Midtown Comics and The Rip-off!

I've always told myself that of all the things I'd order online, comics wouldn't be one of them.  It just seems too risky, and unfortunately, I've learned my lesson the hard way. 
 
I recently bought Black Summer and No Hero from Amazon, and I knew that Supergod was the third piece to this whole puzzle.  My friend had told me about this place, Midtown Comics, where you could order comics...and particularly that they had their back issues for up to 40% off.  That included variants, and if it's one thing I want from my Ellis comics, it is variant covers.  They had all of the Church of the Supergod sketch variants for cheap, about $4.00 a piece.  I couldn't pass it up.  I picked up some other stuff that I had missed:  Deadpool Pulp #1-4, Starborn #1, Soldier Zero #3, and Madman Vol. 2.
 
A few days later, my comics come in the mail, and upon opening Supergod #1, I am greeted TO TWO RIPPED PAGES!!!  This was a comic that was sold under the impression that it was a "Near Mint" copy.  Near Mint, folks.  That does NOT mean it comes with two ripped pages, both of which take up at least a quarter of the page.  Moreover, it was like this IN THE BAG!  That means they shipped this to me knowing full good and well that they sent me a product that does not meet up to what they stated it was. 

 NOT..........ACCEPTABLE!!!
Obviously, this will not suffice, so I contact their customer service.  Well, I think the more appropriate term is "I tried to do live chat with a customer service rep but it said they were offline so I sent some kind of a message, got an e-mail with a ticket number that I have no clue where to enter in order to track the progress of my complaint so for all I know they could leave me up in the air".  I state that I'm an unsatisfied customer, and that as a first time buyer, it really discourages me from not only ordering from them again, but also ordering from ANYONE online again for my comic book needs. 
 
I get a reply e-mail today.  "You have been credited $3.66 to your account.  We're sorry for the inconvenience." 
 
Okay, I'm sorry.  THIS is customer service?  I tell you that you've sent me a faulty product, and you tell me "HEY, THANKS FOR THE MONEY, SORRY WE LIED, HERE IS SOME MONEY TO MAKE UP FOR THAT KTHXBAI"?!  I send ANOTHER complaint to let them know that they didn't even know the condition of the book that they sent, and why in the HELL would I buy from the company again?  I want to know that they were wrong about the order they sent to me, and I want them to acknowledge that.  Credit?  YOU SENT ME A FAULTY PRODUCT ALREADY!  WHY WOULD I BUY FROM YOU AGAIN?!  Sure, the other products were in fine condition, but that does not change this incredibly dissatisfying experience. 
 
I'm sure some server bot will say some stupid standardized letter crap and my chances of doing anything else here is boned.  However, it's just not right.  It needs to be known that there is a company who doesn't pay attention to what they are doing, send out products under false pretense, and then make no effort to say "hey, you matter as a customer and we'd like to keep doing business with you". 
 
In turn, I hit up eBay, and I found someone WHO ACTUALLY E-MAILS ME that has issues #1 AND #2 in the Church of the Supergod variant (Midtown didn't even have #2 in variant), and they even went as far as to send me at-that-moment photos of the comics to make sure that I was not getting screwed.  THAT person will continue to get my business.  THAT one single solitary person WANTS my satisfaction, my positive feedback rating, and my business.  THAT is what is giving me confidence in ordering any comics online again. 
 
Is it just me, though?  Has anyone else been screwed by Midtown like this before?
22 Comments
22 Comments
Posted by turoksonofstone

Buying online is a gamble.

Edited by jakob187
@turoksonofstone: I understand that it's a gamble.  I also understand that a company should stand by their products and integrity by owning up to their mistakes, which they have not done beyond saying "hey we refunded you".  Maybe I just live in a different world where businesses actually give a crap about their customer base?  For someone who is supposed to be highly reputable in dealing with comics, I am saddened to think of everyone else that's been jerked around. 
 
Also, I was unaware that members on the Comic Vine community were just as douche-like as many in the Giant Bomb community.  Always heard it was a much more matured bunch over here.  Good to see that cross-pollination is paying off.  =  /
Posted by Mercy_
@jakob187: Don't judge all of us just from one. Please. Most of us are very helpful. 
Moderator
Posted by turoksonofstone
@jakob187: 
Can you name a few of these super ethical business you speak of? The ones that give a crap about their base? Never heard of any myself.
 
