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Old 08-02-2016, 02:28 PM
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Default My PSA Damage Tale

A few months ago I posted a question on the board about having a card damaged by PSA. With the cashing of the check and the refunding of my reholder and shipping fees, I can now tell my story. I can only speak from my experience – as they say, I never had an issue before and really believed in the PSA seal of approval, for right or wrong. I don’t mean to sway anyone’s opinions of PSA, I only want to let you know what happened and how I felt about things along the way. I have probably submitted about 25 cards to PSA and as I said, never had a problem before, but this was the first time I’d ever sent cards in for reholder. I had a few old cases that were beat up, and in one case, I suspected something about the card.

I went to a PSA Public Day in late May to drop off the cards. I asked the woman there who handled my order about the one card. It was a PSA 7 1968 Nolan Ryan/Jerry Koosman - I told her I thought it might be a Milton Bradley version because of the coloring on the reverse and some other patterns I’d noticed on other Milton Bradley Ryan/Koosmans (orange-ish “1968 Rookie Stars”, for example). She told me all cards get reviewed during reholder process, so to write on the sheet that I thought it might be a Milton Bradley and they’d check.

Eventually my results appeared online – sure enough, my card was a Milton Bradley, dropped off my post-war HOF Rookies, and first-ballot rookies registry sets and became one of the relatively low population of Milton Bradley PSA 7 Ryan/Koosman rookies. I was pretty pleased, though didn’t care too much, as I was just happy with the card itself (nicely centered to my eye and I got it originally for a great price) and never really cared about the variation. I also honestly didn’t realize it was going to become ineligible for the post-war HOF Rookies registry set, which bummed me out slightly, since I was flirting with the low range of the top 20 current list. But I’m not too much into that sort of thing, so no big deal.

The card arrived a few days later and as I opened up the package, I immediately saw something was wrong. There lower left hand corner looked to be missing paper and the corner was a bit discolored and crushed on the reverse. I checked it against my old scans and sure enough, the some of the burlap pattern was gone. The card was clearly damaged, and it sent me down a two month journey of annoyance.

Without going into the gory details, here is a brief recap of what transpired. I’m going to present this as soberly as I can, though my opinion and feeling about things will come through:

1. I wrote to customer service immediately and cc’d Joe Orlando. I sent in numerous scans, pointed out the issues…and then I didn’t hear anything for two days - until I wrote a separate email to Joe Orlando directly. He forwarded my note to a customer service manager who said she’d help me when she was back from vacation.
2. I sent the card back and after two or three weeks I was given an offer of about 50% of current market value (seemingly based on SMR and my declared value at the time I submitted…the card took off in the meantime)
3. I sent a long note and a VCP download stating that their settlement price was way too low. They said they’d get back to me and I got a call a week later. We eventually settled on a much fairer number (I probably should’ve pushed for more, but I think I ended up in a good place), and I got my card back. So no real quibble there, other than the extreme lowball at first.
4. My beautiful old PSA 7 was rightly downgraded to a PSA 3. I asked if it bothered them at all that they damaged a card and reholdered it with the old grade, causing what was clearly no longer a 7 to potentially be circulated with that flip, and my customer service manager got extremely defensive and said “we’re human too. That’s why we have the grade guarantee.” I found the “we’re human” argument rather scary for a group that prides itself on being the first and last name when it comes to grading and authentication.
5. I asked repeatedly what happened to the card, or what could have happened, and the inquiry was ignored.
6. I never got a true apology, other than an eventual, sideways “we’re sorry this happened” on the phone. Not “sorry we damaged your card that you entrusted to us” or “have a year of Collector’s Club on us” or anything like that.
7. Personal observation – some of the least friendly and helpful customer service people I’ve ever dealt with. They wrecked my card but always sort of made me feel like they were doing me a favor by agreeing to hear my case. I found them standoffish, somewhat confrontational and absolutely without remorse.
8. Personal bemusement – given the high value of the card and having been a PSA collector’s club member for a few years, I was a little surprised I didn’t hear anything from Joe Orlando directly after I personally reached out to him a couple of times. I understand he’s the president, but a little “gee, we’re really sorry we did this to you card, please keep your faith in us” may have gone a long way. Instead, it was steely silence from the boss. No matter, just a little upsetting.

