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CBCS Michael private msg quote post Address this user
Competition is good for an industry as long as it includes fair play and honesty. When we opened CBCS, our goals were to offer a superior product and to raise the level of service in the industry. During our development, we had a few instances where false information about us was released by our competitor. In the interest of fostering mutual respect, we chose to remain silent about a couple of issues that probably should have been addressed sooner. CGC’s most recent attempt to put a positive spin on the catastrophic launch of their new case included yet another attempt to paint CBCS in a negative light; this final swing prompted us to set the record straight.

1) Contrary to what is posted on CGC’s website, CBCS did not violate any trademark held by CGC. The back story is that we decided to put a star next to some comic grades to indicate good eye appeal. Basically, an acknowledgment from our graders that a particular book was especially enjoyable to see. Shortly after implementation, we received a letter from a lawyer stating that there was a trademark on that process for comic books. Our law firm’s research found no such trademark. They did find, however, that there was a trademark on a placing a star next to a grade on coins. CGC’s lawyer would neither confirm nor deny that this trademark included comics specifically, but did say that the trademark on coins extended to comics because the coin company and CGC are basically the same company. Also, a trademark for a star on comics was filed by CGC in September, 2014 after CBCS started using the star. If they already had a trademark, then why file this? Because we didn’t care to enter into a David and Goliath court battle, we decided to change the sign to something different and leave it at that. To us, a star wasn’t worth the time, effort, or angst. Shortly thereafter, the following was posted on CGC’s forum: “The Certified Collectibles Group owns numerous trademarks that it has developed over the last 27 years. If we don’t enforce those trademarks, we risk losing our legal rights to them. In this instance, a start-up company run by a former employee knowingly infringed upon our intellectual property. We protected our rights and will continue to do so.” This statement, which remains at the top of CGC’s forum page, is simply false. Neither Steve Borock nor any former employee knowingly infringed upon intellectual property. It is debatable that the use of the star even is intellectual property. Just for fun, we sent an e-mail to CGC’s lawyer showing a bunch of comic companies using a star. His response was that they can pick and choose whom they decide to pursue. Apparently, they chose to pursue CBCS and no one else.

2) Contrary to what was insinuated on CGC’s forum, CBCS does not use the inferior plastic that is discussed in the link provided by the helpful people at CGC (we use PETG, not PET). CGC’s new case is a huge disaster. There are optical distortions caused by Newton effects in the plastic that make comics appear as if there is an oily substance in the case. We have been sent pictures of off-centered comics, Mylar sheets wrinkling, microchamber paper dents, and perhaps most alarmingly, videos showing ink transfer from the comic to the Mylar (resulting in color loss). We think we understand why CGC attempted to use the new design—to save money. At CBCS, one of the most time consuming parts of our process is securing the comics in the inner wells. We have 23 different well sizes, and we have to keep a supply of stock for each size. Each well and each front are expensive. It takes time to carefully seal each of the five lines around each comic. We have four full-time people dedicated to putting the comics into the wells and sealing them in. Based on CGC’s published numbers, no sealers, and cheaper material (Mylar sheets) the cost savings must be substantial. If CBCS changed to their design, we would save well over a quarter of a million dollars a year. I can only imagine what their savings are. The old Fortress design, to which the new CGC case seems very similar, was also a disaster. I’ve been told that Steve Borock and a current manager of CGC berated that design years ago and vowed that they would never use it. I wonder why that changed. We can all disagree about types of plastics, microchamber paper, clarity, and strength, but the new case appears to be a rushed product without proper testing that was just pushed onto the market. Throwing out smoke and mirrors to distract from the reality of this bad case while taking a dig at CBCS was a step too far. The forum post about microchamber paper and paper deteriorating was misleading; the link to the study provided looked at PET, not PETG. CBCS uses PETG which is a completely different chemical compound. We all know that an internet search can uncover faulty information as well as accurate. Those wishing to promote a particular slant many times chose the study on which they base their opinions. Leading people to read a study on a plastic CBCS doesn’t even use was misleading. When we approached plastics, we went directly to the experts to get their opinions: a vice president at Dow Chemicals, a preservation expert at the Smithsonian, and several engineers and chemists at 5 different plastics companies. These experts universally recommended PETG for our purposes. We were told specifically not to use microchamber paper since it was unnecessary with PETG and in the long term, could harm the comic. When we asked about Barex, we were told not to use it (Barex was a plastic used in the food and medical industry, not in preservation because they typically expire after 3-7 years). We were told that Barex doesn’t breathe well and it would not be good for comics in the long term. We were told that Barex plus microchamber paper is a temporary improvement but still not good for preservation. Mylar is excellent as well, but it does not heat seal. The design of the outer shell was more complicated. We needed a plastic that would break when we wanted, but not break when we didn’t want it to break. It needed to be clear and lightweight (for shipping or carrying to conventions). After months of testing, we came up with a polystyrene with a blue tint. It passed all of our parameters. The end caps are made out of polycarbonate—all made right here in the U.S.A. The only problem we were left with was a creaking noise if you bend it. Removing the creak would mean using a heavier case (which actually would have been cheaper), or a more breakable case. No plastics company was able to produce a creak-less plastic that fulfilled all of our more serious parameters: strength, breakability, clarity, eye appeal, and durability. It also needed to be lightweight and sealable. We’ve heard that some people are bothered by the creaking or feel that it makes the case seem more flimsy. We can say without a doubt that this is the best case we tested (and we tested hundreds of mixtures). Managing cost was not a factor when we chose our materials.

