Interesting thread about a PCGS reholder sub that downgraded

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by ddddd, Feb 21, 2020.

  1. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    Anyone see/follow this thread on the PCGS forum? One of the posters sent a coin in for reholder (which means it gets a new holder and PCGS only checks for authenticity-not grade) and it downgraded from 64PL to 64. The poster said they were offered compensation in the form of some grading vouchers and not a cash/check payout. It was also less than they expected (much lower than it would take to replace the coin).

    The moderator closed the thread with a simple comment suggesting to keep working with customer service. I wonder if this will have a positive resolution? It seems like it has already gone further than it should have (the poster should have been offered fair compensation and an apology for the company not following their written guidelines for the reholder service).

    This is also a bit concerning if anyone was planning to send coins for reholder (although it's possible PCGS will use this a learning opportunity to prevent such incidents in the future).
    Paul M. likes this.
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  3. cpm9ball

    cpm9ball CANNOT RE-MEMBER

    It is interesting to note that the discussion was closed without a single response from PCGS employees even though they were tagged. It's also interesting to note that this was the prediction of at least one poster. ~ Chris
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  4. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    Yes I noticed that too.
    They must have felt that no reply would be satisfactory. Although, if someone replied with an apology and a promise to fix the issue right away, that would have shown some strength. Instead we are all left wondering and at least a bit concerned.
    Paul M. likes this.
  5. baseball21

    baseball21 Well-Known Member

    There's always two sides to every story in terms of guarantee negotiations, but yes in general they will always be less than the person hopes. Something like this has come up before and I'm not entirely sure why the widespread belief has always been that they cannot downgrade during reholders or regrades. Even back to the David Hall days there's some posts on the CU forum from him (or used to be anyways if they're gone) that the official position is that any time they have a slab in their position they have the right to change the grade if they feel that is the correct thing to do

    Ironically such enforcement may have at least been encouraged from the forum itself and their hounding of mistakes or things that wouldn't meet todays standards. It's really kind of a lose lose having to correct past practices. Do you leave something as is that wouldn't meet todays standard or do you chance it when either way some people will be unhappy with the practice.

    Personally I wouldn't be sending in old PL/DMPL for reholders or regrades given how much tighter those standards are today
    Paul M. likes this.
  6. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    I’m ok with a reholder being fixed if the graders see something wrong with it. However, if that is the official policy, it should be stated on the page about reholder. As it stands currently, there is no mention of it. People believe that a reholder can’t change grades because that is exactly what PCGS tells us. A reholder is not a regrade (which we all know can change grades as that service clearly explains).

    “The “Reholder” service applies to coins that are currently graded and encapsulated by PCGS that the customer would like placed into the most current PCGS holder. For this submission type, the coins will not be graded. The coins will be received and then inspected by a member of the grading team to determine that the coin and PCGS holder are authentic. Once it is determined that the holder and coin are genuine, the coin will be removed and placed into a new PCGS holder. This service is generally used for coins that are housed in PCGS holders that have been damaged, or to create consistency within a collection.”

    If there was a statement in there about the possibility of a grade change, there would be little to debate. Instead it clearly says the coin will not be graded. Only authenticity of the holder and coin is checked.
    micbraun and Paul M. like this.
  7. Coinsandmedals

    Coinsandmedals Well-Known Member

    I know of similar situations that have happened at both TPGs, but I think PCGS really dropped the ball on this on. Why not just offer to pay the difference in replacement cost between a pl and non-pl example coin? Is that not the standard operating procedure for PCGS? A grading credit seems like an insult. Or better yet, offer to replace the coin with a new 64PL?

    Also, they really should update the language they use to describe the reholder service to avoid further confusion. If they are going to claim the moral high ground and “fix” the issue they should do so in a manner that does not alienate the collector who bought their graded product in good faith. This could have easily been handled better.
    micbraun, Paul M. and ddddd like this.
  8. baseball21

    baseball21 Well-Known Member

    Yea, there's several descriptions on the website that really do need to be updated.

