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A personalized exchange w/ Jeromy Murray, VP of CBCS & Beckett.7761

Collector BabaLament private msg quote post Address this user
Hello all!

As I've frequently mentioned recently, my order has been with CBCS for one day over 22 weeks. I consider this grossly unacceptable, considering the quoted service period on the invoice is "processed within 13 weeks after receipt." The original guesstimate using the TAT guesstimator was 9/14/18; add the "4-6 weeks delay" and at worst my books should have been graded & shipped by 10/26/18.

Obviously, that has not happened. So I sent an e-mail:

"Good afternoon.

Order # 18-23F85C5 was submitted in person at Comicpalooza in Houston, Texas & received by CBCS on 5/30/2018. This order has been with CBCS for 22 weeks. In that time the dashboard has not been updated to reflect the actual date of receipt, nor has there been any update reflecting the stages of the grading process. This is almost double the invoice quote, “processed within 13 weeks of receipt;” a grossly unacceptable delay.

I have spoken with CBCS customer service representative, Mr. Jake Fleming, twice regarding this order. On both occasions Mr. Fleming apologized for the extensive delay, and suggested my order would be completed & ship, “by the end of October.”

Today, 10/31/2018, is the literal definition of “end of October.”

Please promptly furnish a reply to this e-mail with a hard completion/shipping date if my order is near completion (less than one week remaining), or a tracking number for shipment of this order if it has been completed.

If, as I suspect, my order has not been processed beyond storage in the CBCS Vault, please send an e-mail detailing the return of my property, shipment tracking information, and provide a full refund.

Issues arising from inadequate planning or preparation for the relocation to Dallas by CBCS management is not, by any reasonable measure, the consumer’s fault. However, continuing to knowingly solicit business with a quote/invoice suggesting a thirteen week service period, while self-aware that services actually require upwards of twenty weeks, appears to be in violation of (Redacted).

I look forward to your prompt reply. Thank you for your time & attention."

That "Redacted" part was apparently interpreted as the threat of legal action on the part of whomever is doing the e-mail screening. My intent was informative, rather than threatening, so in the spirit of fairness I have chosen to redact the legalese. regardless, my e-mail was kicked up to Mr. Murray.

His response:

"Mr. (BabaLament),

Thank you for your submission to CBCS. Let me start by apologizing for the delay in getting your books back, and many of the other submissions we have received this year. We never want to keep books longer then we have to but with the increased flow of orders that we have coming in, we have not been able to catch up with the backlog or getting to the ideal turnarounds we desire. We are working on correcting turnarounds by adding quality staff to support current/future submissions but that is a process. The “excuse” of the move is not one that we will use any longer as are through with that and are looking forward to getting back to desired services, including turnarounds. We now just have to catch up, which is what we are working on.

I had your email forwarded to me so I could address this matter with you, since legal comments were mentioned. We take legal comments/threats seriously which is why I am stepping in. Your order is in line and will be finished up as soon as possible. I will not give you any other estimated dates of completion as the ones you were given were not accurate, unfortunately. What I will say is we will continue to do all we can to get all books out in the order they were submitted as we don’t want them here any longer then they have to be. If you do not want to wait any longer, I will be happy to refund all your grading fees and ship the pieces back to you, ungraded. It is not something I want to do but I also don’t want you to feel like we are not providing the service you require or that we have been deceptive in our practices. The dates you were given were estimates, not guaranteed dates or turnaround. Let me know if you want us to do this or keep the books in line, to be completed as soon as we can

As a policy, if legal actions or threats are mentioned going forward, we will end all correspondence. We would love to get this resolved but if we are not able to help, and the legal route is what you want to do, we will not be able to respond any longer. You can then take all correspondence up with that part of the organization. As mentioned, we take legal comments and threats seriously. I hope you allow us to finish your order but if that is not what you prefer, the options I have given are what we can offer. I look forward to hearing from you and getting your comics back to you graded or ungraded. Have a good day!

Jeromy Murray | Vice President, Beckett Grading/Authentication & CBCS"

There was a bunch of boilerplate at the bottom of the e-mail regarding intended recipient & the potential for viruses to be contained within e-mail & attachments. The important part, as far as I am concerned is, "...and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed." That would be me, and I have no problem with releasing those parts not containing my or Mr. Murray's personal identification or contact information.

My reply:

"Mr. Murray,

Thank you for your prompt reply. I appreciate your candor regarding the current state of production. While CBCS personnel resource limitations & production delays are unfortunate, I stand by my position that an actual service of near-double the advertised/quoted service period is grossly unacceptable.

