CGC’s Mechanical Errors / Returns Policy

Posted on 16/05/2023

Effective May 16, 2023, CGC has updated its Mechanical Errors policy for clarity and consistency.

Certified Guaranty Company® (CGC®) accepts returns in certain instances, such as when the CGC submitter receives a collectible back with a typographical error on the label or an obvious scratch on the outside of the holder. These returns are called Mechanical Errors on the CGC online submission form.

Many of the Mechanical Error submissions that are received by CGC do not qualify because they have issues caused by improper packing, storage or handling (such as drops), have naturally occurring Newton’s rings (explained below), or have label information that was correct at the time of grading. As a result, CGC has updated its Mechanical Errors returns policy for clarity, consistency and efficient processing.

Effective May 16, 2023, all Mechanical Error submissions, regardless of error, must be returned to CGC within 14 days of the submitter’s receipt of the collectible. In addition, returns can only come from the original submitter of the collectible. (Note: If you are submitting through a CGC Official Submission Center, CGC Authorized Dealer or CGC Facilitator, please contact them to make a return, or contact CGC Customer Service directly.) Newton’s rings, which can occur naturally under certain conditions, do not qualify as a Mechanical Error.

Valid Mechanical Error submissions are not charged shipping, insurance or handling fees if the return is made within 14 days of the submitter’s receipt of the collectible. If CGC determines that a Mechanical Error submission is within its quality acceptance criteria, however, the submission will be returned in its original holder, and roundtrip shipping fees will be charged to the submitter.

Mechanical Errors represent a very small (and declining) percentage of overall submissions due to CGC’s efforts to improve quality control through enhanced training and processes to better prevent or catch mistakes. These efforts have not only improved quality control, but also turnaround times, which are at the fastest speeds in years. CGC continues to work diligently to both reduce the occurrence of Mechanical Errors and maintain fast turnaround times.

What qualifies as a Mechanical Error?

There are two types of Mechanical Errors:

  • Label defects
  • Holder defects

Label defects

Certain issues with the CGC label qualify as Mechanical Errors, such as incomplete information on the label, inaccurate or missing data or the wrong label stock was used; for example, a comic book that received a Universal grade, which should have been encapsulated with the Universal Blue label, was instead incapsulated with the Green Qualified label.

In the case of a label defect, CGC will relabel and reholder the collectible at no cost to the submitter if the customer completes a Mechanical Error return submission within 14 days of receiving the collectible.

Holder defects

Obvious scratches, scuffs and/or blemishes in or on either the outer holder or inner holder that cannot be safely removed qualify as Mechanical Errors. Certain debris, such as obvious dust, loose particles or other material that is not naturally shed by the collectible itself, is also considered a holder defect that is submittable as a Mechanical Error.

Optical distortions or effects, such as Newton’s rings, rainbows or other prismatic effects (see below), that are natural phenomena related to light passing through the outer holder, inner holder or a combination of the two are NOT considered holder defects, and do not qualify as Mechanical Errors. Neither do scratches, scuffs or blemishes on the inside of the inner holder (if used) that were caused by contact with the collectible.

In the case of a holder defect, CGC will relabel and reholder the collectible at no cost to the submitter if the customer completes a Mechanical Error return submission within 14 days of receiving the collectible.

Why don’t Newton’s rings qualify as a Mechanical Error?

Newton’s rings are the natural result of two pieces of plastic coming together. They may be more or less pronounced depending on the thickness of the collectible. The CGC holder is built with long-term preservation in mind, and its construction is necessary to ensure the protection of the encapsulated collectible. Newton’s rings are not an indicator of any deficiencies with the CGC holder and therefore do not qualify as a Mechanical Error. For more information about Newton’s rings, watch the video below.

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