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An open letter to Mattel and Mattycollector.com
RE: Digital River

I’m writing this without any illusion that I’m going be the one voice out of hundreds that gets heard, wakes you up and makes everything better. I’m writing because I care about one of your products, Masters of the Universe Classics, and I want you to know about some of the problems I, and quite a few of your other customers, have had with the company that handles your online sales and shipping of your products.

Digital River has been the source of the vast majority of the problems associated with the Masters of the Universe Classics toy line ever since I’ve been purchasing it. I bought my first figure from the site in May of 2010, it was Evil-lyn, and was only successful in ordering it because I had a lot of help from message board members on hisstank.com and he-man.org. If not for these folks I would not have known how to create an account on www.mattycollector.com in advance of placing an order.

For 7 months I’ve used various tricks and shortcuts to make the ordering process less painful and was successful in placing orders for each of the figures that were offered. I looked on as new customers came into the Masters of the Universe threads and asked the same questions I’d asked about how to get started. I also watched many of those same customers walk away from the toy line when they were unsuccessful at placing an order for 1 of dozens of different reasons.

As the months have come and gone the ordering process has not been my only problem. I recently had my first run in with Digital River’s Customer Service Department. My Club Eternia Subscription, something that is supposed to save me the hassle of dealing with the website every month, failed to renew due to Digital River charging the wrong credit card. They managed to not only not charge my default credit card, they charged a card that was not even on file at the time.

After over a week of phone calls with various representatives of Digital River I was finally able to buy the products for February. This was only after calling 7 different days and speaking with 7 different people, all of whom gave me a different story and all of whom assured me that if I waited 24-48 hours “everything would work itself out”. As of today my product has not arrived, although it has shipped, and we are now well into March.

Digital River is making you look bad, Mattel. They are taking your product, one of the best toy lines available, and overshadowing all of the fun and excitement that should come from it with unnecessary frustration. I urge you to find a different company to handle your online sales. You cannot afford to ignore these problems just because your product is still selling well.

How many customers do you think have given up on Masters of the Universe Classics because they couldn’t do something as simple as create an account at the online store? How many have been charged for and shipped the same item twice and found it easier to sell the items on ebay rather than negotiate Digital River’s returns process? How many have had their subscriptions canceled because Digital River’s website does not use the default credit card on file when renewing it?

If Digital River continues to misrepresent you, Mattel, as a company that does not care about it’s customers then those customers will go elsewhere. I do not want to see the sales of my favorite toy line drop off, I want to continue to see new and exciting things from Masters of the Universe Classics, but if Digital River is left in charge of the distribution of these figures I am afraid for the future of all of the brands sold through Mattycollector.com.

Good Journey,
Jonathan Brown

11 Responses to An Open Letter To Mattel

  • I suspect Mattel is locked into some sort of agreement with Digital River. They have to know how horrible DR has been for them, every step of the way. I'm sort of appalled and yet, oddly amused, to see that they are STILL canceling subscriptions and are completely inept at being able to restore them in any type of timely manner. Why you ask? Because I had this happen to me on the very FIRST subscription for MOTUC. The little 6 month deal. That was what, two years ago now?

    The fact that you just went through the same ordeal shows that nothing, absolutely nothing has changed from that point. That's the scariest/saddest part of all.

    Anyone who's read your reviews here knows that you're not just biased or something against Mattel. Clearly you love the line, but having to deal with the nonsense makes even the biggest fan want to pull their hair out. I'm sure they can't come on here and be like "DR sucks, we're ditching them", but I'd love to hear if they give you any response.

  • Bill says:

    A very well written and logical appeal, Jon. However, the folks at Mattel has read dozens, if not hundreds of comments just like this, and they obviously don't care. The stuff sells out month after month, and as long as that keeps happening, why should they fix it? The only thing that is going to wake them up and make them do something about this is for the customers to STOP buying the figures, and we (and Mattel) know that ain't happening. A shame the toys are so nice that customers can't send a message to Mattel by simply walking away from the line.

    Maybe Newton is right, and Mattel is locked into a contract with these boobs they can't break. I doubt it though. Mattel is a giant company with oodles of lawyers, I think they could make some changes if they wanted to.

    Again, Jon, you make perfect sense. Mattel just doesn't seem to care.

