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Subject: Kabuki Kickstarter: When Publishers Don't Give a Damn. rss

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Nick Case
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Starting this thread is not something I do lightly. When a customer has to resort to the internet to voice their woes, it's usually a sign that they have given up on polite avenues of recourse and have pretty much given up on any level of equitable solution. And this is where I am.

Lets move straight to the latest and greatest problem and ignore the complete lack of communication, delivery delays and reported quality issues for the time being. The main problem is the campaign's promise that the Iki project would be shipped from the EU and so would be free of custom duties. This is the extract here;



Boom, totally succinct, no grey areas there. However back in June, one UK backer reported a need to pay €76 in import duties. Really? Surely not? So I increased my efforts to communicate with the publishers via Kickstarter and here on BGG. Was I to pay import duties, because that was expressly not the case in the campaign offer? I didn't receive a single response to these numerous questions.

Then last week I received a letter from ParcelForce stating that they had my package (from Japan) and I needed top pay £57.13 in import duties to recover it. After a six month delay and having been ignored for most of that period, this was too much. I managed to get hold of the e-mail address of Koota Yamada UTSUROI LLC (Japan) after hi-jacking another Iki Gencon thread requesting that they should pay the import duty or give me an immediate refund. This was their reply;

Quote wrote:



Hello Nick,

Thank you for your message.
We are deeply sorry for the late reply.

Thank you for backing KABUKI Level pledge and 1 standard IKI.
We understood your situation,

We manufactured the board games in Germany and ship the normal pledges from Germany, that is, within the EU.
It should take no custom charge within EU.

However, Kabuki level and Samurai level products are all made in Japan. We set them up and shipped from Japan.
That is why, VAT and custom charges are incurred.
In your case, we shipped the KABUKI Level pledge and 1 standard IKI together from Japan.

We will be able to pay 50% of the custom fee if you would like to receive the parcel.
We wonder if you could keep the invoice and send us the scanning data.

If you would like to cancel the KABUKI Level pledge, we will refund the pledge.
Our apologies but, in the normal return process the parcel must be return to Japan and checked prior to issuance of a refund.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us.

Best Regards



***********************************
Koota Yamada
UTSUROI LLC (Japan)
Takarazuka, Hyogo, 665-0842, Japan
(81)-50-3571-5261
info@utsuroi.jp
www.utsuroi.jp/en



And my reply

Quote wrote:

Dear Sir

Thank you for the reply. I am afraid that the Kickstarter details makes no such differentiation between the standard pledge and the Kabuki pledge. The extract from the Kickstarter campaign that I provided for you makes the blanket statement that the 'PROJECT' will incur no import fees. It is too late to be making these claims now. Furthermore backers in France for the same or higher pledge are stating that they suffered no import duties.

Whilst the offer of 50% is a step in the right direction, I do not believe it equitable for me to have waited so long for my Kabuki pledge and to be expected to pay any import duties where none were the expressed promise. You are in breach of contract and therefore I am not willing to pay any contribution. If this is unacceptable to you then please refund my full pledge of $315 (backer number 413) immediately. You must agree that this experience goes way beyond the bounds of 'a normal' transaction and it is therefore utterly unacceptable for you to demand that the parcel is returned in accordance with 'the normal return process' before the refund is made. I trusted you for over a year with my money and you failed to achieve promises over delivery and cost, it is time for you to return that level of trust and to repay me now. Paypal: nick.case@museinteriors.co.uk.

I'm afraid this has been a most frustrating and unsatisfactory transaction.

Regards

Nick Case


Since my return mail, I have sent two further follow up messages requesting feedback but they have reverted to old habits and they have not replied.

It's clear the publishers of Iki do not give a damn about this customer. I am now beating my head against a brick wall. With them in Japan and me in the UK, an equitable and expedient resolution seems impossible. So I must resort to posting negative threads about the disgraceful service provided by this company in the hope that others do not suffer the same fate.

I will however be at Essen this year and if they do happen to have a stand there, I will of course be visiting, to discuss this matter at length, with them and anyone else who cares to listen.
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Lutz Pietschker
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Big Bad Lex wrote:
I will however be at Essen this year and if they do happen to have a stand there…

They do.
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Jacob Lee
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I feel for you, Nick. Reading about this sort of thing angers me. There is already a geeklist for questionable KS projects that yours would be eligible for and will receive a lot more attention. However, I cannot remember the name of that list. Hope you get some more communication from them.
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Nick Case
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PunTheHun wrote:
Big Bad Lex wrote:
I will however be at Essen this year and if they do happen to have a stand there…

They do.


Good. I eagerly await the time their details are added to Eric's Essen 2016 preview list.
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ozzy perez
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Horrible customer service! I personally will steer away from anything they handle. Pulling for you Nick.
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David E
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That's very unfortunate. The Kabuki level pledges said they would ship from Japan, since they were handmade there, so I am not surprised that they would thus not be distributed from within the EU like normal pledges. But they neglected to note that rather obvious exception on their project page, and thus should be on the hook for this.

