Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Shady EBay Dealings & ITG 2010 Olympic Sensitivity

In my previous entry I mentioned that a well-known patch forger had returned to the scene. Now it seems as if yet again I find myself right in the middle of the battle between good (3 colour Limited Logos) and evil (lack thereof).

I picked up this 06/7 Limited Logos card for my collection:


Payment was sent immediately and I was very excited for the arrival of another beauty for the 06/7 LL horde.

I arrived home from a gig to see that my payment had been refunded because the card had been "stolen" when the seller took his collection to show to a group of "buyers". Buyers indeed.

I will hold off on releasing too many details surrounding the case at this time, but suffice it to say that reputable sources have told me that the EBay handle "best_offer_cards" has been linked to the GTA patch artist mentioned in my last post, and in so many before that.

While I have no proof of this at the moment, attempts to learn more about the card (serial number, origin...) have gone unanswered, and there is also a reluctance to exchange personal contact information. Those facts coupled with the rapid disappearance of the picture of the card seen in the auction certainly raise alarm bells.

I will continue to pursue information as to the whereabouts/authenticity of this card (which featured a dazzling three colour patch, part of the Devils horn) with the notion that three single colour Brodeur logos from the same year have sold at auction in the past few months not far from my mind. I am a very trusting person, and it is unfortunate to say, but I will now be treading carefully in the waters of EBay. Why was a card that I purchased taken to be displayed to a group of "buyers"? Perhaps this was an honest mistake, and the card was misplaced or swiped, but there is way too much surrounding this incident that doesn't add up for me to buy that story any longer.

It seems as though we the collector will be treated to another astonishing innovation from In The Game, centered around the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Per the company's website, as of this Friday, collectors will have the chance to purchase some very limited cards directly through the ITG website. A checklist is not available at this time.

I am wary of this idea. ITG claims that strict measures for quantity limitation will be taken (ie: that John Moneybags will not be able to log on and buy up the entire print run of his favourite single, or the entire series for that matter). While that is a comforting statement to a collector like myself, who will most likely only attempt to buy one card from the shop, we have seen the same thing happen time and time and time and time and time and time and time again with any popular concert ticket... thirty seconds after release, the product we covet is gone, and where it went, nobody knows... until it shows up en masse on ticketexchange or stubhub at a drastically increased price.

While I am not 100% in the know with regards to how this will be handled, what is stopping "Dr. Dealer" from logging on precisely as the store gets going, buying his allotted stock and then logging in using several proxy accounts to buy up a significant percentage of the entire print run? Each item is to be limited to ten copies, so there isn't a lot to go around.

Much like I do when Pearl Jam tickets go on sale - I'll do my best. I'll log on in hopes of buying a nice Brodeur item - if there's one available (pricepoint unknown), I'll pick it up. If I'm online minutes after the product goes on sale and no more marquee pieces are available, I'll wait for the Expo to roll around... if/when I see piles of ITG 2010 cards on certain tables, I'll begin to ask questions.

The company's apparent inability to field questions that do not begin with "I love this idea, where can I buy more, how is it you don't have a license?!" is also interesting. A certain online forum is discussing the release and bringing up the same fear that I have described above, only to be met with blunt comments that include the words "bashing" and equivalent. One statement includes the notion that "5% are shouting louder than 95% can speak" (sic).

I would argue that 5% of society is apt to ask "big questions", and maybe even provide constructive criticism. These statements (mostly complimentary statements that express some level of concern regarding quantity limitation) should be read at face value and used as a springboard to strengthen relationships with potential customers, and not as excuses to utter the same old statements about the lack of a license, playing the deck that has been dealt and to seem genuinely personally offended at every opportunity.

It is frustrating to see a discussion about a new product that is taking an innovative approach at distribution turn into not a discussion but a series of unjustified personal attacks.