Forgiveness (do we forgive companies too easily or rather the opposite)

Mar 6, 2011

    1. I don't think there is a topic like this yet and if there is, please feel free to delete this. I also want to stress now that this thread is in no way criticizing decisions made by the DoA mods. As mods they have a lot more responsibilities and want to do their best to keep DoA safe, this debate is about our perceptions as individuals.

      With Charles Creature Cabinet recently trying to sell a new doll here on DoA, The Narin doll/Biymong/DollFair controversy, Customhouse and its interminable waits and disappearing people like Mio, who took hundreds of dollars for clothes and then vanished...

      Do we as BJD owners tend to forgive companies/sellers too easily? If you think we do forgive too easily, why is it? (we're used to long waits from respectable companies, we just really want whatever is being sold, the price is too hard to resist, etc.) Would you as an individual ever buy from someone who had previously left other buyers high and dry for more than a year? Is there anyway someone who has left their buyers hanging for a year plus can ever repair their reputation and regain our trust?

      I'm curious about people's thoughts. In my case, I'm not so sure my trust can be regained by any means.
       
    2. Absolutely not. Unless I didn't know better, I would never commission/purchase from a user/company with that kind of history.
       
    3. I think most people here are very wary of dealing with companies that have questionable business practices. I might feel sorry for the artist personally and sympathize with their issues, but would not order from them.
       
    4. But I'm curious is there any way for said companies/individuals to regain our trust?
       
    5. I might consider buying from a reputable dealer who has items in stock, but not from the artist directly and not a pre-order.
       
    6. I think it depends... Yes, there is a noticeable number of people who often seem reluctant to believe bad things about a seller. They want to hold onto the idea that there must be extenuating circumstances, that the seller will of course make things right, and continue coming to the problem seller's defence when all evidence seems to be pointing to the opposite.

      However, there's also a significant number of hobbyists that do seem to avoid problem people, and warn others as well. I won't buy from a company if there have been major issues -- customer service is important to me -- I need to know that yes I will get my doll, and if there is a problem of some kind that it will be taken care of promptly.

      On the other hand, sometimes you get hobbyists who lack patience and don't seem to realize just how long things can legitimately take. Freaking out because a doll is taking more than two weeks to make and ship is equally ridiculous IMO.

      I guess what it comes down to is that we're a mixed bag and you get all types in this hobby. I can see perhaps why some people really do want to assume the best about a company or seller even though it makes me cringe sometimes. It's still a relatively small hobby and sometimes it's hard to believe someone from our hobby community would do something intentionally awful. However, what really bugs me is when people aggressively come to the defense of the wrongdoer, discouraging attempts to leave negative feedback or warn others, as the ability to do those things is an important part of keeping the community safe.
       
    7. I think in this hobby we are often talking about a lot of money that we have had to save long and hard for motivated by something we feel we want pretty badly. I don't think i would trust that money with a company that had a lot of bad dealings in their history, it is too risky they would do it again.

      Unless they had a huge turn around and their recent reputation was very good, but that would have to be them trying very hard for ages before i would buy from them. I also think i would be far less buy a doll from a company with that history because that is risking too much money for my liking. I would more likely try clothes and accessories, because it is not quite as bad.

      I don't think i would trust someone again who i had personally already been ripped off by either, because i wouldn't want it to happen to me again. So it would make it less likely to think about it, i would just look else where since now there is a lot of choice. Especially if they handled it badly, like i felt my recent transaction on here was like. I don't think no matter how good that person's rep got, it would be a no. Because not only did i feel ripped off, but she was also very rude to me in the process.

      With the DollFair controversy i don't know because she did look like she was in a bad situation and tried to help people deal with it and some people got their money back. I guess if she managed to sort everyone who got ripped off, then turned around the company i would thing about it.
       
    8. I think Taco actually just said a lot of what I wanted to say.

      There are people here who aggressively defend wrongdoers (to the point of demonizing the victims for not being grateful to be treated badly, or suggesting they have mistreated their dolls and caused the problem). There are also people who abuse a company because the doll doesn't ship instantly, the faceup artist failed to sufficiently mindread them, the sculpt isn't perfectly to their personal taste or there's some understandable human error that they haven't yet given the company the opportunity to fix. Sometimes they are the exact same people, and are only forgiving of problems caused to other people.

      Myself... I am just trying not to order from CH anymore, no matter how many tempting emails they send me, because even if I get lucky a third time, I don't want to support their lack of business and professional ethics.

      Oh yes. "Research" is much vaunted on this BB, but it's hard to do research if you only get the positive side of the story.
       
