15 March 2012

TFCC Over-Run (aka Runabout) debacle

I wanted to give them a chance to prove that I have been hearing over the years were nerd-rage type exaggerated discontent. I was hoping the nay-sayers would be proven wrong about TFCC (Transformers Collectors' Club; aka FunPub).

However, this latest debacle was the straw that broke the camel's back, and, after 2 days of deliberation, I decided to say something about it in an objective manner (as much as I am able).

The debacle is this: I tried to order Over-Run from the TFCC website (after their servers crashed and came back online) and couldn't do it. Tried a few times. Then 2 days ago, I received 4 boxes of Over-Runs of which 3 were fine and there was 1 empty box.

Yes, one box was completely empty. Devoid of contents. Nada. Zilch.

That's pretty slack, really.

Then the lead up to this boiled to the surface and I thought I should really record this somewhere.

Joining TFCC
In mid Jan 2012, I decided to join TFCC to obtain the exclusive Runamuck figure. This was too good a homage for me to miss.

Tried to register a number of times and just could not get confirmation. Called FunPub in the US from HK 2 times to get it sorted.

BotCon Box Set
In late Jan 2012, I tried to purchase the BotCon box set. Went through the same exercise as above. As before, transactions appeared to have gone through, but there was no email confirmation and my CC was never charged, which again meant that the transaction did not go through.

Again, I had to call the US from HK (and Singapore) on 3-4 occasions where they tried to bill me unsuccessfully on my HSBC, then AMEX, then E's HSBC card. All the transactions couldn't go through (on CCs that are perfectly fine to use and far from overdrawn). On hindsight, it was probably a grievous mistake to provide details of 3 of the family's credit cards!

Few days later, bing!, the transaction went through, I don't know how.

This above recounted here 'live' on the OZ Formers Boards.

Ordering Over-Run
Tried to order Over-Run in early Feb 2012.

First, their servers completely crashes. As reported and documented here (OTCA), here (TFW2005) and here (Seibertron).

After they are up again, I experienced more of the same as recounted above. Again, I had to call the US from HK another 2-3 times to sort out the order (which was not sorted).

In a panic, I asked a friend in Australia and another friend in the US to help me order Over-Run. They kindly agreed and I am very touched. Such was my dismally low confidence in FunPub that I needed to hedge my bets to have peace of mind that if something else goes wrong with either one's order, I might still end up with at least 1 Over-Run.

Like I said above, in the end, these came.... ?

Credit Card Fraud
So after all that, I finally secured my Runamuck, Runabout and BotCon set and all's well with the world, yes? No, not really.

In mid Feb 2012, I got a call from my bank to inform me that 2 fraudulent transactions have been made on my CC and they would like to confirm whether I have made them.

These were the transactions:

[1] "Strawberry.net" - USD$417
[2] "Merchandise" - USD$589

What in the world are those. Nope, I didn't make them.

I talked about it here. And for a more holistic account of how many other people has had their CCs hacked and defrauded after purchasing from FunPub, see here.

Bank has to cancel my CC and reissue a new one and we all know how much of a hassle that is (to eg redirect payments, renew standing instructions, put it on file with eBay, PayPal, Yahoo, etc, etc).

I subsequently found out that every-single-person that I personally know and who has ordered something from TFCC this year has had their CCs hacked or defrauded, some with items as colourful as 'Barnes and Noble purchase'.


All the above is almost too much excitement for me and right now, I have decided to jump on the boat with all the other collectors who will not renew their membership next year... 

... unless TFCC comes up with exclusive that are as kick-ass as this year's. I know, I'm a bitch for punishment, yeah?


  1. OMG! You seriously?! Sigh, I also my bank card hit also. And your extra over-run.... Hotspot17

    1. hey buddy, no worries, I will still take it! I won't be so evil as to play you out... =)

  2. Have you contacted TFCC about the empty box? Are they going to replace it?

    1. Yes, I have contacted them about the empty box. They said there were going to replace it and yesterday I got an email confirmation that something has been shipped out to me. Fingers crossed for now.

