Warning: CCI won't replace badges lost or not sent by your buyer

17 FEBRUARY 2016

CCI published one of their badge sale FAQs, which I recommend reading. However, it's slightly different this year because we're having our badges mailed to us. And that brings up a note of caution.

To make this very clear: whoever buys the badges, gets them mailed to their house. Let's say it works like this. Using Peter Parker's Member ID, Bruce Wayne gets into the system and buys badges for Selina Kyle, Pamela Ivey and Barbara Gordon. The women then pay him through Paypal.

Where does CCI send the badges? Wayne Manor. Which means Bruce needs to mail them out.

To drive home the trust inherent in this transaction, CCI issues this chilling advice: "If the buyer does not give you your badge, Comic-Con is unable to intervene on your behalf or send you a new badge. Make sure that you personally know and trust the people you are working with in a buying group."

Uh.... what? Usually RFID badges can be turned off and reissued pretty easily. In fact, why yes, CCI themselves made this claim last year: "And if the postman accidentally delivers your badge to another dimension, RFID technology allows us to turn off the missing badge and issue you a new one onsite."

So now that everyone's involved in these intensely complex buying groups with online strangers, we're told something else? I mean, things do get lost in the mail; if CCI is going to go the mailed-out badge route, and they're trying to save money by only shipping them to the buyer address, rather than the associated member ID address, they seem to be assigning all of the risk to us. And that seems a bit unfair, since most buying groups rise up out of social networks and forums, as opposed to the local office nerd circle.

At any rate, you'll need to step back and assess your chances in a new light now. Do you want to try to restrict your buying group to people you know IRL or do you want to better your odds with a bigger group - knowing that if a stranger buys your badge, they can withhold it, sell it, or just lose it through sheer incompetence, and you have lost your chance to go to San Diego Comic-Con? Hopefully it won't happen, since the badges CAN be turned off, thereby minimizing the motivation to sell them. But you'll still be staying home if it does.

I think most of us feel like we "know" each other through Facebook, Twitter and so on, but buying groups can include a lot of random people thrown in the mix. I'm guessing most of us will still go forward with our present arrangements. But there's no denying that Open Reg just got even more precarious, which is the last thing any of us wanted.


  1. I think it's pretty clear that CCI is trying to discourage buying groups. They are a natural result of the lottery system, but CCI doesn't like the idea of some people having a 'lesser' chance because they're working on their own. Certainly the current system is a disadvantage to anyone who is new to the whole system, and CCI's drive behind the random lottery was to make it more 'fair'. They can't ban buying groups, (since they're all buying badges for themselves and not for resale) but they do want to discourage them. And so they give this warning.

    Regardless, it is a fair point: there is a good amount of trust involved in a buying group, and if you don't trust the others, then you shouldn't be involved.

    1. I think if they want to make it more fair, they should restrict buying to 2 badges instead of 3. That way no one goes alone, but it's harder to game the system.

      I also think that they should mail badges to the address they're associated with. I happily would have paid $5-10 extra to have my badge come straight to my house. This way is just so haphazard.

    2. The issue with restricting to 2 badges is that it makes it more difficult for families. CCI wants to be family-friendly, and with 2 badges per person, a family with junior-aged children would have trouble. As it is, families of 4 already complain, and 3 badges per person was CCI's compromise in the matter. I suspect the 3 per person limit is here to stay.

    3. I know 2 makes it more difficult for families. I just don't think 3 is that much better, and it definitely isn't for people who want to fill a hotel room with 4 people, or have two couples go together. Obviously there's no perfect compromise. Someone always gets left out.