It happens to the best of us. You find a great deal on Pokémon cards at the store or online, and come home to find out that it wasn’t quite what you were hoping for. It could be prepicked cards, Cards that weren’t what you were hoping for, or worse yet, fake cards.
Here are the worst offenders, and what to look out for when purchasing Pokémon products:
Card Lots/Assorted Cards
Let’s start by saying: card lots aren’t always bad. However, most of them are full of fakes, worthless cards, and deceptive descriptions, and it takes a trained eye to be able to spot the good lots.
Oftentimes, you’ll see a listing on eBay promising something like 100 EX cards for only $12 or so. The description may say something like “100% High Quality, English Cards!” or “Brand New, English Cards” to trick you into thinking they are authentic tournament cards, but these are actually fakes. Even when they do say they are authentic, they may be fake.
In addition to the abundance of fake cards on the platform, you can often find examples where the images used in a listing a misleading showing a lot full of EX cards or rare cards when the lot you’re purchasing in mostly common cards. Duplicates also pose a potential issue here as seen in the image below:
There are plenty of cases where a buyer may purchase a 50-card lot and walk away with 25 duplicate cards. Not only that, but many lots that say “no duplicates” will actually contain duplicates and lots that promise all rare cards may have common cards.
Instead of buying a card lot for yourself or a family member/friend, purchase an official booster box. The pulls (valuable cards) from these will be much better, and you don’t have to worry about fakes or other issues that plague card lots.
Pre-picked Booster Packs
This is probably the most frustrating scam of all. You order an official Pokemon TCG booster pack only to receive one that has been opened and resealed with a piece of scotch tape! A booster pack that has been pre-picked and then resealed results in both fewer cards and cards with little to no value. The best way to avoid this is to simply stick with trusted vendors. A vendor with plenty of 5 star reviews won’t do this to you!
Bait and Switch Products
Another scam we’ve seen recently is what we’re calling bait and switch products. These are Pokemon TCG products that are marketed as rare official booster packs for a great price. Think a Team Rocket booster pack (vintage) for less than $10. This price is too good to be true for a reason, and that’s because you won’t receive that booster pack. Instead you’ll get a card lot, assorted cards, or even a pre-picked booster pack.
20+1 Foil Packs
If you’ve been a member of the Pokémon TCG community for a while now, you may have heard of how terrible these packs are. They promise 20 cards with a guaranteed foil card in each pack, and cost around $9 per pack.
Unfortunately, if you read the details on the back of the pack, you’ll see that the cards are purchased from the second-hand market and then repackaged. The cards themselves are pretty much worthless with a ton of energy cards, and almost all cards being common cards. There’s also plenty of duplicates (especially if you’re opening more than 1 pack), and a chance at damaged and fake cards.
MaxMoeFoePokémon opens a dozen or so of these on one of his recent videos, and in it you’ll see the quality (or should we say lack of quality) you get with these cards (Language Warning!):
A better product to buy instead is a genuine booster pack (from a reputable vendor) or a mystery power box. Mystery power boxes will be a little more expensive, but they give more cards and have a fairly good chance at getting you a vintage card pack!
Where can I buy Pokémon TCG products without being ripped off?
Well, for starters, ensure that you’re always purchasing from a trusted vendor. This is especially true when purchasing from online marketplaces where anyone can sell a card. It just means you need to be extra careful. Do your research. Look at the reviews. Are there any complaints of fakes, duplicates or low value cards? All of this should be taken into consideration before making a purchase.
The easiest way to purchase TCG products without the worry is to check out either your local card store, or a reputable online TCG shop (like us!)