    9. From what I've seen, DOA is mostly filled with skeptics. People mostly steer away from a company after the company does something wrong once. And the other side sticks by the company no matter what.
      I've seen some companies with issues, but never directly dealt with them. I'm completely put off from buying from most of those companies tho. Companies with huge delays, poor sloppy quality and the likes. Other companies have regained trust over time, simply by catching up with order and stepping up their game.
      It varies from case to case, but in some cases I'm not sure it can ever be fixed.
       
    10. Because much of this business is conducted online, peer feedback & seller track-record are extremely important for conducting commerce (or at least it is for a lot of people).... because you can't go visit the person's shop or home, and you might not really know anything about them IRL. What else is there to go on, but the feedback of others?

      When I read a list of people who never received their items or were otherwise ripped off, and the list just goes on & on, I don't need someone to draw me a picture before deciding not to shop there. As my grandmother would say, "Why stick your head in a blender?"

      You do accept a lot of risk shopping online anyway, because so much of it is sight-unseen, and sometimes you have to take your lumps (I was one who lost a buncha money when that MagicTailor seller disappeared from eBay years ago). But when things get way out of hand, no redress is made to the customers, & then the company still tries to carry on as though nothing had happened.... That sorta burns my toast. How stupid do they think we are? (In the uncensored version of my reaction to the CCC announcement, I believe the phrase "clanging brass balls" was employed.)

      Depending on the nature of the company's offense in the first place, "redemption" may or may not be possible. Everybody has individual standards of what it'd take to make things right with them, anyway. Some people just don't give second chances, & they're gone for good. For people who are only moderately disgruntled about shipping-times or order mixups, a company might be forgiven later on if they speed up or expand their operations & prove they can handle more orders.
       
    11. I think a lot of it depends on the situation.

      In the case of CCC, personally, I am rather stunned he tried to make a new item to sell when there are still orders outstanding for over a year and there has been so much stress, tension, and drama surrounding his situation. I don't question his right to try that. I don't rule out that he might be doing so to fund further refunds or make good on debts to those in the community -- but I'm not going to believe that's the cause for a second until I see it actually transpire.

      In the Dollfair case, I think the situation is considerably more complicated. It involves a lot of artists, a lot of contracts, a lot of production houses, and a reseller. If anything goes wrong in any of those quarters, flat out, it is going to have an impact on people who have placed an order. I very much want to order a doll from Limhwa, but I am waiting. I have the head and feet to go with the doll (body and alternate) head already, so I am already at a point where I, personally, am either screwed out of the money I spent on those items, or am potentially open to losing more if I try to complete the doll. It sucks. I don't like it. I am still waiting to see what happens in that enormous mess before I actually place an order to complete that doll.

      In that situation, however, I think people are angry enough to be looking to be more and more angry, and that, I do not think, helps anyone. There were discussions about a trade show, for instance, that I simply had to stop reading because I have no personal stake to post in that thread, and I saw what happened to someone in a similar position when they (to my outside perspective) simply tried to make information available as to their past experience with the vendor in that specific environment. Having been to a number of art and trade shows, and sold at a number of art shows, things like 'no photography' rules actually exist to protect artists -- not skeevy vendors. They're there because there are 'shoppers' who will buy a single item to reverse engineer and mass produce, or take pictures to copy innovative items, often from the larger companies out there. Unfortunately, show management has no idea which of the two the person with the camera is -- the wronged party, or the one intent on wrongdoing -- and it isn't their job to find out, either. Seeing a show get tarred up one side and down the other over a policy that's meant (in every instance I've seen) to help out the good guys (read: the artists introducing new work to make their living from it) due to the idea that they only want to insulate a 'buddy' (which we have no way of knowing, either) from potential confrontation was a little head-desky for me. No one even bothered to ask why this policy exists and just leapt to the most damning of all possible assumptions, after which anything else was treated as a heretical attack. That kind of mindset genuinely disheartens me because it creates an echo chamber of anger and frustration -- and turns the dial up to eleven, then twelve, then thirteen... while resolving absolutely nothing in the process. It only makes people more angry, when sometimes a slightly different perspective could at least potentially help quell some measure of the rage (or at least prevent it from increasing down additional avenues).
       
    12. It also depends on just what issue is at stake. If it's taking the money and not coming up with the product, that's pretty blatantly awful from almost anyone's perspective. You have to be a pretty darn loyal fan at that point to defend and/or keep providing them with custom. When it comes to copying, whether another company's product or another creator's intellectual property, opinions are quite divided. Dollzone and LUTS have survived controversy about the former, and Soom and other companies don't seem to be suffering after doing the latter.

