Redemption cards have always been a hot button issue between trading card makers and those who buy their products. When players don’t send their cards back in time for release, the manufacturers still what’s essentially an IOU in the product for that particular autograph. Sometimes it’s fulfilled quickly. Other times, it can drag on for months—or even years. Now, the practice is being challenged in court.
Kevin Brashear, a collector from the Dallas area, has filed suit in federal court there, accusing Panini America of violating the State of Texas Deceptive Practices Act.
Brashear and his attorney, Scott Bickford of New Orleans, filed the putative class action lawsuit last week, alleging that the process often leaves collectors holding the bag when the promised autograph never materializes. He also claims the expiration dates on redemption cards shouldn’t be allowed and that the stated time of 4-8 months for receiving an autograph after inputting redemption card data is often ignored.
Trading card manufacturers typically say they’d rather not have any redemption cards in products but are at the mercy of players to return those cards on time. The lawsuit states that despite those regrets, redemptions are a “well-established pattern and practice.”
“The delay or failure to redeem causes damage to the putative class because the redeemable cards are more often than not of players whose cards are in high demand at the time of receipt of the redemption card,” Bickford stated in initial court filings. “A delay can cause the value of said actual card to diminish and, of course, failure to ever supply the actual card causes additional damage.”
Beshear claims he has an expired redemption card from two years ago and brought the claim to court “on behalf of thousands of other consumers.”
He’s asking for compensatory and punitive damages for all class members as well as attorney fees.
Panini has not yet filed its response to the suit.
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