The State of the Hobby – By Tim Getsch

NationalSince 2007, I have attended every National Sports Collectors Convention.  It provides me with an opportunity to get a pulse on how the industry is evolving. This year more than ever I sensed a noticeable shift. The convention was more crowded than I have ever seen. I was frequently peering over someone’s shoulder just to get a look at a table. It was encouraging to see the hobby booming, and I couldn’t help but reflect on why the industry has seen such growth.

Sports are enjoyed in many ways. Some fans travel coast to coast to cheer on their team at the big game. This is done to share the special moments, in both success and defeat, with the players we love. But we don’t have to be there to feel that way. When we have a player’s cards, they become a part of us. When they fail, we do. When they succeed, we feel the triumph. That’s why sports card collecting is the ultimate celebration of sports. They help us feel closer to our players, living the special moments with them.

One of the most noticeable changes I saw at the convention this year was that both the attendees and the dealers were getting younger.  There was a healthy representation of all age groups. This is particularly exciting because it indicates the hobby’s strength and increased prosperity for years to come.

Unfortunately, the growth of the market and the potential for individuals to make money within it has incentivized some people to find ways to cheat the system, especially through unethical card alteration in an attempt to turn a profit. Thanks to the efforts of several passionate people in our hobby, the extent of this practice of alteration is starting to be uncovered.

What is COMC doing about this?
Recently it was brought to our attention that some cards that were for sale on COMC or that had been sold by COMC may have been altered.  Within 24 hours, we began an internal investigation and locked items as well as user accounts related to this investigation. This investigation is ongoing, and we do not have an estimate for when it will be completed.

COMC will be offering a full refund on any item that is discovered to have been altered. We want to stress to our customers that we are actively auditing every product that has been sold or that is currently for sale in our known records for signs of alteration. If a product has been found to be altered, we will be directly contacting the affected customers to offer refunds if they would like to return the item.

Since our inception our brand promise has been to be the “The Safe and Easy Way to Buy and Sell Cards”. As part of this promise, we are continually investing in the improvement of our various technologies, procedures, and policies that will create the proper safeguards for our customers. We will be adjusting our policies and procedures to make it harder for altered items to get onto COMC. This starts with, but is not limited to, strict penalties for fraudulent activities on our platform.

How you can help?
Report any fraudulent item in the hobby by sending an email to blacklist@comc.com with the information below.

  • Description of the item with a link to the listing if available
  • Description of the issue(s) with the item
  • Grading certification number, when applicable
  • Serial number, when applicable
  • If Altered: Before and after photos of the item showing clear evidence of alteration
  • If Counterfeit:
    • Photos of the item showing clear evidence of counterfeiting
    • Photos of authentic copy of the item, when possible

If the item is actively for sale on COMC please include the COMC Item Number in the subject so that we can be sure to investigate the item as quickly as possible.

Cards we can verify as fraudulent based on the details provided will be added to our database to help ensure that they are never allowed to be sold on COMC.

Cancellation of the Premier Event

To allow us to focus on our investigations and improving our systems, we will unfortunately be canceling the Premier Event that had been scheduled for this month. We were looking forward to this event to offer buyers a new way to shop for some of the best the COMC marketplace has to offer, but we feel it’s right to take a step back at this time so we can strengthen collector confidence in the hobby.

Summary

At the forefront of the industry, COMC is uniquely positioned to make the biggest impact in uplifting the hobby we know and love by being the Safe and Easy Way to Buy and Sell Cards. We are excited that we have an opportunity to make the hobby even safer and more enjoyable for our customers. These additions along with other new upcoming features are going to take our platform to the next level and create a secure and truly special experience for the entire hobby. The future is bright for collectors. We can’t wait!

Tim Getsch
COMC.com Founder & CEO