I’m just not up on some aspects of online commerce. For example, ever hear of “card breaks”? Me neither. But they’re apparently very popular.
Enterprising entrepreneurs buy up cases of unopened packs of baseball and other cards. They charge a fee for people to choose particular teams. Then they open the card packs live online. And each person gets the cards from the team he “purchased.”
Here’s one example:
Go about 7:45 into the video and you’ll see the moment that started all the commotion that wound up with my getting involved.
Will Sullivan of Throgs Neck is a card collector and big Yankees fan. He gets involved in these card breaks from time to time. Back in March he paid 80 bucks to get all the Yankees that came up in a break.
And hit a little jackpot. Up came a Joe DiMaggio relic card that contained a piece of DiMaggio memorabilia. Will was excited.
“It’s like Yankee history,” he told us. "There's only 15 of 'em made. There's probably part of his jersey or maybe even his bat that's on this card."
Will didn’t actually get the DiMaggio card itself from the guy running the break. He got what’s called an online redemption card. Will had to rub off the coating on the back to get a code number. Then he had to submit the code online to the Topps Company. And Topps would send him the card.
But Will must have rubbed the card the wrong way.
"It was the third or the fourth letters. Both of them got worn off. So there was no way to read the number so I could enter it into the system."
So Will called Topps. And the company said it was no problem. Will just had to send in the redemption card.
He mailed it in. But that set off the circumstances that got me involved. Topps never sent the card.
"I've spoken to reps maybe 5 or 6 times…They've told me that they haven't received it,” Will told us in August. I have proof that it's been delivered. I have a signature that it's been delivered…And now they're just giving me the runaround."
So Will got in touch with us. And we soon understood why Will was having such a hard time. We called Topps and left messages for four different people at company headquarters in Lower Manhattan. No one called us back.
So we emailed the CEO and left messages for a couple of other people as well.
That did the trick. We heard from Topps’ top attorney and a marketing person who cared enough to call back. They made sure someone got in touch with Will. And a few days later he had an envelope in his hands.
He opened it for us on camera. Inside was a beautiful Joe DiMaggio card containing a piece of one of DiMaggio’s game used bats.
This venture went extra innings but Will was happy to get the card after five months of wrangling. It could be worth well above the $100 floor Will had estimated before he saw it. So Will’s $80 investment worked out in the end.