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The Refund Issue

This update reflects changes that pertain to orders placed on and after April 11, 2019.

To our customers,

To begin, we are going back in time to explain how a well-intended policy eventually led to a growing problem for both ANOVOS and customers alike. Specifically, how our Golden Rule policy concerning refunds prior to shipping ended up negatively affecting production cycles and fellow customers.

Our forementioned Golden Rule policy stated that so long as a pre-order product had not shipped, ANOVOS would provide a refund to any customer that requests it—no questions asked. While this policy is not standard in our industry, it was a way to make customers feel comfortable about their pre-order. The issue we experienced was not in its intent, so much as in its application.  

For example, when a product had production issues and became delayed (as discussed in our earlier letter), we would push out the delivery date. This change caused some customers to cancel their orders, and in some ways, resulted in a buying habit of waiting until an item was in-stock prior to making a purchase. However, this “wait and see” behavior frequently backfired on the customer since the majority of our items are produced to meet a minimum order quantity, leaving little—if any—inventory available after pre-orders were fulfilled.

As an unintended consequence, cancelations of pre-orders caused a gradual shrinkage of overall production budget. Fewer pre-orders led to a number of issues including an increase in raw goods pricing, increase in per unit cost, a deprioritization of product (moving items to the back of manufacturing queue) and—in some extreme cases—the cancellation of items that no longer met the factory’s minimums. This not only elongated the manufacturing time for one project, but also other projects, causing a more systemic issue.

After careful study and consideration, the only conclusion is that the funds secured via pre-orders need to be locked in order to ensure a product is financed through production and delivery. The only path forward is one where all sales are final effective April 11, 2019. We will continue to honor any existing refund requests made prior to this policy change as business permits, and will still consider future refunds for customers after a product is in-stock and ready to ship, but only on a case-by-case review.

Many of you have been customers of ANOVOS for years, and we are thankful to our community for your loyalty and support. This decision was not made lightly, and is necessary to ensure all products are produced and delivered in a timely manner. Thank you for your understanding and continued support.

Joe Salcedo, CEO ANOVOS Productions LLC

Dana Gasser, COO ANOVOS Productions LLC

Anovos Productions LLC April 11, 2019 0 tags (show)

Comments

Kevin

Kevin said:

This makes sense as long as delivery and delay issues are fixed.

Viktor Majzik

Viktor Majzik said:

we dont want refund, but finally the product we ordered years ago. Also not standard policy the full payment before delivery. and i know, this comment also wont be seen anywhere, as my previous ones.

Julian

Julian said:

While I think this is very reasonable, just for clarification, does this mean that:
1. All sales (including pre-orders) made after April 11th are final? or:
2, All sales (including pre-orders) made at any point, including prior to April 11th, are considered final from this moment on?
If 1 is true, perfect. If you mean 2, perhaps a warning period to this policy change would be wise. I look forward to my pre-orders far too much to back out, but wanted to clarify anyway.
Thank you, and thank you for your transparency and reaching out to the customers!

Don

Don said:

Aha! Eureka! I just read the header which I missed. You are talking about pre-orders made from now on. I can handle that

Nancy Kennedy

Nancy Kennedy said:

I appreciate you are still honoring requests for refunds made prior to this date. I am one of those- please let me know when I will be receiving my refund. Thank you for your time

Ken Smith

Ken Smith said:

I think your policy change is reasonable, but I also think a little faith and quid pro quo must be shown to the customer. As you’ve said, you guys have been in business for years now and should therefore have a better handle on delivery times. I can’t imagine that the only cause for production delays and shipping problems is because of increased customer refund requests. You guys need to spell out from jump of a product’s preorder, when that product will be shipped and if not, some form of compensation, like “ Dollars” be offered to those loyal customers who tolerate that wait on future purchases. I’ve been waiting a year for my Red 5 helmet, almost a year for the Gold Leader helmet. Do you guys ever have something significant delivered on time? It seems almost a joke on Anovos in social media that you don’t. I cheer for your company, you make fine products. However, the complaints I’ve seen are not without merit. You need to put forth an aggressive communication campaign where customers feel they know when they will get their items.

Jay

Jay said:

Nevermind. Please delete my previous comment. Like another commenter, I missed the heading that this new policy applies to future orders. Carry on….

Stephen

Stephen said:

I have no problem with this new policy, and those items I’ve ordered I still want, despite the longer than expected wait times.

The one annoying issue that I have encountered, is with regard to a recently pre-ordered item that doesn’t ship to Canada, and despite being told my order would be cancelled and a full refund issued, it’s been over a month and no refund yet. Also, communications have been very spotty on this matter with emails going unanswered.

While I respect that you have placed a high standard on your products, which is something I value highly and I’m more than willing to pay for, I also expect this excellence in customer service.

This is not necessarily a complaint, but more of a comment to draw your attention to an issue I’ve encountered, and I’ll continue to remain a loyal customer.

