Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Toy Review: Fearless Photog... OH, WAIT - NO PHOTOG FOR ME

Note: Today should have been a write-up about a great toy store, but Matty really pissed me off on Sunday. So here's this instead.

Thanks to the monumental fucktardery of the inbred asshats that operate as a company called Digital River and just a bit of my own stupidity and foolish expectations I will not be getting the one Masters of the Universe Classics figure I was anticipating above all others this year.
The amazingly outlandish Fearless Photog went on sale February 15, 2012. I woke up early after a night shift and not more than three hours of sleep just to be sure I got my order in. I didn’t really expect Photog to sell out quickly, but I also didn’t want to chance missing out on this internet legend.

Back when he was first announced at Sand Diego Comic Con I could scarcely believe it. I have been a loyal reader of X-Entertainment.com for many years now and have always cherished the story of Nathan Bitner and his mad, camera-noggined creation. It was so important to me to own Photog that I almost subscribed to the 30th Anniversary MOTUC figures even though I specifically do not want Draego and didn’t have a lot of faith in the quality of future offerings. I did not trust that Geoff Johns or some random toy fan would be capable of producing a figure I was interested in owning. After years of playing wrestling video games and being privy to the creative capabilities of others via their create-a-wrestlers I am confident I was right about the fans, but I was wrong about Johns. His Sir Laser Lot is fucking rad.
So anyway, I really wanted Photog. I was willing to pay the two bucks extra on sale day, lose some sleep, and possibly sit through Matty’s famous White Screen Of Death just to get one. Being an experienced Matty customer, I logged into my account at about 11:45 so I wouldn’t have to mess with it during the transaction. You see, speed is of the essence when buying from Matty. If you don’t get the item(s) in your cart, enter your billing information, choose your shipping method, answer their stupid fucking captcha, and complete your order quickly enough whatever you’re trying to purchase may sell out and then you will have to take an extra two steps to remove that item from your cart. During this time you may well lose another item or two you’re trying to buy. So I hope you get the idea that you want to do everything as quickly as possible on Matty sale days. Any customer who has been shopping with Matty for any length of time has a story about losing an item during checkout.
Much to my surprise I was able to navigate to the sale page right as the clock rolled over to 12:00 and the items became available for sale. I scrolled down to Photog, changed the Quantity to “1”, and proceeded to checkout. When I got to the captcha I couldn’t read the first one and sort of guessed and got it wrong. This made me nervous. The seconds were ticking away and Photog could be snatched out of my grasp at any minute! But I got the second captcha and proceeded to checkout. Everything went through and I got my confirmation screen.
This is where the problems began.
The total was for $45.70, which made no sense because Photog was $22.00 and shipping was $8.70. That didn’t add up. I looked at the itemized invoice and saw that I had been charged $15.00 for a DC Club Infinite Earths subscription. What? Not only did I not put any such thing in my cart, I had ordered that subscription months ago. Also, the first figure isn’t shipping until April, so no reason I should be charged anything now.
The first thing I did was put up a bitchy post on my Facebook page. Then I headed over to Matty’s Facebook page because – unprofessional slobs that they are – that is where they do all of their customer communications. Well, there and their proprietary forums. They don’t send e-mails or post alerts on their actual retail site. They post messages on their crowded third-party social networking page and deep within their message boards. I posted the problem I had as politely as I could:
I just bought a Photog and got charged for a Club Infinite Earths subscription that I did not put in my cart. This is a pretty big problem.”
To which some dickhole responded:
Yeah, the problem is you should have checked your cart.”
Okay, first of all I know that by posting in a public forum I was opening myself up to some abuse from the mindless sheep who gladly slobber up every lie that sorry company shits out. I also know that, technically, that douchebag is totally correct. I should have checked my cart. Now, I really don’t think that was even in my cart when I paid, but the fact that I’m not sure just proves that guy right.
I am used to dealing with professional retailers on the internet. Whether from an industry giant like Amazon.com or a mom-and-pop operation like JRsToyworld.com. No other online retailer I have ever dealt with in my ten-plus years of buying things online has ever just stuck an item in my cart without my approval. I know I am wrong to coast by on this, but it just isn’t something I expect to happen. And I think that’s a reasonable expectation.
As soon as I finished my post on Matty’s Facebook page (not really expecting a response despite the fact that they utilize that page as one of their few methods of communication) I called Digital River’s customer service number.
I did not expect much out of this call. I have read countless horror stories about DR’s customer service and did not expect to speak with anybody who could even understand the issue I had, let alone be able to tell me or do anything about it.
I was pleasantly surprised to speak with a very nice lady who was able to pull up my order, look at what was there, and give me an answer. She said that the Club Infinite Earths charge was indeed an error, but was a result of the first figure being queued up for future sale incorrectly. She assured me that all that would happen is that when they shipped Photog I would be charged for the Fearless one and the CIE figure and simply would not be charged when the DC figure shipped in April since I would have already paid. She was well-spoken and sounded confident in her information. She did not sound at all like the call center idiots you usually deal with who don’t actually know anything. So while I did not trust that Digital River would actually carry out the transaction as promised, I believed that this lady knew what she was talking about. I thanked her for her time and help and hung up, feeling better but ready to keep an even closer eye on my credit card activity than I normally do.
