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BattleTech: Mercenaries – CGL does a shipping booboo? Internet rages!

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This topic contains 39 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by  jamescutts 1 week, 6 days ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 40 total)
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  • #1870558

    sundancer
    42595xp
    Cult of Games Member

    So the fulfilment of the latest BattleTech Kickstarter “Mercenaries” is drawing near. Backerkit has already collected the VAT for the pledge. All fine. Now the want to collect postage & delivery fees. Also fine except one thing:

    In the campaign CGL said “local shipping rates” would be to be expected for 90% of all backers. (see picture from campaign)

    e71c4ce866b2c0c1ee3fc24b8155c63a_original

    Now, here in Germany the main delivery service is Deutsche Post/DHL and a 10kg box, 500€ insured, tracked and up to 120 x 60 x 60 cm comes in at 10,49€.

    Let’s have a peak on what backerkit is trying to charge:

    backerkit_shipping

    $35.46 or 32,85€ – more than three times the usual shipping rate. Or almost 50% of my original pledge.

    So how did this happen? Did CGL get greedy? I doubt it. Has Backerkit fucked up at some point and is calculating shipping from the US and not the promised EU hub? Maybe? Is there even a EU hub yet? I don’t know. Did some programmer just simply fucked their code up? Also a possibility. Easy to guess that the KS comments and the Facepage groups are “a bit up in arms” right now.

    And what does CGL say? I quote from the KS comments:

    Hi there backers,

    We have received notifications from backers that the shipping charges for orders, primarily internationally, have been above what was expected for this project. This is to say, we absolutely agree.

    For some context, these are not charges that have been generated by BackerKit or Catalyst ourselves. Our fulfillment house has generated these shipping charges based on the current price of shipping as they see it and how it is to be shipped (PO boxes, sizes and amount of boxes to effectively ship, etc.) These charges are not meant to make profit on any backer’s order as they are being paid separately by us.

    While we knew going with a higher quality shipper would be pricier, we did not know it would be to this level for some of you. There could be packing inefficiencies with especially small and large orders that could be leading to higher shipping charges to the best of our knowledge. We’ve spent last night spot-checking and pulling some of the more pricey charges to bring to our fulfillment house to see exactly how these charges are being calculated. If there is any part of these charges that does not seem correct to us, we will let you know and have these charges re-evaluated, likely pushing back our lock date.

    There is a chance that these charges are correct and this is just the state of mass distribution. If that is the case, Loren and the distribution team plan to come up with a solution to help us stand with our backers.

    We can assume that they will not be able to get back to us until after Easter weekend, where we should have a statement that I will post here updating all of you about the re-evaluation.

    My next steps will be:

    • sit back
    • watch the mob run around headlessly with torches and pitchforks
    • have a cup of coffee
    • and wait till end of next week.

    If it’s an honest mistake it will be sorted. If someone just fucked it up it will get sorted. If CGL comes forth and says “yeah, those *are* the shipping cost” then I will grab my torch and fork and join the mob.

    Have any of you backed at higher levels? How are your shipping costs looking?

    #1870568

    pagan8th
    Participant
    9268xp

    Since covid shipping has gone nuts and some companies are taking the piss.

    I wanted to order the ‘upgrade kit’ for Mythic Battles Pantheon. That was around £15 I think. The postage was more than double that. Fortunately I had only backed at the $1 level because that was all I wanted… so I stuck with my $1 donation to the ‘never going to back anything by Monolith again’ fund.

    Even when they use a UK hub, companies seem to be charging far too much. It’s made worse by the fact that most online retailers charge nothing for delivery if you order when the game hits stores and often do a 10-20% discount. You don’t get the ‘kickstarter exclusives’ (which are often just more plastic…), but you can save a lot of money.

    #1870594

    hairybrains
    12989xp
    Cult of Games Member

    Hmmm I saw the update and now that you mentioned it I thought I would look up what it is for me.

    battletech bill

    $58 dollars and change (plus VAT) seems a bit steep considering I live in the UK where they are supposed to have a hub.

    I’ll have to see what they say about this next week but I am guessing we are stuck with it.

    #1870602

    sundancer
    42595xp
    Cult of Games Member

    There is basically just “wait and see and hope for the best”, “suck it up and pay up” or “refund your pledge” though I’m not sure if a refund is still even is possible at this point. But CGL is having a bad weekend I guess. Comments over at Kickstarter really go like you expect. Very rage-y.

    #1870610

    pagan8th
    Participant
    9268xp

    I think it was Darkest Dungeon by mythic where they tried to ‘ransom’ pledges for a game because shipping had got so high?

    Think it boiled down to ‘pay the extra shipping now and we’ll send you the game’. or ‘wait for the prices to go down and we might send it to you later’?

    #1870611

    maldroth
    10xp
    Cult of Games Member

    Shipping between the UK and US never used to be this bad. I wish it was something that could be figured back out. I don’t think this is just pandemic pricing either.

    #1870616

    ced1106
    Participant
    6207xp

    > $1 level

    It’s outrageous that crowdfunding takes your pledge money before you know how much shipping is, but that’s how crowdfunding *should* work to minimize risk. You don’t gain much from a creator not charging higher shipping if the result is that the creator runs out of funds for the project because backers refused to or didn’t pay the unexpected costs of shipping. I had at least two or four KS deliver *nothing* because of the sudden rise of shipping costs contributing to other mistakes the creator did with backer money. In reality, a creator should charge shipping prices when they can get a guarantee from the shipper what prices are, but, during CoVid, shipping prices could change every *hour*.

