The New Upper Deck Replacement Policy

Upper Deck LogoUpper Deck’s policy on replacing damaged cards has changed. They will still replace damaged cards up to a year from the date of the card’s manufacture, but you can no longer just drop the cards in the mail; the process is a bit more involved.

I’ve documented my most-recent return of defective cards to Upper Deck, so you know what to do — and how long it will take – if you get damaged cards in your latest box break.

Earlier this year, I purchased three boxes of 2014-15 Upper Deck Series One Hockey. Each box had a defective jersey card. The three defective cards were of John Carlson, Sean Couturier and Braydon Coburn.


jersey_couturierjersey_coburnAs you can see, all three of them have tears along the top edge.

Normally, I’d toss these in an envelope with a letter to Upper Deck, as they have always done an exemplary job at replacing damaged goods.

But Homie don’t play that anymore.

Upper Deck pulled their address of their website, so I gave their customer service number a call. The friendly Upper Deck rep told me that they removed their address from their site so that customers would stop sending unsolicited packages of damaged cards.

Now you have to contact QA via email first, get a case number number and write it on the package — or they will send your package back unopened!

So, if you have defective cards, the first thing you want to do is email

I did that, and one day later got a response. Upper Deck’s QA Department asked for the usual stuff (name, address, card numbers) plus the following information:

Where did you purchase the item from:
Do you still have the receipt:
Do you still have the holograms and UPC:
Is your product hobby or retail:

I’m surprised they didn’t ask for my height, weight and blood type — and disappointed that they didn’t ask who my favorite member of Guns N’ Roses is.

Unfortunately, I had no idea where the receipt was, and had kept only two of the three empty boxes. I explained this in my reply.

The next day Upper Deck’s QA wrote back, issuing a case number and revealing their address to send the damaged cards to. Here are the takeaways from that message:

Typically, we need the receipt and UPC to replace any damaged or missing cards, but we can honor a 1x courtesy replacement for the missing receipt.

I don’t get why the receipt is so important. What does the receipt prove?

Any package sent without the case number on it will be returned back to sender, unopened.

We cannot stress enough the importance of sending your package with signature required or another traceable method as Upper Deck will not be held responsible for lost packages without confirmation.

Great…signature confirmation adds another $2-3 to the cost. But Delivery Confirmation is $1.05 in the U.S. I opted for that instead.

Due to the large number of packages we receive everyday; it may take 4 to 6 weeks for your package to be logged and processed following reception of your package. We cannot guarantee that your replacement will be the same card, however, it will be of equal value, most likely determined by Beckett.

Large number of packages they receive every day? Maybe Upper Deck should, you know, not make so many defective cards. Surely, that would cut down on their incoming mail. (I kid, Upper Deck.)

And considering the three jersey cards I was sending back — Carlson, Couturier and Coburn  — I actually would have been happier if I received jersey cards of three different players as my replacements.

Anyway, I sent out the cards, spending 55 cents on a padded envelope and $3.37 on postage.

Exactly 71 days later, I received replacements.

jersey_carlson_fixedjersey_couturier_fixedjersey_galchenyukLet’s see, that’s Carlson, Couturier and…Galchenyuk? Looks like UD made good on their promise to substitute a card for another of equal value.

Most collectors would rather have a jersey card of Galchenyuk than of Coburn, but I actually liked Coburn, since he used to play for the AHL’s Chicago Wolves.

Overall, returning defective cards to Upper Deck takes a little more time up front, and requires you to save things you’d normally throw away.

So, in summary:

  1. Keep your receipt.
  2. Keep the UPC symbols from the bottom of the box, and maybe the NHL hologram stickers from the box tops (couldn’t hurt, right?).
  3. Email and be sure to send them scans or photos of your defective cards.
  4. Be sure to write the Case ID Number UD QA issues to you on the envelope you mail to them — or your envelope will be returned unopened.
  5. Wait a while.
  6. Expect to get the same card as a replacement, but secretly hope to get a better card than the card you sent.

