Friday, January 14, 2011

A Timeline of Events!

I know this timeline is based mostly off of the Narin/Narae problem and does not include the other artists or companies details..... but I hope that it's something to look at if you're having problems keeping the series of events straight, as I do sometimes. 

The following was a e-mail from an awesome person who took the time and effort to create this timeline!


The following information is taken from the locked Narin waiting room thread at DoA. Actual quotes are shown in quotation marks.

Nov 2009: Narindoll changes management. Dollfair is aware of it and opens the pre-holiday ordering period, but does not mention the instability at Narindoll to customers.

Jan-Feb 2010: Customers in the Narin waiting room at DoA complain of no updates and unanswered email.

Feb 6: Catrina's assistant Joan posts an update in the waiting room announcing Narindoll's management change, says Dollfair took a large number of pre-holiday orders but Narin did many of them "wrong", and that Dollfair is "looking at solutions to assist the staff in Korea". It is evident from the gist of Joan's post that Dollfair had been aware of the management change and of quality control issues.

Feb-March 2010: Customers AGAIN complain of lack of updates and unanswered emails and phone calls.

Early April 2010: Some Naraes start to arrive, with quality issues.

April 2010: Bimong's contract with Narindoll expires, and he sues Narindoll in Korean court to get his molds and licenses back. Catrina is aware of the lawsuit but does not inform customers. Bimong claims later that he told her at this time not to sell any of his dolls while the case dragged on. In spite of this, Catrina opens an ordering period for Neo-Narae and Narin Dreamer (which she had received the photos for the previous fall). 

May 17: In response to a request for an update, a customer receives a private email from Catrina saying that Bimong is having all the molds remade and new boxes/certificates produced. No mention of the lawsuit.

June 2010:  A customer is told in another private email from Catrina that "the casting place which makes the dolls for both Bimong and Narin Creative moved and that they planned to start up production again on July 1st or 2nd." Catrina continues to accept Narin orders and opens orders for the Neferti head.

July 10: A customer hears from Catrina that the casting company's building had been damaged in a storm and they had to move, then rewire the new location. They are told that casting will resume July 16. Catrina is still accepting Narin orders.

August passes with no updates from Dollfair, and many complaints from customers about the lack of communication and the 8-month wait.

Sept 2: Speculation arises for the first time that Bimong might be involved in a lawsuit with Narin. One customer has just found out that Bimong's contract with Narindoll had expired in April. Customers are worried and upset. When they try to contact Catrina, they receive an auto-response that Catrina "will fly to Korea in two weeks to help the orders get out". (Note that Catrina did not actually fly to Korea.)

Sept. 15: Catrina posts an update for the first time since Feb. 6. She excuses her non-communication by saying she had moved her studio, and had hired an email answering service which did a poor job. For the first time she admits that Bimong and Narin have been suing each other since April. In spite of the case being up in the air, Catrina had decided to send the money and the April/summer orders to Narindoll's former casting manager, who still had the molds in his possession at that time. At the time of this update, Bimong had  won his suit and regained his licenses to the dolls (and presumably the molds). Catrina says she has the Neferti master mold along with permission to cast Neferti heads for her customers. She says she is trying to get Bimong to send her all the masters so she can cast all the outstanding orders herself (which she had been accepting, against Bimong's supposed instructions, for 5 months). She says, "In hindsight, I wish I'd shut things down months ago." She promises to finally shut down Narin orders and post an update on the Dollfair site. She says she has sent all the money to Korea and can't get it refunded, so she is going to sell her private collection to raise money. She promises more updates and faster responses to emails.

Sept 17: Catrina posts that she is tired and things are difficult, but that she will ship the Neferti heads in October.

Early October passes with no updates and no Nefertis. Catrina is elsewhere on DoA promoting the new Limhwa doll. She does not respond to emails. People who call her phone say it rings on with no answer.

Oct 9: Bimong opens his own website. Customers are concerned about what this means for their outstanding orders. 

Oct 10: Bimong claims on his site that he has had many problems with Dollfair over the past few months, and they owe him "a significant amount of money" which was supposed to go toward the cost of producing the unfulfilled orders. 

Oct 10: Catrina counter-claims, "The truth is that Bimong and his casting company were paid for all orders and he has not delivered one thing to me. Turns out he and his casting manager split the money 50-50 and have not sent me my orders. I have him on record admitting that via SKYPE... He kept asking me to tell everyone he would take responsibility for everything. At this point, I am not going to turn over responsibility for these orders to him." She claims Bimong has no ability to cast, no boxes and no infrastructure, and that no one will work with him, including his faceup artist Day. (This last group of statements is untrue, since Bimong immediately began casting and shipping new orders, and Day is indeed still working with him.)

