Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Topps Lives- or does it?

11/1/15 UPDATE- TOPPS IS FINISHED! They've been looking for a buyer for over a year with no interest at all. This is why they've been treating all their customers so HORRIBLY over the last two years or more. The people running Customer Service (Minerva and Sabrina) are both hobby know-nothings, plus they don't even know anything about sports in general. So how could they possibly send collectors replacement cards they will like. IT'S NOT POSSIBLE!!!

I actually tweeted Topps and they responded telling me to call Topps Customer Service. This shows how little Topps employees who do know the hobby- know what's going in in the rest of the company: ABSOLUTE CHAOS! Most collectors and dealers have known for a while now that Topps Executives all BLOCKED themselves from phone calls and e-mails from outside of Topps. SO THEY HAVE NO CLUE HOW COLLECTORS AND DEALERS ARE GETTING SCREWED ACROSS THE COUNTRY EVERY DAY FOR YEARS NOW!
Topps still owes me a $100 redemption replacements that Minerva said she sent, when what she actually sent was a $15sticker autograph from a PREVIOUS SCREW-UP SHE MADE! Plus they owe me two 2013 UFC Superstar ON CARD Autographs. On their worthless redemption UPDATE site they stated: Topps is working very hard getting owed UFC autographs which was listed in March 2014- SO WHERE ARE MY AUTOGRAPHS??? 

It took me almost 3-months (1/31-3/25/14) to get any kind of response from Topps & IT WAS A PRE-PRINTED Letter showing their Customer Service address as Duryea, PA which I've been told by many sources (especially Topps) that they CLOSED that location!!!

This is regarding the AWFUL 2013 Topps Platinum Eddie Lacy/ Gio Bernard DUAL AUTO/PATCH card #11/25 I personally pulled from a box. The Bernard Autograph look almost NOTHING like his autograph and the Lacy autograph is POOR at best signed lazily with a dry pen. This is the card:

I first tried calling & got "Mike" after being ON HOLD forever (20+ minutes). He told me to send him scans of the card to compare to their scans which I did & HE NEVER REPLIED BACK AGAIN!!! Useless SOB.
Then I tried e-mailing Anyone at support@topps.com, same result: NO RESPONSE at all.
Next I tried their online Customer Support system. I first posted my issue there on 2/20/14 & got the standard pre-print reply with Incident #140220-000​0XX:

"Thank you for contacting The Topps Company. We have received your request, and will happily respond as soon as we possibly can. We look forward to speaking with you, and hope to resolve your issue to your utmost satisfaction. Sincerely, Customer Service Team

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Then I followed-up (as they requested) several times (every couple of weeks or so until present). Then I FINALLY get my very first response today 3/25/14. This is the exact response:

"Recently you requested personal assistance from our on-line support center. Below is a summary of your request and our response. Thank you for allowing us to be of service to you.

If this issue is not resolved to your satisfaction, you may reopen it within the next 7 days.

Thank you for allowing us to be of service to you.

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It is nearly the exact same PRE-PRINTED response that I started with on 2/20/14!!! Plus they give the Duryea, PA address which several reliable sources including Topps SUPERVISORS (who no longer work for Topps) told me that Topps' Duryea, PA location NO LONGER EXISTS at least not to help collectors in any way!!!
Do you think I'm going to send a $120.00 card to an address that may no longer exists? ABSOLUTELY NOT, and it goes to show just how little Topps cares about it's customers.

June, 2014 UPDATE: I GAVE THIS $120.00 CARD AWAY FOR A CHARITABLE CAUSE. The person who I sent it to should have a connection at Topps to get a much better replacement and not have to fear never seeing the card again which is my fear, so at least I helped someone else. I'm happy with that.
I waited 3-months for a reply about an UNQUESTIONABLY DAMAGED TOPPS CARD & the response was initiated by a human, but was a pre-typed generic response & that's the best they could do after angering a 25+ year Topps collector.
I DEFENDED Topps while I exposed direct fraud that EVERY other card company committed from 2002 on back. It was actually quite easy to find fraud that every other card company did. But I could never ONCE find proof that Topps ever purposely did anything that directly hurt collectors. And the mistakes they did make were always acknowledged and fixed eventually.
After the economy collapsed in 2009, it seems Topps joined every other card company and committed any fraud they thought they could get away with.