Prior to this order I have been extremely satisfied with CBCS. I based my preference for CBCS grading services based on several positive in person experiences at Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con, C2E2 (Chicago), & Comicpalooza (Houston). I firmly believe CBCS grading is currently the most strict/accurate, and that the product (case/slab) is the best out of the available grading companies.

Unfortunately, the limited customer service, lack of communication/updates on order status, and egregiously excessive service delays effectively negate the positive aspects of the CBCS customer experience.

Please return my ungraded books and process a refund onto my credit card. I would appreciate a follow up e-mail with a tracking number for the return, as well as refund confirmation.

I look forward to the time when CBCS has moved beyond its current disruptions and is once again capable of consistently meeting production targets. I will give serious consideration to future submissions at that time.

Thank you for your time & attention."

Polite, professional, and frankly, unfortunate.

Mr. Murray and I obviously disagree on what constitutes acceptable delay. If there had been a willingness to provide a firm estimate on completion, I would have waited; its already been 22 weeks, what's one or two more? However, "Your order is in line and will be finished up as soon as possible. I will *not* (emphasis Baba's) give you any other estimated dates of completion as the ones you were given were not accurate," is a polite way of saying "you'll get your property back when we feel like working on it; and if you don't like it, too bad." That is a bridge too far for me.

So hopefully my books are returned, in good condition, and promptly. They'll go in a box with the rest of the books I want to have graded, and someday they might find their way into a slab.

Hopefully at that time I won't have to wait 22+ weeks either.
Post 1 IP   flag post
Collector Masochism private msg quote post Address this user
IBTL
Post 2 IP   flag post
Collector BabaLament private msg quote post Address this user
(Redacted)
Post 3 IP   flag post
Collector Broker1 private msg quote post Address this user
Wow.
Post 4 IP   flag post
Collector NoahSult private msg quote post Address this user
It’s terrible that it has come to this. Mine went 6 weeks over the stated turn around time.
Post 5 IP   flag post
Collector MR_SigS private msg quote post Address this user
I'm not sure he could have given any more of a firm estimate of completion than is already given without moving books ahead of others, which they won't do of course.
Post 6 IP   flag post
Collector BabaLament private msg quote post Address this user
Seeing as how the estimated completion date was 9/14/18, then 10/26/18, I'd need to move to Bonneville to find the amount of salt necessary to take with another TAT "update."

However, I did get a reply that my order will be pulled & returned, in addition to a partial refund. Better than a poke in the eye.

...I had a feeling that, after 22 weeks, no work had been done. Sometimes being right really sucks.
Post 7 IP   flag post
COLLECTOR drchaos private msg quote post Address this user
There are only two grading companies. Even if you are not satisfied with one or both I would suggest you think things through before burning any Bridges.
Post 8 IP   flag post
Collector X51 private msg quote post Address this user
I don't believe in posting private emails in a public forum. I would have rather read a brief summary out of respect for the man's personal privacy.

With the amount of time and effort it takes to pull the order and have it shipped back, they could have hand walked it through the entire process. Believe me when I say I do that almost every day when it makes a difference whether a half-million dollar product ships on time where I work. Sheesh! We've had products with a million dollar penalty per day if we don't meet our promised delivery date.
Post 9 IP   flag post
Collector KYoung_1974 private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by MR_SigS
I'm not sure he could have given any more of a firm estimate of completion than is already given without moving books ahead of others, which they won't do of course.


But that is exactly what they do with the 2 day modern and fast pass options.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drchaos
There are only two grading companies. Even if you are not satisfied with one or both I would suggest you think things through before burning any Bridges.


I would say that Baba kept it very professional and didn't burn any bridges there.
Post 10 IP   flag post
Collector BabaLament private msg quote post Address this user
@drchaos I respectfully disagree sir.

No business provides services purely for altruistic reasons; it is an exchange of money for services rendered, in accordance with whatever verbal or written contract controls the arrangement.

I go to a restaurant, I place my order, the restaurant prepares & delivers their product, I pay for it. Transaction complete.

In this case, I placed my order, provided my property for services to be rendered, and paid in advance. Services were not rendered within the advertised time period of 13 weeks, and no progress was made in a time period far beyond what I consider to be reasonable delay. The company made zero effort to provide reasonable explanation as to why services were delayed, offered no concessions, and when *I* attempted to make contact, eventually responded with formal indifference.

At what point does expecting work, paid for in advance, to be completed on time or with explanation of reasonable delay & some form of mitigating effort, make *me* the party in the wrong here?

