Anyone that is a Topps collector either has or knows someone that has a pending redemption card. It can be very frustrating to wait weeks, months, or years for that valuable collectable to add to your collection. I would be interested to know how many unfulfilled redemptions Topps has outstanding. The numbers are probably staggering!
Most people who have contacted customer service at Topps for answers have been disappointed in the results of their call. It has been a tiring waiting game that has led to a change at Topps. Topps has finally decided to try to do something about the redemption issue. They have decided to create a new insert called Replacement Autograph Cards. These cards are very generic and do not state that they are replacement cards.
So, if you are holding out hopes that you are going to get that promised “IOU” card from Topps, your hopes are about to be dashed. You should expect a Replacement Autograph Card along with a letter that reads:
“After careful consideration, with our customers in mind, we decided to have replacement cards sent for redemptions that have remained unfinished. To do this, we used active and retired player autographs in our current inventory, and applied them to cards created specifically for this purpose. These cards are not available in stores, or in any kind of set. They have been printed as part of a unique production run, devised especially for you and others that have been so patient in waiting. The card(s) you have received will effectively replace the original card, or cards, you had redeemed.”
Some people might be happy with their replacement autograph card. However, after visiting with several people in the hobby, most do not like the approach Topps is taking. They have decided to go ahead and mail out these redemption autographs along with the letter and be done with it. This can be interpreted and shutting the door in one’s face. Topps is not allowing people any choice in the matter. Topps needs to understand that in order to continue to provide excellent products; you need to have excellent customer service. I have been told that if a person does not like the replacement card they have received, they can make a request for a substitution card. Once again, it would be at Topps discretion as to what card they send to you.
On June 14, Topps released the following statement:
“We would like to address Topps’ recent communication to its customers regarding substituting redemption cards. Due to extenuating circumstances, requests for substitution cards will take longer than usual. After placing a request, customers can expect to receive their replacement card(s) in approximately 6-8 weeks. We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience to our valued customers, and are confident that Topps will soon return to its usual mode of operations.
Topps Company Customer Service Team”
For those who have been waiting for their redemption cards now have to wait about two more months to get a substitute card if they request one. This will not make all collectors happy. Although I am positive that Topps fully intended on fulfilling every redemption card made, I do not think they thought this through. I could easily understand Topps having to substitute one player for another when a death occurs but other than that, I don’t see why Topps has so many unfulfilled autograph requests. The players get paid to sign and Topps has representatives to meet players at clubhouses, hotels, and other venues. So, why is it that Topps is not coming through on their IOU’s? Topps’ reputation is at stake here and they should address this issue. For 2014, they should abolish all redemption cards for cards or items that they do not possess. Period.
Topps has dug a hole on this redemption replacement issue but I have a simple suggestion for them to help turn this thing around. Although my solution would not be a perfect solution for every situation, it would definitely be better than how Topps has handled all of this so far. Rather than forcing replacement cards onto the customer with a “take this and I hope you don’t bother us” approach, Topps should create a special web site that houses all of the Autograph Redemption Cards. Then, create point values for every card on the web site as well as every outstanding redemption card. That way, if you have 1,000 points of redemption cards outstanding, you can quickly trade those in and get an autograph that YOU want rather than get an autograph that Topps picks for you. Topps could create tiers so you wouldn't be able to trade 100 Dan Uggla jersey cards for a Mike Trout autographed jersey card.
So, what do you think of this idea? I would be interested in hearing your comments!
2013 Topps Baseball Replacement Red Refractor Autograph Card # 42/99
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