Why You Should Be Weary Purchasing From Anovos
If you’re not familiar with Anovos, they are a California company that is licensed by NBC-Universal to produce replicas of props, costumes, and related accessories based on licensed entertainment properties like Star Trek.
I only learned about Anovos after I started dating my husband, a casual trekkie. He’s not into conventions or dressing up, he just enjoys the movies, tv shows, and appreciates the games. He actually started his own web-show on YouTube almost two years ago called Star Trek Games, where he demos how to get old Star Trek games to work on Mac computers and how to win those retrogames. Anyway, in getting to know the Trek universe I learned that if you want to buy a costume or anything like that Anovos is the most well-known seller and they even produce items for the Star Trek movies too.
May — I Pre-Order
So last May I decided to pre-order an expensive new Star Trek item for my husband’s 30th birthday. I remembered him remarking at how cool this jacket worn by Chris Pine and Anton Ylechin in Star Trek Beyond was, and when I saw it was available for pre-order online I wasted no time ordering it. Unfortunately the item was delayed past its original July due date due to some issue with the manufacturer. I remained optimistic though and thought: “no worries, it’ll be a Christmas gift then.” Boy was I wrong.
Come November and yet another delay was announced via e-mail blast to all pre-order customers. Anovos said there was an issue with the buttons and that the jacket would not be coming until sometime in March of 2018, almost a year from the date I ordered the jacket. I had to scramble and figure out a great Christmas present, luckily my husband was pleased with what I bought.
I started feeling like something was up and apparently I wasn’t wrong in being nervous. I began a three month process of checking in with their customer support, which is the weirdest customer support system I’ve ever experienced. You can call, e-mail, or use their online chat support, but as I came to learn e-mail renders no response, calling brings you to a voicemail, and the online chat feature is the only way to get through to anyone.
My husband knew that I had ordered something special and told me it was ok to tell me what it was because he knew it was troubling me. He told me that he didn’t need the jacket and asked if I could still get a refund. Luckily Anovos’ refund policy states that if you request a refund before the pre-order item ships, you will receive a full refund. The sad part is, no amount of checking in got Anovos to honor the refund, ultimately I had to get in contact with Anovos’ CEO.
Why go to such an extreme, and how did I get in touch with the CEO? Here’s the story:
Ring Around The Customer Support
Weekly, for three months I checked in with Anovos’ customer support. I kept getting the same canned response “check-in again in 3-5 business days.” They said they couldn’t send an update to me, that I would need to check-in myself. Unusual and definitely not a good way to encourage repeat purchases, but I did what I had to do. From November to January I would login to the chat support to check the status. Samantha was the most helpful customer support person, chiefly because she actually sent documentation via e-mail of our chat conversations. Reggie was the worst, he made no effort. Alex purports to be a supervisor, but for a supervisor you would think he would escalate the situation. At the three month mark I thought Alex, who said he was a supervisor, would get this issue resolved as is typical, but no. He said he understood my frustration, was doing everything he could, and blamed the finance department for not making movement on the refund.
The Online Conversation About Anovos
If you do an online search for Anovos, one of the related searches is “anovos complaints.” Even if you only type in “anovos,” the search results are dominated by discussion board posts and articles about Anovos being a shady company, issues with honoring refunds, poor customer service, scamming, the list goes on. Even their Better Business Bureau profile is filled with disparaging reviews. The overarching question everyone is trying to find the answer to is “how do i get anovos to refund me?” The discussions on Facebook and Twitter were the most helpful. Through them I learned that Anovos only has one customer support person responding to everyone’s requests. That is really unfair if you ask me. No wonder I kept getting the same three people and Reggie was always so rude.
How I Got My Refund from Anovos
In my online detective work I stumbled upon a post by a man in a Facebook group for a Star Wars Anovos product, and said for seven months he was getting no where with Anovos, but came by the contact information of the CEO and that CEO finally got this man his refund. I reached out to this man and he was so kind. He gladly gave me the CEO’s contact information and wished me luck. Today—Friday, January 12, 2017—I received the full refund, including tax back. I had reached out to the CEO on the 5th.
One Theory On Anovos Not Moving On Refunds Quickly
I don’t know why Anovos is so slow and difficult with issuing refunds, but I came across one theory on the internet. The theory goes something like this: when Anovos posts items for pre-order, they are effectively trying to gage interest, which means they really don’t have the items made or logistics for their production squared away. This theory postulates that we the consumers are effectively the investors and only until Anovos receives enough pre-orders for these items will they begin the process of figuring out production and manufacturing them. I don’t know if this is true, but it’s something I came across in my research.
Suffice to say, if you’re thinking about purchasing anything from Anovos, please think twice.