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Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Final IAW Report Card

Well, like many of you, I was so disappointed by not only the poor way It's a Wrap treated the Star Trek property, but the lousy way they treated us customers as well. Customer Service is not in the IAW vocabulary.

I was also totally shocked that they just sold everything to Martin Netter at the end, without even taking competitive bids. Something that is just plain bad business. Moreover, they gave Martin Netter items that were PAID eBay items and then refunded people their money. That is a violation of the eBay sales contract.

Well, because of these issues, it is no surprise that IAW gets almost a failing grade on their final report card.
Let's face it, the only reason they didn't get an "F" was because Colin Warde, who single handedly saved their butts by being not only the only guy who knew anything about Star Trek, but by being the only guy who would return a phone call or email.

So let's rate their performance.


1) Customer Support

2) Technology

3) Quality of Descriptions


4) Shipping

5) Web Site

6) Respect for the Property


So here goes.....


1) Customer Support

Yeah, we all know the stories. Almost all of us have them! After having to deal with Dom for over two years, we all have stories of unreturned emails, inability to reach Dom on the phone, and general unresponsiveness. Colin, the only person who would actually answer the phone or call you back was the only person who seemed to care, and even he couldn't get anything done because Dom refused to give him any authority to execute! So we not only had a management team who didn't give a crap, but the one guy who did had no power to do anything!

This was absolutely unacceptable, and numerous calls to Tiara went unanswered and nothing was done. We all know, and dozens of collectors will attest, that this was the worst run customer support operation we ever had to deal with. Tiara has no clue and doesn't care that Dom can't execute.

GRADE F


2) Technology

How about a lack of technology?
They had no technology. As the guy who worked with eBay for 5 years developing technology solutions for big eBay businesses, I can tell you that you can't effectively run your business without an auction management tool. And IAW had none. I even offered them Marketworks (what Propworx uses to manage our auctions) for FREE and Dom wouldn't adopt it. They relied on eBay and PayPal alone, which is a recipe for disaster and totally inefficient. Not only did they waste hundreds of man hours, but they couldn't get orders right often.

They also had a web site that offered no useful information, nor any customer service technology system, which would have automated customer service issues.

GRADE D


3) Quality of Descriptions

The descriptions were adequate and often well researched. This was because Colin was involved and responsible. Often, there was too much time spent telling us about the details of an episode which we didn't need to know however, but this we got used to. What we want to know is the condition of the item, and whose names are in all the tags in the piece. Colin did a very good job researching each costume and noting what episode it comes from and even what scene, but more attention to condition and tagging could have helped.


GRADE B



4) Shipping

The effort put into packaging was very good. Everything typically arrived safely and well packed.

Unfortunately the amount of time it takes to get an item can vary from days to weeks. However, IAW is very clear that shipping takes 3-6 weeks. If you are patient, the items get to you.

Again, this is lack of a technology system to manage the process, which IAW overly complicated. It isn't that tough with the right tools. If they had used a technology solution it would have made everyone's lives easier.


GRADE B



5) Web Site

What web site? The Star Trek portion of the IAW website was almost worthless. No updated information, a static and usually outdated list of items for sale, and no attention ever paid to it.

Talking to the IAW crew, they even said they hated their web site. But no one would take responsibility to do anything.

The benefits of a dynamic, updated web site, with a constant flow of information, are obvious. You can't do business these days without it.

GRADE D


6) Respect for the Property

The only reason IAW doesn't get an "F" here is Colin Warde. Yeah, he keeps saving IAW's butt and was the only person there I could say was a winner. IAW constantly showed their total disregard for respecting the property and the assets. Colin did because he was a Star Trek fan. But the fact that Dom would sell everything at the end to Martin, taking eBay winnings out of the hands of those winners and selling it to Martin, shows you that doing what was right was not the important thing to Dom and IAW.

The simple fact that IAW was interested in getting rid of the assets and not continuing the sale, shows they weren't committed to the process. They were tired of Star Trek and wanted it over.

GRADE D


FINAL GRADE D


Also, IAW still owes me $ 350 fo an item they never delivered and a COA they never sent me. This is typical and there are many people owed items by IAW.

IAW is a used clothing store, and that is what they should stick to. They have no business doing auctions, when they won't even use 21st century technology to do them. Moreover, they have no respect for the properties they are dealing with and have people not interested in servicing customers handling the process of selling. With Colin Warde gone, there are is even less of a reason for IAW to be involved with any significant property. Please just stick to selling used clothes in your stores, because real collectors don't want to have to deal with you guys again!

And congratulations to Colin Warde, who is now back in Oklahoma and is the proud father of a newborn 8lb, 6 ounce baby boy named Luca!

Alec




2 comments:

Foxterrier said...

I am another long term customer of the IAW auctions. My last costume purchase never arrived,though listed on the shipping box paperwork it wasn't included,emails are never answered,and a refund never came.Although I'm so glad to have had the chance to own long dreamed-of items the whole process was like pulling teeth and i feel i aged 10 years with the added stress of it all.I never once got an email saying my orders had shipped,i just had to wait,and hope the postman didn't leave a parcel on my doorstep.Kinda glad but sad the auctions are over,it was a great experience to be part of...

spacepoint said...

It's amazing how many people become passionate about one single movie, about one single story. I guess that space exploration is a major source of story subjects.