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As Upper Deck’s Customer Care Manager, it is my goal to help educate our collectors and fans so they can have a better experience with our collectible products. I’ll routinely post updates about what we hear on the phones and through e-mails from customers in segments called Ask UD. I hope you find this information relevant and interesting. If you have questions yourself, please feel free to leave a comment and “Ask UD!”
Recently we have been receiving in quite a few questions about Upper Deck’s new distribution program:
Ask Upper Deck: What are Certified Diamond Dealers and Authorized Internet Retailers?
Nick Leslie: “Certified Diamond Dealers are brick and mortar retail stores that specialize in selling hobby products. We have featured several of these types of stores before on our blog in the Featured Retailers section and we will continue to spotlight them. These partners have signed an agreement to distribute Upper Deck products in a fashion that is best for the business. Upper Deck will work to provide these partners with exceptional service, promotional materials and more.
“We have seen an influx of customers looking to open brick and mortar hobby shops again as many believe now that the business can be a profitable one because of some of the distribution changes that have taken place. It is exciting for us to see new shops opening up. If you are going through the process of opening up your own store and would like to become a Certified Diamond Dealer, please reach out to our Dealer Support team so they can walk you through the process of working with us direct at (888)752-9832.
“For years the internet has been an unmonitored landscape where sellers could do whatever they wanted to a product without repercussions. As we heard more and more horror stories of customers being taken advantage of, we looked to partner with a new group of internet retailers who were Certified Diamond Dealers and were interested in working to grow the business, not just make a quick buck.
“We have assembled a group of Authorized Internet Retailers that we strongly encourage customers who do not have a hobby shop nearby them to use. We are starting off with a small group of partners in this space to keep control over it, but we do plan on adding more Authorized Internet Retailers from our group of Certified Diamond Dealers with a web presence in the future in both the United States and Canada.”
Ask Upper Deck: Why should I purchase through Certified Diamond Dealers and Authorized Internet Retailers over other sources I know and have been using to get Upper Deck product?
Nick Leslie: “Well for starters these shops represent the best of the best and each owner is dedicated to helping you reach your collecting goals. These shops have demonstrated an ability to provide our customers with exceptional service and if they fail to do so, they know they may be removed from the program all together. We will work with them to run some special promotions through their stores throughout the year so if you like freebies and cool prizes, you’ll want to stay involved with those shops.
“Above and beyond that, should you choose not to purchase a current Upper Deck product that has been released within the last 90 days from a Certified Diamond Dealer or Authorized Internet Retailer, you are purchasing the product as is. Meaning that if there are issues with it, we will not be able to assist you with it as it has been out of the control of our distribution chain and we do not cover issues that arise from those products.
“Certified Diamond Dealers and Authorized Internet Retailers will provide customers with a detailed receipt. Unfortunately we are not perfect and sometimes there can be issues with product customers open. In the event a customers finds any issues with damage, insert ratio, collation, etc. where you need assistance from Upper Deck’s Customer Care Department, the first thing we will ask you when you contact us is where you purchased the product. As long as you purchased through a Certified Diamond Dealer or Authorized Internet Retailer and can provide that receipt, we will be happy to assist you with your claim. Make sure to look for the Certified Diamond Dealer or Authorized Internet Retailer logos where you purchase your Upper Deck product.
“Upper Deck’s warranty on service ONLY applies to product sold through Certified Diamond Dealers or Authorized Internet Retailers so we STRONGLY recommend collectors purchase through those channels.”
Ask Upper Deck: I love to open a lot of product and my shop cannot always get me the amounts I need, what can I do?
Nick Leslie: “Good question. Hobby shops can order a certain allocation of product direct from Upper Deck and if they need more they can either work through one of Upper Deck’s Authorized Distributors and/or submit a wait list request to get more product direct. If they submit a wait list request we will try our best to assist based on demand for the product. Otherwise, they should be able to get the product they need working through our distributor network. If you are really in a bind and they are totally tapped out, then we recommend you try our network of Authorized Internet Retailers. Make sure they are working through one of those channels because if they acquire the product through another source, it may not be covered under our warranty as it may have left our distribution chain.”
Ask Upper Deck: How does Upper Deck think they will be able to monitor where all this product is going and is being sold?
Nick Leslie: “We have codes that are printed on the inside and outside of each box that are scanned throughout the distribution process. We know which distributors received which product, which shops they sent it to and ultimately how the shops distributed the product. We have a Hobby Policy Enforcement Specialist who is working with a network of partners to buy product from unapproved sources, find out where they got it from and remove those sources from our distribution network.”
Ask Upper Deck: My shop is telling me that if I resell sealed boxes of Upper Deck product, I may not be able to purchase through them anymore? What’s up with that?
Nick Leslie: “Well yes and no. Our goal with this program is to get distributors, hobby shops and collectors on the same page with how Upper Deck product is to be sold. Mind you, this is only with regard to current Upper Deck product, that is product that has been released in the last 90 days. Distributors should only be selling boxes and cases to Certified Diamond Dealers. Shops should only be selling boxes and cases to collectors. Collectors should be opening the product.
“Distributors who sell directly to collectors or to unauthorized retailers will be removed from our distribution network. Certified Diamond Dealers who attempt to wholesale our products will be removed from our distribution network. And collectors who attempt to compete on current box sales with our Authorized Internet Retailers by selling sealed product online will no longer be able to purchase product through that source.
“Now if you as a collector are buying a box in hopes that the values on it will go up and you can resell that box down the line, that is another story. After a product has been in the market for 90 days, you are free to sell the product in any manner you see fit without having an issue with regard to being able to get more Upper Deck product from the source you purchased it through.”
Ask Upper Deck: Is there a list of these Authorized Internet Retailers anywhere?
Nick Leslie: “Yes, you can find a list of our Authorized Internet Retailers here. Please note that some partners are still in the process of overhauling their sites to meet our requirements so you can call them in the meantime if their site is not completed and you want to check availability on products. Again, if you choose to purchase product online from a seller who is not an Authorized Internet Retailer you are purchasing that product as is and we will not be able to assist if you have any problems with it.”