Perhaps I'm being a bit harsh, but I'm pretty bummed about the direction eTopps is headed. This week eTopps posted the following update on their website:
Dear Valued eTopps users,
Due to rising costs of doing business and increased costs to our shipping partners, eTopps will be raising its shipping rates beginning early next year. This is the first price change for eTopps in several years. Also at this time, eTopps points will no longer be accepted for shipping.
If you would like to take advantage of today’s current shipping rates, please be sure to visit your card portfolio in eTopps.
Thank you for your continued business!
The Topps Company
Being in the business world, I understand that sometimes things like this have to happen for a business to stay profitable. But using points for shipping cards was a huge deal to me. With shipping costs now from eTopps being $6.95 for the first card and $.85 each additional card, I shudder to think what the new higher costs will look like. I was able to tolerate these exorbitant charges because you also had the option of using points (1 point= $1 of shipping) to pay to ship cards. And while I like having cards in my port, eTopps cards in hand are really nice and at the end of the day I want real cards, not virtual ones.
But what really bugs me about the timing of this is that 2011 MLB, MiLB and T206 cards were stated to be available to ship on Dec. 8th. Dec 8th came and went and 2 weeks later these cards are still unavailable to ship.
With the unavailability of 2011 cards and the recent vague announcement about shipping costs/terms, I was curious if the 2011 cards would remain unavailable to ship until the new costs/terms went into place. That seems like a reasonable question and I sent eTopps a polite note asking just that:
I was wondering when the cards that were scheduled to be available for shipment a couple of weeks ago will be available? I was planning on getting them in for Christmas, but it looks like that will not be possible. How much longer do you anticipate the delay lasting on these? Will they be available before the new costs and shipping terms take place?
Here was eTopps reply:
Thank you for taking the time to write with your question, and please accept our apologies for any difficulties you have encountered while attempting to use our service.
In order to determine possible causes, at your convenience, please contact our Customer Service team (toll free) at 1-800-489-9149. A Customer Service representative will be available between the hours of 8:30am-4:30pm (ET) Monday through Friday to help troubleshoot and resolve any problems you may be experiencing.
Thank you once again for taking the time to write. We look forward to speaking with you.
etopps Customer Service team
Somehow, I don't think my message was actually read. I simple "yes they will be available before the shipping changes take place," or "no they will remain unavailable until the shipping changes take place," or even "we had a problem with the printing of these cards and we are not sure when they will be available" would have been good. I'd even settle for, "the cards are available but we just don't want to send them out unless we can get more money for it."
I'm not dicking around on the phone all day over this, so I'm not taking their suggestion and calling customer service.
The response on the message boards has been intense. There have been a ton of minor issues with eTopps this past year, and the attractiveness of the final product may be starting to lose its leverage. Who knows how this shipping chage will impact the way the cards are purchased. Points were a big deal in eTopps world, but they just lost a ton of their importance, and it will impact the value of cards going forward. Case in point, here is my tracker for the week:
There were a couple of new cards this week, Tim Tebow and Victor Cruz. I didn't buy either, and it doesn't look like I missed out on anything:
I'm not a doom and gloom guy by any stretch of the imagination, but it's getting really hard to keep promoting and celebrating eTopps lately.