The other day I received several boxes in the mail all containing Star Trek goodies. At first I was extremely excited and happy to be having such a geeky good day. But that feeling faded quickly.
First up was a small envelope, which contained my Spock Elf mini mate. He was all perfect and minty fresh in his sealed baggy where he will stay. Sorry Elf Spock you’ll have to hang out with the other hard to get minimates variants who’ll remain encased in their plastic carded prisons.
Next up was a box from Rick at New force Comics (my favorite place to get Star Trek collectibles). The folks at New Force always pack your stuff to get to you minty mint condition even when you buy an opener. But even their fine packing skills cannot hold up to the Samsonite gorillas (remember that Commercial or am I showing my age?) that work for UPS. The box was crushed and so were the contents. Every thing in it was smashed to some degree, while I am normally an opener some of these items were to remain mint in box. I know it was not New Force Comicsâ€™s fault and these things happen so I let them know about the damage to the contents and they gave me UPS’ number which I promptly called the next morning [2/9/08].
Now all I have to do is wait for UPS to pony up the insurance money to Rick so I can get my replacement items. The phaserâ€™s box was badly smashed, the EMCE mego-like figures had smooshed corners on the bubbles and the best was the space seed Kirk and Khan which some how got packing peanuts way up inside the package (this is actually really funny-take a look).
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Then there was my box from the online shop at StarTrek.com. The outside of this box was mostly fine but the contents were not. The items were damaged — all of them — although I did not notice some of it until after I had already spoken to customer service. It was pretty clear due to the type of damage on the First Contact Data that this figure was picked and packed if that condition. Come on people you are dealing with collectors, Star Trek collectors at that, we are a very picky bunch and this quality of product will never do! The figure was already opened completely along one side. As I stated earlier these were going to be staying in their packages not going to be opened sort of defeats the purpose when they come already opened.
The next item out of the box was to be a replacement for my cloaked Romulan Ship from Johnny Lightning series three, mine had a nacelle rolling around in the packaging (not sure how that happened since I had not moved or dropped it since it was added to the collection months ago), but there it was broken. Happy to find just the ship I needed I was glad to add it to my order, but extremely disappointed when the replacement I received had the exact same problem! Now this could have happened in transit so we won’t blame the folks at the Star Trek store for this one, just everything else in the box. Oops, check out the picture the bubble is smashed guess they are to blame afterall.
I called customer service [2/9/08] to report the problems; they were nice enough, apologized and promised to send replacements. As I said earlier that was before I got home and looked at the remaining items the EMCE toys mego-like retro Kirk and Klingon, both of which were to remain mint in box as I had already opened my set I received from Rick at New force Comics months ago. Both of these figures had bubble damage and were certainly no longer MIP. Again this damage appeared to be a pre-packaging problem as the box had no outside damage and was packed with air pillows. Either that or the air pillows were not enough to protect it during shipping, which is also a possibility.Â
So upon final inspection I called customer service back [evening of 2/9/08] to explain that the entire order was damaged and not up to my standards. Again they apologized and promised to send out replacements for the other items [Kirk/Klingon figures] as well. Okay fine, sounded good to me. They get their damaged items back and I get (hopefully) better quality replacements. So I box everything back up and await the call tag with my new items now coming in two replacement orders. Oh and did I mention this was my first encounter with this particular online entity? Well, it bears repeating. First and last I might add.
UPDATE: I got my packages from the Star Trek store [2/12/08], they sent me too replacements of the Data figure and Romulan ship! No sign of my retro figures and no sign of their precious call tag either. So now I must call up their customer service, which has a really long wait (I hate being on hold) to clear up yet another one of their mistakes. I really don’t think I will be going back to them again anytime soon. If you buy from them make sure to point out special care in picking and packing, that you want mint items, etc. or you may wind up with poor quality and service like me.
UPDATE ON THE UPDATE: Called customer service [2/13/08] to get this mess cleared up once and for all so I never have to deal with them again. They had no record of my order being for the Kirk and Klingon even though I had read the customer service rep the item numbers some how they were confused and simply repeated my first replacement order. So I asked once again to have the one Kirk and one Klingon resent. And since this was now my third call and third package from them I asked to speak with a manager to see what if anything they could do for me. Well, I was never allowed to speak with said supervisor the customer service rep returned and said they would return my original shipping and handling. Oh joy, that makes up for my having to wait for the items for a third time and then have to trudge them all out to a UPS store to ship them back, I think not. To top it off she comes back to tell me that she will send out the Kirk figure as an order for the Klingon was already placed (Yeah because I needed another one and was mistakenly buying it from them. I was paying for that order it was not a replacement order! So I guess their idea of good customer service is to have the customer PAY for their own replacements when they send out damaged items.) I have little hope that I will be receiving two packages from these people next week, which contain the right items. I have absolutely no confidence in this company and recommend that collectors stay away from them.