FULL DISCLOSURE: We have nearly two dozen Panini Redemptions pending with Panini.
*Panini Redemption Update 3: As of 10/01/2020 we have not received any of our redemptions since our last update (3/25/2020) and customer service refuses to provide an answer… we have around 20 redemptions pending with them… we encourage anyone who has been screwed by these guys to join the Panini Redemption class-action lawsuit.
*Panini Redemption UPDATE 2: As of 3/25/2020 our redemption backlog is piling up and we have not received one back for quite some time.
*Panini Redemption UPDATE: As of 11/18/2019 we have received most of the Luka Doncic redemptions back. It took a while but at least we got them.
Here at GoldCardAuctions.com, we believe that knowledge is power and we strive to be the best source for card investing news and research. We want the people who share our passion for cards to be able to collect and invest with peace of mind.
So, when something happens that calls into question the honesty of a major supplier of cards, we want to make sure our readers are protected and informed.
WHAT’S GOING ON WITH PANINI REDEMPTION CARDS?
Before we get into the controversy and the lawsuit it caused, let’s cover some basic background. Panini America is the U.S.-based subsidiary of the Panini Group, based in Modena, Italy. Founded in 1961, this global company has over 1000 employees, $640 million in annual revenue, and is one of the biggest players in the global sports trading card market. Today, they make some of the best high-end collectible cards.
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Redemption cards are a contentious issue when it comes to sportscard collecting. To have signed cards available for sale, trading card companies have to send the cards to athletes to be signed. When the players don’t sign the cards in time or don’t send them back to the company, playing card companies don’t want to give up the revenue, so they insert IOUs called Redemption Cards into their packs. Sometimes these cards are redeemed for the real card quickly, but sometimes it can take years. Even worse, in some cases, the card you get can be a different card that’s less rare and less valuable than the one you’ve been promised.
WHAT’S THE CONTROVERSY?
The law firm of Martzell, Bickford & Centola has filed a class-action suit alleging that Panini America hasn’t been fulfilling its redemption cards or honoring its promises to consumers. Lawyer Michael Roche hired the firm to file the suit on behalf of Panini America customers who tried to have their redemption cards fulfilled but didn’t receive their promised memorabilia, even in the extremely wide 4 to the 8-month delivery window.
Not only are the cards not being sent to customers on time, but Panini doesn’t actually guarantee the exact card or even the same player promised by a redemption card. They reserve the right to replace the promised card with a “comparable” card, with little detail on what they consider comparable (more on this later).
Mr. Roche claims to have knowledge of collectors who have many unfulfilled redemptions. Some collectors have been waiting up to 2 years without receiving promised cards, more than 3 times the maximum wait promised by Panini America. Even worse, when replacement cards are sent, the cards are apparently of far lower value than the ones promised by the redemption cards.
As a result of these anti-consumer behaviors, Panini America is being sued in accordance with the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, as well as a variety of other state laws.
PANINI’S SIDE OF THE STORY
In defense of Panini, we understand that signed cards aren’t entirely under their control. Sometimes players take longer than planned to return the signed cards and sometimes they just don’t sign as many as promised. There are factors that Panini can’t control. Also, the policy of compensating customers with “comparable” cards is, in theory, a nice thing to do to make sure that customers aren’t left with nothing when an athlete doesn’t honor his or her commitments to signing cards. With official wait times of 4 to 8 months, it seems Panini recognizes the logistical difficulties of the situation.
WHAT DO UNBIASED 3 RD PARTIES HAVE TO SAY?
With Panini and the customers suing each disagreeing over where the blame lies, we turned to other parties not involved in the suit to get other perspectives on the story. Unfortunately for Panini, what we found doesn’t cast them in a very good light. An article on ripoffreport.com seems to echo many of the claims made by the people suing Panini. The writer of the report in question says he knows that Panini says that athletes, not signing cards are the reason for delays and substitutions, but he goes on to question that excuse, as he’s been waiting 15 months for his redemption card to be fulfilled. He notes that as Panini makes these claims, “new cards are released in different forms, many of which are autographed by that same star in question.” The writer points out that these issues seem to happen most often with the most valuable cards and concludes that “Panini is using excuses that are completely invalid.”
