Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Buyer Beware #2 / Heroe's Club - Art of Toy.com
I bought what I thought was a KAWS Accomplice (pink bunny) vinyl figure at Heroe's Club / artoftoy.com for like $34 + $10 postage/tax (originally when released approx. $99) and it turned out to be a cheap, plastic, badly painted bootleg figure. I emailed KAWS for help and he confirmed it was a bootleg but said he could not stop the store from selling bootlegs (for whatever reason). Art of Toy claim it was listed as a product in KAW's style but didn't necessarilly mean it was made by KAWS. I immediately emailed back and asked if people can make Mickey Mouse toys and say Walt Disney's Style?? That's straight up forgery in my opinion. Now if it was a Green Turtle figure that said KAWS style - I would have been cautious about buying it because I'm not sure it exists. But it was a Pink Bunny figure which KAWS has really made called the Accomplice. Art of Toy are total frauds. I bought a Michael Lau figure from them before for a cheap price and now I am worried it is a bootleg too. You cannot return clearance items, but after complaining, Art of Toy offered to accept return at 30% restock and I would have to pay postage. 30% is a joke. I counter-offered $25 credit back and I would keep the figure or they could pay me extra to ship the figure back. I figured it was a reasonable settlement because they probably got the bootleg in Hong Kong for $5. Art of Toy responded with the same email about returning it for 30% restock fee but the text was larger and bolder. They did not answer any of my bootleg issues or settlement issues. I said screw them and wanted full refund including return postage if they wanted it back. So I emailed them I would file a claim with the Santa Clara County Consumer Protection Unit. A non-bias mediater reads the case and tries to make a settlement. A woman from the SCCCPU calls me and says well it said KAWS style and I argue my case with the lady. KAWS makes a pink bunny figure called Accomplice and Art of Toy sells a pink bunny that is not made by KAWS but in KAWS style. I had to reiterate these are not just kids toys, they are collectable, limited made art pieces. KAWS' name is being devalued by hundreds of dollars. She realized what I was saying and would talk to a D.A. about pursuing charges. Then I get a call a few days later from her that Art of Toy will give me a full refund if I return the item. I ask if they are paying for my postage to send it back and she said she didn't ask them for that. I said well what about them selling bootlegs? She says that only KAWS, the artist can file a complaint against them with a lawyer. I decided to mail the figure back to Art of Toy with the cheapest postage. It was only like $1.35, so I added a tracking number for $.55 cents thinking those crooks would probably say they never got it. Well eventually they credited me the money but I thought they were very rude when I emailed them about it - they said I should ask my bank about the money. Would you take that as rude? KAWS recommended I tell everyone about my experience with Art of Toy so people will avoid them and that is what I am doing. I know they get community awards in San Francisco and get voted best toy store in the city and even COMPLEX magazine mentions them as a place to go, but I am saying they are frauds and they are very rude when they get questioned on it. They admitted it was a FAKE to the Santa Clara County Protection Unit but said they only get a few of those. Like that makes it any better. Buy your legit figures at www.kidrobot.com or www.ToyTokyo.com.