I have been collecting sports cards and memorabilia since I was a young child. I have been collecting cards for around 23 years. When sports cards were simple, things were easy. You would spend your dollar, get a pack of cards and some gum and be on your way to trade with your friends, put into your bicycle spokes or sit down in your room and read the stats of your favorite players. Things have definitely changed in the hobby.
Today, the sports card world is a multi-billion dollar industry. Gone are the days of wax packs and bubble gum, cards are now encased in foil packs, some are up to a half inch thick, stuffed with game worn swatches of memorabilia and smeared with ink from your favorite player's autograph. Gone also are the days of the $1.00 pack, replaced with high end packs that can range from $4.00-800.00. Granted, these pieces of cardboard are highly valuable and mini works of art, but the industry certainly is directed towards grown ups with a serious salary, and not little Johnny mowing the yard for an allowance anymore.
In 2010, I purchased a box of Upper Deck SP Authentic football. The box contained 24 packs and carried an MSRP of $119.99. You were guaranteed to receive three autographs per box (on average). I purchased my box and "pulled" a Russell Okung rookie autograph REDEMPTION card. These cards are autographs the athletes have agreed to sign at some point, but have not had the chance to at the time the set was to be released. The card contains a code which you can redeem online, and your item would be shipped to you as soon as the athlete gets around to signing. I redeemed my card on March 22nd, 2011. Today is March 13th, 2013 and I still have yet to receive anything from Upper Deck. Had I not contacted them in the past few weeks to let them know I was still waiting, I'm sure I would be waiting for another two years.
I sent Upper Deck an initial email on February 27th, 2013 inquiring about the status of my card. I was given the explanation that the athlete still had not signed the card. I explained it had been nearly two years since my initial request, and that I was severely disappointed with the lack of customer service in this situation. I explained that after six months or so, perhaps Upper Deck should reach out to their customers and provide them with a "status report" and offer them a replacement item. Upper Deck then stated that any time after 45 days had passed, I could have requested a replacement. I found this amusing, especially because I was never made aware of this new stipulation and had I been, I would have taken advantage of it. Once again, if Upper Deck had any semblance of a customer service department, I would have been made aware of this option two years ago.
Upper deck apologized and said they would be expediting my request for a replacement and send it to me right away. This was on March 1st, 2013. It has been 12 days since my claim was supposed to be "expedited" and I have still received nothing. Upper deck advised me my item was shipped on March 8th (apparently, 7 days is really hustling by upper deck standards). When I asked for a tracking number, I was told that my package went out standard mail without a tracking number. So not only wasn't I good enough for Upper Deck to contact me for two years about a product that I spent my hard earned money on, but I wasn't even important enough to get a tracking number on my package, and sent it standard, snail mail. No "expedited" shipping for me either (or maybe this is considered expedited by UD standards, who knows).
I estimate I've probably spent about ten thousand dollars on Upper Deck products over the past 20 years. They used to be considered the benchmark in the hobby. However now, they are a shell of their once prominent selves. They don't care about their customers and they don't want to make things right, even when it is their fault. I will never buy another Upper Deck product and I urge anyone reading this to do the same.