@X51 Exactly! When I perform work for my customer(s), I'm required to get it done in accordance with the production schedule. There are penalties associated with failure to perform, up to and including losing a customer. If something starts going south, I don't have the option of saying "well, we'll get to it when we get to it." I get out in front of it, inform the customer, and do what I have to do to make things either work out as required, or offer some kind of recompense to make up for what is, in the end, my shortcoming(s) that have inconvenienced the customer.
Post 11 IP   flag post
Collector MR_SigS private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by KYoung_1974
Quote:
Originally Posted by MR_SigS
I'm not sure he could have given any more of a firm estimate of completion than is already given without moving books ahead of others, which they won't do of course.


But that is exactly what they do with the 2 day modern and fast pass options.


Yes, but that's what that particular service provides. They aren't skipping ahead of the other books in the same tier.
Post 12 IP   flag post
COLLECTOR drchaos private msg quote post Address this user
@BabaLament I never said you did anything wrong. I was simply advising caution going forward.

I had an issue with the other grading company and benefited from choosing my words carefully even though things did not go the way I wanted.
Post 13 IP   flag post
Collector nrad private msg quote post Address this user
What a pathetic response, even after your letter and 22+wk delay he can't even give you a completion date or other gesture to try to remedy the situation.
And the whole "The dates you were given were estimates, not guaranteed dates or turnaround" could never stand in the current situation. It would be the equivalent of saying that contrary to their advertised TAT, they can take as long as they want.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MR_SigS
Quote:
Originally Posted by KYoung_1974
Quote:
Originally Posted by MR_SigS
I'm not sure he could have given any more of a firm estimate of completion than is already given without moving books ahead of others, which they won't do of course.


You mean "any more firm" than the worthless/inaccurate estimate that was given? You are admitting that they are incapable of giving an estimate (even now after 22+ wks), and you think that's acceptable...well nothing more needs to be said. Are you a paid promoter?
Post 14 IP   flag post
Collector X51 private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by MR_SigS
Yes, but that's what that particular service provides. They aren't skipping ahead of the other books in the same tier.


I feel that an order that is excessively past due (22 weeks) takes more priority over an order that was taken 2 days ago regardless of what service was purchased. .

(snip)I decided I didn't want to keep my long winded post intact, so I'm trimming it down to the one line.
Post 15 IP   flag post
COLLECTOR Studley_Dudley private msg quote post Address this user
@X51 you would think that the joyous workers of a socialist paradise would be begging to build their own products. I digress.

I have no problem with how @BabaLament handled this. While the estimated TAT isn't guaranteed, an almost half year TAT is a tad bit excessive. He was courteous and then pretty much blow off. That's the tone I got from the big J's response. Sometimes, though, you gotta tell someone to kick rocks.
Post 16 IP   flag post
COLLECTOR earthshaker01 private msg quote post Address this user
I'm going on 16 weeks on about 50 comics, and was told they had a shipping date of October 5th. Still shows grading. I'm shooting for Christmas, it's always nice to get gifts that time of year.
Post 17 IP   flag post
Collector X51 private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by Studley_Dudley
@X51 you would think that the joyous workers of a socialist paradise would be begging to build their own products. I digress.


Actually, the Chinese try to steal proprietary designs from big companies and some additional security had to be amended to some engineering software the company owns to make it more difficult.
Post 18 IP   flag post
Collector BabaLament private msg quote post Address this user
*Update*

Reply from Mr. Murray:

"Mr. (BabaLament),

Thank you for the response & comments. We will pull your order and have it shipped back by tomorrow. The (remaining money) will be refunded back to your credit card, once the order ships, and will show up in 3-5 business days (depending on your bank). Again, we are sorry that we could not provide the service you desired and hope we get a chance to work with you in the future. Have a great day!

Jeromy Murray | Vice President, Beckett Grading/Authentication & CBCS"

TAT for books: 22+ weeks.
TAT for disappointment: 24hrs, +/- 3-5 business days.
Post 19 IP   flag post
Collector GAC private msg quote post Address this user
I'm confused as to why this was made public on this forum.
Post 20 IP   flag post
Collector Gabriel85301 private msg quote post Address this user
dang..
Post 21 IP   flag post
Collector poka private msg quote post Address this user
At least TAT on pricing page has now been updated to reflect 15-20 weeks in expected TAT
Post 22 IP   flag post
Collector BabaLament private msg quote post Address this user
@GAC This was made public by me, the involved party. I made this public because there are several other paying members with submissions in excess of 20+ weeks, who have seen no status board updates or received any communication from CBCS regarding their orders; but aren't willing to poke the komodo/make waves.

Steve Ricketts, Tim Bilderhauser (forgive me if I butchered that), and other production level staff have been fielding complaints/questions in the forums, and Jake Fleming has been doing his part to keep up with the deluge of customer complaints; but I think it only fair to those individuals in the 20+ week TAT group to see the formal indifference high level management has for honoring their own invoices.

