Redemptions and Panini

 

Now as most of you know I started recollecting cards about a year and a half ago after many years of being out of the hobby but, when I was part of the hobby back in the 80’s and early 90’s I would consider myself somewhat of a major collector.  I had the Michael Jordan RC, The 83 Fleer Update Set, a Good Portion of most hockey sets from about 82 – 91 but, when I saw the bubble bursting I decided to walk away from the hobby.  When I came back to the Hobby, things had changed and was a lot more interesting and more of a thrill to chase cards and I thought my challenges would be trying to find the card I wanted in a Box or having to savage through rows of tables at card shows….I never thought that the biggest Issue would be trying to find cards that exist, have been made but are redemption’s that companies seem to have issues mailing out to people.  I imagine that there is a little vault in each company where only 1 guy has the key and he goes there once a day to pull 1 random card for some poor sucker that’s been waiting 2 maybe 3 years in order to complete his set.

 

So you are probably thinking to yourself right now, “so what” we have all had problems with redemptions and I agree that I have heard about problems with most companies but, I still feel the need to address the issue or this blog would never be complete without and fall short of being a decent collector’s blog.  So I hear a lot about Topps being one of the worst and thankfully I have only picked up a few packs of their products (T-209) and have never had the time to really get involved in building on the few packs I have picked.  I like the product but I am still a secondary baseball fan compared to hockey.  I also see people mention about Upper Deck and their Issues and yes I will agree that their might be issues but, I have had nothing but good dealings with them on every occasion, now I might be an oddity…I am not complaining.

 

Now let me get to Panini and this is where I have nothing but issues and facts to bring to the table to go with this conversation and I encourage conversation on redemption’s in general and post the good and the bad.  I think the only way we can solve the issue is by voicing our displeasure.

 

So in January of 2012, I picked up a box of 2010-11 Panini Playoff Contenders and was very happy to pull a redemption of Jonathan Toews, Great Outdoors Auto and submitted it to Panini on the 24th of January, 2012. I figured I would probably be waiting a few months, which was fine with me and a couple of months go by, a few redemption’s later that were fulfilled of some rookies with no issues and I figured I would send a follow up response on May 1, 2012 as such:

 

” Hi I am wondering what the status of this card is as it is a year old product and it has been over 3 months since the redemption was submitted. If you could please let me know what is happening it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in Advance..”

 

So I figured I would get a response added to the ticket telling me about how they are working on it or it is being sent out or something…..So what did I get….no response.   So Months more go by frustrated by the fact no one can take a minute to correspond with their customer and on August 18, 2012, I send another Follow Up Request in regards to my ticket and yes I was a little testy and frustrated as you can tell by what I wrote:

 

” Hi, So it has been 8 Months, 1 Follow Up with No Response and still not a thing from you guys regarding my card. This is not a way to treat a customer who buys tons of your product every month. If you do not have the card please just say so and make arrangements for something comparable. completely disappointed in Panini and would like a response to this inquiry. I don’t have time to spend on the phone during the day to be put on hold waitng to someone in your customer service dept. Thanks “

 

So, once again I get no response and decide to stop work on my Contenders Master Set I was working on out of frustration and continue on with my other sets figuring I will get the card in the mail 6 months from now.  I do continue to check the weekly redemption list that Panini sends out…(which I think is something good that Panini does for its collector’s) and continue on my merry way of collecting.

 

So on November 30, 2012, I am listening to a great show called cardboard connection radio which I had just found and find out the my Contenders Card of Devante Smith-Pelley is a STAMPED Auto.  I check my card and low and behold it appears to be a stamped auto.  Now i got this card in August, so unless Panini knew in August that it was a fake….I have a stamped auto.  I continue to listen on, I read the CCR Page and figure I am going to get an email regarding this issue by the statement said on air and in print.

 

Tracy Hackler, Panini’s Marketing Manager, confirmed that only a few cards from Contenders were sent out and none from Prime. He also said that Panini has reached out to collectors who received stamped redemptions to let them know directly of the situation. Moving forward, there is no need to worry about any further stamped Contenders cards from making their way onto the secondary market.

 

I see a blog post from Upper Deck that very day stating what they are doing and how to go about fixing the problem and I decide to see if I see or hear anything from Panini.  A Couple of Weeks go by and still nothing….so I create a request ticket Dec 26, 2012 on their website asking what is happening.  I also create a ticket with Upper Deck that same day about some defective cut product…I have already received correspondence, sent out and received back new product prior to this post from Upper Deck (See Blog).

 

So you are wondering what happened with that request ticket, Well…..Nothing…Not a Response…No Email’s…Nothing.    I figure it is time to take more direct action and place a call to Panini on Tuesday January 15 and finally get thru to Customer Service in a surprisingly short time and I explain my situation about my Toews and I am told that they got some back but are not sending anything out until they get them all back….what?.  How about filling redemptions?  Half those redemption cards are probably still sitting in boxes in your local LCS. The Rep gives no idea about time, doesn’t ask if I want to get something else…nothing.  Next I ask about the Devante Issue and she has no idea what I am talking about……She puts me on hold for about 5 minutes and then comes back and tells me to create another ticket.

 

I explain I am pretty sure that creating another ticket will probably be a waste of my time and i won’t get a response and she advises that her manager told her that I should do this.  I get off the phone, create the ticket and wait and after some waiting i am sitting there thinking that I really don’t feel as a customer I got a decent answer.  So I had heard on Cardboard Connection Radio many times about people having success with sending tweets on twitter to the Panini Customer Service Manager (@PaniniCSM) and figure I should give that a try…..I set up a twitter account and play with it a bit and send out my big tweet:

 

@PaniniCSM AtWitsEnd.DSP STAMPED & REDEMP’s..CALLED, TICKETS, NO RESPONSES EVER 7Mon. Avg Response Time to New Tickets? Last Resort.. #Help

 

and in response I get this:

 

@TorontoCardCol Getting ready to send out something next week.

 

WHAT!!!!!….Panini still does not have a plan.  According to what you had been telling people, you were in contact with everyone affected within hours of this issue being confirmed.  

 

WAIT IT GETS BETTER….THE TICKET I WAS TOLD TO CREATE….WAS DELETED BY PANINI….LOL.

 

So by the time I sit down to write this post, I have no info, a tweet from Panini telling me that what they said a month and a half ago was false information and they are getting ready to send something out (Maybe) and the hope that my Toews auto might show up in time for his Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.

 

So I sit here typing, trying to figure out how to summarize my feelings and I actually came up with something all of us can use when dealing with issues like this:

 

As a Customer, I  am not impressed, I have been lied too and put off as being unimportant.  I am frustrated and I do not want to be put out of my way to get the product I was promised.  I understand there are issues beyond your control and I can accept that provided it is communicated with me and I am treated with respect.   My effort as a customer was to go to the store to buy the product, I should not have to write letters and wait months for an answer.  I should not have to take time out of my day to call or do more request tickets only for them to be deleted or ignored.  I am the reason for your companies success and can also be responsible for your failures if you continue to ignore me.  If you make me happy, I tell 10 friends….if you make me bitter, I blog it to 10000.  I don’t want to be this person but, you’re customer service has made me this way.  If you make a reasonable effort to reach out to me and respect me I may continue to be the reason for your success otherwise other companies will benefit for your mistakes.

 

In closing I encourage you to post your stories of company successes or failures and I know that I didn’t accomplish tackling the issue of redemption’s in this blog but I think this post and the discussion resulting for it will shape up a further article on redemption’s that focus specifically on the issue of redemptions and hopefully I can report that this issue has been resolved.

 

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