There is an incredibly important class action lawsuit going on right now that has the potential to open the flood gates and rip off thousands of collectors and almost no one is talking about it. Panini America, the worst card company to come along in a very long time is arguing in court that they have no further responsibility to fulfill redemptions. Considering Panini’s modern products are loaded with redemptions, this is a big deal and something collectors should consider when choosing what products to buy.
I am not a lawyer nor can I pretend to be but Paul Lesko is and he’s been covering the entire lawsuit as well as other hobby-related court matters almost daily on Twitter. As insane as Panini’s defense is, what is truly scary is what could happen if Panini America wins. That potential victory could open the door for other card manufacturers to disregard expired and/or late redemptions they were unable to fulfill. Topps is notorious for redemption issues but Panini America has taken this to a whole new extreme.
Currently on eBay there are over 3,000 redemptions for sale from Panini America alone. Panini will be out of the American card market soon thanks to Fanatics which means if they can get their lawyers to stall long enough, there could potentially be thousands and thousands of redemptions left null and void. This is not the first time this exact thing has happened, as Fleer left collectors holding thousands unfilled redemptions when they abruptly filed for bankruptcy in 2005.
Don’t be surprised to see Panini America employees taking cards through the back door once the time comes to give up their licenses. Collectors should do everything in their power to get the word out. Twitter accounts with 5,000+ followers need to retweet case updates by Lesko because if the word does not get out soon, collectors could potentially lose tens of thousands of dollars per week. Tweet @PaniniAmerica and @TracyHackler as much as possible and demand coverage from @BeckettMedia.
When the PSA card trimming scandal broke, it barely made waves outside of the Blowout Cards forum and a few brave Twitter users who kept it relevant. The fraud was right there smack in everyone’s face but thanks to collectors, PSA had record profits in 2020 and is still the leader in the card grading business, despite seemingly dozens of new grading companies popping up every month. With no real competition, PSA will continue to devour the industry as long as collectors see there is money to be made.
Why do collectors choose to keep silent on these matters? It’s simple politics. Some collectors have thousands of dollars invested in graded cards, more specifically, PSA. If these collectors were to jump on the PSA Scam train, their collection and the money it cost them to get graded, would instantly be lost. Rather than speak up, they would rather unload at profit or just wait till the heat dies down and pretend like it didn’t happen. Well, folks … the wait paid off because it’s been forgotten.
There’s also another group of collectors who have remained silent, we call them industry shills. These are people with high Twitter follower counts who choose to stay silent because they don’t want to damage their “brand” by upsetting people at Panini. The two hosts of Go GTS Live, Ivan and Rob, for example. These two have Panini reps on their show almost weekly but wouldn’t dare make waves for fear of losing free product, which in turn, brings in ratings. Let’s be honest, who would watch Go GTS Live without free swag every segment?
Unfortunately, the industry shills and the collectors heavily invested in the trading card business have voices than are much louder and can reach further distances than someone with 200 followers who is choosing to speak out. Hopefully, Panini America gets eviscerated in court and is forced to fill all redemptions or at the very least pay back money or send acceptable replacements. The longer these card companies are allowed to get away dirty deeds at the expense of collectors, the worse our once beloved hobby becomes.