Collect Call: Topps talks about redemptions



Join Beckett Baseball‘s Chris Olds as he talks with Topps VP of Finance and Operations David Leiner about redemptions in this latest edition of Collect Call.

What causes redemptions? How much do they cost the company? What’s being done to prevent them? How long does it take to build a set? Find out all this and more in the 25-minute interview.


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  1. David Brewer 24 September, 2013 at 19:43

    Somebody needs to tell TOPPS that I love Sticker Autos, I think they look so much better. I love the hologram sticker. It gives it that pop that Im looking for in a card. I dont know why people whine so much about it.

  2. joe 24 September, 2013 at 20:04

    Exactly James TOPPS is so horrible with redemptions its ridiculous. I swear I have had 50 plus redemptions in for 6 months at a minimum and I call,email, etc… to get the status or to have them send a replacement and it’s like I am talking with a bunch of morons. My thing is I understand why there are redemptions but hell wait to put the redemptions into circulation until the player has a reasonable amount of time to fulfill his requirements, within a month or two would be fine I think. For example when you put a redemption of Puig into this years inception which I pulled, Inception was released in the ladder part of the MLB season, he will not have enough time to sign crap in the regular season let alone the playoffs so there goes 3-4 months of waiting already. Basically the redemption process/players should be thought out a little more in depth prior to the release of a product.

  3. David Brewer 24 September, 2013 at 20:18

    You forgot to ask him why signers are appearing on releases that are just coming out, but they cant get them to sign a redemption from 2012?

    Ex; 2012 Topps Finest Auto Jumbo Relic Rookie Printing Plate of Will Middlebrooks I am owed, yet he has an auto/patch in 2013 Bowman Platinum and he has patches and autos in 2013 Museum Collection and Tribute, autos in 2013 Tribute and Heritage.

    I called them twice about it and once they said they were waiting for him to sign my card, and the other they are waiting on the patch. But yet he has all these card that just came out. This was 3 and 4 months ago. I dont get it.

    I feel left on the back burner

  4. Drew 24 September, 2013 at 20:18

    Instead of repeating just how much of an inconvenience redemptions are to Topps as a company, the focus should be 100% on how it hurts the consumer. I work in a card shop, the perfect college job for a collector, and I cannot tell you how many customers we have are angry every time they pull a redemption from Topps because they know that more than likely they are going to end up with 3 Doc Gooden autos and 2 Don Suttons to replace it. Our best customer, who had over 10 PAGES of unfulfilled redemptions received replacements without even asking for any! Of the replacements he received, he got 10 Goodens, a couple Suttons, Sniders, and an A-Rod, which were not even in the same realm of “equal value” He did not open another Topps product until two months later when the situation was rectified.
    On the subject of “equal value”
    -When I recently bought a Justin Upton Tier One redemption auto, I paid $40 for it on eBay. If for some likely reason that Topps somehow doesn’t make the effort to get the cards signed, I should be able to choose what I want that is equal for the item if I can provide exactly how much I paid for it. Some customer service rep who has no idea who Justin Upton or even Babe Ruth is should NOT be sending me cards as “equal value” replacements. When I got to the store and put an order in for a product, and the company cannot provide me what I paid for, they do not send something that they think will suffice. In the card industry, no such customer courtesy takes place and its an absolute shame. I am not a Panini fan, never have been and never will be, but Topps has been an absolute embarrassment and I sometimes feel ashamed selling people product when I know just how much of a hassle that Topps can be. I have yet to see anything “good” come from a redemption. It should not be considered a victory for Topps when and if I actually ever receive something I was PROMISED in the first place.
    I am a 21 year old college student studying business management, Topps makes the perfect case study of how a monopolistic market is bad for the consumer. I’ve got two semesters left to get a Bachelors, and boy could Topps use some help….

  5. once78 24 September, 2013 at 20:29

    Thanks Chris, I think this is a major problem in the industry and is difficult for both parties. I still don’t think they have gotten it right but at least some of the big names are coming in. I think the best solution for topps would be to not only honor the redemption but include packs, extra cards, or a card of equal value plus the card the individual had to wait on, especially those who have waited for a year plus.

  6. Greg H. 25 September, 2013 at 01:06

    Folks- We all know that this was talk to calm the masses because they know that Topps Chrome is going to tank. Redemptions kill a product and take the fun out of the hobby. Their redemption policy is less than satisfactory. The wait times, junk replacements, etc. They just don’t seem to care. Not once did Dave mention the hobby during this phone conversation. All that he pointed to was the dollars it costs them. Boo-hoo. I really don’t care about their bottom line. I care about collecting cards and that’s it. I’m not a guy who flips a good card on eBay, or Blowout. I collect for the fun of it, and I bet a lot of you do as well, or at least did before the current structure of the hobby turned you off. I have had an A&G 2012 redemption for a M. Buffer relic for over a year now and Topps won’t even answer me on it. Heck, calling customer service gets you no where because they are just reading off a sheet of paper in my opinion. I want this care because it’s going to be pretty cool (if it ever gets made).

