Tuesday, 16 June 2020

COMC is Losing the Trust of their Customers

I recently purchased a number of cards off Ebay and elsewhere that I had shipped to COMC. In case you didn't know, COMC offers a mailbox service where you can have cards shipped there and they will receive them and them to your portfolio for a fee. You can either resell them on COMC, or ship them to you.

Even with the additional shipping to my house, using the COMC mailbox service frequently ends up being a cheaper option for shipping cards bought in the US. The cost of shipping between the US and Canada is so expensive that packaging a bunch of shipments together with COMC and shipping them as one bundle ends up being the better option.

That is, until lately.

Because of the pandemic and the shelter-at-home orders in Washington state, COMC has been moving slowly when it comes to processing packages, whether they are arriving at COMC or being shipped out. In fact, they've been extremely slow, to the point where there is a long thread at Blowoutforums on the matter. The slowdown at COMC has not just affected shipping; people are having a hard time getting any response from COMC customer service, whether by email, phone, or social media. It seems that their staff has been whittled down to nothing.

With that in mind, I sent a tweet to COMC asking if their mailbox service was still running. They told me yes. So, I went ahead and used COMC as my address for a bunch of Ebay purchases. That was awhile ago. Quite awhile ago, in fact. I have packages having shown as delivered on June 4th. Today is June 16th. 

I sent an email last week to COMC regarding the packages to ask when they would be processed to my mailbox. I figured there would be a long delay, but I also figured they would be working on it at some point since the mailbox service is operational as that is what they told me via Twitter. I received no response. I waited a few days, and sent a second email. I received no response.

So, I posted a long series of tweets lambasting COMC for their lack of customer service. Suddenly, I got an email response. It was a boiler plate copypasta email, which is the email I ought to have received when I had first contacted them awhile ago. They also replied to me with a similar cut-and-paste effort on Twitter.

The email says to expect delays of up to two weeks. Well, the first package is shown as having arrived June 4th, so two weeks will be the 18th. I'm not holding my breath.

It seems clear that COMC continued to offer services that they ought to have shutdown in the wake of the pandemic and their lack of staffing. If they could not fulfill the mailbox service in a reasonable amount of time, they simply should have told me so and I would have found another shipping option. Now, I am stuck in the position of waiting for COMC to update my port, but if I wait too long I will no longer have buyer protection from Ebay.

Worse yet is COMC's lack of customer service. They continue to advertise their Ebay auction service on their Twitter feed, even though that service is also practically broken because of delays of shipping cards to and from your COMC portfolio. Yet, even though they have a social media manager running their Twitter account, they do not have a customer service person answering emails. They also shutdown the phone line at their office, even though telephone customer support can easily be outsourced to staff working from home.

When I called out their Twitter feed for continuing to post advertisements while not responding to customer emails, they told me the Twitter person is different from the person who answers emails. It seems to me that it would be incredibly easy to stop posting advertisements on Twitter, and have that person help answer emails. The only reason not to do this is that you know that you are not going to be able to help your customers, so you figure that people are going to be angry anyway and there is no point in dealing with them. This is absolutely, unequivocally the wrong way to treat your customers.

Things have gotten so bad that people on Blowoutforums are starting to ask how COMC has their cards insured, in case something happens to the company. People are afraid of their cards disappearing. Others are saying they are expecting these sorts of delays and lack of customer service until 2021. 2021! It's only June! Now, all of this may be an overreaction, but the point is not that COMC is going to explode tomorrow or something. No, the point is that people don't trust them anymore. There are so many examples of COMC being a complete mess now that you really need to read the thread on Blowoutforums to get the full affect.

Even long after this pandemic is over, I will not be using COMC's mailbox service in the future, even if it means paying extra to ship cards directly to Canada. Besides, there are multiple other mailbox services for reshipping anyway, that accept all sorts of packages besides cards.

I would also hesitate to send any high dollar cards to COMC, simply because I no longer trust them with my property. If I send stuff to them, it will be cards that if they happen to vaporize, I wouldn't be out too much money. I would never, ever send them anything valuable.

COMC has been careless with the trust of their customers. It sucks, frankly. I love using COMC and I've been a fan of their service for years. But you could use this company as an example in a college course for what not to do when it comes to managing customer service during a crisis. 

If they had just maintained adequate customer service from the beginning, they would be in a much better position with their customers when the pandemic ends. Their Twitter feed ought to have been used as a customer service communications center, not a place to advertise their auction services that don't work as advertised right now anyway. They should have outsourced telephone service. They need to answer emails within 48 hours. They screwed this up. They'll blame the pandemic, but it's your response to difficult times that defines what you are. If you want to be a business that will take short term gain by sacrificing long-term trust, then follow COMC's lead.

I hope COMC does better, bounces back, and uses this as a learning opportunity to improve customer support and that the company grows. I want them to succeed because I like the service they offer. That's what is even more frustrating. If I hated them, it would be good riddance. But I want this service to work because it is a great place to buy cards. But they need to improve, and I no longer trust that they will treat their customers well. That trust they may not be able to win back.


  1. I sent an email to them on Monday regarding a shipment request I made in March. Haven't heard anything. Figured I'd give them until Friday... then shoot them another email. This is definitely starting to freak me out. I completely understand that they're probably working with a skeleton crew, but a simple response would have put my mind at ease. And they definitely should not be offering a service that they cannot currently fulfill.

    1. I agree. I think people are willing to be reasonable because it's a pandemic and we know there is a lot of additional stress. I work in supermarket management, and the first few weeks were insane. So I get it.

      But COMC simply had to do two things here. [1] Continue customer service by email, phone, and social media and [2] Not offer services they cannot fulfill in a reasonable amount of time. That may even include telling people to stop sending all packages altogether in April or something, so they can get caught up. Or not accepting mailbox submissions. Or not letting anyone ship their cards out except by priority mail, or something. Instead, they ignore their customers while continuing to offer services they seem to have no hope of catching up on.

  2. They also finally started processing my mailbox service cards, exactly two weeks to the date that they arrived. So, when COMC says it may take up to two weeks, what they mean is that it will absolutely take two weeks.