I DON'T TRUST ANY CARD COMPANY TO DO THE RIGHT THING EVERY TIME AT ALL ANYMORE! And it's been many years that I've felt this way. All collectors need to feel this way or I promise you will get screwed at some point.

The only thing worth collecting: ON CARD Certified Autograph Inserts are WAY TOO EXPENSIVE now since it seems everyone caught on to what I've been saying OVER & OVER AGAIN since 1999.
Those who listened to me early on (and I know several who did) now have very respectable collections that cannot be replaced unless they are willing to spend 2-3 TIMES+ what they originally paid for their cards! I was telling people to buy up as many 1991-92 Nabisco, Big League Chew, or Jimmy Dean Autographs as they could afford (with the separate COA card) which were $2-$4 each for all the living players from 2004-2011 or so. I personally bought over (100) of them and I never paid more than $3 and change each for: Ernie Banks, Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson, Phil Neikro, Jim Palmer, etc. I even bought several Willie Stargell & Catfish Hunter autographs for $5-$6 each at that time after they passed away! I gave most of them away as gifts to hospital employees (several to very special employees) who did their job the RIGHT WAY all the time, I am disabled so I feel it's my responsibility to let these employees know that they are appreciated so they continue doing their jobs right. A "THANK YOU" is nice, but a thank you with a cool gift is better.
Now these cards ALL sell for $10-$25 each. The Ernie Banks gets $20-$25 regularly. I had over (20) of his Nabisco autographs because he was the best living player available left and I bought every one I found. Now I just have one full set of each of the Nabisco sets and have as many different Jimmy Dean and Big League Chew Certified Autographs I found real cheap. I love my Don Drysdale from 1991 Nabisco as he died before they started sending the autographs out. Nabisco initially got 1,000 cards of each player signed, then based on the number of orders they received they had the option to get up to 5,000 cards maximum signed. So there were only 1,000 Nabisco Drysdale autographs made & that's his ONLY Certified Autograph card. On 99% of his cards he signed up his leg so it could be more easily seen (mostly dark background), but mine was signed straight across the card but where the background wasn't too dark. I consider things like this to be variations. This is why Beckett NEEDS to make a yearly CERTIFIED AUTOGRAPH ONLY Price Guide or ATLAS. But they never will as I've been telling them to do this since at least 2001!
NOW IS THE TIME TO WAIT TO BUY CERTIFIED ON CARD AUTOGRAPHS OF STARS/SUPERSTARS. Once the rest of the hobby continues to collapse and all the greedy, scum get out of our hobby for good, then we REAL collectors can start to buy ON CARD Certified Autograph Inserts (for the quality of the autograph, NEVER for the serial numbering or "rarity") for far less than Beckett Media "LOW" prices again.  I wish Beckett would stop using that LOW/HIGH column in their price guides. They themselves changed the reasons they do that and what each column means at least three times and no one really uses one column or the other.

Think you know about a big name card company that released forgery versions of ON CARD Certified Autograph Insert (more than 5% of the print run)?

The average non-numbered Certified Autograph in large print run products is 2,000 autographs per player, so there would have to be at least (100) known forgery versions for it to count. Anything else could be an honest mistake where the card company accidentally put blank non-autograph Certified Autos in packs and someone else forged the card(s) when they were pulled from boxes. 