    With all that said, and my faith less than restored from this conversation I urge you all to take action and try to take back this hobby that we all love so much. Lets see if David Leiner truly stand by making changes, or if this was all just a PR move to quiet a few. I urge you all to give David a call and respectfully let him know that we just want to be treated fairly. We want him to realize that we drive this hobby and that the industry isn’t dying because of lack of interest but rather because of poor products at high prices, and horrible business models.

  7. Richard 25 September, 2013 at 13:24

    Redemption cards should be assigned a point value at time of issue. After a certain time, we should be able to choose something from a posted stock (with quantities available) of an equal point value. We should be allowed to combine points to ladder up to the next level.

    Since people buying the redemption cards will know in advance the point values, they will adjust their buying prices accordingly knowing there is the possibility of it not being redeemed.

    Simple and fair.

  8. Jason K 25 September, 2013 at 16:33

    What I don’t understand is if Topps doesn’t like redemptions (like the guy said), and consumers don’t like redemptions (as is evident by the comments above)… WHY DO FREAKING REDEMPTIONS?!?!?

    If they really are a “demand based product”, then they should only include autographs they KNOW they will be able to acquire before the ship date. If they can’t acquire an autograph they promised, then they refund a percentage of the money received from pre-orders, and retailers can then pass those savings along to the consumer.

    Also, it seems like they KNOW their customer service sucks. But, they seem to be doing very little to fix it. For example, he acknowledged how long the on hold time is when customer service is called. That means it’s time to hire more operators. That seems so simple. Yet, it seems like it is an idea that is completely lost.

    Lastly, I’ll end on a good note. Topps is taking a step in the right direction by letting consumers know AHEAD of a product’s release date what is going to be a redemption. That way, consumers can choose whether they want to purchase the product based on how many redemptions they will be waiting years for.

  9. Joe 25 September, 2013 at 23:18

    Jason K….. They do redemptions to sell the product. All they have to do is say Puig has an autograph in a product and the price of that products sky rockets. It all comes down to money and how much they can ge out of us. I actually wouldn’t mind if they push a product back so they can add the card in the product. Or, here’s an idea. Save the autograph card as a special insert for the next product.
    Here is something I don’t understand. Why is it that one player has both the actual card and redemptions. That is so stupid.
    As a side note, I never keep redemption because it is not worth the trouble. I am still waiting for 2autographs. Two Griffey autos from Upper Deck SPX (I’ll never see those). That’s how long its been.

  10. Chris Harris 26 September, 2013 at 11:54

    The most telling part of this interview is his use the term “Consumer” over and over again. (I lost count at around 40 times). Not once did he ever refer to us as “Collectors.”

    That is all we are to Topps. Consumers, not collectors.

    Baseball cards are not a consumer product. We do not NEED them. We “consume” them because we enjoy collecting baseball cards. At least they used to enjoyable.

    Until Topps realizes that what they’re selling to us is a collectible and not a consumer product, all other issues within The Hobby (and believe me, there are many) are moot.

  11. Ben 26 September, 2013 at 12:33

    Forget the autograph redemptions, the Hendrix was a relic. What’s their excuse for not being able to provide that or other relic redemptions?

    Also, 38 weeks to prep is garbage. Yes, they should start working on a product 38 weeks out and change and update the digital files when they need to but they aren’t printing overseas or even in Canada, they’re printing domestically. They could realistically solicit two months out from the release date and in the process provide a better checklist ahead of time.

  12. Jeremy Robinson 28 October, 2013 at 13:28

    I have waited for nearly 2 years for 2 redemptions from Topps. I have called, emailed jumped through hoops so many times with no luck. I have offered to accept replacements, still nothing, I was asked to give a list of teams and players I liked, still nothing. I had to open a Better Business Burbeau request as they stopped returning emails and I was tired of waiting hours on the phone for nothing. Topps contacted the BBB and gave me a direct contact to a Customer Service Rep. I left umpteen emails and voice mails and nothing again but they kept sending requests for me to resolve the claim based on their promises….. I since have had 1 redemption replaced, and have yet to have my other redemption replaced. I didnt resolve the claim but it has been over a month since any other contact. Not only have they given me the run around but they have given the BBB the run around also. It also makes it worse as patient as I have been and trying to be respectful and not take it out on the person on the other end of the phone, when you do talk to someone, they are complete jerks. I refuse to cash in another redemption. I will just wait for them to hit the open market through ebay and I will sell any redemption I get. I wish I could boycott Topps, but its near impossible especially for baseball……

  13. chris 18 December, 2013 at 20:58

    I hear very soon after starting the video bad talks about how consumers don’t like redemptions.
    Too bad I am part of those consumers because I love redemptions. So what if I have to wait, big deal.
    I was stoked to see a Redemption Card for a Bowman Chrome Prospect Autograph Blue Refractor Parallel of Roberto Osuna
    Now Topps Rep talks as if the consumer is complaining, about the 4 days off for Pitching staff. Get the Auto’s when the players agree to do it. That simple. Redemption should be looked at as an extra. You would have got a Common Card, but Topps instead gave you a Redemption Card. You will be happy.
    So I say Topps please don’t let consumer complain and make you speak as in this way. Is this Beckett talking this way or is there a buzz that consumers are not particularly happy with redemption.


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