Tim V

Tim V said:

I have to second a previous comment. I have several unfulfilled orders and have been waiting around the 2 year plus mark for one of them. I don’t want a refund, that would make the excruciating wait pointless. But giving the customer a clearer understanding, with firm well spelled out shipping schedules is imperative to build and maintain trust and partnerships with your customers. Word of mouth used to make or break a business. Now it’s as simple as posting a comment that a much broader audience is privy to! Don’t give up! I really am looking forward to the multiple helmets and costume I’ve waited patiently for.

Chris

Chris said:

I’ve been following ANOVOS for years now. I agree that the products are first class. Communication is key and, as a multiple order customer, I just want to be in the loop regarding significant production or shipping delays. Thanks for the recent candid communications. Keep making awesome products!

Rod

Rod said:

I felt that I had to respond to this. First of all, I have dealt with Anovos for years, and have always received my orders with no issues, including delivery times. I currently have many items on pre-order with a couple approaching a birthday. Owning my business, I completely understand the issues with dealing with suppliers. Mainly the ones that are in a different country, you are at their mercy. At times they give a delivery date, and it changes (multiple times). Then, we have to tell the customer what we are told by the supplier. We always hope what we are being told is the truth. Many times though, it is not. Then we look bad to our customers. The main item that I would like to convey is this; If you Anovos, keeps us the customers, notified with updates as you get them, I believe that would go a long way. I agree with most comments that we all want our items, as your merchandise is incredible! There are many knock-offs available, and sometimes pricey at that. Quality from these, is usually about what the item is worth…more times not. Every item I have purchased (Star Trek) goods, have been spot on. John is very knowledgeable on this genre. He has always been friendly to talk with, and again…knows his “stuff”. I too, definitely want what I have on pre-order, rather than a refund. In closing, lets keep the updates coming to us, so that we don’t have to speculate. As when that happens, rumors spread, and that, does no one any good. Joe and Dana, keep your heads held high!

Paul Szklennik

Paul Szklennik said:

Hello,

Thank you for the communications this week. It has helped with some of the questions the prop/costuming community has been concerned with. Thank you for owning and taking actions to correct them.

With respect, I’m not sure your refund “CAPA” (for lack of a better term) fully addresses the root cause of cancellation or refund requests. While I can certainly understand that a slow drip of cancellation/refunds does impact production orders, manufacturing contracts, and therefore your slot in manufacturing, it would appear that the vast majority of cancellations come after missing a second release date. Of course I don’t have access to your financials or order/cancellation data, I am going off of multiple forum and social media platforms in which many stay on the pre-order until after a second or third missed delivery date. So my data could be very biased, but I think it is a fair view on how the community sees the issues currently.

My fear is that this policy will hurt your overall pre-order sales. Currently the feeling is that Anovos is not able to deliver product in a timely fashion. The vast majority is not questioning the exceptional quality and attention to details… (I’ve never been disappointed by the quality or details) it’s the delivery times. This skittishness is now further exacerbated by the shipping delays starting in late summer 2018 for in-stock items… but its starting to correct now (Kudos on your actions there :o).

If I could suggest that you maybe compromise on your new policy and pre-order set up. Would it be possible for Anovos to determine an initial run size and lock it. Determine the cost for Anovos prototype, CMO R&D and approved process sample at the CMO. Then based on the PO that covers what is paid and when… have the pre-order only cover the first milestone. Just for example… say you want to make a helmet for target price point of 399. You determine that for the CMO to produce 100 helmets and the first milestone payout that covers approved process sample, to be used for the whole run will come to $10K, therefore a non-refundable $100 pre-order is needed for customers. Once production is started Anovos then collects a second non-refundable amount that covers production and shipment of the helmets to your facility. The rest of the payment is requested before shipping to the customer. Obviously the amounts and timing of when non-refundable payouts occur is spelled out along with the overall price when Anovos begins the pre-order process. This would seem to address your concerns and the concerns of the community.

Again just an idea. Thank you for the updates and the transparency to your process. And thanks for allowing comments, I hope you find this feedback constructive and respectful as that is my intent. I really enjoy your products and am excited as to the future products from Anovos!!

Rich Remigio

Rich Remigio said:

Hello Anovosians,
I’d like to mirror the collective gratitude for the efforts put fourth. The product you provide we consumers is without doubt, the finest and most screen accurate props/costumes in the biz! Because many of us prefer quality over expedience, we endure the tumultuous waits and delays. Thank you for committing to transparency. If I may piggyback on an earlier commenter, I’m perfectly okay with Anovos putting out feelers and asking for a non-refundable deposit. If it means production delays can be curtailed. I know of a few companies that gauge interest and actual commitment to buy, by the number of preorders received. Then when they’re ready to ship, you charge the balance. Anyway, I ride the short bus when it comes to running a business. Just know that this customer is in for the long haul. Thanks for your openness!

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