PLEASE send me the name of the player, the card company and set name & year it was made. A scan/digital picture of the card would be great too! Remember it must be a card company obtained & released autograph. If you've only seen one or only heard of one existing, then you cannot blame the card company for anything but releasing a auto card missing the auto. Then some collector signed his version of the auto to sell or trade at some point: I'm not interested in those.
I know about the 1994 Press Pass VIP auto common driver (a mostly yellow card) who had half his autographs signed by someone else, I know about the 1994 Errict Rhett Signature Rookies forgery version, and the 1997 UD Legends Donnie Shell forgeries (2/3rd's of the 3,000 he signed are forgeries) plus the other 97 UD Legends FB forgeries of superstars who supposedly gave away blank versions to friends & family members. Then when prices skyrocketed on those cards, suddenly forgery versions popped up.
                                                                FORGERY VERSION
                                                            REAL AUTO VERSION
Thank you & BE CAREFUL! So many sellers lie on a regular basis now (especially on eBay with HIDDEN SUPER HIGH COMBINED SHIPPING FEES) to squeeze what little they still can from OUR hobby.  Once the money is gone, those sellers will be gone too. I'll still be here as long as I can still type & breathe...

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Hobby Fraud/eBay Lies/Fighting Back!: How Sports Card/Autograph Crooks Return on eBay

March 2014 UPDATE:


Well it's pretty much official: once again most things I predicted or knew before almost anyone else came to pass on eBay. Yes, I'm patting myself on the back- practically NO ONE else does...

eBay changed more stupid rules with more stupid/more confusing crazier rules in one shot from Feb-Mar 2014 than EVER in the history of eBay! This is because as I predicted, their lack of empathy for any of their members (mainly buyers) since 2009 caused them to bankrupted themselves! You can no longer see who bought what from any particular seller (the ID is scrambled randomly), so members can NEVER AGAIN bust a seller for shill bidding. Plus so many page formats were changed needlessly which just confuses everyone. Ever confuse a dumb person? Well, more eBay members are dumb that not = CHAOS!

I also stated in 2011 that I found out that eBay wanted to be a better Amazon. I knew that would never happen. So eBay pushed & pushed sellers to the point where 75% of all items on eBay became BUY IT NOW instead of auctions- that was 2012. Now that ratio is 90% BUY IT NOW/10% Auction and many auction prices START way above what anyone in their right mind would pay.  I only check Sports Cards & Memorabilia on eBay, but I'm pretty sure every other category had a similar change.

Sadly there are many more people NOT in their right minds than most of us care to admit or want to know. This was caused by: society in general, overpopulation, corrupt financial institutions, a corrupt government (that we lost ANY control over many decades ago) and more liars in the USA than not is what caused this mostly from the 1970's-present. 

If I can knock others, then I should turn that on myself. I'm the first to admit that I have General Anxiety Disorder & get occasional Panic Attacks, but I'm in my "right mind" ALWAYS. I think anyone with a 126 IQ who used EVERY ONE of those points to learn as much as I possibly could about anything that interested me and then shared that info to help others for free (only) would develop an anxiety disorder after dealing with knuckleheads for decades. I was the first kid in my WHOLE family (mother & father's side) to get some college education. Being stuck with a Sociopath mother as my only parent from age 2-18 (I left home literally the DAY I turned 18 on 1/7/85) made it all the more awful. I've been autodidactic my whole life (self educated), but I learn well from others as long as it's a subject I'm interested in. For instance, I passed three Regent's exams in Science in Junior High (Earth Science, Biology) and High School (Chemistry). I HATED CHEMISTRY because of a teacher who taught it HIS way! Once we got passed the Periotic Table, and basic chemistry which I loved, my NERD teacher decided to teach Chemistry with Advanced Algebra WHICH I ALSO HATED. At age 47 now, I can honestly say that I NEVER ONCE used one formula from the Advanced Algebra class (forced to take in High School as well) in my whole adult life- just as I told my teacher!
Advanced Algebra in Grade 10 caused me to start cutting classes to go to the computer lab in 1983 and teach myself how to program in basic. After a couple of months the computer teacher had me teaching his classes as a substitute when he had to take a day off. So I never got in trouble for cutting class and passed a few classes I NEVER WENT TO!!!  
By Grade 11 I wanted to kill my mother for so screwing up my head by basically using me as her slave. I cooked our dinner EVERY night and cleaned the house (I did HER chores). At age 17 I had to be home by 10PM on WEEKENDS (8PM on school days)!  Just a few years ago I asked my mother "what did you teach me to prepare me for everyday life on my own". Her answer" I taught you how to cook and clean." AND THAT'S IT! But in fact she didn't even teach me those things, I figured it out by myself. My mother wanted a daughter BADLY, so in her sick mind she raised me as much as one as she could. I blame my father for having a child with that nut-job to this day & he knows it. I never really saw him until I was 15-years old or so. He was no help at all. As a good older female friend once told me- "lucky you didn't wind up gay.". So I had to spend a good three years after leaving home teaching myself how to live in society as a man. At age 20 while living with my grandparents who I helped take care of- I was very lucky to be hired by Medtronic (a Fortune 500 company) as a Pacemaker Test Technician and Advanced EKG Interpretation/Education eventually became my 16-year career. I was the very first non-college graduate hired to be a Pacemaker Tech. by Medtronic. Ironically, the guy who took a chance of me (Bill) in 1987 became my best friend (Craig) from childhood's father-in-law as Craig married his daughter which I didn't find out until many years later.
I'm lucky I got to live the life that I did even though it was shortened by a terminal illness (severe Myasthenia Gravis).  So I have absolutely no regrets.


