Important Beckett Grading Changes

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By Jeromy Murray | Vice President, Beckett Grading & Authentication Services

Here we are, four months into 2017 and the grading market continues to evolve. At the start of the year, Beckett Grading made a major change implementing a five-day grace period for all 10-, 20- and 45-day services.  At the time, we thought this plan would help us examine the cards the way we needed to, encase the cards the way you expected us to, and get the cards back to you in a reasonable time frame. I was wrong. That wasn’t the right solution.

And now we’re going to fix it.

In December, I mentioned how the market in 2016 was like nothing we had ever seen. I actually referred to it as a perfect storm of hobby happenings. I didn’t think it could get any busier or that the market could get any stronger. Again, I was wrong.  The first quarter of 2017 has been even busier then I could have ever expected.  This business has grown through an increase in mail-in orders, additional shows and events we attend, and the emergence of our new authentication service.

It was obvious we had to make some adjustments to meet this growing demand and give you what you expect. Recently, we pulled in some of our customers, trusted members of the collectibles community, and employees within the company to come up with a plan that would give you the service, turnaround time, and quality you expect from Beckett.

You may have seen the new submission form or read one of the many message board posts about the change. But I want to address this directly to you and explain what we are doing and why. The changes revolve around our grading prices, guaranteed turnaround times, premium service levels, pricing and sub grades.

Turnaround Times

Beckett is the only company in the industry that continues to offer guaranteed turnaround times.

It has been brutal the first three months trying to keep these deadline dates.   We’ve slipped on that guarantee a few times over the last few months. Simply put, that is not fair to you and your customers.

In my 17 years with the company, before 2017, we missed deadlines on two orders. Yes, just two orders.

We have to get back to that standard and give you what you expect from Beckett, which is the option to have your cards shipped when you need them to ship.  This new policy resolves that issue and gives you a choice.

Premium Service Levels and Cards

We are introducing a guaranteed, premium service (2, 5, 10-day) and a non-guaranteed service.  More information about these services can be found here. We feel with these options and changes, it will allow customers to pick and know exactly what they are getting from BGS.  If you need your cards back in an exact time, we have that. Guaranteed. No grace periods on premium services.

If you are not in a hurry and want to save some money, we have that service available, too.

We have never been a company that calls you after the cards are graded to inform you that you owe us more money because of the grading.  I see the reasoning behind this and why many people don’t mind paying those extra fees. But we like to keep things simple while still keeping a close eye on those higher-priced pieces.

With that said, we are requiring all cards that are valued $500 or higher (high Beckett book, ungraded value) to be submitted at one of our premium levels.  This allows the cards to be in and out of here as quickly as possible with the level of attention they deserve. I am sure you want those pieces back sooner, too.

Pricing

We don’t require a membership or require you to pay a grading fee based on its value after grading.  We have always had a flat fee for grading and that flat fee has not been adjusted in years.

It’s never a customer favorite to increase prices but with the product and services we provide, we had to adjust those rates in order to keep up with the submissions and services you require.

Sub Grades

The sub grade debate has been one we have kicked around for years.  Sub grades are a customer favorite.That said, we have come to find out, sub grades don’t matter much on modern, lower graded cards.

To increase the importance of higher graded cards and to speed the turnaround times up, we have decided that on the new, non-guaranteed service, we will no longer be offering sub grades on modern (1981 to the Present) cards that grade 8 or lower. Cards grading higher than an 8.5 still have sub grades with our regular service. Sub grades are still going to be available at our premium levels, no matter what grade the card is.

Now let me answer and respond to some of the questions (and concerns) that have filled message boards and our emails over the last few days.

First, we are not changing our RCR prices at shows.  This was a major concern to our customers and that pricing is not changing.

Second, our goal is to ship all orders submitted under the non-guaranteed level as soon as we can.  We are not going to hold your cards any longer than necessary.  We want orders to come in and go out as quickly as we can.  The turnaround time for these orders is going to depend on demand, show schedules, etc.  While we estimate a 20- to 60-day turnaround on these orders, we will strive to be closer to 20 days.

