Italicized comments are issue topics. REPLY: Response made Jan 8, 2010 by and on behalf of OMG customers re: The Official Michael Jackson Opus
1: Barnes and Noble selling The Official Michael Jackson Opus for less than pre-order price of $165.
REPLY: (a) Original OMG advertised pre-order special was 50% off regular retail of $330.00. Regular retail is now $249. if purchased from the Kraken Opus website, $229 with FREE shipping if purchased through Sony's Official Michael Jackson website and $225.00 if purchased through TicketMaster. Barnes and Noble has, in fact, increased its price from $134.99 with FREE shipping to $224.99 with FREE shipping.
REPLY: (b) Amazon has had the MJ Opus listed for pre-order since approx. Dec 26th at a pre-order price of $156.87 + FREE shipping. Nothing has been said about Amazon.com.
2: Shipping issues:
REPLY: Many countries are still without word as to their delivery date or were provided a date which has come and gone. Other customers have made MULTIPLE attempts by MULTIPLE means, short of a carrier pigeon, to communicate with Opus UK, either with NO response or a returned 'unable to deliver' message. Russia, for example, has posted online their multiple emails to OMG--a total of 8 attempts beginning Dec 16th. Mexico, South America, Ireland, Georgia, and other countries are still without communications, but others, such as Germany, France, Netherlands, and Japan, will receive a special edition Nate Giorgio print as an apology for the delay in their delivery. The following countries are finally now receiving their Opuses, but well after Dec 28th: (Jan. 5th) Belgium, Denmark, Germany; (Jan. 6th) Czech Republic (with no gloves), Estonia, Greece, Poland, Romania. Thirty-two (32) days have now passed since the original delivery was to have begun and eighteen (18) days since your informal communication.
3: FedEx the best delivery company in the world.
REPLY: Well, Christmas has come and gone. What is the reason for the continued delay? Would Fed Ex agree this is their fault if asked?
4: Customs blamed for delay:
REPLY: As communicated by OMG's Publishing Director, orders were received "from over 100 countries". We have communications from customers in 35 countries. Would Customs in all these countries agree they were at fault?
5: The biggest delay took place in the UK where weather delayed the arrival of the ship from China, Customs delayed it some more, and then weather contributed to a further delay.
REPLY: True. Weather did play a big part in the delay for December deliveries. There are still a few UK customers, as well as US customers, who have yet to receive their Opuses. What is the reason for those continued delays?
6: In spite of all the above THE MAJORITY OF BUYERS HAVE RECEIVED THEIR OPUS' (sic) AS PROMISED BEFORE CHRISTMAS.
REPLY: The majority of Opus Media Group's customers who purchased their Official Michael Jackson Opus, many who pre-ordered as early as August 15th, DID NOT HAVE THEIR OPUS AS PROMISED BEFORE CHRISTMAS.
7: One glove vs. two advertised:
REPLY: Since OMG's Press Release on August 12, 2009, TWO gloves have been pictured, advertised and their purpose "to be worn whilst viewing your copy to help maintain its mint condition" was communicated through various highly visible articles such as Rolling Stone (09/25/09) in addition to the Dec. 18th communication from OMG to all customers. It was not an unintentional error on the part of someone administering the website. Furthermore, Michael Jackson did not wear an ordinary museum-style cotton glove at any time during his career.
8: Purchase was to include a physical Augmented Reality card (aka Opus Reality or Opus Augmented Reality card) to be used in conjunction with a webpage with update content.
REPLY: Video August 12, 2009 Karl Fowler on NBC Today show discussing the OAR. Ticketmaster screen grab of DVD and OAR to be included. Again, a change in the original product purchased was never communicated to your customers. It is also still being advertised. (Type OPUS in search)
Quotes from TicketMaster website:
· Every Michael Jackson Opus will be accompanied by a digital Opus Touch & Turn™ DVD, allowing you to view and interact with the Opus on your own computer.
· A unique Opus Reality™ card is also included with each Opus, offering an online 3D experience for the exclusive use of Official Michael Jackson Opus owners.
9: Advance in publication funding by MJ fans who pre-ordered:
REPLY: Kraken Opus UK received more than $3.8 MILLION IN ADVANCE OF PUBLICATION! The bottom line is: the items we purchased and the items we have received (or will receive, for those still waiting) are significantly NOT AS ADVERTISED, including, but not limited to significant discrepancies in retail price at the end of the special pre-order period and advertised delivery dates. We agree that the contributors have offered some wonderful sentimental memories and some shared never before revealed glimpses into Michael's life. However, that is irrelevant to the instant complaints of the thousands of fans who bought into this "bait and switch" deal. Furthermore, the instant complaints have absolutely nothing to do with Michael's family, and your attempt to use a "sympathy ploy" to cloud the issues is utterly unprofessional. This is a matter of principle and strictly BUSINESS.
Michael may have been mesmerized with the technology and the idea of an Opus, BUT, he was also a perfectionist and, as such, would have insisted that the final product be free of blatant factual errors, typographical errors, misspelling of the names of many of his fans who contributed artwork, and material damages and defects. Furthermore, YOUR audacious disrespect for, and Kraken Opus' lack of open communication with, his fans, who have become YOUR customers by default, most assuredly would NOT have gone unnoticed by him.
