Hey Hey Thursday #03 – Shopping for figures online

figma Miku Append

Pre-orders are up, which store would you recommend for a guaranteed hassle-free online shopping experience?

I normally visit AmiAmi for smaller items like figmas and Nendoroids and pre-order from them. That figma on the cover photo arrived at my doorstep, err, lobby, September 6, it was shipped September 2 (Friday), pretty fast in my opinion, since that’s just about 2 business days. I’ve never had a bad experience with AmiAmi and they have been prompt when answering emails. They mark their items with a certain percentage off and some say that it’s actually lower than other online shops. I also have a Hobby Search account but I have yet to try ordering from them.

I’m too chicken to buy scale figures online because of the horrendous stories I hear about our local customs’ fees. I’ve actually been a victim once with their rather dubious, top of head computations of taxes and surcharges. It’s a good thing that after that incident, I found a reputable seller locally. Even though some items arrive a few weeks after its release, I don’t have to worry that I have to make that trip to the post office and spend extra just to get the item that they are holding hostage. 0_o

I hope you’ll tell your stories about where you get your figures, games, merchandise, etc. online. Do you have to deal with problems regarding your orders with local customs? You can share them all here. ^^

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15 Responses to “Hey Hey Thursday #03 – Shopping for figures online”

  1. Fabienne says:

    Im buying most of the figure stuff at AmiAmi,I like their customer support and the prices, albeit the shipping is a bit pricier than at the other shops I have to say. Hobbylink is my second favorite shop, Hobbysearch is also reliable and has a good customer menue, but I dislike the way they handle the cancelation of orders.

    I have to deal with customs when the stuff cost more than 25€. I don’t want to wait for my figures longer than necessary, so I accept it.
    The postman always brings the packages to my home and collects the fee, for regular priced figures they always want 12-15€ from me.
    It sucks but it can’t be helped ^^.

    1. xine says:

      Didn’t really know that AmiAmi’s shipping fee is higher than other shops.

      12-15€ on top of shipping fees? That’s a lot! 0_o

      1. Fabienne says:

        haha, no no, the 12-15€ are the custom fees ;)

        With the price of a figure + shipping + fees I just save a few € in comparison to a local shop, but the shorter waiting is an advantage for me.

  2. Nix says:

    I live in Australia and have never had to pay “customs” I hear ppl talk about them all the time and very interested in WHY they have to and why I don’t. Then again the Aussie Dollar is crap so i guess I am paying for it that way lol

    I buy from all the major online stores. AmiAmi and Mandarake are my first daily stops as well as a proxy buyer in Japan for Yahoo.jp auctions ^_^

    1. xine says:

      Hi Nix! Thanks for dropping by.

      It’s a good thing that you don’t have to pay customs fees. I’m not really sure if they have any basis whatsoever when they ask for extra fees. Probably when they think that the package has something valuable inside, then they ask for extra fees? Australian dollar is slightly better than USD so I guess it’s not that bad. ^^

      I’ve also tried proxy buying and it was okay. I was so excited to get figma Mio and paid extra only to find out that there’s another release just a few months after. ^^;

  3. h4mster says:

    I never bought anything from an online store that is based overseas..I just can’t stand for the time it takes to ship the item right to my house :D Luckily lots of local online seller here that could provide the toy that I am looking for ^^

    1. xine says:

      It’s nice that you have reputable sellers locally. There are a few shops here that I’ve already purchased something from but I think they’re more expensive than buying online.

  4. Nopy says:

    The three main stores I shop with are AmiAmi, Hobby Search, and HobbyLink Japan. I have never had a problem with any of them and their communication with customers is prompt and professional.

    I haven’t had any issues with customs fees or taxes, which is good because there are no stores here that sell figures (unless you count bootlegs).

    1. xine says:

      AmiAmi, Hobby Search and HLJ are quite popular with collectors. Nice to know that they have a good customer service.

      Ah, bootlegs. We have a lot of that here too, sometimes even in expos/cons. 0_o

  5. chubbybots says:

    I usually can get most of the stuff in SG, but sometimes the local sellers tend to jack up the prices a bit too much I’ll get from Amiami or HLJ. So far no problems from them ^^

    1. xine says:

      Yup, local sellers set their prices way too high sometimes. I guess they get most of their sales from new collectors and those who don’t know any better. ^^; Shops in SG have a better selection and some are priced lower than our local stores.

  6. Hoshiko says:

    I always order my figures from local online stores these days. Lucky for me, the prices are reasonable. It’s easier to do that because then I don’t have to deal with the custom fees and bad EMS delivery service. I once had to track down where’s my Nendoroid when I ordered from an online store that is based overseas. If I didn’t, my package would’ve never reached me (cuz it was nicely kept in a drawer at post office. huh.). I would’ve been charged custom fees too but for some reason, they didn’t.

  7. Kxan says:

    It depends.

    If you have luck and the total amount of figures is reasonnable, you can escape custom fees :)
    But sometimes you are tough luck : it took my Holo nearly 4 weeks just because the custom intercepted her and reclaim me 20% of her value :x

    One great way to have what you want without being stolen by custom fees is to use Mandarake : they garantee your figure is not a fake and they underestimate its value (for a 7000 Yen figure theu declared 800 Yens :) and they send it to you using SAL registered so you can check where your item is :)

    Great deal !

    1. xine says:

      Hello Kxan, thanks for stopping by.
      Lol. Yeah, I think luck is really a factor too. I recently purchased some books and dvds and got taxed pretty badly for it. I’m sorry for your Holo, at least she’s now with you.

      Haven’t tried using SAL though. How long do you usually wait when you use SAL?

      1. Kxan says:

        For France, it takes something like 2 to 3 weeks if it manages to avoid the custom. But if it is not registered (no sign to get your item), it can be lost (one of mine got her way back and forth and I had to pay extra shipping fees just because my postal agency forgot to notice me when it arrived).
        Most of the sites propose the SAL registered, and it is the default for all Mandarake shipment, but it is also a bit more expensive (for a 1/7, the SAL registered formula is nearly 1000 Yens more expensive than the SAL unregistered formula). And of course, as it is SAL, you have a chance to avoid custom fees -EMS and DHL have always made me paid the custom fees plus some administration fees (in some case it doubles the custom)…
        Still, you have a trustfull tracking with them, so I guess it depends on : how precious your order is, how big (SAL has a limit in weight) and how expensive (the more you pay, the higher the custom fees will be).

        I wish you a nice luck :)

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