"Douche-like"?? You flatter me.
Posted by Korg

You knew something could go wrong, and yet you did absolutely nothing to insure your purchase? You evidently didn't even bother to read their return policy? Then you complain about Midtown? Please. Midtown might have made some mistakes, but so did you, and ultimately, yours are the reason you got screwed. Next time try being a competent consumer, and don't try to play it off like the company screwed you over on purpose. They don't read through every issue before they ship it?? Imagine that! If they did you'd probably complain about thumbprints.

Posted by Hamz
@jakob187:  
  
Be persistent with your complaint demanding a full refund rather than store credit and you'll get it I'm sure. 
Posted by jakob187

@Korg: I was more than competent in making my purchase.  I already went through all of their return policy information, as well as the part of their agreement that states if the product is not in the condition that it is stated to be due to THEIR error and not shipping, they will look at options beyond reimbursing credit to an account.  They never looked at a single option other than the one that keeps money in their pockets and a faulty product in my hands.  I never even spoke with a single customer service rep, despite the e-mail stating that I would be contacted by a customer service rep for a live chat session at their next available opportunity.  Instead, I was simply sent a dry e-mail stating that my account was credited.  Again, why am I going to order from your company if you can't even do what you state in your policies? 
Moreover, there are plenty of ways for them to ensure that their products are of the quality they state without getting thumbprints and other junk on it.  For instance, they could've easily looked at the side of the comic and noticed the tears.  Also, it's not like I'm looking for a perfect 10 comic here.  If they have to thumb through the pages with a pair of proper gloves to make sure they aren't sending a faulty product, then hey...fine by me.  I'll take the hit.  They labeled it as "near mint".  In turn, I expected "near mint".  Ripped pages...do not equal "near mint". 
 
As for "insuring the purchase", what should I have done?  Bought a ticket, flown to Midtown Comics, and checked it out for myself?  My shipping was upgraded and insured, and beyond that, there's apparently little else that can be done.  Everyone who orders something online knows that something could go wrong, but does that mean the person themselves should be faulted because of that?  I did my research before purchasing, but given that the product was faulty on error of the company in question, it means that they knowingly sold an inferior product...and I'm supposed to eat the brunt of it because I'm in Texas and they are in New York? 
 
But hey, I should be thankful to have a free damaged comic on my hands, right?  T_T 
 
@The Dark Huntress: I meant to type "some members".  This has always been a community that I enjoyed reading the comments of, as it does not typically reek of the douche-baggery found on Giant Bomb.  Just didn't expect a troll to pop up as the first comment on my...third?...blog on this site.  I had a concern, I wanted to voice it, while also having my own catharsis about the situation in general.  I was greeted instead with a picture of Kitana spewing period blood everywhere.  Gotta say - not a great way to see the community represented...but hey, it's the internet. 
 
@turoksonofstone: Bah.  Waste of time.
 
@Hamz: Hey, familiar face!  They refunded the purchase, but that's not the point I'm trying to make.  They had a product that they knew was faulty, sold it under the impression of being "near mint", sent it out, and their response to it is "here's a refund"?  That's not enough for me.  I guess I'm just bummed that the place I thought would work as a supplement to the local shop fell through.  =  (
Posted by Korg
@jakob187 said:
" I already went through all of their return policy information, as well as the part of their agreement that states if the product is not in the condition that it is stated to be due to THEIR error and not shipping, they will look at options beyond reimbursing credit to an account.  They never looked at a single option other than the one that keeps money in their pockets and a faulty product in my hands."
You went through that information after the fact. You obviously should have done so before you needed to return something. As for them not looking at any options, that's just pure speculation on your part. You made a stupid mistake, which was compounded by their mistake, and now you're embittered as a result of your own initial incompetence.
 
@jakob187 said:
"As for "insuring the purchase", what should I have done?  "
See above. 
 
@jakob187 said:
" Everyone who orders something online knows that something could go wrong, but does that mean the person themselves should be faulted because of that?"
Yes, if that person has not read the return policy beforehand, and wants a full refund rather than a credit, they should absolutely be faulted, as it is their fault. 
 
