I really wanted to end the year with a note of gratitude and positivity, but unfortunately, I'm in a situation that needs to be resolved. On December 8th, I ordered a Gentle Giant Grand Moff Tarkin minibust off of eBay for $85.00 USD, including the shipping. This was to be a gift for one of my best friends, Joe Sorbera. Joe's been a constant pillar of support both in and out of my career, and has recently begun collecting the GG busts. I thought, with Tarkin being one of his favorite characters, and one missing from his humble collection, this would be a great way to say both "Merry Christmas" and "thank you for always being there" at the same time. But instead...
Two weeks come and go and I've still not received the bust. I reached out to the seller, "monteoutlaw", who, as you can see, has great eBay feedback. When I asked them where my bust was, I was told that it was sent to the wrong address due to a "clerical error" but they'd correct the mistake immediately. Fair enough, I thought, mistakes happen. However, it was apparent that the bust wouldn't be here in time for Chrismas. Bummer.
This past Tuesday, I was finally greeted with the package. Yet, I was in shock of the contents:
A high-quality minibust that I had payed $85 dollars for (mind you, it was $60 at retail) was in a box way too large for it, with no packaging peanuts or paper to pad the interior. My worst fear was that it was damaged during shipment, but stayed optimistic that it'd be fine upon inspection...
Yeah, not so much. As you can see, the chair has a a HUGE crack and is barely still attached to the rest of the bust itself. So, again, I paid $85 dollars for a LATE item that arrived DAMAGED with NO CARE taken in the way it was shipped.
I contacted monteoutlaw about the issue. I was told that they never had this problem before since the interior of the Gentle Giant box had styrofoam padding to protect it. Clearly it wasn't enough protection, though. The seller requested that I send it back to them so they could investigate that the broken bust I complained about and the one they sent me are one in the same. In other words, they wouldn't refund my money until they verified I didn't pull a switcheroo, sending them a damaged one that I already had. Fine by me! But before it's sent back to them, take a look at the photos I snapped:
There it is, folks. Number 1229/6000 on both the bottom of the bust itself, and on the sticker the eBay seller applied to the bottom of the box. I'm still shipping it back because, frankly, what am I going to do with a broken minibust that is already late for the purpose it was intended for? I want my money back so I can buy Joe an UNDAMAGED present elsewhere.
But wait, what else am I seeing on this bust? Dust? The kind of dust that's in a hard to reach place with a cloth or finger to brush off, on an item that had to have been sitting out of a box on a shelf somewhere in order to accumulate.
Hmm. Let's take another look at the listing for this item, shall we?
Meanwhile, what I received was neither unopened or undamaged. Please, take a look at the original listing and confirm it with your own eyes. Last time I checked, not too many items collect a lot of dust inside a box that's only been opened to check the number at the bottom of the bust, which, I was told by monteoutlaw, was the reason the clear tape sealing the styrofoam was already broken. This item was CLEARLY not in "new" condition as told in the listing. When I complained about it being opened, the seller assured me that it was only to copy down the number so that they could print a sticker on the bottom of the box for their records.
Call me crazy, but I'm smelling a lot of shenanigans here. What's to stop them from having another "clerical error" and telling me "oh, this isn't the number we sent you", with their own sticker on the bottom of the box matching the bust itself. So, that's why I involved you folks. An extra hundreds of pairs of eyes (between this blog, Twitter, Facebook, and 700 followers on DeviantArt) to make aware of the types of nonsense some people try to pull. And during the holidays? Come on. The bust has dust on it, I'm not stupid. It wasn't new. Photographic evidence, conclusive proof. But anyway, it's being sent back to them (and I have to pay for shipping it back first, though the seller claims that I'll be reimbursed for it along with the bust).
Now, I understand why they want me to send it back to check, but the entire story and stance this guy is taking...there's clearly some dishonesty going on here. At this point, without accusing the seller, I highly suspect it was already broken and was sent to me anyway. The dust clearly indicates it's been opened and displayed, which makes his claim of opening it once for inspection, a lie. Goodbye, credibility! On top of the fact that I wouldn't have even received one in the first place if I didn't speak up about never receiving my item, it's also a huge possibility that the seller was totally ignorant of the condition of the items they're selling in the first place.
I'll post again tomorrow on a happier note, because I refuse to let the negative actions of one to be the last note I touch on for 2011, a year that was very good to me. But man, some people suck.