Help a reader out

30 11 2008

Reader Dan writes: 

I purchased a box of 2007 Topps Heritage in August 2008 fom a local hobby shop. The sealed and untampered box had 6 packs missing. On top of my dealer trying to get me a credit from his wholesaler, I called Topps Customer Service and was instructed to send in the UPC from the box and original purchase receipt. I did as instructed. My rejection letter from Topps Customer Service starts out as “The product you sent in for replacement is now considered obsolete by this plant. We can replace defective products that have been manufactured during the current year, but we do not carry any stock for products made in prior years.” It then goes on to “suggest” that I must check any purchase I make as soon as possible so they can replace any defects for me while they have a supply.

I opened this box in front of my local hobby shop owner, who is a Topps HTA dealer. He and I both inspected the box for tampering. There was none. This is clearly a manufacturing shortage, a 25% shortage on an expensive box of cards. On top of them denying my request for replacement, they didn’t even offer a substitute, or even ask how they might be able to fix their error in manufacturing. Their answer was insufficient, unprofessional, and patronizing. I have been buying Topps cards since 1966, and this is perhaps the last straw in a decaying and declining industry that is seeing more and more unprofessional behavior and interference by MLB.

Other than writing back to Customer Service with my edgy response to their lousy QA/QC and Customer Service, how do I make them feel so embarrassed that they not only correct their manufacturing error in total for me, but feel obligated to apologize for their pathetic replacement response and try and make this up to me in even more terms than a simple pack replacement? I am really bummed to see such a sure thing company sink this low in Customer Satisfaction. The BBB is my next step, but I am not sure they even care about that.

Well, Dan, I’d love to see your collection if you’ve been buying since 1966. Imagine pulling a 66 Mantle, or a 1968 Ryan, or even a 68 Topps Bench (I am a Reds fan, after all) from a wax pack. The mind reels…

Sadly, there’s not much I can think to do for you in your situation (which is why I’m throwing it open to readers who may have missed your comment). I know Topps only replaces products within a year of their release, and it sounds like this is the roadblock you’ve hit.

I’d call back customer service and tell them what happened. Ask to speak with who you spoke with the first time, too. Tell them what you were told was false and now you are out packing and shipping charges because of it. If they can’t do anything, ask for supervisors and work your way up until someone solves your problem. They may not replace what’s missing, but they may give you something to try and make up for your trouble.

One other suggestion:  Don’t go into this looking for more than what’s missing.  Sure, it’s tempting, but if you start to be greedy, they’ll think that you are just hunting for free stuff rather than someone with a legitimate complaint.  That’s the reason (I was told indirectly) that Topps introduced this new replacement policy program:  people looking for free things.  So keep that in mind as you make your calls.

Sorry I don’t have more for you, Dan. Hopefully one of the readers here will.




One response

30 11 2008

I agree with your recommendation. Search the Topps site for other contact info as well. If you have to, find the contact info for the head guy at topps and write him directly. I can tell you that nothing gets things moving like the head of the company getting a legit complaint.

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