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2020-21 Donruss Fat Packs a Honey Pot for Pack Searchers

There are some exciting rookie cards available in the 2020-21 Donruss Fat Packs, such as Anthony Edwards and LaMello Ball. Everyone wants one. The problem is, you can also quickly identify the packs that contain them.

Sports card collecting is a hobby built on fairness. The fun of ripping boxes is that you don’t know if you’ll ultimately strike out or pull a life-changing card. Suspense and excitement breathe vitality into collecting.

The 2020-21 Donruss Fat Packs make it easy for bad actors to take away that excitement and damage the hobby with their antics. There have been many complaints about this product recently and with good reason.

In today’s post, we’ll get into the issue at hand and also touch on other sports card scams.

The Problem with 2020-21 Donruss Fat Packs

The attractive packs, graced with a dribbling Stephen Curry, are a pack searcher’s dream. It seems like Panini did everything possible to make the 2020-21 Donruss basketball fat packs searchable.

And if you’re not familiar with the term pack searching, it means exactly what you’d think: trying to figure out what’s inside the pack without opening it. Then searchers open the good packs and sell off the bad.

With these Donruss fat packs, the first problem is the packs are white and made with a mostly-translucent plastic. Professional pack searchers can search the entire pack, but even amateurs have no problem with the search.

Do you want an Anthony Edwards Donruss rookie card? So does everyone else

The Tell-Tale Back Cards of 2020-21 Donruss Fat Packs

Not only is the plastic revealing for the back card, but the cards are consistently collated throughout the packs. All you have to do is turn the pack over and peer through the plastic on the back to see who the last card in the pack is.

This means it’s not just a matter of looking at the back card to see if it’s a Lamelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, or other desirable cards.

It is far worse than that. Instead, since Donruss arranges all packs the same way, the back card will tell searchers if there is a base Lamelo or Edwards somewhere else in the package.

In other words, these packs are a scam waiting to happen, and even sellers who don’t usually put effort into pack searching might be searching these because it is just so easy (and tempting) to do.

Can I Prevent Pack Searching in 2020-21 Donruss Fat Packs and Other Products?

If you don’t want to end up on the wrong end of a pack searching scam with these packs, the best approach is simply this: do not buy them. Or, at least, do not buy them second-hand.

And honestly, given just how searchable they are, buying them off a shelf is a considerable risk, too. It might be a bit harder to search packs in the isles of Target, but it is certainly not impossible. Therefore, if you are lucky enough to find any of these packs hanging on shelves, there’s probably a significant reason they’re still there. They have been pack searched.

The only “safe” ways to buy them is to get them straight from the vendor, or to buy them in sealed fat pack boxes.

As far as the resale market goes, only buy these packs if you’re okay with paying multiple times more than the retail price. Oh, and if you’re okay with the fact, the seller has likely searched the packages.

Speak Your Peace about the Problems with 2020-21 Donruss Fat Packs

If you are frustrated with Panini’s execution on these packs, you can always use your voice and let Panini know. Email or tweet that card giant and (respectfully) lobby for change moving forward.

When hobby boxes are pricing out many casual collectors, it’s even more damaging when fat packs – such as these – are unbuyable on the resale market. Panini often does a good job dealing with customers, and if enough people express their concern, perhaps a collective cry can spark change.

Other Pack Searching Scams to Avoid

Unfortunately, the 2020-21 Donruss fat packs are far from the only packs that can be a dangerous buy.

In fact, when you’re purchasing from strangers on the internet, any sealed card packages are risky. While that might sound like a conspiracy, the truth is there’s a lot of money in cards right now, and when a lot of money is in anything, scammers and shady business will always crop up.

Of course, buying single cards has its own risks. You must always be cautious.

So what are other “bad buys” to keep an eye on?

For one, resealed packs are a problem, especially on eBay. Some scammers are carefully opening packs, examining (and sometimes replacing) the cards, and then sealing them shut once again with glue. You can say the same about boxes that may be re-shrink-wrapped after pulling out any hits.

These problems are not as common as some people believe, but they do still exist. The best way to avoid them is to always look at the box/pack you bought carefully before opening it. Check the areas that should be manufacturer-sealed and make sure everything looks kosher. If not, take pictures and contact the buyer.

Any packed product may be targeted for package searching and other forms of manipulation

Using Resources to Protect Yourself from Pack Searching Scams

Several sports card scammer groups on Facebook monitor reports of foul-play in the hobby. You should always cross-reference these lists with the username of any eBay seller you’re doing business with to make sure they have a good reputation.

And finally, a problematic purchase is a “hot pack” on eBay, which usually guarantees a specific hit. First of all, ask yourself how the packs are “hot” and what practices they engage in to find out.

Hot packs and dud packs do not weigh the same. To determine a hot pack, sellers use a very fine-tuned scale and look for tell-tale differences.

If you’re buying a single pack that isn’t a hot pack, make sure to search the seller’s other items to ensure he isn’t selling any hot packs from the same product. If he is, can you guess what that means?  You’re buying the cold pack.

What Else Do I Need to Know About Pack Searching?

While collecting is a great hobby that also can help you turn a pretty penny with a bit of luck and some work, people who search packs ruin the sense of democracy that card collecting should be about.

It’s not an earned advantage to have first dibs on seeing what’s in a pack. It’s a scam. There are no two ways about it, and your friends at Cardlines don’t want you caught up in one!

Jesse Haynes

Jesse Haynes

Jesse Haynes is the co-founder of Solaro Shades, an Amazon #1 Bestselling novelist, and a lifelong sports card collector. His nonfiction work has been featured in Forbes, Inc., MarketWatch and more. At CardLines, Jesse’s specialties are basketball and football cards, not to mention making informative video and Instagram content.
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