    This is pure speculation on my part but my guess would be that if something jumps out at them (such as how might tighter the PL standards are today) then it gets flagged for review or something like that since it is still pretty rare to hear about these things.
    Paul M. and Coinsandmedals like this.
  9. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    And if it’s fixed, then everyone would know in the future. As it stands now, the wording is pretty clear and if the currently worded policy isn’t followed, someone should make it right. In the end, PCGS making that poster whole (let’s say it is the $600 mentioned in that thread) is the right course of action and would be worth the expense to not have some of the most loyal customers doubting them.
    Paul M. and Coinsandmedals like this.
  10. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    I agree. It would have been a better decision to make the poster whole and avoid the negative publicity. Then go ahead and change the wording on the policy if necessary.
    Paul M. and Coinsandmedals like this.
  11. baseball21

    baseball21 Well-Known Member

    Having worked in college in customer service type industries I fully understand how difficult some people can be. I have no idea what was offered or what demands were made or what on going talks are occurring so I generally don't get strong opinions one way or another especially if I have no clue who the person they're dealing with is.

    I would think that if they just asked for a replacement that would probably work. There's potential CAC compensation/replacement opportunity as well.
    Paul M. likes this.
  12. ddddd

    ddddd Member

  13. Jaelus

    Jaelus The Hungarian Antiquarian Supporter

    Something being missed here is that they didn't regrade the coin, they did a designation review for the PL designation. The grade (MS64) stayed the same.

    I have seen both TPGs do this on reholders, and while I don't know the specifics for PCGS, I know NGC policy states that they do this in certain situations (as with reholdering RD or RB designated copper). I've had something similar to this happen to me at NGC, without compensation. They can always claim it is the correction of a clerical error.
    Paul M. and baseball21 like this.
  14. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    I guess they can do whatever they want, but it certainly lowers our level of trust when they go against written policy (and then come up with a backdoor explanation to justify their actions).

    At least NGC mentions the 10 year policy with copper designations. Does either TPG mention anything about an expiration for the PL/DMPL designations?
  15. Pickin and Grinin

    Pickin and Grinin Well-Known Member

    At least it is written in their policy. Copper being as reactive as it is perfectly acceptable, even understandable.

    Yeah, this would piss me off. Yet it is no different than not using their own grading standards.
    In most industry's they could and would be expected to have ethics complaints filed against them. What has happened to this guy goes directly against their own written policy,
    BuffaloHunter, Paul M. and ddddd like this.
  16. geekpryde

    geekpryde Husband and Father Moderator

    It might have been an egregious error in the original grade, that PCGS felt they could not possibly re-holder and not correct it. Compensation was offered, but perhaps not enough to satisfy the owner with the downgrade. I think through negotiations with PCGS customer support it probably could be rectified.

    Another more interesting possibility is something @GDJMSP has been talking about for years now. That at some point in the future, NGC and PCGS will have to take the reins in hand and get the runaway horse back in control. The runaway horse that I speak of is of course grade inflation and loosened standards that have taken place over time. The TPGs have a vested interest in slowly inflating the assigned grades to steal business from the other TPG, and also from the steady stream of repeat business for those playing the crack-out-game. Well, Doug has long predicted here on CT, and in direct correspondence with members, that at some point it would get so ridiculous, so egregious, that the TPG would have to bring back the older, more conservative, predictable, definable standards. It will be the only way to protect their brand and business model from utter irrelevance that comes from a completely compromised and tarnished reputation. Perhaps the future is now, and this OP re-slabbed PCGS coin is a the canary in the coalmine?

    Think about it like this, lets say the TPG standards are like a roller coaster and change over time. Ups and downs, curves, and loops. Well, TPG are businesses and they like to make money in all situations and time periods, or they quite literally will cease to exist. TPGs found a way to make loads of money on the way down, it was exciting and thrilling and most everyone love it as their standards loosed and an very nice flashy AU58 coins magically became a valuable MS65 coin, it was like printing money. And people got hooked, collectors, dealers, and the TPGs. Well, like any gold rush, at some point so many people get involved, and it's so pervasive, that it gets played out. There just is not enough to go around, and the ride comes to an end.