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Another take on this issue comes from Sal Barry at puckjunk.com. In a story that’s becoming more and more familiar as we look into the Panini redemption card controversy, Mr. Barry pulled an Akim Aliu rookie card redemption card from a Panini pack and waited 4 years without receiving anything from Panini. He had to launch a social media effort to publically get Panini’s attention before he finally received a card. He says that “what disappoints me, though, is that if I hadn’t been a borderline pest on Twitter, nothing would have come of this.”
However, rather than the very valuable card from a 7 card set promised by the redemption card, Mr. Barry received a replacement from a hundred card set for a much less valuable and less popular player. Sadly, this seems all too common.
What real customers are saying
“I received my Luka rookie card in 8 months give or take a few weeks… the only complaint was the right bottom corner was tweaked.” Tom Q. – Chicago, IL
Some players seem like they take their good old time to sign the card while others get it done right away… the length of redemption times just depends on the player in our experience. Bobby Gamblin’s Card Country – West LA
WHAT TO DO IF YOU’VE BEEN AFFECTED by Panini Redemption?
Here at Gold Card Auctions, we’re card experts, not legal ones, so we don’t know how this lawsuit will shake out, but if you’ve had issues with Panini sending you lower value cards or not sending you cards at all, it’s possible you may be able to join the lawsuit against them.
We received this comment below in regards to the case:
“We filed a class action against Panini for its failure to honor the redemptions. We originally filed the class action in February 2019 and under the Class Action Fairness Act in federal court in Texas.
The Class Action Fairness Act requires that the case be over $5 million for the federal court to have jurisdiction. In March 2019, Panini filed a motion with the federal court asking that the court dismiss our class action. Panini argued that the federal court did not have jurisdiction because the case was not over $5 million. Panini also argued that the class members did not have a cause of action because 1.) the lack of redemption is the fault of the athlete who will not timely sign the card; and 2.) Panini does not guarantee that there is an autographed card in the sealed package, the purchaser buys the package anyway, and so the purchaser is getting what they paid for.
We do not agree with Panini’s analysis and we filed an opposition to the motion to dismiss. In May 2020, the federal court finally ruled on the motion, after it was under submission for over a year. The federal court determined that it did not have jurisdiction because there is no proof that the case is over $5 million.
We will re-file the lawsuit in Dallas state court where there are no issues over jurisdiction. We expect that Panini will file the same motion to dismiss arguing that it cannot be at fault because it does not promise that an autograph redemption will be in every package.
We have teamed up with Heather Davis and Amy Carter with the Carter Law Group from Dallas and we will soon file the suit in Dallas state court. If you would like to be a part of this suit, please sign the attached contract and return it to me by email.
Please call or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Adam Thomas in my office (email@example.com) if you have any questions about the lawsuit, the contract, or anything else. We look forward to the continuation of this suit in state court.
Also, please provide Adam Thomas with the following:
The redemption you pulled.
The date you tried to redeem the card.
If you ever received a replacement card.“
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR CARD INVESTORS?
We’d advise that you hold off on acquiring any new redemption cards from Panini while we see how this situation plays out and whether Panini will change their policies around redemption cards. However, with their real, printed cards, we don’t see the loss of value as they’re still some of the rarest and most sought after cards on the market. We’ll keep you up to date if this scandal starts to affect the rest of Panini’s business or card values.
We’re going to be staying on top of this story as it develops and we’ll bring you regular updates as the situation unfolds.
Panini Customer Service
- Online: www.paniniamerica.net/support
- Online Panini Ordering Questions? email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-817-662-5205
- To check the status of your Panini Redemption or to report a damaged card please dial 1-800-852-8833 or please email email@example.com