Has anyone else dealt with returning damaged cards to Upper Deck since they changed their replacement policy? Tell us about it in the comments below.


Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

5 thoughts on “The New Upper Deck Replacement Policy”

  1. Back in March, I purchased a case of 2014/15 UD2 hockey, and got 194 damaged base cards (mis-cuts) throughout the case. It seemed like few of the same uncut sheets were cut wrong (the tops, bottoms & sides)- and that the same handful of cards were damaged- some up to 14 copies of each, cascading down to 13, 12, etc, down to 1’s. All these damages surpassed a full box (194 vs 192). I got in touch with UD on Twitter shortly after this and they referred me to the QA address. I emailed my problem, got my case number, and told to send in my case receipt, along with the case UPC and the damaged cards. Shipping cost was almost $20CDN. I was told 12-16 weeks for resolution of the case. Fast forward to mid-July when I finally got my replacements. Truth be told, I was expecting 194 new base cards. In the end, I ended up getting 10 cards total! However, ALL 10 cards were 2014/15 UD2 Canvas cards: 8 Young Guns (including Nurse & the YG CL), 1 Retired/Legend (Sundin) & 1 Team Canada World Junior. I emailed UD out of curiousity as to why I got back what I did and here’s the reply that I received, “We normally just add more value in the replacements for damaged base cards. We do not replace over 40 cards instead we offer more value than the actual damaged cards.” All in all, I guess it was an “okay” experience. The case number is the MOST important part of the whole thing. The wait is what it is.

  2. It seems rather ridiculous to me that UD expects you to foot the bill to get the cards back to them when it’s their fault that their cards are defective in the first place.

    I mean, first you have to get an adequate mailing container, be it an envelope (padded or otherwise) or a box, then you have to pay the postage, which could be fairly expensive, especially if you live outside of the US, considering that you also need traceability to cover yourself.

    And then, there’s your time as well.

    For all that, they damn well better send you some cards of a higher value than their defective ones.

    Sounds to me kind of a “take it or leave it” policy change.

    But then again, I guess that’s what happens when you have a monopoly and can do anything you want.

  3. So what if you needed those cards to finish a set? Nice to see a company like UD only looks at everything in a monetary light. Not the name on the card, the number of cards, or anything about the cards; just Becket Value.

    While I still recognize Becket as the value guide of choice, in the end a card’s value is still only what someone is willing to pay for it. :/

  4. Great summary.
    I ran into the same situation with a Bickell jersey card. UD also asked for me to send them the damaged card with receipt. Between tracking down the box, receipt and paying for shipping… well, it simply wasn’t worth it.
    HOWEVER, about 3 months later, I unexpectedly got the card in the mail along with an auto O Pee Chee Brock Nelson card.
    Overall, it was worth the trouble.

  5. I too am annoyed at having to foot the bill to send a defective product back that shouldn’t have been defective in the first place.

    I will guess at the reasoning for some of the enhanced information being required. Chances are they have an automated process to produce the cards (everyone does these days). I would expect that they could likely trace the damaged cards back to the specific day of any specific production run based on the UPC ID code. I suspect that if they have a large amount of defective products coming from a specific production run, it will give them something concrete to look into – either lazy/incompetent employee, setting being off, defective card stock, etc. As for receipt? Probably to cut down on fraudulent requests.
    Of course being a collector and consumer, I have to question the success or existence of any quality control mechanisms (I’ll beat up UD a little bit). We all complain about cut issues or dots or other imperfections, but in Sal’s case we have three boxes with blatant identical problems in the same location, on the same type of cards… was this missed? I get everyone makes mistakes, but as consumers, I don’t think this should be acceptable given that we’ve paid well for these products and have an expectation of a level of quality. I hope this process is a part of addressing this issue, or I worry that this is a sign of the complacency of a monopoly that a new card deal signed by UD can bring.

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