It is clear from his explicit insistence that the book be affordable to his fans, as Michael was keenly aware of the sacrifices that many of his fans made to see him in concert and would make to purchase his Opus. Many of MICHAEL's fans, still in mourning, made sacrifices in a variety of ways -- went without basic necessities, worked overtime, took a second job, and it has even been reported that some ate only bread and water for a month -- to save enough money in time to take advantage of the advertised special pre-order price, knowing they could not afford the then-reported full retail price of $330, and ALL of Michael's fans who pre-ordered the Opus did so based on the grandiose promises made by Karl Fowler on the Today Show and in other prominent advertisements. Those same fans are the ones who provided Kraken Opus UK with the "overwhelming 20,000 pre-order" soundbite, and Kraken Opus UK has been the beneficiary of a tremendous amount of viral advertising because of US. We purchased the Opus with an agreed upon expectation of specific items and customer service, much of which has NOT been realized.
This is not a perfect world. However, with globally advertised documentation, it is the belief of most fans that there are still issues to be resolved.. Therefore, we hereby set forth those unmitigated issues and suggest to you an amicable solution to each, as follows: (1) second glove to complete the PAIR originally advertised; (2) a print, on the same stock paper used for the Opus, of the originally advertised centerfold, namely, Michael's signed Memorial Wall in Los Angeles; (3) a special edition Nate Giorgio print for EVERY customer who did not receive their Opus before Christmas, since this offer was made to customers from only a select few countries of the many affected*; (4) replacement instructions with returns prepaid, for those who have documentation of visible damage to their Opus; (5) corrections page for ALL customers (same stock paper as Opus); and, last but certainly not least, (6) Since OMG's pre-order special price was advertised as 50% of the $330 regular retail price for pre-orders placed between August 12, 2009, and October 27, 2009, and the ACTUAL, CURRENT retail price is $249.00 on the Kraken Opus website, $225 through TicketMaster, $224.99 with FREE shipping at Barnes & Noble, and $156.87 with FREE shipping on the Amazon.com website, the difference between the $190 ($165 + $25 S/H) 50% off special pre-order price paid by those who ordered on or before October 27, 2009, and 50% of Amazon.com's price of $156.87, equal to USD $111.56 [$190 - ($156.87 x 50%)] should be refunded or, alternatively, a refund of the difference between the $190 ($165 + $25 S/H) 50% off special pre-order price paid by those who ordered on or before October 27, 2009, and 50% of Barnes and Nobles' current retail price of $224.99, equal to USD $77.50 [$190 - (224.99 x 50%)] PLUS a special edition Nate Giorgio print.
REPLY: Ordinary donuts are expected to have holes. Premium pastry is expected to have the advertised crème filling -- that's why premium pastry costs more than your average donut.
What is truly disheartening is knowing that Kraken Opus and/or other representatives of Kraken Opus have been reading the comments on sites such as MichaelJackson.com, yet did not have the common courtesy, much less professionalism, to officially communicate with your customers. Your company was well aware of the size of Michael's fanbase, as well as how dedicated his fans are to him. Perhaps a more appropriate motto for retaining loyal customers is to "under promise and over deliver" -- or at least make sure the crème filling isn't missing from the premium pastry you advertise.
REPLY: Regardless, we --the CUSTOMERS who pre-ordered and pre-paid an estimated total of $3.8 MILLION to OMG [20,000 x ($165 + $25 S/H)]-- have been filing complaints, many have been submitted to the FTC.
FANS ADD #12: It appears our Opus books have gone on a significant diet, having lost a total of 11.5 lbs. When pre-ordered, the weight advertised was 38 lbs. and what arrived (for those who have, in fact, received theirs) weighs only 26.5 lbs. When can we expect delivery of the missing 11.5 lbs. of the Michael Jackson Opus?
FANS ADD #13: The Opus we ordered, based on the original advertisement as "the only book approved by Michael Jackson, himself", is not the Opus we received. In fact, it was admittedly changed the book to a tribute -- after receiving an overwhelming 20,000 pre-orders. Therefore, this specific book was never known to Michael Jackson prior to his death, and all pre-orders were placed based on that substantive and provocatively misleading statement by Karl Fowler, thus heightening the urgency of Michael's grieving fans to have something explicitly from THE MAN, himself.
FANS ADD #14 Perhaps, as a token of appreciation for the viral advertising that helped Kraken Opus to receive a record-breaking 20,000 pre-orders, EVERY customer should receive a special edition Nate Giorgio print or a signature page, with signatures of the celebrity contributors, as offered with other Opuses.
This response is written in collaboration with and on behalf of many "disheartened" and disenchanted MJ fans of various nations and many languages, who respectfully disagree with our purchase and anxiously await a courteous, professional and formal reply from Karl Fowler of Kraken Opus UK.
--Summary of sourced documentation
Official sites below
--Kraken Opus/Opus Media Group site: Michael Jackson Opus
--Michael Jackson Official Website (Sony)
--Ticketmaster.com site: Michael Jackson Opus
--Barnes & Noble.com: Michael Jackson Opus
--Amazon.com site: Michael Jackson Opus