@Poka just noted that the pricing/invoicing has been updated to reflect reality. That happened within twenty-four hours of my providing the information contained in the redacted section. Updates like that do not occur in a vacuum; someone looked up the information and considered it to have enough merit to make a change.
Post 23 IP   flag post
Collector robertofredrico private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by GAC
I'm confused as to why this was made public on this forum.



This is a CBCS forum.
Post 24 IP   flag post
Collector Nuffsaid111 private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by poka
At least TAT on pricing page has now been updated to reflect 15-20 weeks in expected TAT


That's a really good discussion topic that I HAVE to believe has been discussed before on these forums.
My question is why not just be upfront about TAT after all this time and say it's (for example) 24 weeks?

This way all customers know what terms were entering in to.
Isn't at least the "patch" to this issue to just do that?
Post 25 IP   flag post
Collector Broker1 private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by BabaLament
*Update*

Reply from Mr. Murray:

"Mr. (BabaLament),

Thank you for the response & comments. We will pull your order and have it shipped back by tomorrow. The (remaining money) will be refunded back to your credit card, once the order ships, and will show up in 3-5 business days (depending on your bank). Again, we are sorry that we could not provide the service you desired and hope we get a chance to work with you in the future. Have a great day!

Jeromy Murray | Vice President, Beckett Grading/Authentication & CBCS"

TAT for books: 22+ weeks.
TAT for disappointment: 24hrs, +/- 3-5 business days.


The "remaining" money?
Post 26 IP   flag post
Collector Wraith private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by Broker1
Quote:
Originally Posted by BabaLament
*Update*

Reply from Mr. Murray:

"Mr. (BabaLament),

Thank you for the response & comments. We will pull your order and have it shipped back by tomorrow. The (remaining money) will be refunded back to your credit card, once the order ships, and will show up in 3-5 business days (depending on your bank). Again, we are sorry that we could not provide the service you desired and hope we get a chance to work with you in the future. Have a great day!

Jeromy Murray | Vice President, Beckett Grading/Authentication & CBCS"

TAT for books: 22+ weeks.
TAT for disappointment: 24hrs, +/- 3-5 business days.


The "remaining" money?
exactly my thoughts. Pulling their costs at customers own expense for customer not receiving what they paid for upfront is not good practice. Certainly not inspired me to race some orders out the door.
Post 27 IP   flag post
Collector BabaLament private msg quote post Address this user
@Broker1 No, no; nothing like that.

Two of the books were two day moderns that we’re on a different order form; they ended up shipped far in advance, instead of with the Moderns like normal. I have those books in my possession.

It was an in-person submission, so even though it was two separate order forms, they only swiped the credit card once.

To be clear, the remainder is what remains after accounting for the two books in my possession. No financial shenanigans whatsoever; everything on the money end has been entirely above-board and on point.

If accurate information regarding TAT’s had been available at the time the order was placed, the entire order would have been on the 2-day tier, and this thread would not exist.
Post 28 IP   flag post
Collector MR_SigS private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by nrad
What a pathetic response, even after your letter and 22+wk delay he can't even give you a completion date or other gesture to try to remedy the situation.
And the whole "The dates you were given were estimates, not guaranteed dates or turnaround" could never stand in the current situation. It would be the equivalent of saying that contrary to their advertised TAT, they can take as long as they want.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MR_SigS
I'm not sure he could have given any more of a firm estimate of completion than is already given without moving books ahead of others, which they won't do of course.


You mean "any more firm" than the worthless/inaccurate estimate that was given? You are admitting that they are incapable of giving an estimate (even now after 22+ wks), and you think that's acceptable...well nothing more needs to be said. Are you a paid promoter?


Hardly. Never submitted to CBCS. Only ever submitted 5 books total 7 years ago to CGC. I, personally, feel slabbing my PC books is a waste of my money.
I just don't believe all that's needed to speed things up is to work faster, or hiring more graders. Working faster could mean inaccuracy. How is that supposed to help this business? Then again I guess some people would hope it means higher grades being spit out in a hurry because defects are missed. More graders means more payroll means higher prices means threads crying about higher prices.
Post 29 IP   flag post
Collector nrad private msg quote post Address this user
@MR_SigS So you just use CBCS or others for books you want to sell or are getting graded for others?...I'm guessing you want to be able to open your books, or just don't need them graded if they are in your PC for good. I agree that at this point there is no good solution except for giving it time for additional staff to get up to speed, but I just think everything was handled very poorly, from the lack of communication, lack of any gesture to make up for the added wait, and continuing to take on more books while advertising the same TAT for months etc.
Post 30 IP   flag post
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