By Melissa Alexandria
Ok, so as many of you likely know, I have a thing for buying and trading expensive dice. Recently I bought a pair of Mammoth Ivory Nickel Silver Inlayed dice from Artisan Dice for over $2,300. However, this wasn’t my first, and it certainly won’t be my last, expensive purchase. A few of my friends remarked that it was “risky” and “weren’t you scared to spend that much money” on something that I might not get? When I shared with them how I protected myself, they encouraged me to share it here to the DMC as well.
This is *not* about Artisan Dice, Level Up Dice, or any other specific company but rather a general op-ed offering my humble advice on what works for me. Obviously, I also can’t guarantee your results, and you should always do your own due diligence and never extend yourself in a way that makes you financially or emotionally uncomfortable. The dice in the picture for reference are Level Up’s Damascus Steel & Artisan Dice’s aforementioned Mammoth Ivory. I am going to walk you through some “real life” examples of what I did on this most recent purchase.
My first bit of advice is to do your research within our great DMC community. What experiences have others had? When, how, and for what? Look for warning flags and areas you might want to avoid or mitigate your risk. This is a great community and a terrific resource. In this case I was considering spending $2000+ on a set of dice from a maker that has had some issues with both delivery, timing, and quality control particularly in the past, and I’d used DMC to both do my research and to find and speak with past customers. Whether I believe they have turned things around or not is irrelevant when we are talking about “my” money, so I wanted safeguards.
After that checking with the community, look into the company you are considering purchasing from: what is their policy on customer satisfaction, guarantees, and returns/refunds and exchanges? If it’s not clearly spelled out for you, ask questions and get it in writing (email is fine, it doesn’t have to be an actual letter). Do, however, make sure that the terms are spelled out clearly and specifically to your proposed purchase. In this case I contacted the shop owner directly. I asked how long it was going to take from payment to delivery. I was told 6 weeks. I asked if he had faith in his ability to deliver, and he said he did. I then said “Fair enough. I know that custom work often involves complications, so I’ll even allow for extra time. But would you guarantee that I will have my dice completed to my satisfaction of quality within 10 weeks, or I am entitled to a full refund?” He agreed, and this was all conducted in writing.
I would always recommend large purchases be made with a credit card. This is frankly your best bet to avoid all manner of complications. Specifically, you want their muscle for buyers protection. Again, if you aren’t sure, ask! In this case I felt comfortable about purchase protection for 30 day issues, but this was 6-10 weeks! So I called my credit card company and asked “If I buy something with your card and have a written/email agreement that it be delivered to my satisfaction within 10 weeks or I am entitled to a full refund and the company gives me an issue, will you have my back?” The credit card company said “we got you.” So I asked that this be annotated in the record of my call, and I proceeded.
I outlined my expectations to the owner, and again without placing any blame or giving attitude just plainly stated what I would expect from this transaction, and the protections I had in place. He acknowledged his understanding and agreed to the terms of sale (again in writing!).
Finally be ready to ‘walk away’, if any of these protections weren’t able to be landed, and/or we hit the 10 week mark…I would have pulled the plug at once…both by notifying the company and then my credit card company as needed.
My order was then placed, and, of course, I kept the records, but throughout the process I was updated on each step and in 7 weeks I had my dice (a one-week delay for custom work is not bad!). They are amazing, and I love not only that I have a new heirloom quality set for my collection, but that I had a worry-free amazing experience, completely comfortable in my purchase.
So, that’s it! I hope this helps some of you who might be considering big purchases from *any* of the dice manufacturers out there. Let’s face it, most of the companies are small operations, and while they mean well, sometimes things happen.
I know I post a lot of pictures of dice, some expensive and some not so much, but I am always careful about my decisions.
Lastly I want to state:
– This is not about any specific company
– This is regarding purchases direct from a company, your options (and risk) with person-to-person or Kickstarter type purchases become a lot more complicated and risky (for the record I often use Paypal ‘goods and services,’ and I usually run that through a credit card for 2 layers of protection).
Hope this helps.