  • Rexplode says:

    I'm amazed but not at all surprised that you dealt with this so long ago.

    I really wanted to point out to Mattel that, regardless of their agreement with DR, they are not receiving whatever they are paying Digital River to do.

    I got my shipment yesterday afternoon and, of course, it was missing the Map of Etheria. So now I get to deal with Customer Service again to try and get an item that failed to include in the box.

    I am so tired of the attitude that customer service's job is to get the customer off of the phone, they look for any excuse to hurry up and stop talking to you so that they can move on to the next call. What is the point of getting through hundreds of calls a day if every single one of them fails to help the person who called?

    By the way, I love Bow, the Shadow Beast and even Be-Skirted He-Man a LOT. At this point it's very hard for me to even want to write about them, I sat and played with them on the couch for about an hour if that's any indication of how cool they are 😛

  • Rexplode says:

    That's pretty much my assumption Bill, I've just been so frustrated with this whole situation I wanted to get it out in the air.

    I really came very close to dropping this toy line while dealing with all this but held on like a schmuck. I can't think of any other product I would waste so much time on the phone simply trying to buy, it really should make not buying these an easy choice.

    And then I look over at my Shadow Beast and all my resolve melts away because I really do love this toy line.

    I know there are people at Mattel that actually care about MOTUC and the happiness of the customers, I am afraid though that they are too few to get anything done about this.

  • wesitron says:

    Sorry to hear about everything, Jon. Truly, Master of the Universe Classics is a fantastic line. Despite some of the odd choices Mattel has made regarding it, it's still just a powerhouse of fun, cool toys. You're right in saying Digital River isn't holding up its end. Back when I used to buy more of them, I would sit on the Facebook fanpage while people went on and on striking out just trying to buy toys. For some reason I was thinking that Mattel only had a 2-year contract with DR, is that not over yet? I don't think there's a fan out there who wouldn't mind going a few months without figures while they worked out a contract with a new distributor.

  • Mark says:

    All the QC problems made me give up the line long ago….maybe one day I will buy a He-Man and Skeletor to with the upcomming Classic Thundercats but that would be it.

  • BANE says:

    I will NEVER buy a toyline that is too expensive to begin with AND it is so hard to do it online. Come out with them in the frickin stores Mattel!!! Normal people will never get these figures. Why? Because you are too tight to release them to normal people in stores! It's elitest!

  • Adam says:

    There's a new "secret" way to order from MattyCollector without having to deal with their wait screen of death?

    The last trick I knew was to use this page to order: http://gc.digitalriver.com/store?Action=DisplaySh
    (You replace the OfferID number each with each month's new bundle.)

    But I couldn't use that trick to get Battle Cat back in November, and had to suffer through the wait screen of death on the main Mattycollector.com site.

    Anyone knowing anything helpful? Or can point me in the right direction to look?

    Thanks.

  • Mark says:

    Problem is though that they will never be at mass retail as the He-Man concept is not appealing to children anymore. As much as I liked 200X MOTU would need to be totally reinvented to appeal to children of today. Unless a movie or new cartoon of MOTU comes its not going to happen. In fairness all you really need is He-Man anyway. 😉 I don't care anyway I always prefered Thundercats anyway HOOOOOOOOOOO!

  • revsears says:

    I'm a toy guy but not a motu or mattel guy, the above complaints are a part of the reason.

    I can however relate. Sadly this situation isn't unusual when dealing with online companies. I recently pre-ordered a video game from EA 6 months out. When i had to move and went to customer service to change my address… it was hell. Is outsourcing part of the problem here? it was for me. The customer service rep i typed with (not even a voice to here) had such broken english it was clear it wasn't there first langauge. There is a real communication barrier these days.

    Sorry i'm probably rambeling mostly off topic, but i just thought i would add, mattel isn't the only one.

  • Rexplode says:

    You're definitely right that the outsourcing to India and other countries adds yet another level of frustration to these kinds of things.
    I went through 3 extremely frustrating and ultimately useless phone calls before I found a US based line to talk to and I can tell you that I'll never call the main number again. Unfortunately my problems weren't instantly solved by speaking to an American so the language barrier is really only magnifying problems that are already there.

    I wonder when companies changed their definition of customer service from "solving the customer's problem" to "getting the customer off the phone"

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