Topps SLAM or Topps SCAM?
Topps SLAM is a digital trading card game that is available for Android and iOS. Users can create an account and trade with other users all over the world. Users earn free coins by logging in every day or by completing numerous Tapjoy tasks. A user may also buy coins from the “coin store” at a rate of approximately $50.00 per 500,000 coins. A user may exchange these coins for several different virtual card packs in an attempt to chase cards set with specific odds.
However, Topps restricts several of their card sets to a mandatory purchase. This means that you cannot fully collect without paying or trading with someone who has paid. Topps Slam often releases card sets that require either a) having purchased coins in the past to access a particular card pack; b) purchasing ANY coin bundle to gain access to a particular card pack; or c) purchasing a SPECIFIC coin bundle in order to gain access to a particular card pack. Obviously, option (c) will produce better odds and exclusive cards that option (a) or (b) cannot access.
The pack descriptions have always been misleading and sadly continue to get worse. Let’s take the recent release of Wrestlemania 33’s Topps NOW on April 7th, 2017 as an example. I am using this example because this was the most recent release of this type and the complaints were extraordinary. Topps released a special opportunity to obtain Topps NOW Relic Cards, limited to a 25cc each. Given that there were 4 cards, the total quantity available was 100. Topps sells “access” to these packs by providing the following description (which is an actual improved upon description compared to previous releases):
However, here is the kicker. When the relics sell out – the bundle does not. Topps does not care – in fact they use this to their advantage to make money. They will simply adjust the transmission description to (SOLD OUT) keep the purchasable bundle live, active and misleading. They know that no one is purchasing the $24.99 bundle for the 225k coins. The coins may be an added bonus to assist with the chase, but it is clear as to what the sole purpose of the bundle is.
Now, in order to access the “Topps NOW Relics Pack,” it should be accessible, right? If the card pack is accessible, it should be visible within the app so that a user may click it to purchase it, and moreover it should definitely not be sold out. If the cards that make the pack appear are sold out, then the pack will no longer appear. However, the bundle remains active. So, if one purchases this bundle when the cards are sold out, they are not actually granted access to the “Topps NOW Relics Pack” as stated in the description. Yes, picking up the bundle does not guarantee that a user opens the pack and 225k is stated as the only guarantee. However, a promise is made that the user will gain access to the pack and that is impossible if it is already sold out.
Since this has happened several times, I tested the purchase of this bundle when the cards were sold out. It is not a surprise that I received the following reply when asking for a refund and the return of the 225k coins:
So, as you can see, the “cards promoted” in the bundle were “sold out at the time of your pack purchase” (the context of the email implies that he meant bundle purchase, since you can’t purchase a pack that does not exist). This just supports the theory that the bundles are purposefully kept active and for sale in order to trick customers into thinking that the items which are the primary purpose of the bundle are still available. Topps has no trouble having the actual card pack removed, but insists on keeping the very thing that should allow ACCESS to the card pack available to be purchased: the bundle. This is a disguised attempt to sell more of its lousy, overpriced coin bundles.
Now after several back and forth communications with Patrick (I am sure this isn’t his real name), the result was as expected: no refund (of course with the request that the 225k coins be removed from my account as that was PART of the purchase). Patrick then proceeded to throw some copy and paste action at me:
So, ACCESS to the packs was ADDED to my account. They had no answer for why access was actually impossible if the product was not available in the first place. If I had full access to the dollar store – but I couldn’t go in to purchase anything because it was locked, would that really be considered access? So, access to my account for something that was not accessible from the start was given to me. I am hoping you can see how this is seriously misleading and borderline fraudulent. Most legitimate apps would have understood such a situation and provided a refund.
On a side note, the items sell out very fast when they are so limited. I was amused to see the message above about packs not showing up right away and to power cycle my device. There has been a mess of problems within the apps, including enormous Topps server issues, since Topps decided to force everyone to update to their broken version(s).
These Topps apps have a lot of upside potential, but they are very poorly managed and money hungry. I enjoy trading and interacting with the community, but things like this are very deterrent. Sadly, this is only one occurrence of the type of tricks Topps Digital will play on its customers. Hopefully these types of things will be improved upon in the future, however the purpose of this is so that people, other than those that this has happened to, are aware of what is going on within the app.
Disclaimer: This is my opinion and mine alone. I have supported my opinion with facts that I believe to be true.