Hobby Link Japan - Bad Business Practices

I don't like to do this but I have little choice. I ordered a set of figurines from Hobby Link Japan in July, 2009. When they arrived I inspected each of the 12 figurines and 3 were broken. I notified HLJ and was instructed to return the entire set, insured, and that I would get a refund and return shipping. I got a notice from the US Post Office that my package was delivered on July 28. By August 12, I still had not gotten the refund even after I contacted Mr. Scott Kennard twice.
On August 16th I filed with my credit card company for the original cost and was granted a credit.
Mr. Kennard was furious and accused me of trying to get two payments. He claims that my refund was in process. He called me "dishonest at best" and claims that he was trying to work with me. This was on August 19th. He said they were busy. This is the last paragraph of his last email to me on that day. I have not heard from him since and that was 2 months ago.
"Unfortunately, the chargeback changes things a lot. Our policy on these is quite severe. We now have to wait for the chargeback claim to arrive here from the credit card company. I don't know how long that will take. Once that arrives, we will honor our side and refund the return shipping. However, we must now ask that you look elsewhere for your hobby supplies."
M. Scott Kennard
HLJ Customer Service
Well they have not honored their side and have not refunded the return shipping. My account has been deleted and my emails are going unanswered. I have contacted everyone I know that does business either in Japan or with Japanese companies for help. It's not the amount of money it's the principle.
I will send Mr. Kennard a link to this post and to any others I may decide to put on the internet. If he had any honest intentions, hopefully this will get him to refund my money and make good on his promise.

Be very careful when dealing with this company. It is sad that this had to happen. If a company is too small to have an important thing called customer service, then they are too small to be in business.


  1. I've ordered Momoko from them a few time, but I guess it's one of those cases where when things go wrong, then it becomes a headache for both company and customer.

    I agree though that once you have a business you should be prepared when things go wrong.

    They should have at least communicated the situation.

  2. All my own transactions with HLJ have gone smoothly, but from many others I've heard that this is the normal level of their customer service. To be fair, I have never needed to contact them about anything, so I do not know if this the case every time. They do seem to be very very strict about customers who complain, and especially those who need to file a claim with their credit card company or Paypal.
    Unfortunately, bad customer service and some level of arrogance seem to have become more and more prevalent among internet stores... One would imagine it to be obvious that the same basic rules of customer service apply whether you are face to face with your customer or not.

  3. Wow, sorry to see you are having trouble with them. I never had trouble with them before, but now this worries me a bit. I may take my business elsewhere if they aren't helpful to their customers. I hope this all works out for you.

  4. I have noticed more and more online retailers shirking their responsibility for damaged or defective items.

    For years, I never felt like I had to check return policies, and now (after two bad experiences with different online retailers) I am reading them with a magnifying glass. Some are making customers pay return shipping (for broken items!) Some are charging a 20% restocking fee.

    The retailer is responsible for charging enough to cover the occasional problem. They shouldn't just hit individual customers who are unlucky enough to get something broken or defective in shipment.

    They should have replied to you much sooner. It's hard for me to believe that processing a refund is as difficult and time consuming as they let on.

  5. Not surprised to read this. After being a loyal customer for 6-7 years and having bought 527 items at a total item cost of 6.800 Euro, I needed a tiny bit of customer service and HLJ didn't care. So I stopped buying there and wouldn't recommend HLJ to even my worst enemy.

    As long as you don't need any customer service and you accept their mistakes and don't ask them (politely) to correct them, HLJ is acceptable even though their prices aren't competitive.

    One of my biggest wishes is to see HLJ go bankrupt and disappear. The sooner the better. The world will be a better place once HLJ is gone.