Subscription box service Japan Crate shipped the first three installments of its “Doki Doki Crate” in December, January, and February. The company received complaints about bootleg items in all three boxes, including a bootleg Petit Chara Sailor Moon figure in the January box and a bootleg Good Smile Company Card Captor Sakura figure in the February box. The company also received complaints about missing or damaged items.
Good Smile Company confirmed on Facebook on February 9 that it did not create the Card Captor Sakura figures that shipped with the February box.
“We were sent samples that were of pristine quality and were reassured that the items were indeed licensed and completely authentic,” Anthony Sconzo, vice president of marketing at Japan Crate, told ANN. “After sending January’s Doki Doki Crate, we started receiving a number of comments and concerns regarding the Sailor Moon figure as well as other items in January’s crate. We were surprised, as our sample products were of a higher quality than that which was being sent and packaged for our subscribers.”
Sconzo explained that Japan Crate immediately opened an investigation with the supplier of several of the allegedly unofficial items. When the company received no response, it cut ties with the supplier.
Japan Crate first became aware of the issue after the December box, and it first addressed the issue in a blog post after the January box shipped. In the post, Japan Crate said that the items for the February box were already on order, but that it would “make sure that items in February’s crate will not be coming from the same supplier.”
When February’s box shipped out with bootlegs, Japan Crate responded again, saying that it was unable to verify the authenticity of the product in time, but shipped the boxes anyway since the items had already been ordered in December.
“As a subscription company, everything is done at least a month prior to shipping,” Sconzo explained. “In this case the crate contents were ordered 3-4 months [prior to shipping].”
Japan Crate offered a guarantee that all the items in the March crate will be legitimate merchandise. “All contents will be sourced directly from Japanese manufacturers or well-known distributors such as Re-Ment,” Sconzo said. “Our CEO … met with multiple new suppliers/partners so that we can ensure that we don’t send a single improperly licensed product in the future.”
Like Japan Crate’s normal subscription box, which offers a monthly selection of Japanese candy to subscribers, the Doki Doki Crate offers a monthly selection of “cute” items. The subscription plan costs US$30 per month.
Japan Crate is offering refunds with shipping for the February box to anyone who wishes to return the product. Those interested should e-mail [email protected] The company also told ANN is it offering refunds with shipping for the January box as well, but the company has not confirmed if it is offering refunds for the December box.
“Although we did not manufacture any of the product in question, we are taking full responsibility for this,” Sconzo said. “We should have done our due diligence and requested additional documentation for authenticity verification, and for that reason we deeply apologize for what has happened.”
Japan Crate has also provided ANN with the following statement:
We in no way support unauthentic merchandise, and it’s extremely unfortunate that those items were sent by us. We are a relatively young company, and we moved into a new realm of product in hopes of sharing more fun with our subscribers. Unfortunately, we were new to the space and doing the best we could to source quality items, but sadly caught onto the situation too late. We are working very hard to repair the trust with our fans, and I believe the next few crates will be a great example of what’s to come.
Thanks to Marci-Joy Clark for the news tip.