I've been a lone wolf fighting mostly Corporate Hobby Fraud from 1997-2004, then at age 37- I was too sick to continue my website, so I gave it up. I believe that plagarism is truly the best form of respect, so when many others started websites similar to mine mostly in the mid-2000's I couldn't have been happier.
I was the only non-attorney fighting for every redemption holder in the Score Board bankruptcy (1997) & for this this Al Muir of Beckett was nice enough to do a full page article (I think it was November, 1997) about my fight with the courts. At least I inspired Fleer to donate 5,000 autographs (one per household) to those who could prove they were owed a redemption. I ot a nice Steve Young 8X10 Card Sheet autographed wityh the Fleer Autograph Authenticity stamp. I so wish I would have kept that because I've never seen another one anywhere. I collect great lefty quartebacks (the few that there are).
By 2001, I was fighting Pacific asking them for copies of LOA's (Letters of Authenticity) that come with ALL full game-used items for GU cards I had from 2001 Private Stock Baseball. They refused no matter who I was transferred to. The excuses went from silly to ridiculous. So I posted the whole story on my website , and part of my taped conversation with the then Vice-President. The MLB Player's Association was reading my website on a regular basis and then they asked Pacific for exactly what I was. It turned out to be exactly what I thought- THEY HAD NO LOA's BECAUSE THEY WERE FAKE GAME-USED ITEMS!!! Pacific lost their baseball license about a month later which bankrputed them a few years later. That was not my intent, but somtimes retribution is more harsh than we expect.
Next I went after Playoff. I spoke with the owner (Ann Blake) for hours every day for a month in May, 2001. She told me "you know the hobby from more angles better than anyone I ever met". That was quite a compliment, but I spent countless hours learning what I knew from 1997-2001. Then she offered me an all expenses paid trip to Grand Prairie, TX to meet the company & go with them to the Cleveland National as their VIP guest. That was one of the coolest things I ever had the opportunity to do in this hobby, but I didn't let it effect my investigation of Playoff. A week later, she offered me a job as a Senior Manager of Customer Service/Redemptions & Replacements. Little did she know that I took the job to investigate them from the inside.
What I discovered was FAR WORSE than any rumors I ever heard (and most of you have heard) througout the years! Back door selling of expensive autographed inserts (for pennies on the dollar) to big dealers like Dave & Adam's Card World as an incentive to promise to buy cases of not yet produced products was 100% true & I caught the President doing it red-handed. They also produced cards that were against their licensing rules like 2000 Retro Ichiro RC's (I destroyed all but ten of each version, I still own one of each) & parallels of that card which were physically produced in 2000 when Upper Deck had an exclusive license prohibiting that & they were even selling single cards to others which was completely against their licensing agreements in every sport. Card companies were only licensed to sell boxes & cases of cards in nearly every case prior to 2002. This was told to me by Dawn Ridley-Nash who then was the person in charge of NFL licensing.
I then caught Playoff's President red-handed stealing cards from MY department to be sold to dealers out the back door. I fought with him constantly over the wrong things Playoff was doing which evertually had him downgrade me to an outside consultant. But I got a full 3-months of training working inside a big card company. I even worked 6-7 days a week with a MINIMUM of 70-hours per week to learn as much as I could from everyone & everywhere I could get to.
It was sick what I saw there! Right when I started they were moving from Grand Prairie to Arlington, TX. So the old CS manager had thrown away hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cards (autographs too) that could have been used for replacements for long overdue redemptions from 1999!!! I was able to save some, but most had been badly damaged being thrown in an industrial dumpster with literally thousands of pounds of cards! This guy (Noel) was a moron as far as hobby knowledge goes!
