On Friday, October 30, a friend of mine was nice enough to drop by my house to let me borrow clothing for an event the next day–a Halloween-related tea party. She was even nicer, and brought with several of her Volks ball-jointed dolls so that I could see them in person. I had just recently attended a ball-jointed doll meetup for our area, curious to see Volks dolls in the Super Dollfie and Mini Super Dollfie sizes, but I still had questions. It’s lovely to see other people’s dolls, and everyone at the meetup was very nice, but I was too anxious about harming someone’s precious possession to hold, pose, and really examine the dolls I was most curious about. It’s much easier to do something like this with a friend, who knows you better and thus has more trust…and it’s less embarrassing to ask stupid questions!
That night, I was already browsing auctions for dolls–and lo and behold, there was an auction for a doll I very much liked–Volks “Nagisa in Preschool” Mini Super Dollfie, originally released at the Hometown Dolpa Osaka 3 on March 18, 2007. The auction was for a full-set doll, meaning that she was complete: body, head, faceup, eyes, wig, outfit, papers, etc. The description said that she had been purchased and then kept in a dark place–at least the description that I could translate with my sub-par Japanese skill.
I decided to use Crescent Shop to make my purchase, although normally I bid on Yahoo!Japan auctions via Celga. I did this because Crescent Shop uses a real-time bidding system, and almost every step of their process is automated. Celga uses a system that is reliant on one of their employees manually completing the tasks you request via form or email. The auction was ending in less than 14 hours, and I didn’t want to just hope that someone would place my bid–I wanted to know and see results immediately.
Signing up with Crescent Shop was easy–I filled out their form and was logged in in a matter of minutes. Placing my deposit was easy, too–in the auctions part of the website there was a button to add to the deposit, and once I clicked on it it walked me through a process to transfer money from my PayPal account to theirs. The deposit was immediately credited to my account, allowing me to place bids on Yahoo!Japan auctions via the automatic proxy system.
The major error in my transaction with Crescent Shop was due to my negligence. I somehow skipped over the details in their deposit section that stated the deposit could not be applied towards the final balance owed. In my experience with Celga, who requires a 50% deposit, the deposit is put towards the final balance–making it slightly in my favor if I leave a higher deposit for an item I am fairly sure I will win. My ending bills are much less because I’ve put more money upfront. I prefer to do this just in case the fees are higher than I expected–it’s easier for me to come up with a little bit extra than to suddenly be facing a giant bill! Crescent Shop requires only a 20% deposit, but this deposit WILL NOT be applied towards the final balance! It will either be kept in your account or refunded to you once the auction(s) are fully paid. (This is your choice.)
Not fully aware of this, I placed an extremely large deposit with Crescent Shop. I didn’t realize my mistake until it was time to pay for the auction. I tried to send them a message asking for the deposit to be applied towards my (massive! ;___; ) bill, but they would not make an exception. It was a very stressful experience trying to pay for the auction, but it was no-one’s fault but my own. I can understand that they couldn’t make an exception for me without opening their well-organized system up to the chaos of making exceptions for anyone who doesn’t pay attention to the rules. Luckily I was able to find a way to pay for the auction before incurring penalties. I received an automatically-generated receipt when my payment was purchased–along with the PayPal message.
Once the auction was paid for it moved from auctions to shipping, and I was able to request a shipment (despite the fact that my item had not arrived at their location). This meant that I was automatically emailed. I also followed the instructions to receive a refund of my deposit. It was processed almost instantaneously, although I did have to wait several days for the funds to hit my bank account from PayPal. (This kind of delay is normal and not related to Crescent Shop.)
As soon as my item arrived and the shipping charge was calculated, I received an automatic email letting me know that my package was ready to ship. I paid the shipping charges on the website via their system, and received a receipt from PayPal and a receipt from Crescent Shop. The next day I received another automatic email letting me know that my package was shipped, including the tracking number.
My package arrived only a few days later, packaged wonderfully! The outer shipping box was massive, but still keeping the general shape of the doll box inside. The doll box was padded within the shipping carton with lots of newspaper, and the doll box was covered with a layer of bubble wrap. Everything was secured with duct tape–duct tape holding the bubble wrap around the doll box, and duct tape and a plastic “belt” like a cable tie, secured down with more duct tape. It was very well-prepared for its oversea journey!
The communication I received from Crescent Shop was amazing. They kept me updated every step of the way–whenever a status changed on the website, I was notified immediately. When I posted a question on their message board, I received a response within 24 hours. It doesn’t get more prompt than that!
The fees I was charged were very, very reasonable. Beyond the auction price, I paid 250¥ for the bank wire fee and an incredibly low service charge of only 10.5%! (This is NOT their flat rate for their service charge, but what my overall rate was after the calculations through their tiered system.) Domestic and international shipping were my only other costs. The service very specifically detailed their fees in all receipts I received, so I always knew exactly what I was paying for.
Exchange Rate: 9/10
The overall ¥ to $ rate is not very good at the moment, but that’s not the fault of Crescent Shop. I felt their rate was very reasonable–usually only slightly less than the conversion quoted by xe.com. The only reason I deducted a point was due to the constant update every day at noon Japan time. I had no way to estimate how much I’d be paying at any given moment, because the exchange rate changed constantly.
I feel that Crescent Shop provided an exemplary level of service. Their automated system made it simple for me to know what was going on with my purchase every step of the way–without having to ask. I ran into no snags–my bid was placed with no time delay, my question was answered in a timely manner, my payment was recognized immediately, my package was shipped promptly, and my parcel was well packed.
I chose EMS shipping, as that is my preferred choice when buying from Japan. Crescent Shop fulfilled their duties by packing my parcel securely and posting it quickly. The box arrived in only a few days, in very good condition.
Overall Satisfaction: 10/10
I am very, very pleased with my transaction with Crescent Shop. Other than the deposit blunder, which was entirely my fault, it was an incredibly smooth transaction. I will certainly do business with them again.