Catrina posts again the same day, reiterating her claims and saying that Shahti was her idea. She wonders if his site is "a joke" and urges people to boycott his site "to pressure him to finish past orders". She claims he has been "living off the money since April". She goes on excuse her lack of communication by saying that she couldn't handle the email volume and she had lost her voice making phone calls. She says she is selling her doll collection to raise money, and promises to issue refunds.

Oct 10 again: There is discussion of starting a resolution thread in the DoA marketplace, but Catrina posts requesting them not to start one, on the grounds that it would make it harder for her to sell her doll collection. She says she will put her collection up for sale on the Dollfair site. (In fact she did not do this.) She says, "I will not turn over your orders to him and you won't have to deal with him."  (Note that she alternates between urging customers to pressure Bimong to finish their orders, and assuring them that they won't have to deal with him.)

Oct 11: Catrina posts, "If he had made the dolls months ago... we would not be here at all." (Note the apparent contradiction with her series of excuses from May through July, where she said Bimong was unable to make the dolls because he had to refurbish the molds, the casting company had to move, their building needed to be rewired etc.) Catrina claims that Bimong reneged on a promise to make K-3 heads, forcing her to refund customers. ""This is why we have Neferti in production here. It was THE ONLY solution I could come up with to take care of my customers."

Oct 12: Bimong's translator (lovelovedoll) states Bimong's claim that he was not paid most of what he was owed by Dollfair. Bimong promises to fulfill the outstanding orders at his own expense, and asks customers to send their information to him. He gives a time frame of early 2011. 

Oct 12 Catrina responds: ""I'm really glad to see Bimong has taken responsibility and will make the dolls after all." (Note again, the contradiction with her promise to take care of the orders herself.) Catrina says, "The reason we kept assuring people everything was on the way was BECAUSE THIS IS WHAT BIMONG ASKED ME TO TELL CUSTOMERS [caps hers]." She promises to get written confirmation from Narin Creative's president that Bimong was paid in full. (As far as is known, she did not do this.) 

Bimong's translator replies that Bimong was paid a fraction of what he was owed, not enough to cover the costs of production, and says Bimong is willing to take the case to court if necessary.

Oct 14: Catrina says she has six months of SKYPE messages saved as proof that Bimong was paid in full, including joint meetings with Bimong and the casting facility in June. (June was when the facility was supposedly in the process of moving.)

Oct 15: Bimong himself posts for the first time. He claims he told Dollfair to stop selling his dolls between April and October 2010, during the time of the lawsuit. He believes that Dollfair received over $15,000 for the Narin orders, but he was paid only $2000 in May 2010. He says Dollfair is now not allowed to sell his dolls. (No mention of how the Neferti heads fit into all this.)

The Narin waiting room was locked at this point. The following is derived from the Narin Resolution thread in the DoA marketplace, started Oct 16.

Oct 17: Update from Catrina says she is having trouble dealing with the volume of email and that she will start issuing refunds in a few days. It is unclear from Bimong's post of Oct 15 whether Catrina has permission to cast the Neferti heads, but she claims to have permission in writing and plans to proceed. 

Oct 18: Catrina posts "We are casting the Neferti heads now and will have all of them completed by the end of the month." She says refunds will commence in a few days.

Oct 20: Catrina posts that refunding has begun, and that the Neferti casting is going well and will be shipped at the end of the month.

Oct 21: Catrina posts that more refunds will be issued the next day, and that she has contracted with a well-known faceup artist to do the faceups on the heads.  (The faceup artist later confirms the contract, but says that Catrina did not in fact ship her any heads to paint.)

Oct 22: Catrina promises that most of the people in the Wiki will receive their refunds today, and says Paypal has advised her to use a method of refunding which is complex and expensive. She blames customers for sending her confusing information, and for infecting her email with a virus. She warns a customer against trying to order Neferti directly from Bimong, saying she has the only master and the customer will not be able to get a head from her later. (In fact Bimong did have his own Neferti molds and began shipping heads to his own customers in November.)

Oct 23: Catrina promises that blank heads will ship at the end of October, and painted ones a week after that. She suggests that customers should count themselves lucky that they are getting refunds from her instead of having their orders turned over to Bimong.

Oct 28: Catrina posts that most refunds have been sent, and the remaining few will go out the following day. 

Oct 30: Catrina posts that still more refunds will go out shortly. She says that it has taken so long because she has had to comb through her records to see whether people were refunded long ago or changed their orders. The Neferti heads are promised to ship in early November.

Two weeks pass with no updates, no responses to emails, no further refunds, and no Nefertis.

Nov 16: Catrina says that she has had the flu, complains of how diligently she has worked for her customers, and says she is training someone to answer emails. She says all refunds have been issued except for two Russian orders. Neferti heads will ship this week and she will send tracking numbers.