Third, we’re getting rid of the five-day grace period we recently introduced.  If you select a premium service, your cards will be graded and shipped on time—guaranteed.

Next, by nixing the grace period plan (which wasn’t the right solution to introduce) it actually allows us to run monthly grading specials once again.  These are popular so we want to continue to offer them at shows and through mail-in submissions. Watch for these throughout the upcoming months.

Finally, I know the obvious thing you are thinking is “Why don’t you just go hire more graders, keep the prices down, and get the cards back to me quicker?”  I really wish it was that easy!  It is extremely difficult to find trustworthy people that have the knowledge to jump right in and grade cards at the level we require.  Trust me, we are trying to get more graders and have actually hired a few over the last few months but it will take time to have them fully ready to grade cards at the levels we require. If you are interested in becoming a grader or know someone that is, please contact us through the Beckett Careers page.

I want to thank you for allowing Beckett to grade your cards and to be a company you have come to trust with your collectibles.  We hope these changes make sense to you and we are again able to offer you the products and services you need, respect, and desire.

I apologize for the delays over the last two months and appreciate your understanding, allowing us to work through them and make things even better.  The market is strong right now, which is exciting and Beckett Grading wants to continue to grow and provide you with all of your grading needs.

Sincerely,

Jeromy Murray
Vice President, Beckett Grading & Authentication Services

21 Comments

  1. james jones
    Posted Wednesday April 12th, 2017 at 07:02 PM | Permalink

    I have had several cards graded BVG and BGS but i still get star cracks in the cases!!

  2. David J
    Posted Wednesday April 12th, 2017 at 07:34 PM | Permalink

    Removing sub grades on cards graded under 8 sucks. After all its usually just one sub grade that lowers the overall grade. I would rather buy a bgs 7, with 3 sub grades of 9.5 or 10, and a single subgrade of 6, over a bgs 7 with all 7 subgrades. The subgrades are one of the main reasons i prefer bgs over psa. Please reconsider this change.

  3. Michael
    Posted Wednesday April 12th, 2017 at 07:38 PM | Permalink

    With submissions up and prices up, why am I not seeing the obvious solution to your biggest problem…….staffing with more graders????

  4. Michael
    Posted Wednesday April 12th, 2017 at 07:42 PM | Permalink

    Ah….just seen that now. Problem is, you only have the TX location. In a state as big as Texas, how are you going to convince ppl to apply there that are actually qualified but dont leave anywhere near the offices? Sounds like you need a second grading office, possibly on the East Coast.

  5. Anthony B
    Posted Wednesday April 12th, 2017 at 11:07 PM | Permalink

    All I see right now is an increase in price on a 10 day guaranteed service (guaranteed as of last year on a 40 card order) go from $12 a card to $20 a card. An increase of 67%. So for the very same service I got last year I’m now expected to pay 67% more. That’s a ridiculous increase.

    I have 50 cards in front of me right now that I was trying to use your online submission form (currently disabled – may want to note that on the page) I’m now seriously considering other services. You took a bad solution, 5 day grace period, and made it much much worse.

    I can only imagine the chaos you must be dealing with in order to make this self destructive move. You’ve noticed for the last 15 months that you’ve had higher than normal demand and you absolutely failed to accommodate that demand in the given time.

    I would start working on plan C.

  6. Jon
    Posted Thursday April 13th, 2017 at 12:36 AM | Permalink

    Thank you for your post and addressing some of the issues. My question is, why is BGS NOT honoring their “money back guarantee” for all of the orders that are currently pending that were sent in before the new structure? I mean, a guarantee is a guarantee, right? My 10 day order is now on actual day 27 (27!) and now past 15 business days (which included 3 days off for the summit). Shouldn’t BGS honor their guarantee?

  7. Rick Gassner
    Posted Thursday April 13th, 2017 at 06:50 AM | Permalink

    Hi. My order was due March 31st. I submitted my cards under the old 5 day grace period.

    Per your previous guarantee, if the order is not completed and on its way back to me within 5 days of the listed deadline date, then my whole order is free.

    Will I be seeing a refund soon, thanks for the support?