    Anyway, back to the $1 pledge. While such a pledge won’t contribute to SG’s, you’re at least protecting yourself from a shipping price you disagree with. I really don’t know how internationals manage not just shipping costs, but VAT and customs fees. I would have switched to 3D printing long ago.

    #1870649

    dawfydd
    11888xp
    Cult of Games Member

    Well at the moment I’m looking at north of $200 dollars or so shipping & VAT for my $535 Regiment + Somerset Strikers pledge, about $90 of that being the shipping cost within the UK.

    Happy to wait and see how CGL get s this sorted, but they do have form for their shipping costs being utterly crap. There’s reason I’ve not brought physical products direct from their website (and I know that folks are told to contact them direct about website shipping to get a more reasonable quote, but no one should have to do that in this day and age…).

     

     

    #1870659

    limburger
    21534xp
    Cult of Games Member

    Kickstarters used to include shipping as part of the pledge, but there’s been several reasons not to do so :

    (1) kickstarter takes a percentage of the money. Services like backerkit take some as well I think.

    (2) since the pandemic shipping costs have exploded (it was too expensive to ship empty containers back to China as well)

    (3) shipping costs have become unpredictable. It’s nice if you predict 10$ and shipping is 10$ or less, but it can kill projects/companies if shipping costs double or triple (which kind of is what happened with Darkest Dungeons).

    (4) Brexit has been a royal rodgering for everyone involved as companies needed to reinvent the wheels and find their own way through the red tape.

    So plenty of reason for companies to delay charging shipping costs until the last possible minute.
    Any ‘free’ shipping is simply costs that companies either factor into the regular price or are able to absorb if they’ve got a good buffer.

    Shipping from the USA has always been expensive.  Or at least the first Blood&Plunder was pretty expensive even pre-pandemic.

    I think it is kind of silly how regional hubs can ‘reduce cost’ when the goods are still getting shipped from A to B, except on paper they make a detour via C. It’s almost as if companies get punished for selling directly to consumers …

    @pagan8th yeah Darkest Dungeon. They even did it for wave 2. I suspect several factors were at play with shipping being a killer for the company. It reminded me that even ‘successful companies’ can fail to predict risk accurately. I doubt it was malice (as some folk like to imply).

     

    #1870661

    sundancer
    42595xp
    Cult of Games Member

    There’s reason I’ve not brought physical products direct from their website

    @dawfydd yeah, last time I checked their store I was out so fast the cookies got burned. I don’t know why but they really have a problem with shipping. For what ever reason. Sad. Still we wait until the end of the wee.

    @limburger  the big “no no” CGl has done here was promising “local shipping rates” for 90% of the backers. And if they don’t turn that around soon I guess they will have done their last successful KS. At least when it comes to my wallet.

    #1870666

    kiranamida
    5783xp
    Cult of Games Member

    As one also caught up in Mythic’s Darkest Dungeon debacle I shall pray to the dice gods for you.

    It would be a real shame to see another property potentially go down because of its current operator so completely mishandling their flagship offering.

    Here’s hoping for the best…

    #1870675

    dawfydd
    11888xp
    Cult of Games Member

    Honestly it looks like the issues are twofold:

    1. Catalyst subcontract all their shipping out to an external company who (from all appearances) is taking them for idiots and massively overcharging them (I worked in logistics for 13 years prior to last Christmas, I’ve shipped pallets by next day service for a fraction of what folks are being billed for. Hell, I have a big box of Gundam kits coming from Japan by FedEx that is costing less than £50).
    2. There appears to be no one on Catalysts end who challenges these things before inputting them, as they noted earlier this week that they had loaded all the shipping costs sent to them into Backerkit, suggesting that no one had given those costs at least a cursory examination before and raised the high costs with their shipping partners.

    And yes, I fully appreciate that CLG is a comparatively small operation, but it does feel like they subbed out their logistics with no oversight in place….

    #1870676

    sundancer
    42595xp
    Cult of Games Member

    At least it will be an interesting week. XD

    And here I was thinking this kickstarter would run smoother than the previous. Silly me.

    #1870910

    limburger
    21534xp
    Cult of Games Member

    @sundancer I kind of missed that bit … but then there’s the fact that they are an American company and they tend to see the world = ‘USA’. I wouldn’t be surprised if they ‘forgot’ how complex international shipping really is.

    @dawfydd or maybe they only checked ‘American’ backers … their kickstarter has a lot of backers, which makes checking everything impossible.

    Heck … part of the reason for subcontracting is the lack of specialist knowledge. It kind of sucks that such 3rd parties may take advantage of this gap in understanding too.

    #1870913

    dawfydd
    11888xp
    Cult of Games Member

    Except American backers are being charged similar amounts to backers in other parts of the world. In some cases $30+ to ship a single $15 t-shirt. Or two backers in the same city with the same pledge level and no extras being charged massively different shipping. Hell, one example I saw was someone literally miles from the US distribution centre being charged far, far more for their shipping than a the same pledge on the other side of the country.

    You are right though, sub-contracting is partly done to fill a need for specialist knowledge not available in house. That does not mean though that someone on CGL’s end should not have been paying attention to these costs and challenging their shipping agents.

    But I guess we will see what they say in the days to come.

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