3) Why can’t CGC’s authorized witnesses work for more than one grading company? This final concern is not about fact or fiction—it is about right and wrong. CBCS encourages its witnesses to work with whomever they choose to support themselves and their families. If a witness has clients that want to use us and another grading company, great for them. We are always happy to see our witnesses succeed. Why is it that if an AW wants to witness for CBCS at a convention, they are prohibited from also witnessing for the other company? It just seems mean-spirited to make witnesses give up business with one company or the other, or find a way to work the system. Our witnesses are part of our family, and we are happy when they are able to find success wherever they can.

We understand that there will always be apologists for the other company who have, in their minds, invested too much time and money to ever consider a change; they accept every mistake and remain loyal. But for those of you who are troubled by CGC’s attempt at a new case, we’d like to remind you of a few things:

We have Steve Borock.

We have the most tried and tested inner well design with the best plastic for long term preservation.

Our outer shell design and materials are top-notch.

We continue to be committed to providing the best grading, the best cases, and the best customer service in the industry.

CBCS customers really are satisfied customers.
Post 1 • IP   flag post
Collector DrWatson private msg quote post Address this user

Post 2 • IP   flag post
Collector RRO private msg quote post Address this user
Thank you for such a concise overview of this situation.
Post 3 • IP   flag post
Moderator Jesse_O private msg quote post Address this user
Thank you for taking the time to write about these issues. I am thankful to CBCS, Steve Borock and the entire CBCS crew and community of collectors. I've made many valuable friendships through the facebook page and I hope that will be enlarged with the forum. If it had not been for all of this, I may not be active in the community myself. Since day one, Steve B. has fostered a sense of openness, direct communication and honesty. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Steve B. and everyone associated with CBCS. Your post illustrates why I feel it is a well deserved respect. Thanks again!!
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Collector lightsmith private msg quote post Address this user
Thank you for the info. I choose this company because I felt in my gut that cbcs was a honest company. Also top notch customer service.
Post 5 • IP   flag post
Collector qube private msg quote post Address this user
I am a recent CBCS convert as well, and I keep finding more reasons that support my choice. Posts like this, for their transparency, are greatly appreciated.

Just another aspect of the customer service at CBCS that the other guys lack, and customer service keeps customers coming back.
Post 6 • IP   flag post
Collector TheLiamSturgess private msg quote post Address this user
Very well put, Michael. I've never understood the attitude CGC seems to approach certain areas of the hobby with, and frankly, with the distinct exceptions of Michael Balent and Gemma Adel, nobody at CGC has ever made any attempt to make me feel like a valued member of the hobby, let alone a valued customer.

CBCS, on the other hand, as so many of us here know, takes people in. We become a team of collectors and a community of people united by a passion and a drive to see it grow and flourish. I have never felt so proud to call myself a part of something bigger as I do with CBCS.

Thank you, Michael and the entire CBCS crew, for everything. Rock on.
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Collector CatmanAmerica private msg quote post Address this user
Michael, I wish this forum had an applause emoticon, because I'd be using it right now. May I offer you a beer instead?
Post 8 • IP   flag post
CBCS Michael private msg quote post Address this user
Thank you for the kind words. I was concerned about the reaction I would receive. I'm so happy it is positive. I'll take that beer. My next convention will be Comicpalooza in Houston, my home town, in June. I've kept a low profile in the past, however, I would love to meet CBCS fans.
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CBCS Pressing SteveRicketts private msg quote post Address this user
CBCS is committed to accurate grading, reliable certification, and preservation of the comic books that we love so much.