    Now hold on a second, there are a lot of people that don't want the ride to end, can't have it end. Do you really think the TPG haven't thought of a way to make money on the way up the next rollercoaster climb? Sure its not thrilling like the way down, but hey, it's inevitable right? A rollercoaster that's flat is not much amusement at all. The change is what makes it fun and exciting.

    If gobs of money can be made with loosening standard, I think it is reasonable to presume their is loads of money to make with tightening standards. Think about a sudden mass awakening of collectors are they see their coins sitting in current generation holders, whose reputations have been tarnished through egregious grading. Well, maybe you think YOUR coins aren't over-graded, you only purchased properly graded coins, and you would never play the crack-out-game. Well, the mere perception of your coins in those holders as being over-graded would greatly devalue the coins, should you ever choose to sell. You might rush right out to get your coins re-holdered in say a future generation of slab, easily recognizable from the era of strict, conservative, trustworthy period of TPG grading. Well NGC and PCGS will try and outdo each other in being consistent and trustworthy and old-school conservative graders. The name of the game now is Trust and Reputation. There is a avalanche of already holdered coins to make money on re-holdering and re-stickering, and well, here we have another gold rush on our hands.

    If you don' think it can happen, will look at the value of coins in basement and defunct TPG slabs. They are literally worth less than a raw coin. Think about all the people interested in slab generations, and how the slabs evolve and are easily identifiable from generation to generation, year to year. Well, it would be very easy for people to refuse to buy coins say slabbed between 2010-2020, without a steep discount. They might insists on paying top dollar for only PCGS slab generation 2021, or very old style holders.

    Registries drive a ton of sales and value on coins. You dont think some third party registry will come along that accepts PCGS and NGC, and it's all the rage and fad, and anyone whose anyone will rush to create their registry sets on this new and trustworthy site, independent from NGC and PCGS? Now imagine that due to what is in hindsight loose and egregious grading of the recent generations, they ban all holders from say 2010-2020. Well, another reason to re-holder your coins, you want to compete with all the other collectors on this cool new strict registry that only accepts the best of the best.

    Some people don't believe in grade inflation, some might believe in the concept, but say it's impossible to ever go back to the "old" standards. Some people on CT think its a waste of time to even talk about it, there is nothing that can be done about it anyway. Well, I think you are not being creative enough. When PCGS and NGC's entire reputation is on the line, and they have backed them selves so far into a corner, its change or die. The capitalist in me knows that greed and survival will mean the TPG will have no choice to protect themselves from permanent reputation destruction, in fact, as you see above, I think they will wholeheartedly embrace it and spin on a dime once they reach the tipping point.

    So, are we at the bottom of a long and exciting drop, and things have petered out, or are we just on a small plateau and there is still plenty to drop before the end? Could we just about be at the horseshoe turn on the rollercoaster, and suddenly we are moving backwards?

    Personally, I think we probably have a way to go yet. But in future, I think so many people will look back and wonder how we didn't all see it plain as day. How nutty it has become.
  17. Paul M.

    Paul M. Well-Known Member

    I found this reply from bolivarshagnasty far more disturbing than the OP:

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  18. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    Be still my heart ! :wideyed: Just the mere thought of it is almost too much for me ! :woot:

    But, I think we still got a ways to go yet :(
  19. Jaelus

    Jaelus The Hungarian Antiquarian Supporter

    Market grading is an attempt to correct the obvious flaws in the Sheldon scale. I have a problem with calling an MS65 an MS67 (gradeflation), but not in calling a technical AU58 an MS65 if it is deserved (not gradeflation!). The AU58/MS60 point in the scale is extremely broken and there is no benefit to returning to a more strict interpretation of something that does not work well.
    RonSanderson and baseball21 like this.
  20. GDJMSP

    GDJMSP Numismatist Moderator

    That broken point you're talking about is whether or not a coin has wear. With wear, it can grade no higher than 58, without wear it's MS. It's just that simple. And it is and always has been the definition, the one thing that delineates circulated from uncirculated - 58 from 60.
  21. ddddd

    ddddd Member

    That one is also scary. Things like these should not be happening and if they are it would be nice if changes were being implemented to prevent such occurrences.
    Paul M. likes this.
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