I sent an email to Upper Deck about the expired redemptions stating that they were from 2007 Masterpieces and got the following reply:

Dear Valued Customer,

Please send us the following info so we can create a case for you to send in your expired redemption card:

Full Name:
Full Address:
Phone Number:
Redemption Code:
Expiration Date:

***Please note that all expired redemptions are handled on a case by case basis. Not all expired redemptions will be accepted***


Upper Deck Customer Care

Silly me thought that this meant that they were considering doing something for my expired redemption cards. Today, I got this email:

Dear Valued Customer,

I am sorry to hear you have pulled an expired redemption from our product. Unfortunately, we are unable to redeem your card because it is expired. For more information regarding our redemption card policy please contact customer service at 1-800-873-7332. I am sorry for any inconvenience. I hope you have a great day!


Upper Deck Customer Care

Have you ever read a smarmier less sincere email in your life? I don’t think that I have. Valued? You sure aren’t showing me that I’m valued. Why make me wait before sending this email? Did you not know the redemption dates for your own products? “I hope you have a great day!” Well, possibly if UD knew the first thing about customer service. I work for a company consistently rated as one of the best in customer service in any field and have worked in the customer service field even prior to that. The things that my current company does to make the customer happy is ridiculous sometimes, but it is worth it because you end up with loyal customers. I’m not quite sure what Upper Deck is trying to do here. I’m so glad that I didn’t purchase a single pack of 2010 baseball.

Then there’s the replies from Upper Deck on Twitter to I Am Joe Collector:

just got the run around from @upperdecksports on the phone regarding the redemption.  Their story keeps changing.

UpperDeckSports: We've shared before that expired cards cannot be honored: MLB is very tough to help with now. Sorry!

That isn't true, the rep on the phone told me that UD will honor them if the haven't been expired for more than 1 year

UpperDeckSports: Again, MLB is difficult. We don't have a license, no new products & collectors who redeemed on time get priority.

[Note that one hand doesn’t seem to know what the other is doing.]

So which is it?

UpperDeckSports: You can work with the reps, but don't expect that Jeter. That ship has most likely sailed. One of the dangers of older wax.

I tried, but the rep flat out told I get nothing willy wonka style.

[Again, no one seems to know the policies that other people are quoting.]

UpperDeckSports: Then that would be your final answer. Sorry again, but you've got to be careful in busting older product.

so what you are saying is that the process is arbitrary? Great.

UpperDeckSports: More that havent had a MLB license for two years, the cupboard is bare. If you buy MLB product, you do so at your own risk.

[Remember, this is a valued customer being told to buy UD products, even 2010 Baseball, at their own risk.]

So, don’t mind me if I don’t get all nostalgic for Upper Deck and starting throwing pennies into wishing wells hoping that they get their licenses back. Right now, Razor seems like a more reputable company than Upper Deck. I won’t shed a single tear once Upper Deck closes their doors for the last time and is gone from the hobby forever.

Next up for a shiny, happy post: For those of you complaining about a Topps monopoly in baseball, be glad that it’s not Panini. Things could be a lot worse.


beardy said...

I got that same email about the Mauer I pulled a month or so ago, and you're right on about the double talk. Completely ridiculous! Opening anything these days is a total ripoff. On the one hand you have Topps, sole producer of licensed, damaged, and expensive cards... on the other, you have everyone else's older products that all have expired redemptions in them. It truly is suckle the teet of Topps, or starve to death.

G_Moses said...

UD is almost closed out. You'll probably see the same thing as Pinnacle. Once the doors close, I imagine you'll see a whole lot of cards that "weren't redeemed" flooding the market.

The Dimwit said...

Upper Deck once had decent management and was a quality company. Would I like to see the current company start producing cards again, no. Would I like to see a re-vamped, new management, high quality, customer service driven company start over? Sure would. Is that likely? No. I'd also like to have the 1986 Astros/Mets replay the NLCS... that may be more likely than Upper Deck changing it's corporate climate/marketing/customer service...

Charles @ Hoopography said...

As a UD employee, I would say, "Maybe you're buying too many boxes.", "If you don't buy as many boxes, you wont have as many problems with our product".

I love UD design, but I feel like that's what they're saying over there at UD headquarters.

At least they are making an effort to redeem your redemption card.

If UD does go under, maybe some of their design staff would get picked up at some of the other card companies.

Offy said...

Dimwit: I would welcome Upper Deck from the 90s back in an instant. They had nice wrapper redemptions for some cool autographed cards, had fun inserts like Predictors and Crash the Game that made you follow the sport and seemed to put out much better products.

The thing is, I don't see anyone eager to make any sort of changes over at Upper Deck. About a year ago, it seemed like they were attempting to improve their image. They were giving away a lot of product, talking about accepting expired redemptions and expanding their presence online.

It sort of seems like the company has gotten bitter due to what has happened to them, but they've brought everything down upon themselves due to their actions. On Twitter, they just kept talking about how they had nothing due to losing their MLB license, but they never once offered to send something from another sport. It isn't the collector's fault that their house of cards has come crumbling down around them.

Everything being an ideal situation, I would love to have a competently run Upper Deck back, but I don't see that happening. I'm also not that annoyed by the Topps monopoly because I don't see much difference between Topps before and after the deal was made. If anything, they suffered from one really bad choice to try and save money with this year's Chrome set. Whether or not that was due to having to pay too much for the exclusive agreement is something we'll probably never know, but the added online component to the last two sets and the different manufactured items that they've put in the products have kept things interesting to me.

Charles: Which redemption card? They're not doing a thing for the Griffey. I'm out of luck on that one unless Joe Collector and I can wear them down and get them to send us something. I can completely understand not being able to fulfill all old redemption cards, but this annoys me for a couple of reasons:

1) This is a redemption for a case hit. Case hits are such a big part of the "value" of a case (and I'm talking value at time of purchase, not secondary value) that a case hit should never be a redemption card and if they are then the company issuing them should be ready to issue a replacement for those cards at all times.

2) Upper Deck is honoring redemption cards for all of 2010, but this card expired at the end of 2009. It's just kind of annoying to have a completely arbitrary decision go against you. If they are honoring cards that expired on 1/1/10 is it that much of a stretch to honor something from 9/24/09?

Again, if it were just the three expired redemption for autographed cards then I wouldn't be as annoyed, but I feel that Upper Deck really screwed the collector by issuing redemption cards for case hits.

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