Silver Bullet Comics Dead?

Silver Bullet Comics used to be a comic book retailer in North Carolina. (Please note that they are not the same as Silver Bullet Comic Books, a more active online site, about which more later.)

First, in August, SBC closed their physical store in Winston-Salem, deciding to focus on online sales. Comments at the Newsarama Blog post (links no longer available) reporting the change were quite critical of the site’s customer service, complaining of unreceived orders.

After publicizing that problem, which drew more complaints from unhappy customers, the Newsarama Blog received a response from SBC’s owner. I found it whiny, myself, full of “this is why this isn’t my fault” rationalizations and ignorance of good customer service.

Good customer service should start with an apology, whether or not you really think it’s your fault. You have to put yourself in the customer’s position and understand what they want to hear. Which usually consists of some combination of “here’s how I can make this up to you” and “here’s why it won’t happen again”. Since online comic stores rely on repeat business (subscriptions) to succeed, it’s particularly important to reassure and convince unhappy customers that things have changed.

Unfortunately, they hadn’t. The latest news is that all of the Silver Bullet assets were seized for nonpayment of state taxes and sold at auction earlier this month. So if you’re still waiting on an order that never arrived, contact your credit card company now.

Silver Bullet Comics had pressured Silver Bullet Comic Books to change their name, since SBC had a US trademark registration. SBCB had recently announced that they were becoming Comics Bulletin. I wonder if that will still happen?

Update: Someone claiming to know the SBC owners shows up in the comments to claim that the sale was a planned deal with the state, not a forfeiture. The immediate response is “so why are they still not shipping orders or answering emails?”



3 comments

  • Ariel

    I received excuses from the store for 90 days and they never shipped it to me. I live in Argentina and the order was for more than 350 dollars. Visa only gives money back if the claim is made within 90 days since the cc is charged.

    So yes…I lost a big amount.

    If I ever see the owner of the store, I’ll break his nose.

  • Dr Panda

    I worked at Silver Bullet for more than a year and was fortunate enough to quit before all this shady hubub started. Great place to work, and we even got paid on time, sometimes. Fellow staff were the craziest folks I’ve ever met, and I more than empathize with the poor souls whose money was taken and never got their product. Heck, I used to ship most of the international orders. I came back into town and found out the store was closed and the state had seized what was left. Glad I got out when I did…

  • Alex Chism

    Wow. I didn’t know any of this when I placed an order in December of 2007. Again, wow.

    I ordered four comics that December, and after not receiving them for three weeks, decided I’d finally contact them. No one answered their phone (which makes sense to me now), and no one replied to my several emails. I didn’t even receive one of those emails you described that contained excuses and the like. Just nothing.

    However, I was actually quite surprised when I got my comics in the mail THREE MONTHS LATER. And even though I did get them, and it was a surprise, it wasn’t really pleasant. I still feel bitter about the whole thing. Now that I know the truth behind the very lengthy delay, I can rest easy (somewhat).

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