Topps Bunt – Great Concept, Mediocre Execution, and Awful Customer Service

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I try to not write columns or reviews with any real agenda beyond “Hey, this is really good, people should hear about it.”  Or “Wow, this is terrible, people should stay far, far away from this.”  But this article is going to be a little different.  I am actively looking to shame a company for their mediocre product and horrifying customer service policies.  

Topps Bunt is Topps’ attempt to take trading cards and make them into a digital medium. I used to love Trading Cards as a kid, especially comic book related cards.  But, like comics, finding someplace to store hundreds and hundreds of cards was always problematic, and I basically got rid of all my trading cards over the years. While there are some flaws to the idea of digital trading cards (for example, you don’t actually have anything physical to show for your efforts), I do think, in concept, Topps Bunt is a cool way of updating trading cards for a more modern audience. 

Since its inception in 2013, I’ve tried to get into Topps Bunt many times, but because of numerous problems with the product, I end up giving up.  The app would crash often, and it would run slow to the point where I had to reinstall it just to verify that a trade went through without waiting for five minutes.  Not to mention some major issues that I will be talking about later in this column.   

I actually only started collection again a few months ago because my friend and co-writer Mike Weaver got into it, and it’s been fun to play with him.  But, many of our conversations about Topps Bunt revolve around, “What’s wrong with the app this week?” 

One huge feature of Bunt is that most cards you can get without paying a dime. Every day they give you 5,000 free coins which is typically enough for a pack of 5 base cards; and once a week, they give you a bonus day of 50,000 coins. In addition, there are various “contests” where you can earn points and additional cards based on the performance of your players in real life baseball games. Think of it as Fantasy Baseball.

Plus they give out quite a few freebie cards and packs. On top of this, they also have a partnership with a company named Tapjoy where you can earn more coins by doing surveys, watching videos, and other offers. I have built up a pretty sizeable collection of cards, and I have only spent money every now and then for a few special offers that interested me. 

I also enjoy the trading system and the community.  While there always going to be some jerks who make things unpleasant (“Trading all my cards.  Just send me an insert for one of my commons, and you can get my whole collection.”), for the most part, the community is full of people who just enjoy Baseball and trading cards. I’ve been able to finish most of the series I am interested in purely through trading.  

But, this column is not really about what I like about Bunt.  I just wanted to establish that I am not here purely to hate on Topps.  I actually would love if Bunt functioned well all the time.  It really would be a dream app for me!

Last week, Topps sent out an app update (which didn’t seem to change the game in any real noticeable way), and since then, Topps Bunt has basically been busted.  My favorite contest they do is called the 10K challenge.  Instead of competing against other players, you are basically competing against yourself.  If the players you select manage to earn you 400 points, you get 10K coins (enough for two packs of base cards).   But on at least two days this week, the game refused to track points, so no rewards were given.   On Sunday, even though they sent out a notice for the 10K challenge, the contest never ended up materialized.  So that was 3 days, and 30,000 coins I was out last week.

Also, Tapjoy’s “offers” aren’t awarding coins either (this happens on an unfortunately regular basis, but since the update they have not awarded anything).  So for the last week or so, you are completely unable to get coins right now unless you want to pay for them.  These problems could be understandable.  This is a big app operating over a variety of platforms, and requires different companies and apps to be working in sync. 

But the major issue is that Tapjoy and Bunt both have lousy customer service.   Any time I have a problem with the apps, I follow their protocol and send emails.  And never once have they really resolved any of my issues. Tapjoy insisted that the problem had to be on my end.  So I sent them screenshots showing that I completed offers that I wasn’t getting coins for, they then said “Well, our records show the coins were awarded to your account.  We consider this case closed.”

Uhm.  Great.  Thanks.

The issue seems to be that they use automated Customer Service, and the people in charge don’t know what to do when the issue is outside of the small list of solutions they have in mind.

Topps is even worse.  When I told them about the 10k issue and the Tapjoy issue (which again, every player is dealing with, not just me!), their response was basically, “Hey, you have no reason to complain…the contest was free.  We’re sorry, but here’s 5K.  It will never happen again.”  And it happened again two days later.  I sent in another help ticket, and this one they didn’t bother responding to at all.

Also, when it came to Tapjoy, they said, “Sometimes it might take weeks for coins to show up. (I’ve used Tapjoy for a long time with a variety of programs.  That has never happened, the longest wait is an hour or so, and that is very rare.)  Reach out to Tapjoy.”   Again, it feels like they are mostly using an automated Customer Service, and they have no interest in actually solving problems.

What’s even sadder about all this is that they don’t seem to have many of this problems on their Star Wars Card Trader app.  Granted, there are no “PTS” to worry about there, but it even seems like their Tapjoy offers work more consistently too.  

I really hope this article catches people’s attention, and forces Topps to review their product and especially their customer service practices.  It is shameful for a large company to treat people this way.  I suspect that a big part of this is that Topps has a monopoly here, and they don’t have to worry about competition pushing them to do better.  When I was working in comic shops selling baseball cards back in the day, there were a lot of trading card companies, and it was clear companies were pushing hard to satisfy their customers.  But as soon as you only have one company running a monopoly, it just seems they stop caring all that much (sounds like WWE). 

Update: Soon after I posted this column, I actually finally did get a response from Topps.  They had sent along 15,000 coins for the issues I have been having. It took 4 days, mind you, and there is still no timeframe on when these problems will be corrected.   BUT, I am fair and honest, and I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge that they at least are finally making an effort here.