Nov 18: Catrina tells a customer in a private email that the Neferti heads are being boxed up for shipping that very day.

Nov 27: Catrina emails a customer that the Neferti heads are being held up due to magnet problems and that she hopes to ship out the heads at the end of November.

Nov. 29: Last update from Catrina. Her assistant Joan quit to take care of an elderly mother. Catrina has been training two people to handle the emails but they are unsatisfactory. Her family is helping her go through the records, get things organized, and answer emails. She says that half the Neferti heads were shipped last week, and the rest will ship this week. She says they were delayed due to defective magnets in the headcaps. She promises that refunds are nearing completion. She hints strongly that Bimong has mental health problems.

Dec 7: A customer receives an email from a Dollfair employee saying Catrina is sick. No one has received a tracking number or a Neferti head. Another customer posts that Dollfair informed her that her order and money was forwarded to Bimong (against her wishes), but they could not produce proof of this. Bimong claimed not to have received the order or money from Dollfair.

Dec 8: Bimong posts, and reiterates information about the termination of his contract with Narindoll and the lawsuit. He says he asked Catrina not to sell his dolls between April and August.  He also says that Dollfair paid $4000 (of about $15,000 owed) to the Narin casting manager.  $2000 of this went to Bimong and was supposed to cover not only some of the Narins, but 20 dolls for "a French artist" (Lillycat/Cerisedolls). He claims Catrina then changed her mind about doing the dolls for Lillycat and wanted the full $2000 to go to the Narin order.  He claims that Catrina reneged on two agreements, for which he has witnesses: She was not supposed to sell dolls by other artists, and she promised him the profits from the Neferti order (which he did give her permission to cast). Bimong promises to start fulfilling the outstanding Narin orders in the next month or two.

Dec 10: Paul Pham confirms that Catrina had received promo photos of Neo Narae late in 2009. She opened orders for Neo Narae in April, during the period Bimong claimed he had asked her not to sell his dolls.

Dec 10: Bimong posts a letter from Lillycat/Cerisedolls at his site, at her request. She tells of her problems with Dollfair and says she is trying to break her contract. Lillycat claims that she sent a master to Catrina in Jan 2010 for casting, later received a very bad prototype cast, and to date (a year later) no sellable casts have been made of her doll, and she can't get her master back.

Dec 14: Paul Pham, another doll artist, posts of his experiences with Dollfair. Catrina produced his dolls since 2008 but he terminated the contract in 2010, because she repeatedly missed delivery dates, misled him on schedules, went incommunicado for long periods, and delivered poor customer service. He says she has also failed to return some of his property (boxes and stands).

Dec 17: Catrina emails a customer that the heads will be shipping in a few days. She says she had been hospitalized for pneumonia and on IVs. None of her assistants or family members appear to be answering emails.

Dec 21: A customer who has tried to order a Sleetwealth Briar hears from Catrina, who says she has been in the hospital, that the order was delayed due to defective magnets, and that the doll is being shipped. (To date this customer has not received the doll.)

Dec 22: Jo Ross, who says she is the new Dollfair customer service manager, emails a few customers and says heads will be shipped as soon as she receives the correct shipping information. Jo Ross claims that she has been overwhelmed by change of address emails, so she is confirming each order before she ships it.

Dec 31: The faceup artist confirms to a customer that she did not receive any Neferti heads from Catrina. There have been no tracking numbers issued for Neferti heads. However, Catrina emails a customer that she just shipped out a large Limhwa order.

Jan 5: A customer quotes a statement from the artist/creator of Sleetwealth Briar dolls, saying that she has terminated her agreement with Dollfair and recommends that people not buy from her nor artists work with her. In Briar's blog she cites missed schedules and late payments.

Jan 7: Bimong posts a notice on his website that he will start making dolls for the people with outstanding orders.

Jan 7: The owner of the company in the building next door to Catrina's studio confirms that she has been in and out of the studio as recently that morning.  Meanwhile, Jo Ross emails a Limhwa customer saying that Catrina is still ill.

To date, no one who has ordered a Nerferti head through Dollfair has received it, even though Catrina or her representative have been promising delivery every couple of weeks for the past 2 1/2 months, and in fact have claimed the heads already mailed at least twice.

To date, many people are still waiting for refunds, even though Catrina claimed that all the refunds were complete.

Six of Catrina's nine artists have terminated or are trying to terminate their contracts with her, citing broken promises, nondelivery of goods, poor service and other serious issues. 

Catrina and her representatives repeatedly use excuses: defective headcap magnets, "swamped with emails", "must confirm your information before I can ship", "training someone to read emails", and of course serious illness (which would be more convincing if she weren't carrying out the Limhwa part of the business and visiting her studio).


I hope this will help some of you! 

Best wishes, 


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