Today’s post is actually my third revision of what I planned to post today. Initially, I had planned for today, and the next few days to be reviews of Adam Power, the Power Soldier, the Elite Power Soldier, and the Variant Head Pack from the Power Lords re-launch. Some events transpired that have led me to decide that reviewing said figures is not in the best interests of me, the figures, or the makers of the figures. In preparation for the usual review, I took some pictures which now serve no real purpose, so enjoy them here. If you’d like to read a review of these figures, may I suggest these reviews from the fine folks over at ItsAllTrue.net. They are a reputable site, and one of my personal favorites. While I still don’t feel it’s a good idea for me to write reviews of these figures, I don’t feel my initial post about why I won’t be reviewing them is still appropriate. It was written before the situation was fully solved, and it was rather angry. So, here are my revised remarks about the ordeal.
As an avid action figure fan, I try to support the little guys. I’ve backed several action figure related kickstarters in the last year, and one of my favorite lines is Spy Monkey’s Weaponeers of Monkaa. I like the idea of new people getting into the toy industry and doing new and unique things. The Four Horsemen were some of the pioneers of small online productions, so I figured I should give them a try. If you’ve read my previous Power Lords reviews, you’ll note that I was quite a fan of the figures. That fact more or less remains true. The figures are still high-quality. My issue lies with the distribution.
The figures are all sold through an online store. This isn’t new or ground breaking in this day and age. Most of my toy purchases are online. It makes life a lot easier. You place an order, get a receipt, you get notified the stuff ships, and you can usually track it all along the way. If anything goes wrong, there’s usually a nice handy customer service section of the website to get things all sorted out. Not on StoreHorsemen.
See, on StoreHorsemen, you place the order and you get an e-mail receipt. On the two orders I placed, this was then followed by an extended waiting period, where I received no notifications of any kind. Eventually, just as I was about to contact them, both times, a box would randomly arrive at my doorstep. The first time around, there was no issue. The box was there, and everything was inside. It was a little nerve-wracking, but everything worked out. I liked the figures I got, so I placed another order. Once again, no contact was made to tell me when the items shipped, but I had gone through that before, so no worries right? The box arrived, I opened it up and… something was missing.
Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve had this happen with an online order. It’s not uncommon for someone to leave something out of the box. So, I did what I always do in this situation: I e-mailed them. They have an “email us” link at the top of the page, so I used that and sent a polite e-mail explaining the situation. Then I waited. After a week, I began to get worried again. A little searching around the web reveals that there are two e-mail addresses and the one I wrote to is for fan comments, not Customer Service. Okay, it’s a bit odd that they would put the fan comment e-mail on the top of the store page instead of the CS one, but at least I know now, right? So, I send an e-mail to the second address, once again politely asking for an update. Another week goes by. So, I post to one of the forums I frequent, asking if anyone knows of a better way to contact them. I get one response from someone who hasn’t received an entire order from them and hasn’t been able to get a hold of them for six weeks.
I send yet another e-mail, this time to both addresses, with a more forceful tone. Finally, after three weeks and a few days of waiting, I got a response. What it boils down to is that the item apparently went out of stock before my order was placed, so they had to cancel that one item. They said they had never actually charged me for it, and, in their defense, a quick glance at my bank account confirmed this for me.
So, aside from me missing out on a figure I wanted, everything is good, I suppose. But I still have a lingering issue. I was left hanging for three weeks thinking I was missing something I was owed. Yes, if I’d looked at my bank account I’d have seen the charge was less than I thought. That’s on me. Still, all it would have taken would be a single e-mail from them explaining the issue to me. That’s what 99% of online stores would do in this situation. It would have taken them a few short minutes and it would have saved me three weeks of worrying. These guys have built a reputation for being “fan-friendly.” They pioneered online action figure sales and smaller toy companies with niche lines. They have a sizeable fan base who think they can do no wrong. And yet, they can’t reply to a single e-mail within a month’s time? If you plan on running a business, you have to actually run it.
I don’t plan on buying anything else from them. This whole ordeal has tarnished the toys for me, and that’s just about one of the worst things that a company can do. Anyway, I doubt if this will have much effect. People will still buy from them. They’ll continue to do the same things. And my negative opinion will shortly be drowned out by hundreds of glowing reviews of their products. Life goes on…