Mattel: "We still aren't giving you the kind of service you've been asking us for for years. Why are you upset?"
My reason/s were not covered in the short poll options, and frankly, you should be able to pick more than one reason on a poll like this. There's no simple answer.
My main grievances:
Lack of Transparency: There are no lisencors to blame approval issues on with this line. There's no reason we shouldn't be given a better idea of line-up or shown more work in advance. This is our line. We are committing to and paying for it directly, up front, in advance. I want to see better what's going on. I shouldn't have to wait for updates at toy shows months apart. I want to know that a figure is being done right - proper parts, proper deco, proper choices, etc. I'm sick of hearing, "Oh, this is this way because the 4H or because design thought it would be best" and then they're wrong. If they had just asked the investors, us, what we would have preferred, we could have told them. Also, I just got my first 2013 figures of the year and found that the white mailers have been reduced in quality to such a level, that I'm not sure they provide any worthwhile protection at all. Did everyone else know this was coming? I was caught by surprise upon the arrival of my figures, and I'm not a fan of unpleasant surprises. I follow news pretty closely, and I never read anything about this.
Lack of Responsiveness: I feel like most of the responses to our problems with Mattel are lip service - nothing more. "We're sorry, and we'll do what we can to make sure it doesn't happen again. It's still an awesome figure though, right? Just be lucky you got it." Even if Mattel is doing its best, it's just not good enough. When a figure is screwed up, I don't want an apology. I don't want Mattel to send me some figure I already have. I want the problem to be fixed. A company has insurance for things like this. Recall the product - or don't - and go back into production. Do it again. Measure twice, cut once, right? But if you don't, then do it over. The same problems with the line and with Digital River and the ordering process have persisted since the beginning. The white screen of death has gotten a lot better, but that is probably mainly because of the subscription scheme and probably not really due to any changes on Mattel's part.
Quality Control: Apologizes and an extra bonus figure I didn't ask for or need are terrific, but you know what I like even better? The figure I paid for to be done right. This is a small enough line that I would expect it to be easier to manage. Switching factories might be a good idea. Roboto's arms, King Hsss's arms, Netossa's arms, other slip ups here and there, gray film growing over the figures (which no one ever really talks about but I think it's outrageous and unforgivable). Design decided to use black plastic? Are you sure it wasn't left over from Batman toys or something? That's ridiculous and unacceptable. As many pieces as possible should be cast in the color they are intended to be. Lots of figures even seem to have issues, at least under different light, of plastics/paints that aren't the same color! Hasbro doesn't seem to suffer these problems, nor Bandai. Why is Mattel having these problems? Is it policy? Is it factory selection? Is it an avaricious profit margin? I don't know, but quality is suffering. How long am I supposed to put up with it before there's a definitive resolution?
Digital River: As people have said, time and time again, Digital River is absurd. The shipping takes forever - and as a result, often comes beat up. It's too expensive. The customer service is a joke. There must be a better way to offer these figures. Hasbrotoyshop.com seems to work fine. Why couldn't these collector figures be sent through shop.mattel.com or through some other means? Digital River is not the only option. What back room deals has Mattel entered into that we can't ditch DR, despite all the years of complaints?
Value: People can tell me all they want that comparing Matty products to Marvel Select or S.H. Figuarts, etc. is comparing apples to oranges, but when it comes down to it, where does my money go? Does it go blindly to frequent production problems, errors, delays, and headaches? Or does it go to the most amazing figures I've ever seen with significantly more value in them - both in artistic quality and after-market prices that I have seen and evaluated in advance and chosen to buy? I don't know how Mattel's price structure works, but it's not working. Mattel is not delivering the value (that is, the cost you pay for what you get) that other companies are offering, and I don't know about anyone else, but it's sure as heck turning me off. Hasbro's Marvel Legends are $14.99 at my Target, and they come with BAF pieces, accessories, etc. Why are DC Universe figures with no C&C $20 and upwards - if I can even find them?! Why does Mattel think that customers should have to commit first and blindly to products, be shown nothing along the way, and then be surprised, unpleasantly - at least in the case of the Hover Board - upon completion? Companies were built to take on risk. Customers should not bear it. Whether your product sells depends on the value you build into it based on the partners you choose to work with (which factories, where you get your raw materials, vendors, etc.). The pre-order scheme itself seems absurd if I can return the product if I'm not happy with it. If that's the case, why doesn't everyone in the world just pre-order, and if they're disappointed, leave Mattel with the heaps of unsatisfactory plastic? If Mattel will be burdened with those cancellations and returns, why bother pre-ordering at all? Why do we even have to tell this all to Mattel? Why can't they look at what other competitors are doing and see it themselves? It's ridiculous. There's no mystery here.
Mattel needs to re-evaluate itself from the inside out, make some serious internal changes, and get with the modern-day toy industry, because right now, as far as Boy's toys or collector's toys are concerned (failure after failure - I'm sure you can think of the many failed lines), it's getting its *** kicked.