When we first opened the doors at CBCS, we discovered that there was an issue with our plastics, and that books could potentially have been damaged. We immediately stopped production and encapsulation in order to minimize any negative effect to comics that were entrusted into our care until the problem was rectified. We did not resume production until we discovered the source and were able to completely replenish our supply of materials. All the while keeping our customers informed of the status updates as they unfolded.

We at CBCS are dedicated to transparency towards our customers through impartiality and ultimately dedicated to the preservation of our wonderful hobby.
Post 10 • IP   flag post
Moderator Jesse_O private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael
Thank you for the kind words. I was concerned about the reaction I would receive. I'm so happy it is positive. I'll take that beer. My next convention will be Comicpalooza in Houston, my home town, in June. I've kept a low profile in the past, however, I would love to meet CBCS fans.


Michael - I did a newsletter for the CBCS Comic Collectors Club on facebook back in October,2014. In there, I did an interview with Steve B. and he mentioned your involvement in the formation of CBCS. It was one of my first attempts at writing an article of any sort in a number of years. Reading it now, it is pretty dry and factual, but you are mentioned in it. I look forward to you taking a more public role. I look forward to hearing from you on the forum!!!
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Collector Mr_adam_R private msg quote post Address this user
yet another reason why cbcs is my company of choice. thank you for your explanation.
Post 12 • IP   flag post
Collector Stelbert_Stylton private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael


We understand that there will always be apologists for the other company who have, in their minds, invested too much time and money to ever consider a change; they accept every mistake and remain loyal. But for those of you who are troubled by CGC’s attempt at a new case, we’d like to remind you of a few things:

We have Steve Borock.


The man who made CGC what it is today!
Post 13 • IP   flag post
Collector qube private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael
Thank you for the kind words. I was concerned about the reaction I would receive. I'm so happy it is positive. I'll take that beer. My next convention will be Comicpalooza in Houston, my home town, in June. I've kept a low profile in the past, however, I would love to meet CBCS fans.


Awesome, I live in Houston! Can we submit books at Comicpalooza?!!
Post 14 • IP   flag post
Collector IntoAnother private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by qube
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael
Thank you for the kind words. I was concerned about the reaction I would receive. I'm so happy it is positive. I'll take that beer. My next convention will be Comicpalooza in Houston, my home town, in June. I've kept a low profile in the past, however, I would love to meet CBCS fans.


Awesome, I live in Houston! Can we submit books at Comicpalooza?!!


I'm also based in Houston. Are any of you headed to Space City Comic Con this weekend? http://spacecitycomiccon.com

Also, thank you for your post Michael. It was a very enjoyable and informative read.
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Collector jsilverjanet private msg quote post Address this user
Can you post the video the of ink attaching to the Mylar?
Post 16 • IP   flag post
Collector Mathyus_42 private msg quote post Address this user
I wish that more people could see this. Not just the members of this fine group. That was a grand post for sure.
Post 17 • IP   flag post
Collector MR_SigS private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathyus_42
I wish that more people could see this. Not just the members of this fine group. That was a grand post for sure.


If you frequent any independent comic book related forums, post some links
Post 18 • IP   flag post
Collector Mathyus_42 private msg quote post Address this user
Personally, I do not. I have not been part of a forum like this since 2010, when I all but stopped collecting Star Wars figures.
Post 19 • IP   flag post
Collector Claudio private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael

We have Steve Borock.




Post 20 • IP   flag post
Collector PovRow private msg quote post Address this user
Hey Michael. Very nicely put. Nice to see straight talk and no bushes being beat about.
Post 21 • IP   flag post
Collector Claudio private msg quote post Address this user
It's peculiar to see the defensive posture that CGC is taking. More than likely because of all the points that have been made here that CGC is feeling that this is a real threat.

It's obvious that an incumbent has the upper hand upon entry, but think of companies who have disrupted their respective industries and how they have thrived by giving people what they want - contrast that to their competitors that said, we are the standard bearers and we tell you what you should think. I worked for Nokia who had the lion's share of the market in 2007 - 2 of 3 phone on the planet were Nokia. Apple came in and knocked them off the pedestal and Google snatched up the greater part of the marketplace. Why did Nokia fail? Arrogance. Customers were ignored.