      I've been through a few instances of products taking far, far longer than projected to arrive (like nine months for a pair of eyes), but in each the product did actually arrive and the quality was fine, so I have and would use those sellers again. However, companies or artists with consistent problems I would avoid. And in the case that inspired the OP, as the company in question didn't clean up the previous mess AFAIK, my reaction is very negative to this new release. I think the ones that I can forgive are the ones that at least make some reparation or get the products out in the end.

      I think some of the loyalty and willingness to defend and forgive comes from the fact that this hobby also acts like a fandom. These dolls come with concepts behind them, and often have names and even storylines; companies make an effort to create loyalty to them specifically. With small companies and single artists, there's likely enough direct communication to make the buyers feel like they have a real relationship with them. And when fans run into something they don't like, they either dig in or leave in disgust. It's easy for things to get emotional at that point.
       
    13. We're having a problem with Ringdoll right now---delays, thin resin, complete and utter lack of communication for a couple months and everyone is quick to forgive because they're claiming to have had a factory accident where it seems like most everyone was put in the hospital for a limited time. Everyone is so quick to forgive and forget, and I'm just simply not. I'm incredulous, and because of my experiences with them I'll never order from them again. I'm also of the opinion that if you cannot complete your damn orders in a timely fashion, regardless of the reason, stop taking orders for awhile. It's not that bloody hard. Stuff happens, life gets crazy, but you've got to stop slurping up more money and focus on getting your products out instead.

      My fiance put it this way to me: Asian companies do not necessarily have the same business standards that American companies do. (He's not meaning this to be rude or anything.) In other words, what may work for an American company simply may not work for a company from another country. Those of us used to American standards will be miffed when these are addressed differently or other standards are considered even more important.

      I don't give second chances, period.
       
    14. I don't think forgiving too easily is exactly the right way to put it. Hopeful, maybe? I see people constantly order from places like CH because they really want the sales prices but, sometimes, I'll see that person who really, REALLY just wants a particular sculpt and would rather risk losing money for it than not have it. Every company has its own style and sometimes it's worth some, if not a lot, of risk to get the doll you want. In the case of CCC, I noticed it was exactly that, people hoping against hope that THIS TIME the dolls were going to be sent out. I actually don't know much about the Dollfair situation but I bet it was the same thing, people wanted the doll they wanted and they held on to hope that their order would be fulfilled.

      That can only go on for so long, though. In my opinion, CCC has some real nerve trying to come out with anything now with so many orders unfulfilled and so much money just lost in the ether. CH is just ridiculous. At some point, I really wanted one of their kit dolls to experiment into a kid character of mine. But I take one step into the waiting thread and I just can't. I'm not even sure how they justify their issues. And the fact that all this isn't the first time must really frustrate people.

      I'm all for second chances. But, in these cases, this goes beyond second chance. But I can't judge people for wanting the sculpts they want. Sometimes you just have to go for it and hope for the best.

      In the case of Ringdoll, they definitely deserve their second chance, but that's just my opinion. This is the first time they've had any sort of customer service issue that was worth having an uproar over. Until it becomes a pattern, I'm going to stick by their side. But, I can see how people can be weary. It's better to go with your instincts than not. But I'm not going to take every single problem with customer service with any company as an immediate CH Part 2. That's not fair, definitely. But I WILL be cautious, it's all you can do. And leave feedback. People should know what they're getting into and won't if no one says anything.
       
    15. I think, generally speaking, we are willing to forgive more in this hobby because often times there will only be one outlet for a particular item. Unlike in real life, where if you don't like the customer service or quality being offered to you there will most likely be an alternative, the concentrated nature of this hobby means there might only be one outlet for the sculpt or item you want. So invariably you have to hope there is an alternative (which may only be on the secondary market), or suck it up and slog through the difficulties.

      When you really want an item it's much easier to convince (or maybe delude) yourself into keeping on with it. That said, I think many of us have experienced or heard of difficulties with companies and are thus a lot more skeptical of excuses for problems.
       
    16. I don't think it's possible to make any generalisations about the whole community, as you only need to look at the threads related to Customhouse or CCC to see the wide range of views people hold. That said, there are certainly times when people seem to be able to defend the indefensible all too easily.

      While I wasn't exactly surprised, I was kind of exasperated/disgusted to see how easily people were falling over themselves to forgive Charles when he posted his so-called 'apology' on Flickr. I feel like the live-and-let-live/let's all be nice attitude in the BJD community that's fine when someone is for example doing a controversial mod to their own doll, tends to spill over into places it really doesn't belong, like towards companies or people offering commissionable services. It's all very well to behave like we're all a big family united by our hobby because things seem nicer and cosier that way, but when you're handing money (and in no small amounts) over to a business or a complete stranger you should treat it the same way you would any other commercial transaction. Just because it's ~art~ doesn't mean people are going to be honest and reliable, or that they even have good intentions.