Since it costs sellers nothing to just post an item, 75% of BUY IT NOW sellers put prices on their items that are so high (with no MAKE AN OFFER either???) that not even the biggest rich moron would pay those prices under most circumstances (99.99% of the time). What these Sociopathic/IGNORANT sellers never think about is the effect their actions have on the general public in our hobby: they are making novice collectors believe their cards are worth WAY MORE than they truly are. Then when they go and buy many more similar cards for say 25% less than BUY IT NOW prices elsewhere (thinking they are worth so much more than they truly are). Then they eventually learn THE TRUTH and QUIT this hobby! Do you realize this happened to many THOUSANDS of collectors in our hobby thanks to eBay sellers? UNFORTUNATELY, THE MAJORITY OF ALL COLLECTORS ARE NOVICES! Here's the PROOF:
Back in 1999-00 the Senior Editor of Tuff Stuff (Rocky Landsverk) who is also a collector took my advice and went on eBay to help get more accurate pricing information for his Price Guide that HE was in charge of. I explained that there are more accurate SOLD sale prices on eBay than he could ever get from just store owners who LIE to get the prices listed higher so they could make more money. At the time, there were literally hundreds of eBay ENDED AUCTION prices for nearly any popular card you could think of. Compared to today on eBay, there were well over TEN TIMES the number of sports cards selling on a daily basis & they sold for HIGH prices. I LOVED THAT EBAY! But thanks to all the BAD changes eBay made & the greed of the Hobby Elite, they are a shadow of the site they used to be & so is this hobby. And back then there was no MAKE AN OFFER OR BUY IT NOW on eBay. So these were TRUE sale prices that couldn't be fudged. So Rocky in his infinite wisdom took the STARTING BID PRICES and thought that was what cards were selling for and printed that info in Tuff Stuff for one issue??? CAN YOU IMAGINE HOW STUPID YOU'D HAVE TO BE TO DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT. Rocky had my help yet he NEVER mentioned anything that even hinted to me that he had NO IDEA how eBay worked! How can a Senior Editor at a Price Guide have no idea how eBay worked in eBay's PRIME in sports cards? Well that's exactly what happened and I tore Rocky a new back hole. He never spoke to me again and I'm glad. I don't talk to people that are THAT stupid and/or ignorant.
I don't know how eBay hung on as long as they did, but they'll be gone in a year OR they'll totally re-tool the entire site (AGAIN) and maybe it will work/maybe it won't. All in all I think all card & autograph collectors would be MUCH BETTER OFF if eBay went bye-bye FOREVER!!!  So those relying on eBay sales better start to ePray (if religious) because you'll need to find a "REAL" job soon!
Now eBay sellers almost never state how much they charge per extra single card won because eBay REMOVED that rule and reworded something that was supposed to replace that rule but to anyone with half a brain: the interpretation can be taken TEN different ways. Obviously lawyers wrote these new rules! It used to be a listed RULE on eBay that sellers: "MUST LIST HOW MUCH EXTRA ITEMS WON COST FOR SHIPPING & HANDLING OR IT IS CONSIDERED HIDDEN FEES WHICH IS AGAINST EBAY RULES AND CAN RESULT IN SUSPENSION.". I spoke with several actual eBay employee Specialists in 2010 when I was still cardcop05 and they ALL told me same thing once they realized the weight of a card in a top-loader: it is against our Overcharging S&H rule to charge more than .25 cents for each additional card won AND no card seller can charge more than $5.00 as a maximum fee if the entire purchase fits in a flat rate small Priority Mail box where boxes are free and so is home pick-up. Then there's all the stupid eBay sellers who still go to the Post Office to get postage put on their packages. They don't know that the PO has been charging TWICE ($3.07 for a 2-ounce package) what eBay's PRINT SHIPPING LABEL service charges ($1.69 for a 3-ounce package). eBay's Specialist told me this regarding that in 2010: "it's the seller's responsibility to find the cheapest/safe way to ship and it is an iron-clad rule that sellers can never charge for trips to the Post Office, gas, their time, or more than .25 cents for bubble envelopes because they are easily bought right on eBay for that price for almost any size with S&H calculated in". I found out that this particular Shipping & Handling Specialist worked for eBay for over TEN YEARS and was fired in 2011 because she (LIKE ME) refused to follow the new STUPID & CONFUSING RULES that never needed to be changed!!! My cardcop05 ID with a PERFECT Buyer & Seller Rating was suspended for life. Their reason "we wish to part ways with you.". Then chicken-spit sellers like tntnorthnj who I went after for severely overcharging S&H fees or had high hidden fees started leaving bad lying follow-up feedback only AFTER I was suspended so I couldn't leave responses to their feedback.