There have been many instances these past few years where greed has gotten hold of CGC. It's obvious that QA is an issue. I don't recall what ever happened to puddling (puddle-gate!) - it seems that it got fixed somehow after months of ignoring the problem or denying that it was even a problem. I see the new holder issue the same - how can a company make a last minute change to an already tested product without due diligence? Sounds like a noob move.

I know everyone wants to make money and companies need to perform by improving their earnings. Hopefully CBCS can stay above the fray and focus on what the collector wants and needs.
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Collector Stelbert_Stylton private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claudio
There have been many instances these past few years where greed has gotten hold of CGC.


There were many instances when Borock was president of CGC where greed got a hold of CGC too. I don't see this as anything different than some of the stuff that went on from 2000 - 2007.
Post 23 • IP   flag post
Collector Claudio private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stelbert_Stylton
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claudio
There have been many instances these past few years where greed has gotten hold of CGC.


There were many instances when Borock was president of CGC where greed got a hold of CGC too. I don't see this as anything different than some of the stuff that went on from 2000 - 2007.


Greed is good in order to grow your company. It's not good when it blinds you from doing the right thing and not owning up to your mistakes yet continue to offer a shoddy product.
Post 24 • IP   flag post
Collector Jeremy_K private msg quote post Address this user
stelbert_stylton i don't know what you are talking about; care to elaborate?

also cbcs needs to start grading magazine size so i don't have to send my ninja turtles comics to cgc in october
Post 25 • IP   flag post
Collector MR_SigS private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claudio
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stelbert_Stylton
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claudio
There have been many instances these past few years where greed has gotten hold of CGC.


There were many instances when Borock was president of CGC where greed got a hold of CGC too. I don't see this as anything different than some of the stuff that went on from 2000 - 2007.


Greed is good in order to grow your company. It's not good when it blinds you from doing the right thing and not owning up to your mistakes yet continue to offer a shoddy product.


What's bugging me is I'm reading posts from collectors receiving this fugly stuff, calling CGC about it saying they are hesitant to resub for fear that the problem isn't solved, and being told "yes, they're solved- please resubmit for a reholder". Yet no examples of "problem solved" have popped up.

That, plus no public response (only when YOU call THEM) just seems so stinky.
Post 26 • IP   flag post
Collector DrWatson private msg quote post Address this user
I hope the cgc do fix the problems with their holder, but I don't see how they can without a complete redesign and the return of some type of inner well.
Post 27 • IP   flag post
Collector Jeremy_K private msg quote post Address this user
i have 4 sketches i had to send thru cgc out now, this is scary stuff
Post 28 • IP   flag post
Collector Pre_Coder private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrWatson
I hope the cgc do fix the problems with their holder, but I don't see how they can without a complete redesign and the return of some type of inner well.


I think you are right about the problem fix.
Post 29 • IP   flag post
Collector Stelbert_Stylton private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy_K
stelbert_stylton i don't know what you are talking about; care to elaborate?


Here's a post by Chrisco37 that I saw the other day. It hits on a few of the points.

"(As for why some people hate pressing), I think a lot of the initial outrage was certainly a feeling of being duped. CGC offered a service to select clients and most of us had no idea. That all came to light when they were attempting to set up an in house service for the public (I forget what that was called, but someone found the application for the business online (Note: PCS)). Most people didn't know about pressing. Look back thru the OS ads and see when people started advertising pressing services as a way to specifically increase the grade ("Unlock the hidden potential" is the first one I remember, maybe 2004-05? I don't remember exactly).

Bob (Storms) has said multiple times over the years (and I'm paraphrasing) that if you want to know how the comic grading game plays out, look back at coins. Same stuff happened with "us" as did with coins. Grading service established, services set up to encourage the "CPR" game (continued revenue stream), etc. etc. CGC always has had a vested interest in that game.

For years, OS considered it restoration. Then, all of the sudden, it wasn't. I just went thru the OSGG (2nd Edition; I think people still consider this one the best, right?). Didn't find one mention of it in the articles (including articles by both Susan and Matt) or definitions. Interesting. A few pages back Roy asked why did OS remove it from resto definition? Call me a cynic, but go thru any OSPG from 2002 up. Who has as many or more ads than anyone else? Why would OS define something as "bad" that would directly, negatively affect one of their biggest advertisers?"

And here's a historical perspective on CGC and someof the problems back then.

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Comics_Guaranty_LLC&diff=204866376&oldid=204718888#Criticism
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