MANILA, Philippines – Comics importer and retailer Comicxhub has filed a complaint against fellow importer Comic Quest before the Bureau of Customs over its missing shipment, an incident that caused significant losses to the year-old company.
“I myself have lost two days worth of sleep trying to figure out this mess,” Lawrence Cruz, owner of online comics store Comicxhub and brick-and-mortar shop Castle Geek said.
“This is not a very ethical way to do business.”
Cruz said he reported a mix-up of boxes after he received a box bearing the sticker of Comic Odyssey on March 12.
“We called on the delivery guys and told them, that there is a mix up and that one of our boxes might still be in the delivery van going to Comic Odyssey as we have one of theirs. When they came back for the Comic Odyssey box, they told us that they do not have any other box with Comicxhub labeled to it but they do have one that has Comic Quest [sticker] attached to it,” Cruz said.
He said Comicxhub gave Comic Odyssey their box while Comic Odyssey gave Comicxhub the box labeled as shipment for Comic Quest. For Cruz, he expected that Comic Quest would hand the cargo intended for Comicxhub but it went downhill from there.
“I called [Comic Quest retail attendant] Racquel and she told me that they do not have our box and that they would still want to pick up theirs from us. I also asked her if his boss can directly speak to us, as even the local [freight delivery service company] Geodis representatives’ call were not entertained, to clarify all issues. But it seems [Comic Quest owner] Red Simbulan has been avoiding all calls to clear this matter,” he said.
Two days after, Comicxhub said it received a box from the customs broker of Comic Quest who claimed responsibility for misplacing the shipment of Comicxhub. Brokers are the ones who facilitate the release of every shipment an importer brings in the country.
“We wanted for them to do the inventory with us while they were there [at the office] before handing over their box [of Comic Quest]. But they didn’t want to wait and we didn’t want to hand them over their box before proper documentation. They just suddenly left our store,” he said
Cruz said the box they received has been tampered with.
“The weight does not match. I would say the way the box was packed—it was not the way [comics distributor] Diamond does it,” he said.
The box was supposed to weigh 43 pounds, instead of 24 pounds, Cruz said.
Based on the list of missing items, best-selling comics such as “Age of Ultron,” “Batgirl” and “Uncanny X-Men” did not reach the customers of Comicxhub. It also includes titles from independent publishers that Comicxhub believes have gone out of stock because of their limited circulation.
- Star Wars # 3 (25 copies)
- Uncanny X-Men #3 (50 copies)
- Age of Ultron #2 (50 copies)
- Todd the Ugliest Kid on Earth #3 (5 copies)
- Green Lantern #18 (15 copies)
- Batgirl #18 (20 copies)
- Wolverine and the X-Men (10 copies)
- Variant and blank cover comics (8 copies)
Cruz lamented Comic Quest still refuses to meet with them to amicably settle the issue. “We have not gotten anything from Comic Quest’s side. It is very evident that they have our box and refuse to acknowledge that fact, as well as to speak to us to directly,” he said.
Comic Quest owner Red Simbulan refused to comment on the issue.
The comics retailer added that it has lost more than two days of sales and had 14 cancellations of orders from its online site and 12 in-store reservations.
“The impact of this mess cannot just be quantified with the just value of the merchandise that is lost, it also affects the trust of our customers’ reliability on us. It is clear that distributor, Diamond, has no fault in this, and it is unwise to order these items again, too late in the game,” he said.
The Bureau of Customs is still investigating the incident. – Rappler.com
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