  3. I've been reading about this over at Seibertron and it really sucks for you guys. I was actually about to join that site a few months ago and glad now that I didn't. All of the stories about their poor reputation and bad customer service, attitude and two left guns, ect really put me off of something I was already off since in the first place the price didn't justify a couple magazines and exclusive.

    I wonder why something that's on every single Transformers toy box or card would be such a horribly run place. That place should be huge and well taken care of with a shitload of members. But oh well. I'd just rather go to Botcon instead. Man, I miss it so much.

    1. Yes, the price for overseas collectors are even worst than for US-based collectors. The shipping is just out of this world, often costing about 3/4 the price of the toy itself. To be honest, I have resisted joining for a very long time, close to a decade. I came very close to caving in for "Games of Deception" in 2007 and again when they did the exclusive Punch/ Counterpunch.

      This year, there were just too many things that were tempting, so I decided to take the plunge.

      You're absolutely right that its terrible that something on every TF package is so terribly run. I've heard though, that they only have about 10 staff.

  4. Honestly, I can understand how you must feel. Last year, Sony had that hacking issue that thankfully did not go as far as this issue has gone. That, and the Predaking (MISB, near C-10 box) that I told you about almost never came to be because I had gotten a message that my card declined that order (even though it was not true in the end).

    But despite that... I 100% agree with you on your decision. They should have put up a stronger security when it came to credit/debit cards, and they should have been more careful with their QC (as they did state a previous issue with the guns for one of their sets). (Besides, for me, I think for me, it'll have to be a combiner set. The Seacon set looked pretty nice to me.)

    1. I think QC has been an issue for Hasbro/ Takara for close to 5-6 years now. I wonder why though, with technology more advance than it used to be 25 years ago, that the QC issues are so much more marked than back in the 80s where their products are really top-notch.

      The only TFCC exclusives I really cared about are Alpha Trion, Punch/ Counterpunch, and most of this year's exclusives. The rest, I really don't get too excited by. heh.

    2. I have to agree with you. I had a QC issue with the very last (for the time being) Hasbro-based Transformer I had bought. And I was surprised about the same when it came to Takara Tomy... But now I am just hoping that they will have this issue corrected before they decide to reissue Fortress Maximus. (Then again, I wonder if it was my luck when it came to both G1 Optimus Prime toys I had broke. Same leg. Not sure if the Bumblebee toy I bought was a QC issue or not.)

      Also, Punch/Counterpunch is definitely the only one that has caught my interest (as I liked the way the Seacons looked in their packaging). But, then again, I am also hoping Takara Tomy will consider doing an Encore of him. :p

  5. Really sorry to hear that you've gone through all this dude with the added icing of also having being the victim of CC fraud. :(

    I myself was so very close to actually signing up for the 1st time in order to obtain the Battle Charger brothers, even going so far as to consider using my Father's CC as it was likely going to take too long for me to obtain a Visa Debit card; I ended up deciding not to go ahead with it (In order to afford a wedding gift for 1AZRAEL1 & his Fiancée) and I'm sort of glad that I dodged those many bullets.

    I think for the utter content that has been shown towards it's customers, FunPub are really going to have to pull out something amazing (And employ PayPal!!!) before they're ever going to win back the support they once had... Do you reckon it could be done?

    P.S. I dig the new layout too dude! :)

    1. hey Hursti, yup, the most annoying thing is really the CC fraud. I can't believe the number of things I have to update and then renew, change details for just because of the CC fraud issue. One of the things was the auto-payments for my website domain "HeroicDecepticon.com" which only auto-renews every 2 years. Imagine if I had forgotten that and lost the domain name. I'd be seriously pissed off.

      It's really good that you didn't use your dad's CC. Don't know what would have happened.

      I just cannot understand why they don't use PP, really. It's all very odd to me.

      Thanks and glad that you liked the new layout!

  6. You know, I'll bite... Why did you want four of them? ;)

    1. It was a system glitch on their part I think?
      Anyway, I sold the extras to a buddy in Singapore and a toy-shop owner friend in HK. The final piece, I'll going to consign at a shop in HK and try to amortise the amount I spent on the Runabout I'm going to keep.


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