@jakob187 said:
"But hey, I should be thankful to have a free damaged comic on my hands, right?  T_T "
Yes, you should.
Edited by jakob187
@Korg: You were sitting next to me when I was researching the site for the first time, ordering the comics and read through every single form they threw up at me?  I was unaware.  Hey, now that we've got that cleared up, who wants some whisky?!  T_T 
 
I'm still failing to notice your point of "stupid mistake".  Which part was a stupid mistake?  The part where I read their return policy before AND after ordering, the part where I have tried twice to get ahold of their customer service during the times that they say the live chat portion is operational and it's always offline, or the part where the company advertised a comic as "near mint" and failed to hold up to that advertising? 
 
Moreover, you are again missing the point of what I'm saying.  I've got the credit.  I'm never going to use it.  It's $4.00.  Whoop-tee.  $4.00 isn't much to me, especially when I spent about $20 on the shipping for some 12 books!  Use logic for a second there. 
 
This is about the company failing to be trustworthy to a customer.  It's not like I'm saying that they intentionally damaged the book, then sent it to me and laughed all the way to the bank.  Hell, they may not have even opened that damn bag for all I know.  In the end, that would mean that an uninspected product shouldn't be given a tag of "near mint".  Do me a favor real quick:  pull any random comic out of your collection, in the bag.  Doesn't matter which one.  Now, look at that comic and say "it's near mint".  There you go.  You just went through what could possibly be the entire process that they went through to say that the comic was "near mint".  Yeah, if that's the case and they never looked at the comic, that would mean that they DIDN'T know.  In that case, there's no reason I would've bought from them in the first place if they hadn't made sure that the book they were selling was in the condition they claimed.
 
I know that Midtown ain't CGC or anything, but by all means, a company needs to stand by what they advertise and sell!  They are not standing by what they sell.  Instead, they are saying "here's a credit, don't tell anyone else about this mess-up".
Posted by Korg
@jakob187 said:
" The part where I read their return policy before AND after ordering"
So you read it. You saw that if you received faulty merchandise, there was a decent chance you would get a credit. You don't want a credit in such an instance. You make the purchase anyway. That was stupid of you.
No hard feelings though. Here's a trustworthy company I have used for years that is based in Texas (convenient for you): www.mycomicshop.com - they will give you a full refund if you receive merchandise that arrives in a condition other than that which is listed.
Edited by jakob187
@Korg: See?  MUCH better response.   LOL  I'm not here to make enemies or anything.  As a matter of fact, I think I was more surprised to see that a veteran of these forums getting up in arms at an informed customer.  I knew that there was a chance of a credit if it was a shipping error and that they would look into other options including a full refund or possibly replacing the damaged product if it were an error on their part.  I didn't think that credits would apply to the latter as well, specifically because it didn't mention my account being credited. 
 
Thanks for the link, though.  I'm gonna check it out, as despite my experience with Midtown, my recent experiences with these two eBay sellers has got my confidence back a bit more.  If this place you linked screws up, well...at least it's only within an 8-hour drive and the backside of my hand.  LOL 
 
*EDIT*  Automatically looked up Supergod, and they've got the first issue variant for cheaper than all the others I've seen.  DAMMIT!
Edited by emptytomb

@jakob187:
you should of called. I'm sure they had a phone number and demanded your money back. Mistakes happen. I'm not sure if you mean they refunded the money or just partial money. As for Ebay their are alot of people who are scammed easily so there is no logic in saying its better than midtown or other companies.

Edited by emptytomb
@jakob187:
@Korg:
policy or no policy under the law when a product is defective, misrepresented or ruined a money refund is required.
Edited by Korg
@emptytomb said:

" @Korg: policy or no policy under the law when a product is defective or ruined a money refund is required. "

Uhhh.... no. No, it isn't. Not even close. That is why return policies exist. I don't know why you would think that is the case, when many stores have a policy of not refunding anything at all. Have you never heard the term "all sales are final"?
Posted by emptytomb

@Korg said:

"@emptytomb said:

" @Korg: policy or no policy under the law when a product is defective or ruined a money refund is required. "

Uhhh.... no. No, it isn't. Not even close. That is why return policies exist. I don't know why you would think that is the case, when many stores have a policy of not refunding anything at all. Have you never heard the term "all sales are final"? "


that kind of return policy/applies is for customers who return items that are not defective, misrepresented or ruined. Who return items just because they change their minds.

