Upper Deck Card Packs are Victims of Tampering and Returning


If you go to one of your local card retailers, you will see an array of blaster boxes available. I find these to be a great buy if you need a “quick fix” before you can get to your hobby shop. I have pulled some really great hits from these boxes in the past.

An Upper Deck Blaster Box headlined by Sydney Crosby

One day I stopped by my local retail store to get my “fix” and picked up a blaster box of Upper Deck football. Upon arrival at my house, I get to my desk and let the ripping begin. I pulled the plastic off and tore open the box and began to open the packs. Much to my surprise, some of the packs only had 2 or 3 cards in them. Then I noticed a few of the packs were open on one end. Packs that guaranteed at least one rookie hit had none. I was livid!

I had heard of this before but never really thought much about it until now. I picked up the shrink wrap and noticed it didn’t have the Upper Deck Logo printed on the plastic!  It was generic shrink wrap. Unscrupulous people are tampering with packs for the best cards, re-seal the packs with new shrink wrap, and take them back to the store to get a refund or exchange. Apparently this is an increasing problem in the retail industry, primarily hobby boxes that are sold at the retail outlets.

Upper Deck labeled shrink wrap ensures authenticity and security

One of the easiest ways to look for this problem is to look for the Upper Deck logo pre-printed on the shrink wrap. Once the Upper Deck factory shrink wrap is removed, it is very difficult to re-seal it again. Check all the seams of the shrink wrap for glue or some signs of tampering.  While it is sad that we must be on the lookout for this, it is a problem that is happening nonetheless. It’s a collaborative effort between collectors, retailers, distributors, and manufacturer’s to counter this. Implementing a no return policy for trading card boxes in retail stores would counteract this problem. While some people may oppose this idea, it would tranquil the frequency of tampering.

Nothing beats the fun of negotiating for the card of your favorite athlete that your friend has, trying to arrange package deals, and swapping cards. What fun are trading cards if the trading is seemingly non-existent? Tampering changes the dynamics of card collecting; dismissing the persistence and interaction that has driven card collectors over the past decades. A card earned is a special card.

Have you ever opened a pack that has been tampered? Where do you prefer to buy your trading cards? Share ideas and stories!

Tim Yount is an avid follower of all things Upper Deck. This blog entry was his response to the most recent Volunteer Alliance Mission which asked enthusiasts to contribute any news, advice, or strategies from the perspective of our fans.

Categories : Collectors, Products



Very good read, Tim! Amazingly enough, I have had a few packs that I’ve bought that were tampered with—in a good way. It seems like people decided to take the better hit out, and a weaker hit in, along with a few other cards. So, I guess it worked out!


I have had two blasters either missing cards or well short of the hit ratios, i.e 0 young guns when there should have been 3 or 4. I e-mailed Upper Deck both times. The first time they sent me two jersey cards. The second time, they asked for the numbers on the box, but I had bought the box on holidays and had already thrown the blaster box out, so I never got any further with it.
I don’t remember what kind of shrink wrap was on them but I’ll have to try and remember to check in the future.


Great advice, Tim!


Thanks so much for that informative article!I don’t collect cards yself, but I’m always buying boxes as gifts for my brother and other family members and I will definit;y be checking the wrapping on any boxes I buy! Thank you!


Good point Tim! My suggestion would be staying away from the blaster boxes and sticking with the hobby packs! I’ve seen some mega pulls out of some hobby shops… Way more than Walmart. You’re from the Newport area right? I think there’s a shop in Morristown, which I right around the corner from you! Collectible company is there name. The number is 423-581-1800, if you need directions. Good luck in the future buddy ;)


I will only buy cards at Hobby Stores. They tend to know about the product I am buying and it’s hands on. Too much pack searching and tampering at retail stores like Target, Walmart, etc.


Great blog from an even better guy! Tim has hit the ball out of the park with this article by exposing a very severe problem within the trading card industry. Tim’s solution would definitely help slow down this unscrupulous act but retail boxes will most likely always have problems as long as the boxes are being sold by people who do not understand the hobby. This problem along with card tampering, box tampering, and even case tampering may never be solved until the card manufacturers decide to enforce hobby rules and protect their product beyond just selling it.

The worst problem, that most consumers are not even aware of, is the so called “Dump Boxes” being sold in hobby shops and online stores all around the world. This growing problem inside the industry, which is fraudulent at best and stealing at worst, should be eliminated immediately. In this day and age, all card manufacturers should code their boxes on the inside, allow the consumers to enter that code on the manufacturer’s official website, and then verify what they should have received within the box. Also, dealers shouldn’t be allowed to open boxes unless they open the entire case, and in many instances the entire master case when provided, and only when the dealer promptly verifies with the manufacturer ahead of time by submitting the case code to be opened. This process would allow the manufacturer to competently record the location of the “Big” hits and more importantly know if the dealer or wholesaler was indeed opening all the good boxes only to dump the rest of the boxes online or to their loyal customers after they knowingly have hit the “Big” card.

The ugly truth within the industry is the vast majorities of all boxes that make it to the consumers are “Dump Boxes” and have been deliberately manipulated to be sold in such a deceptive manner. The sad truth is most consumers still believe that all boxes are the same and they have the same chance with any box. The real odds are such that the best box inside the case, and hence the best card, has been removed a long time ago by the distributor, dealer, or third party seller. Again, this could be stopped overnight by simple coding and then the manufacturers enforcing the code.

Ultimately, this dishonest act goes on almost everywhere and the good guys like Tim, along with countless hobby enthusiasts, and kids who are the next generation collectors lose the most. This crisis is a hard fact to watch take place but the results are even more telling as we watch collector after collector leave the hobby. In the end, the crooks are almost all that is left except for a few loyal hobbyists and the opened-eyed kids who are still fruitlessly hoping to find the “Big” hit autograph patch 1/1 card of their favorite player!

Thanks Tim, for bringing more light to an industry that has so many dark clouds hovering above.


Very Good article!!!



Great stuff and a great information passed along.


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