I got a free copy of the April issue of Beckett Football (because I don't pay for issues more than twice a year- if that). Seems like they changed a lot of prices WITHOUT using arrows again. So collectors have to do extensive research to see what changed which is the one of the STUPIDEST THINGS I EVER HEARD OF! How is it that 2010-2012 Absolute RPM RC ON CARD Autographs #'ed to 25 are only worth 1.5 times the version numbered to 299 or less? There are only TWO versions of these cards, so the one #'ed to 25 SHOULD BE at least 2.5 times the base card. Yet UD SP Authentic RC Patch(which aren't REAL patches)/Autographs WITH NO LICENSING FROM THOSE YEARS (IN THEIR COLLEGE UNIFORMS ONLY) are 3X (THREE TIMES) for the cards #'ed to an avg. of 25 while the base RC/Autos are #'ed from 299-699??? THAT MAKES NO SENSE AT ALL BECKETT!

But then again Beckett's Senior Editor (Chris Olds) is a fat, lazy, boring, turd because no one better wanted to work for Beckett Media apparently. I tried e-mailing this lazy jerk TEN times since 2010 and he never responded. So I sent him a "LAST CHANCE" e-mail and he told me "I never received an e-mail from you" (HE'S SUCH A BAD LIAR- I keep copies of everything and he received EVERYTHING I EVER SENT HIM!) & he said I should be nicer. Of course I'd be nicer if I GOT PAID like he does yet I do much more than he's ever done FOR FREE so I'll be as angry as I feel- like I told him. He never replied again- that big fat useless chicken. And Susan L. another Beckett Editor who's stories could be seen in all sports issues of Beckett QUIT in JAN. 2014.  So their only writers are people I NEVER heard of (OR NO ONE EVER HEARD OF) so why buy Beckett EVER??? Plus they stopped printing "READER'S WRITE" which was the only Beckett section where you might actually get some real hobby truth. This was cut from Beckett months ago from what I learned. 

Remember- I told everyone who would listen since 1999 to only collect ON CARD Certified Autograph Inserts from trusted card companies (with the Authenticity printed ON THE CARD) of current established semi-star players or better, or retired semi-stars or better and collect them for the quality of the autograph, NEVER for the low serial number. I suggested always paying LESS than Beckett's low price. If you did that you now have a collection to be proud of that would cost you much more to replace now.