They are the market leader so clearly my tale of woe doesn’t matter too much to them and life in the slabbed world carries on. But wanted to share my tale with the board - I am sure this sort of thing doesn’t happen too often, but just be careful when sending your items in, as someone on staff may end up taking their hacks at the corners of your cards.

Images attached.

1. Original Card corner as a PSA 7
2. Reholdered Card as a PSA 7
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 100fc351-e02b-4081-8abb-8cd6e04784f1.jpg (71.5 KB, 879 views)
File Type: jpg f83fa98f-1401-41c1-baa6-76fe2dff9170.jpg (77.8 KB, 870 views)

Last edited by KingFisk; 08-02-2016 at 02:29 PM.
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  #2  
Old 08-02-2016, 02:36 PM
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WOW....Just wow! But not surprising.
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Old 08-02-2016, 02:41 PM
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Since you were getting a new slab I think you had an advantage. I have had a card that I sent in come back with messed up corners and once had a slight wrinkle. All of which wasn't there when I sent in the cards, but I had no way to prove it to them since they would just say that isn't how it was received. If it wasn't for resale value I wouldn't even risk it.
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Old 08-02-2016, 02:56 PM
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Sorry this happened to you...but sounds par for the course with every other similar psa story I've ever heard.
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Old 08-02-2016, 03:09 PM
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Although it took a few emails and some negotiation on the value, at least they took care of you. The part that I find really troubling is that they tried to cover up the problem by just re-slabbing the card and sending it back to you like nothing ever happened. Customer service should have called you immediately after the damage occurred, apologized and offered to make good on it right then. They shouldn't have just slabbed the card back up with the damage and sent it back to you as if you're not going to notice. Then again, that's the kind of customer service that PSA has become known for.
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Old 08-02-2016, 03:34 PM
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Having been in sales for the bulk of my working career, who would want the reputation of their business to hinge on stories of poor customer service? Especially in 2016!

There are so many ways PSA and any of the other grading companies can insure quality service throughout the process.

With technology as cheap and easy as it is these days, there is no reason there shouldn't be standards in the processing of cards to photograph or video each and every shipment to them so that they can have evidence right out of the box that things are okay.

Beyond that, for the quality control sake of your graders, who BTW, should be well paid and well educated, photographing each submission throughout the process.

The technology is so cheap and easy to use that there very well could be a quick snap at each level that would not lengthen the process, in order to protect themselves.

Going forward, on the customer service side, the previous commenter is correct, they should have proactively reached out to the submitter and took care of full price on the card and allowed the submitter to keep it, slabbed at the lower grade.

In the event that a human error did occur, rather than believing they intentionally covered it up, upon submission of a complaint, PSA or whatever grading company, could go back through the photographic evidence and deal with the grader appropriately, based on severity.

On top of that they then should have done the same full market value and return lower grade card.

In my experience, I would never let my reputation be lost over something as simple as making things right. I want people to know they can count on me no matter what happens.

I apologize for the lengthy response, but if it were my company, I would not want even one sale lost over human error. The right people should be held accountable and the customer should be feel more than satisfied after such an incident.

*Also, should have thrown in some free submissions and subscriptions.


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Old 08-02-2016, 03:45 PM
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Scary, one would think PSA would take better care of there paying members. Will hold off on my submission.
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Old 08-02-2016, 03:45 PM
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How the heck do you lose the top corner of paper? And at a card grading company, no less?

I think it would actually be pretty tough to devise a way to remove just the top layer of a corner if I was trying to do that. But, by accident? I'm so curious as to how that happened.
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Old 08-02-2016, 03:48 PM
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At this time...PSA doesn't have to do better with customer service. They are the only game in town for many buyers of cards.
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  #10  
Old 08-02-2016, 03:53 PM
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See that's the problem. In any business arrogance is generally the cause of downfall. I work for a pretty major company who is a leader in our field, and not one of our higher ups would allow a poor customer experience to allow us to lose even one sale.

People hear these things and don't submit. I have enough business experience to know that there's only one way to stay on top...and it's not arrogance.


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