I took what evidence I could to bury them once I left, but as I was preparing my case against them once I returned to FL- they had me arrersted for Grand Theft over $200.000- a 1ST DEGREE FELONY! I was released from jail on bond & after a 3-year battle all the charges against me were all dropped & once again the MLBPA believed my story and they finaally pulled D/P's baseball license which bankrputed them also. During that three years I kept fighting for them to make an inventory list of what was "stolen" & they never made one! After consulting several attorneys, the general answer was that one of the FIRST things done in any theft case is to make an inventory list of what was taken. So why after 3-YEARS was no list made?
It turned out that the person that I thought was helping me from the NFLPA (Dawn) was blocking the release of the inventory list! To hide the evidence of course. That evidence was never released & they kept my 14-year personal collection as well. But in the end I got even.
eBay has changed drastically over the past few years as well regarding sports cards. eBay helps NO ONE regarding fraud anymore & even punishes those who try to help others??? I know first hand after being suspended for 2-weeks for trying to collect evidence from NSA sellers against who refuses to answer any of my e-mails. NSA is the company that made only the best SUPERSTAR "Game-Used" Dual Encased PATCH "cards" that were selling on eBay for $6.00-$10.00 each??? Imagine, a Game-Used Tom Brady/Peyton Manning Dual REAL "Game-Used" multi-color/layer PATCH card for $10.00? Or a Derek Jeter/Alex Rodriguez Dual GU Patch card for $10.00? IMPOSSIBLE IF THEY WERE AUTHENTIC! Most of these patches were the rarest patches you've ever seen as well, like MLB logo patches and shoulder patches. The old saying "if it seems to be too good, it probably is" fits perfectly in this instance!
Here is a good link about NSA:
In rapping this up, I want every one of you to know that YOU CAN MAKE A MAJOR DIFFERENCE TO CHANGE BAD THINGS IN LIFE BY YOURSELF- I'm living proof. All it takes is percerverence, patience, and a drive to improve things for everyone- ESPECIALLY CHILDREN in our hobby who cannot fight for themselves!!!
You must complain to the right people such as the Hobby Relations Representative which every card company has, or the person in charge of card company licensing for each sport's Player's Association. These are all easily found in search engines. When you first call, ALWAYS ask who you are speaking to & keep notes as you go along or tape record the conversation. You can buy a 4-hour digital tape recorder for like $50.00 in Target these days & use a phone with a speaker. If the person you wind up speaking to doesn't sound like they are willing to help, or seem uncaring ask to speak to their boss- EVERYONE HAS A BOSS!
Another major problem that needs immediate attention: Not one card company is doing anything to STOP pack searching & the selling of these packs on eBay. These crooks bend packs & the ones that are unbendable have the key cards. Or they weigh packs & the ones that are different from the rest also have key cards.. I didn't want to let this secret out, but it's more fair if EVERYONE knows how they do it since card companies are doing nothing to stop it!
Every year I send them all a long letter explaning this with ideas on how to stop it, they never reply and they never try things to stop searching. That is a plague in our hobby right now. Go to eBay & type hot pack in the search box. The results are hundreds of packs ending every few days that leave hundreds of boxes MISSING THE KEY CARDS. They sell those boxes as if those key cards were still in there 90% of the time. IF THAT'S NOT FRAUD, THEN I DON'T KNOW WHAT IS!!! These searchers can also search blaster boxes to know which ones have the best cards by weighing them! ALL OF THIS NEEDS TO STOP FOR GOOD ASAP!
I have a rare/deadly form of Muscular Dystrophy (since 2006), five ruptured disks in my neck & lowest part of my back with severe sciatica in both legs (late-2001 at age 34). I had two heart attacks from taking Vioxx (2004), and my life will be cut very short because of all this. So it's your turn to take over!
THE FUTURE OF THE HOBBY DEPENDS SOLELY ON YOU! They recently formed a group that is looking out for brick & mortar card shops, but do you think they care about us collectors? NO WAY!! They care about making more money from us & THAT'S IT! So we collectors need to band together & form our own group to fight for our rights. I'm too sick to do it, but someone out there can and I hope they will...