After all of that, I saw that Matty had posted a message in their forums telling people to keep a close eye on their carts and remove subs or other unwanted items before they checked out. This message was posted at 12:04. My transaction was completed at 12:02. Their post went up a full minute after some of their items have sold out in the past.
In the meantime, I had my regular MOTUC subscription to worry about. Matty had once again posted that the sub figures were once again going to be late. I am not okay with this and find it extremely unprofessional, but what are you gonna do? Matty told us that the figures would ship sometime between the 14th and the 17th, when according to the terms of the contract we all agreed to when we signed up for the sub they should have shipped on the 13th. Along the same lines, another Facebook member replied to my post on Matty’s page suggesting that there had been illegal action on their part by placing items in my cart and charging me for them without my consent.
Meh. While I am infuriated often by Mattycollector.com’s utter lack of professionalism, courtesy, and customer service; I do not agree with the overly litigious portion of their clientele that feels some kind of wacky class action lawsuit is in order. That’s not going to solve anything. To me, the clearest result of that already questionable legal action would be that Mattel would get hit with at minimum an unwieldy and unattractive sum of legal fees and at the maximum a costly judgment rendered against them (though I feel the latter is unlikely due to the intentionally vague verbiage used in their terms of sale) that would cause the upper management to see the whole internet-only business as a liability and shut it down.
So the whole lawsuit thing strikes me as slightly silly.
Which means I just sit and wait for the notification of shipping to arrive in my inbox, and that’s a whole other bag of shit.
Back when I signed up for the subs I chose UPS as my shipping method. Matty offers a choice between UPS and something called “Newgistics” that delivers your package to USPS, who in turn deliver it to your home. Eventually. For whatever reason it takes these Newgistics people an average of seven days to get your order to the local post office. Then it takes anywhere from three to five days for it to be delivered. Obviously this is completely insane, so I chose UPS. But for some reason my packages have been shipped using Newgistics. So I finally got my shipping notification on the 17th and my package just arrived in Atlanta on the 24th. Not even at my local post office, just Atlanta. So the order I placed on Tuesday, February 15th will probably be arriving (just my estimate based on past experience with this) on Thursday, March 1st. In comparison, the two DVDs I ordered from Amazon.com on Saturday, February 11th and had shipped for free arrived on Wednesday, February 16th.
So there’s that.
I have also been waiting for the shipping confirmation for Fearless Photog. The Moderators in the Matty forums always tell people to give the loathsome shits at Digital River ten days to process orders and ship them, so I did. I think that’s fucking unreasonable, but it has been stated as fact often. This morning I checked my inbox and there was no shipping notification, so I logged on to check my order history on the Matty site.
A few days ago everybody’s order history disappeared. This is just one of those totally unacceptable thins that happens that we all just kind of accept because it’s Matty. If you want their admittedly awesome toys, you just have to deal with a certain amount of bullshit. It’s not okay, but it’s how it is. So I went in hoping my order history might be restored so I could look and see if my order had at least been processed.
It was gone.
There was no trace of my Photog order. I do not state this as fact, merely a guess based on what I know of Digital River and Matty, but I am assuming the orders disappearing a few days ago had something to do with wiping out all of the orders with sub charges in them. I don’t know for sure. I did realize that I never actually received an order confirmation, though I did get a code when my transaction was approved. I didn’t write down the code (since I was expecting – there’s that word again – an e-mail), but I doubt it would have done me any good to have it. If it’s gone from their system, it’s probably gone. I’d be asking them to look up an order that never existed to them.
So, to sum up, no Fearless Photog for me. Thanks, Matty.
If I come across one at a con for less than thrity-five bucks I’ll buy him. BBTS has him for $34.99 plus shipping, but I really don’t want to pay over forty bucks for this guy, especially after reading about how many of them have cracked camera lenses.
The result of all this? I am seriously considering not renewing any of my subs next year if Matty does not replace Digital River. I have had very few actual quality problems with Matty’s products (which I know makes me fortunate), but the inefficiency of their chosen means of sale and delivery is utterly unacceptable. I would go so far as to warn any prospective sub purchasers against doing so. These toys are awesome, but you can find something else to satisfy your cravings. It is not worth the hassle, especially since things have gotten worse over time rather than better. I may sing a different tune come July, but for right now I am extremely sour on the whole ordeal.
I am going to pursue both the Photog issue and the delivery method issue with DR. I’ll keep you posted, but I’m not expecting much.



  1. Somebody has Photog for buy it now price of $34.99 with free shipping on ebay, you might want to check that out.

    I didn't go for this figure, all I wanted was Fisto. I was able to log in and order him right away. Apparently he shipped on the 18th, on the 20th he was in Nevada. Seven days later on the 27th they finally updated his status again to let me know he's in Indiana. I'm in Texas. It will probably still be next week before I get him. I really hate their shipping.

    1. Thanks, man! DR has no record of my transaction so I went and bought that one. Thanks so much for the link! And as far as the shipping goes - a friend of mine who lives nearby got his February sub items last Thursday and I got mine today (Tuesday). Both through Newgistics. Nice.

  2. Digital River is terrible. After years of complaints, I can't believe they are still having the exact same problems.

    1. Not even just the same problems. New and worse problems.