I like my game, but everything I have read about the kabuki pledge quality and handling makes me glad I didn't succumb to temptation.
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Nick Case
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AmadanNaBriona wrote:
The Kabuki level pledges said they would ship from Japan,


Thanks for your support but that statement isn't correct. I fine tooth combed the Campaign offer to make sure there were no loop holes. What the Kabuki pledge actually states is (highlighted for emphasis);

'●KABUKI LEVEL (DELUXE): 1 copy of IKI: A Game of EDO Artisans with all stretch goals, plus a beautiful Makimono board and an elegant box made of paulownia wood. (All in the paulownia wooden box)

The gameplay board is a scroll, professionally handmade in Japan by the hands of an artisan. With full authenticity, it has been mounted with high­ quality gold Awa Japanese paper. It gives the player that much more emotional richness.

Also handmade in Japan is the standard edition packaging itself. Your scroll will be delivered in a paulownia wooden box (kiri bako), designed in the style of Inrou, providing a great sense of strength and luxury.'

Yes it says that two components are made in Japan but nowhere does it say this pledge will ship from Japan. The shipping costs are just one tier, there is no separation of cost from the EU OR Japan. It would have been perfectly feasible for them to import en masse the awa paper maps and boxes to the printers in Europe and for the components to be assembled, boxed and shipped from there. The expressed information was that all rewards bound for the EU would ship from within the EU. There is no grey area in this offer, it is absolute.
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Nick Case
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I have received a confusing reply;

quote wrote:
Dear Nick,

Thank you for your message.
I am sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

We had an internal discussion on your case.
We are very sorry about the inconvenience happened to you.
Our apologies but, we UTSUROI could offer you two options as I wrote on my last email.

1 We will pay 50% of the custom fee if you would like to receive the pledge.

2 If you cancel the KABUKI Level pledge and 1 standard game, we will refund the pledge ($ 315).
Our apologies but, in the normal return process the parcel must be return to Japan and checked prior to issuance of a refund.

If you have any further question, please feel free to ask us.

Sincerely regards,

*This mail is resent on 15th of August 2016.



Confusing because this message totally ignores the points I made about breach of contract and just repeats the offer made in the mail of 8th August. Either the English isn't being understood, or they do not understand the issues at large here, or they just don't want to own up to the fact that they have made a mistake. In case language was the problem here I have broken the points down and sent a reply;

Quote wrote:
Dear Sir

The mail below which is a resent message from 11th August is in essence no different from the offer made on 8th August. An offer that I rejected on the same day for clearly explained reasons. Just rehashing and repeating the same offer does not progress this matter and perhaps suggests that you do not understand the issue at large. Allow me to be as clear as I can, and please respond to these points;

1/ You now say that the Kabuki package was sent from Japan and so was liable to customs duties. Do you realise and accept that the Kickstarter campaign did not say this?

2/ The campaign expressly states that all projects for the EU will be posted from the EU and so will not incur custom charges. Do you accept this?

3/ Nowhere does it say that the Kabuki pledge will be sent from Japan, just that two elements will be made in Japan. Components for games are made from all around the world. Many wooden pieces are made in China, it does not mean that the game will be posted from China. Do you understand this?

4/ The promise that all projects would be sent from the EU, formed part of your offer to me. Zero customs fees was part of your offer. Hence this forms an integral part of the contract between us. To now expect me to pay customs charges is a breach of contract. Do you realise that your intention for me to pay customs duties is expressly a breach of contract?

5/ Offering to pay 50% of the customs duties is not a generous offer, it is a refusal to pay 100% of a cost that contractually I should not have to pay. Do you understand this now?

Please reply to these points promptly.

Regards

Nick Case


In the meantime I cannot allow matters to drag on and so I have registered a formal dispute with Visa under the grounds of breach of contract. This should take 15 days to resolve. If Utsuroi are not willing to pay the customs duties, and believe it equitable for the package to be returned to Japan (the postage and receipt of which I have no liability for nor control over seeing how I have never received the package), before I get a full refund then they appear to be playing games and/ or to be feigning ignorance of their obligations here.
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Krister Dahlgren
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I have no tolerance for this kind of behavior, be it from a game publisher, a car dealership or an airline company.

Keep the pressure on them!
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Nick Case
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So another week passes when Utsuroi have failed to reply to my e-mails. Tomorrow, the package will have been with ParcelForce for 20 days and so will be returned to Japan.

It looks like Essen will be the time that Utsuroi realise that they can't run away from this disgraceful situation any longer and must face the music. If anyone else out there who has reason to be dissatisfied with the Kabuki pledge (or any other aspect of the Iki KS campaign) and is planning to be at Essen, by all means get in touch.
 
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Nick Case
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After my e-mail today I have now been sent a full refund via Paypal. Such a shame that this matter was allowed to drag on so unnecessarily long, but at least it is now brought to an end.
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Lutz Pietschker
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Big Bad Lex wrote:
It looks like Essen will be the time that Utsuroi realise that they can't run away from this disgraceful situation any longer and must face the music.

Seeing that you will both be at Essen there seems to be an obvious solution to the problem: Why don't they just bring the stuff there and hand it to you? Customs would be their problem in that case.
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Nick Case
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PunTheHun wrote:
Big Bad Lex wrote:
It looks like Essen will be the time that Utsuroi realise that they can't run away from this disgraceful situation any longer and must face the music.

Seeing that you will both be at Essen there seems to be an obvious solution to the problem: Why don't they just bring the stuff there and hand it to you? Customs would be their problem in that case.


It would have been an option, once, but I'm afraid after being ignored so many times for so long, I really don't feel happy thoughts toward this company and would rather my recently reunited money stayed in my wallet, not theirs.
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