PSA has made its first public comments regarding the ongoing revelation of doctored sports cards made in an online hobby forum.
A small group of collectors on the Blowout Cards message boards have spent the last few weeks offering before and after pictures of cards that had been purchased online, then altered to improve their appearance before being graded and sold again to unsuspecting collectors. Some had clearly been trimmed, with others bearing evidence of re-coloring or other alterations, none of which was disclosed in the auction description. Most were sold through PWCC Marketplace, the hobby’s largest volume sports card auction company. PWCC says it recently cut ties with dealer Gary Moser, who forum members connected to the purchase and sale of many of the vintage cards believed to be significantly altered.
Steve Sloan, who assumed the role of PSA president in 2018, addressed the issue in a closed discussion forum on the company’s website Tuesday:
PSA is aware of recent hobby message board activity and is conducting its own investigation into the matter.
We take consumer protection seriously, as evidenced by the thousands of altered and counterfeit cards that we reject each year, our on-going investments in grading and holder technology, and long track record of working with law enforcement to eliminate fraud from the hobby.
PSA processes more than two million cards each year and will not let isolated acts from a few dishonest actors deter consumer confidence in our brand. We will act against anyone who violates PSA’s Terms & Conditions by knowingly submitting altered cards for authentication and grading. While our actions will be conducted privately, please know that the impact will be felt by those attempting to mislead collectors for personal profit.
As with any financial transaction, if you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact the seller to initiate a refund request. If the seller is unknown, you may send the card to PSA for review under our Financial Guarantee of Grade and Authenticity.
PSA is well-versed in combating fraud and we have addressed these issues in a professional and direct way for nearly thirty years. After all these years, our hobby is stronger than ever. Rest assured that PSA will not let the actions of a few have any lingering impact on the hobby or the PSA brand.
Sloan didn’t address how the cards that were seemingly trimmed had passed through the authentication and grading process.
At some point, an article link in the news archive of the company’s website that was focused on PWCC was taken down and now returns an error message:
Oregon-based PWCC has released statements of its own this week, stating it was now working with law enforcement on the matter.
Mike Rogoway of The Oregonian/Oregon Live has begun covering the story.
There has been no statement thus far from Beckett Media, which had authenticated and graded numerous modern era cards highlighted by Blowout forum members as having been trimmed or altered after their original, lower grade was assessed.