Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Stop, Drop, and Debox with Update!

Texas A&M deboxed and using box as backdrop

After reading Fiery Dragon Lady's comment to my Texas A&M Finally! post regarding her Ken's uneven arm seams, I immediately deboxed my doll to conduct a thorough examination.


I had heard of another collector who received a doll with a similar arm issue.  I had hoped my doll did not exhibit any flaws...

...but he does, on both arms.  The outer seam of his left arm is the worst, but there is visible separation on the inner seams of both arms as illustrated in the photos taken without the aid of flash.

Above, Top-Bottom:  The inside seams of the upper portion of Ken's right inner and outer arm have seam separations as illustrated above.

The seam of his left upper arm is also separated.

This is such poor craftsmanship!

Fiery Dragon Lady's comment mentioned her doll's flocked hair is flaking off.  My doll's hair is not flaking, but there is a flocking rub or flattening caused by pressure when his head was against the box lining.  See below:

Smooth area of Ken's hair

This makes him look like he is in the early stages of tinea capitis (ringworm).  Poor guy.

These flaws are not bad enough for me to return him to Wal-Mart for a refund, particularly now since he is sold out at their dot com site, but I am not happy they exist.  Had I been scalped by an eBay seller, like Fiery Dragon Lady indicated she was, I would upset. 