  8. Jonathan
    Posted Thursday April 13th, 2017 at 07:38 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for taking this as seriously as we do, Jeromy (and the rest of your team). I like the options a lot.

  9. Ryan Cracknell
    Posted Thursday April 13th, 2017 at 09:26 AM | Permalink

    Subgrades are still included for all premium level submissions, no matter the final grade.

  10. Ryan Cracknell
    Posted Thursday April 13th, 2017 at 09:27 AM | Permalink

    @Michael — that is addressed in the article. Beckett Grading is actively hiring.

  11. Ryan Cracknell
    Posted Thursday April 13th, 2017 at 09:31 AM | Permalink

    @Anthony – This is the first price change from BGS in several years. They understand that increases are not ideal, but they’re also committed to offering the best product on the market. It is also a big part of the reason for having different submission options.

  12. Ryan Cracknell
    Posted Thursday April 13th, 2017 at 09:32 AM | Permalink

    @Jon and @Rick — Please contact the BGS team for support with your orders: https://www.beckett.com/grading/team

  13. David
    Posted Thursday April 13th, 2017 at 11:15 AM | Permalink

    BGS is still my #1 option for buying graded cards. They have the best case and provide the most detailed grade. Keep up the good work. I understand why you had to do it. People just hate change. They’ll adjust.

  14. Jack
    Posted Thursday April 13th, 2017 at 01:32 PM | Permalink

    @Ryan Cracknell Can you say here that all orders that are over due will get a 100% refund on grading. Including group subbers. I would l like a public statement stating Beckett will honor their guarantee.

  15. Ryan Cracknell
    Posted Thursday April 13th, 2017 at 02:41 PM | Permalink

    @Jack I am part of the editorial team. You will need to contact BGS directly for any customer service issues.

  16. Bradley Brod
    Posted Thursday April 13th, 2017 at 02:54 PM | Permalink

    Is the online submission going to be turned back on?

  17. Anthony B
    Posted Thursday April 13th, 2017 at 05:21 PM | Permalink

    @Ryan – Price increments more often and much smaller than 50%+ on a regular basis would certainly help the shock of the drastic changes you made.

    On a side note would you say that the cards that have been sent in the last 3-4 months have received the exact same amount of time and scrutiny as orders when you weren’t in danger of going over time limits? The reason I ask is that I was very confused with my last order. Almost all of my young guns from the same player had identical sub grades. The cards differed significantly. It felt as though I didn’t get the same time/effort spent in grading. Out of 15 or so cards 9 were identical subs. What are the changes of that? One other card was given a 5 sub when it was likely a 9.5 (which would’ve made 10 with the same sub grades) nothing is wrong with the surface of the card and it received a 5. Either way I’m not a thrilled customer right now.

  18. Ryan Cracknell
    Posted Thursday April 13th, 2017 at 06:51 PM | Permalink

    @Anthony I get that price increases rarely (ever?) make anyone happy. Jeromy addresses that himself in the letter. As I mentioned in a previous comment, I’m part of the editorial team. Any questions or concerns regarding grades or other issues are best sent directly to the grading staff. Phone numbers and emails can be found here: https://www.beckett.com/grading/team

  19. Jose Flores Jr
    Posted Thursday April 20th, 2017 at 09:15 PM | Permalink

    Sub grades should stay. Registry should get fixed. Prices should increase less and only if the value of the service improves.

  20. Michael
    Posted Sunday April 23rd, 2017 at 02:15 PM | Permalink

    @ Ryan Cracknell, you obviously didnt read my second post. I noted that I seen the hiring mention in the article. Problem is how is Beckett going to staff graders to just one location in Dallas, TX? If you do find someone that is “qualified” to grade, is Beckett offering to fund relocation for these positions? Otherwise you are really only hiring in the Dallas TX radius of likely candidates.

  21. Ryan Cracknell
    Posted Sunday April 23rd, 2017 at 04:38 PM | Permalink

    @Michael – I did see your second note. I’m not part of HR so I’m not sure if relocation is available. While that may not make for a larger pool of candidates as opening another office elsewhere, relocation is something people consider whenever taking a job, no matter what it is. At Beckett, not everyone who works at the Texas office is originally from Dallas.

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