Posted by jakob187
@emptytomb: I'm aware that eBay has scammers.  That's why I made sure to point out that both of these places gave me timestamped at-the-minute pictures to ensure that they were legit.  Actually, one of the places was kind enough to accept a Google chat invite with me so we could discuss a couple of other comics on there so I could get at-the-minute info and pictures as well.  Gotta say, GREAT customer service.  Plus, at almost 2,000 positive feedbacks and a 100% rating, it's tough to say "that person is a scammer".  Again, though, I reserve all rights to that opinion until the product is in my hand. 
 
Also, there is no law stating that a defective, misrepresented, or ruined product has to be refunded.  You CAN take someone to small claims court if any of the aforementioned occur, but that is based on a "that's a douchey thing that was done and this person deserves their money back" ideal more than a "this is the law".
Posted by jakob187

You know what I just realized?  I haven't spoken with a SINGLE customer service rep!  I know that I stated that previously somewhere in here, but the point I'm making is this:  they just refunded me credits without any form of proof that these pages were ripped?  They just take people for their word and move on their merry way?  Seriously?!  I mean, what if I had said "all of these comics had ripped pages"?  Would they have credited me as well?!

Posted by Yumulu
@jakob187:  They just realised that it would take less time to creddit you 4 $ than to actually enter in a long debate on whether or not the page where ripped before or after you received the comic.  
 
Costumer Service: ... huh this guy want a 4 $  refund .... let give it in credit, that should make him happy and a customer for life he'll spend another 20$ in his next purchase and we'll still make some profit. HAHAHAHA evil laugh .
Edited by emptytomb
@jakob187 said:

 Also, there is no law stating that a defective, misrepresented, or ruined product has to be refunded.  You CAN take someone to small claims court if any of the aforementioned occur, but that is based on a "that's a douchey thing that was done and this person deserves their money back" ideal more than a "this is the law". "



untrue esp. with a huge business.  Any business is suppose to give you refund based on what i said above or they are considered scammers and there are govt. agencies you can report to. Under the law its a crime to commite a scam. They also receive bad business records/business stipulation, if they receive scam reports. You take a more direct approach to win settlement money but of course you have to have money to file suite and pay for a good lawyer.    So demand your money back with a phone call or report them. 
 
As for ebay you may have found someone trustworthy but not always. There have been huge numbers of scamming reported on ebay.
Posted by jakob187
@emptytomb: Oh, no doubt there are numbers that show a great deal of scams on eBay.  One of my bosses is a big eBay user, and he threw me some pointers on how to make sure I was getting some legit doods.  The packages have already been shipped as of yesterday, so all things considered, it's been a great experience with that person.  I'll probably only use them for any variants that I want to pick up, though. 
 
@Korg: I ordered Marvelous Land of Oz #4 and Sweet Tooth #1-5 to fill in some archive that I had missing from that place you recommended.  Now THAT is some fucking customer service, man!  Great site so far.  Right before you place your order, they ask for some comments on their service.  I wrote that this was my first time ordering from them, that I had a bad experience with Midtown, and that you had referred me over to them.  Within about six minutes, PERSONAL E-MAIL SENT BACK saying "hey, we hope you enjoy the service and glad to hear that someone sent you our way...do our best to make sure you get the service you deserve...any other question"...yadda yadda yadda.  Thank you very very much, good sir.
Posted by Korg
@jakob187: No problem. They're great, and like I said, I've been ordering from them for years. I've bought several entire series in back issues through them. They also have some other great features, like alerting you when out-of-stock items become available, etc.
Posted by Blondeep

 I really wouldn't write them off yet. They're really excellent people with really excellent service. I'll vouch for them and say this had to have been a one time thing.  
 
As it's been stated before, you really should have called. They would've been more than happy to help you. I mean really, when do those online Live Chats ever work? You should also keep in mind that sometimes things like that rip in your book, isn't always the shop's fault. There have been times when I've pulled out a brand new book straight from the box at my lcs and there have been flaws in it. Sometimes it is a publishing flaw. But alas, they do advertise a certain condition so one would expect it that way. But again, on the other hand with a business as large as theirs, with 3 VERY large stores in the franchise it may be a bit difficult to flip through and inspect all of their merchandise. They get a ton of product in, trust me. All three stores are always nicely stocked. 
 
I understand why you'd be upset, but cut them a little slack. There are a few factors that make it a tad more difficult than other shops. Again, I assure you they're wonderful people with incredible customer service. Personal experience. Definitely make a phone call to your seller next time though, I'm sure you're bound to get better results.