If you have not already deboxed your Texas A&M Ken, you might want to do so and conduct your own thorough examination.  I hope your doll is flawless.

~~~~~~~~~

Update on 10/02/2013 @1:15 p.m. CST

I called Mattel to complain about this doll's seam separations illustrated above. (I didn't mention the hair rub because I have managed to lift most of the hair up by rubbing it from the bottom to the top of the affected area.) 

After verifying my ID and that I had never called to file a complaint on a Mattel product, I provided the product ID number and answered a couple of questions re: the doll.  The customer service agent wanted to know where the doll was purchased and how long I have had it.  He checked for available stock to replace the doll.  Since no dolls were available, he offered and I accepted a voucher for the amount I paid through Walmart.com including applicable taxes.  The voucher, which will arrive within 7 days, is good at any major retail store that sell Mattel products:  Walmart, Target, Toys R Us, etc.  It cannot be used online.  I do not have to return the doll to Mattel, but was instructed to keep it until the voucher arrives in the event I plan to discard it.

With that taken care of, I asked him to please ensure that the company is informed of these major flaws because they are not isolated to my doll.  I let him know that several other collectors' dolls have similar seam separations, "nips" in the vinyl and other vinyl flaws, uneven seams, protruding ankle pegs, and shedding hair.  These flaws, I informed, have been noted on both versions of the doll (AA and white).  He made a note of these issues, whether it will help or not, remains to be seen. 



dbg

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26 comments:

  1. This is something absurd!From where that MATTEL'S quality went??
    I took mine now and put him in the light.I guess he has not the same aspect of yours Debbie,but there is a poorly finished aspect by the arms emend.
    But I guess mine is not looking so bad.Anyway it's possible to see he could be more well done in the finish process...I don't understand it at all...

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    1. I don't understand it either, Jorge. Mattel needs to create a higher focus on quality intead of cheap materials and cheap labor.

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  2. Thank you so much, Debbie! I am so glad you took the time to examine your doll though I'm sad that you've also got flaws. This eBay seller really was trying to give me the runaround acting like I was on trial because the doll was defective - he had a million questions, requirements, etc. But then - I phoned eBay customer service and after I followed their instructions about what to write in messages to him, he made a quick turnaround. This doll will be shipped back tomorrow and I will get a full refund including for the shipping paid which was hefty in itself. Personally, I wasn't that crazy about this doll except for the fact that he is articulated. His feet seem to be over-articulated and they flop around more freely than other articulated dolls - NOT a good thing! In my humble opinion, I think the original AA Basics Ken with the almost-identical face is a much better choice though is NOT articulated. He is just made better and seems to be a lot heavier. I have been in touch directly with Mattel regarding various quality control issues over the past year. They are just not doing their supervisory job right and the workmanship in Chinese factories in general is really not up to US standards.

    With a little further research, I determined that my particular eBay seller (Mr. Rip-Off) has already sold at least 15 of these dolls and has 10 more for sale!! Now can anyone guess how this guy got a hold of ALL those dolls when Mattel sold out so quickly? He's not an authorized Mattel dealer so my guess is that he is purchasing them from a secondary vendor who may be importing knock-offs or other contraband!! It is way too easy for sellers over in China and in Thailand to have inventory of Mattel items - almost exactly the same as what we find in our stores but possibly not made with any quality control, etc. You see them selling stuff on eBay ALL THE TIME and at way-below retail prices in many cases.

    I think it's time that we doll collectors gathered together and communicated what we think to Mattel!!

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  3. PS Debbie - I think you should run your finger over that "ringworm" spot on the back of Kenny's head - I see a teeny little spot (upper left on the ringworm photo) where it seems that he may have lost a little flocking. My head had a strange-looking crease on the back of it (left side) and when I touched it to investigate, the flocking started to shed!! Now, he's got a 1/4" inch roundish bald spot!! Well, he's off to the post office tomorrow and I don't know if I ever want to replace him!! This has been a bad experience.

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  4. I am glad the seller is allowing a return with full refund and return shipping reimbursement.

    I have seen Mattel items sold by Asian sellers on ebay, too. In the case of these Kens on ebay, they were probably purchased from Barbiecollector.com to sell for triple retail. Without limiting quantities purchased from their website, Mattel creates the second-hand market avenue for scalpers. Their goal of selling produced quantities is probably their main focus.

    I am going to call their 800# tomorrow to report my doll's flawed arms. Regarding his "ringworm," I see the tiny spot on the image that you pointed out. I will examine the area more closely in the morning.

    Thanks again for sharing your dilemma. It might have taken a while for me to debox, examine my doll, and notice the flaws.

    dbg

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  5. You are so welcome, Debbie! As I have mentioned previously, I learn so much from your blogs that I am always grateful to share any information/knowledge that I have.

    Mr. Rip-off on eBay was not too thrilled about having his arm twisted! He knew that it would only reflect badly on him if he didn't comply with eBay's procedures - of that I am sure!

    Hope you'll let us know what transpires with Mattel - perhaps they will send you a gift certificate for the cost of the doll especially if you provide them with photos!!

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    1. I'm sure the eBay seller is not happy especially since he has several others to sell that might also be flawed.

      Yes, I will post an update following my conversation later today with Mattel. I won't call until I complete my workday (after 12:30 p.m.). Regarding my doll's flocking: I examined it and there isn't any missing in the area of the "ringworm." What was shown in the images may have been from the lighting or possibly lint. I rubbed my thumb across that circular area a few times which raised the flocking a bit, but it is still visibly flatter than the rest of his hair. That and his open arm seams and other vinyl flaws that look like nicks are still not acceptable.

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    2. Hi Fiery Drago Lady,

      The update has been posted as an amendment to this blog. Thanks again for getting me "fired up" to take action against these flaws. Had you not posted your doll's issues, I would have left well enough alone and accepted my flawed guy as is.

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  6. I just checked my A&M guy ordered from Walmart. I don't have the severe problems you describe, Debbie ... just a slight leftover plastic "nib" on the seam of his left arm. As for hair rubs, there's one [maybe quarter-inch-long] horizontal section where I can feel a ridge (?!), as if the two sections of hair were glued down, and one sections was a little too long to meet the other section cleanly. But he's flocked -- very strange. No rubs, however.

    Yvonne

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    1. I'm glad your problems are not as severe as mine, but I am sorry you have the ones mentioned, Yvonne.

      Mattel's quality control is slipping.