      I feel that with a hobby like this, there is never going to be a point for me where the potential reward is worth handing my money or doll over to someone with a dodgy record. Sure those dolls on CH/Aidolls are 'only' $50, but there's no way I'm going to gamble that on them maybe fulfilling an order instead of stringing people along for months on end. I can give a second chance to a friend or family member, but I'm not going to give one so easily to a business.

      If they want to be trusted again, all they can do is build up a better reputation with what business they can get, but I don't think there's any guarantee of repairing their reputation and nor do they have any sort of entitlement to it. If someone has a dodgy record, people are absolutely within their rights to refuse to deal with that person/company ever again, and I don't think there should be any obligation to forgive and trust them again. In the vast majority of problem cases that I've seen around the community, it was either seller's own fault or they handled an unfortunate situation badly and dodged responsibility instead of behaving professionally.
       
    17. I had a negative experience recently with a custom outfit order. I was new to the hobby, new to the board, and didn't think to check the person's feedback or the problem transactions threads. The problem was finally resolved satisfactorily, after I posted my own problem transaction thread. For me, I don't think it's an issue of forgiveness; it's an issue of "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me". I simply won't deal with that person again, or with anybody with more than one instance of negative feedback, no matter how much I might want the item, no matter how screamin' the deal. Life is too short to invite that kind of aggravation.
       
    18. As an individual, I can only speak for myself. I, personally, am not one to forgive when it comes to money. This applies to me in the hobby and me in my everyday life. If I have been ripped off by a company or seller, I will never forgive that company or seller. Ripped off could mean many things; I never got the item I paid for, I received a different item than I bought and the company is unwilling to accept an exchange, the item I get is defective in some way and they are unwilling to offer a replacement, etc.

      All of these things have happened to me in the past. I've been downright scammed out of my money by DoA users running group orders that ran off with my money (and the money of at least 12 other people). I've purchased an order of multiple items and the company left out an item I paid for and refused to refund my money for the item they didn't send and they couldn't send the item separately because they had accidentally over-sold it and had no more to offer since it was a limited edition item. I've bought items which were totally destroyed when they sent them to me and the company refused to offer a replacement and refused to let me send back the ruined item for even a partial refund.

      All I can do is learn from these experiences. From those above listed experiences I have learned these things: I will not join group orders on DoA. I will not send payment by 'personal' tab on Paypal. I will not be a returning customer to a company or seller who cannot keep the promises they make, no matter how much they claim they have changed. I will not recommend a company or service to someone if I have not used that company or service many times myself. I will always leave a review or feedback (good, bad or neutral) with anyone I have done any sort of business with, even if I have to make my own website to do so. There are many things I am very forgiving about. But money is not one of them.

      If I was able to find proof that someone I was about to do business with had wronged one of their past buyers, I would absolutely not do business with them. Why should I put good faith in a company who has taken advantage of people's good faith placed in them in the past? If they are willing to do it once, I have no doubt they would be willing to do it twice and simply because it happened once is fact that I cannot trust them. I can't work with people I can't trust.
       
    19. If I lost trust in a company, either their services or even worse their quality, I do avoid purchasing from them (I still may consider buying a second hand item though). My time & money is not infinite and I don’t want to waste none of them. In addition, every unpleasant experience may spoil my happiness from this hobby for some time.

      Do I forgive? Yes, to some extent, but only the company proves that they are reliable again and this definitely takes time. Good reputation is not build over night, re-building reputation takes even longer, and some things are not excusable at all.

      Speaking of mentioned DZ and Luts, I think both of them proved to be reliable companies over time and I have no problem ordering from them (and I do quite often). On the other hand I learned my lesson from other “older” company and now I read feedback and people’s experience prior any purchasing.

      You are not the only one, but I think it's pointless to argue about such things in the WR. I personally don’t care how many people are defending them or how sure they are that "something" must be true, they are not losing anything, but we have our orders to take care of. I’ve been working for a Chinese company for more than 4 years and I know that "anything" will be used to get rid of calm down complaining customers. Their lack of communication was/is very unprofessional and posting a short note on their website about having difficulties would not take them long and would definitely avoid this uncertainty. If other companies can do this, why not them?

      So unless Ringdoll proves that are able to fulfill their promises, both for the services and their doll’s quality, I am not going to order from them again. This is their fair chance.
       
    20. I think doll people in general are rather forgiving. Alot of times there's only one or very few companies that will have the doll we want, so we'll put up with a lot of nonsense to get it.

      Personally, I'm alot more demanding. If a company burns me I'm a lot less likely to ever order from them again. Especially when it comes to something as expensive as a bjd.