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  7. I am sorry you had to go through shotty outsourced Mattel nonsense. I ordered mine from BC, was lucky to get him right before he sold out and my guy has an ankle flaw. I mentioned this before but my guys right ankle peg is slightly exposed. It looks similar to an action figures ankle but not as exposed. It seems to be pretty secure but I have to stand him legs apart so that it evens his feet in order to stand alone. Fortunately, the structure of the rest of his body isn't affected and his flocking looks good but it's frustrating. I thought about purchasing another from Walmart but decided against it for this very reason. To me, $24.95 plus shipping is way too much for these guys who appeared to have been slapped together. I complained to Mattel and got my money back because they weren't able to offer me another doll. I originally accepted their offer of a voucher but since it can only be redeemed in a store, I sent it back for a check. It's crazy, how long we've all been waiting for a HD body AA Ken doll and this happens. :/ I feel sorry for buyers paying outrages eBay prices and have no idea if the doll is flawed. I hope you decide to be compensated by Mattel.

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  8. Hi Tracy,

    Thanks for letting me know about your doll's ankle issue. I'm glad Mattel compensated you for your doll's flaw.

    It is ridiculous and totally unacceptable that so many of us have received flawed dolls. It makes me wonder if any were produced without flaws. I checked my doll's ankles this morning. I don't have the exposed peg like yours, but the other flaws are more than enough.

    I do plan to call Mattel this morning to let them know this doll's lack of quality is unacceptable and the manner in which they allowed people to order multiples from Barbiecollector.com to later sell on eBay for often triple the retail is unfair to consumers who buy for their enjoyment. I will post an update on my conversation with them.

    If nothing else, hopefully quality will improve on future products and they'll think twice before allowing Indonesia to slap out some dolls just to appease those who have longed for an articulated dark-skinned male that is not S.I.S Darren or the other overused AA sculpt.

    dbg

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    1. Great idea! Like the saying goes..."Don't mess with my money or my food." LOL. Seriously, I'm hoping any and everyone who received a flawed doll will contact Mattel and have their complaint documented. I've only seen one seller on eBay that listed the flaws of both AA and Blonde Ken, which I think is pretty fair. However, the dolls were listed as bids and the seller still racked up more loot than retail value. I'm not hatin' but I have a pet peeve with damaged merchandise being resold for ridiculous dollar amounts.

      There are some that say the body itself isn't the same sturdy quality as the HD Ken or Jack Sparrow doll. That's a problem. Especially, if they come out with good quality HD bodies for the Hunger Games dolls due out in October. I guess Mattel still doesn't get the fact that Ken is equally desired as Barbie. Especially, since they keep using the same face molds, slapping a known designer dress on it and selling them for crazy amounts of dough.

      Good luck and look forward to your conversation post. :)

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    2. True... don't mess with my money, my food, my dolls, or my man (in that order, I think)! :-)

      I did call Mattel @ the number on the bottom of the box: 800-524-8697. The details of the phone call are included in an update to this blog post at the bottom of the original post. The gist of the call is that I reported my doll's flaws and those that have been mentioned by other collectors. They are sending me a voucher that can be used at major retailers of Mattel products, but not online.

      I also hope others who purchased dolls with flaws will call Mattel and report them. As they say: The squeaky wheel gets the oil.

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  9. The AA Ken I have was in good shape. The ones that weren't AA have some of the arm problems of yours but not as bad. I hadn't notice until I read your post.

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    1. I am glad you have a good AA one, Ms. Leo. It's good to know, but sad too, that the flaws are not isolated to the AA doll. Mattel must do better!

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  10. See what I started, Debbie? Guess I'm just a rabble rouser at heart!! Glad that Mattel took proper care of you. My AA Ken is on his way back to Mr. Rip-off who I found out cheated me on shipping big-time as well!! I sincerely doubt that Mattel is going to change its ways as far as quality control goes. Except for the super-expensive dolls being offered via Barbie Collector, the quality of the dolls they offer is long gone. I've noticed that even face paint on those Monster High dolls is sometimes flawed and missing spots - and that is what you can see just from looking into the box!

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    1. I guess you're not the Fiery Dragon Lady for nothing. :-).

      I don't expect Mattel's quality to change much either but if they have to issue many more vouchers due to the lack of it, maybe it will improve some and dolls won't be rushed to market for the sake of making a quick buck.

      The Texas A&M guys were introduced through Barbiecollector.com, so I don't believe that's a guarantee on quality. The price factor probably controls how much importance Mattel places on a doll's quality, which should not be the case. No one wants a half made doll, whether it is manufactured as a high-end collectible or for child's play. None of the dolls should be considered disposable. If that attitude continues, consumers will take their dollars elsewhere.

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  11. Que pena, y que pena que Mattel no este comprometido con sus clientes, lo mismo pasa con el cabello de barbie, tienen muy poco y se cae con facilidad.

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    1. Es muy vergonzoso para Mattel para producir una calidad tan baja en los precios de coste a sus muñecas.

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  12. Wow, that is horrible. I didn't add this guy to my collection because I put my #17 on an action figure body before this guy came out. When I bought my #17 a couple years ago, he flocking fell off. Mattel provided me with a voucher. I never replaced my #17. He has received numerous comments about how nice his new hair do was. People thought it was intentional. Poor quality is the worst! That's not a cheap doll, so they need to do better.

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    1. I remember the problem with Ian's hair. I am glad you reported it to Mattel and were compensated, Vanessa.

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  13. Okay, see this is why I have to purchase my dolls in person. Although, the ankle issue would not have been found until taken out of the box, I like to check the seams to see if they are cracked. I got a Fashionsita with a split knee and didn't notice until she was unboxed. I still didn't return her, I just wove that into her story.

    This quality issue really bites.

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    1. I suppose Yell Team Ken could have sustained arm injuries during one of the Aggie athletic events when performing hand signals if I helped him cause them or that was Mattel's backstory for him. Since it wasn't, he should have arrived injury free.

      I agree that examining dolls in person whenever possible is always best.


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  14. Thank you so much for this post, Debbie! I finally deboxed mine yesterday and he has separation at the seam of one arm, the flat spot in the back of his head, and a visible ridge on the top of his head. I called Mattel to report the issues.

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    1. This is too disturbing that so many people have purchased flawed Texas A&M Kens. I am glad you stopped, dropped, and deboxed to discover these issues, Roxanne, and I hope Mattel compensates you. This is just awful!

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Thank you! Your comments are appreciated!