Loving the Classics is a gray-market film distributor out of Appleton, Wisconsin that I’ve bought from a number of times over the years, and in the early days of this blog it was one of the places I linked to when talking about where to buy hard-to-find movies. For an operation catering to the film collector market they had a pretty deep catalog, a busy, well-organized web presence and a fairly aggressive email outreach to buyers. They would offer a lot of sales and specials, and their films came in handsome snap cases emblazoned with cover art and the LTC logo.
But Loving The Classics has not been my go-to purveyor for a long time. The main reason is that they have been painfully slow on the fulfillment end. An order with them took at least three weeks to fulfill, usually more. And if there was a problem with the disc – as sometimes happened – LTC would take its time sending a replacement.
Things took a turn for the worse late last summer. Customers began complaining on the company’s Facebook page that orders weren’t being fulfilled. Despite a few cheerful replies that they were “behind” on filling orders, things only went downhill from there, and the complaints grew.
It was around this time that I ordered a title from them, and a long wait (around six weeks) a disc arrived in the mail. But the movie I ordered wasn’t on it. Instead, there was hodge-podge of short subjects on the disc, with the movie I wanted nowhere to be found.
I sent numerous emails to the customer support address. No response.
I called the phone number listed on their site. It rang into an after-hours message, even during business hours. I never got a call back.
Eventually, I packed up the disc and mailed it back to the company, with a note explaining the problem. No response to that either.
Finally – having run out of other ways to reach them — I posted on the company’s Facebook page. There was no response to that either, and after a month or so I gave up.
But just last week I got the following email:
I’m sorry no one has been in touch sooner, but we don’t spend a lot of time on Facebook. I see from your post that you have had a problem dealing with us and for that I am truly sorry. I would like to get the situation resolved to your satisfaction and I do hope you will give us that opportunity. I look forward to hearing back from you when you have a free moment.
This was a nice (though probably canned) note to receive after nearly six months of silence, but it puzzled me. Consider the first sentence: I’m sorry no one has been in touch sooner, but we don’t spend a lot of time on Facebook.
The obvious response to that is, why not?
If your company maintains a Facebook page, doesn’t it make sense to check the page regularly — at least once a day — in case there are customer complaints that require follow-up?
So – they don’t spend much time checking voicemail, email or peeking into the mailbox either, judging by how quickly they’ve responded in those areas.
It certainly didn’t surprise me when my response to Brenda’s email went unanswered.
Anyway, a quick Google search indicates that the LTC staff has been busy — posting missives claiming they’re being unfairly targeted by their enemies (whoever they are). These posts have appeared on a number of web sites — including (for some reason) LinkedIn:
|Curiouser and curiouser.|
The manifesto claims that everyone thinks Loving the Classics is a great site, and their customer service is wonderful, and anyone who says otherwise has either missed all the glowing testimonials on their web site, or is a nefarious nogoodnik trying to wreck the reputation of a wildly successful and eminently responsible company which brings joy to millions. North Korea couldn’t write a more zany or paranoid press release. The only thing missing is a declaration that Loving the Classic’s enemies are sniveling capitalist dogs who will soon die in a storm of atom bombs.
So in the end, what’s the story on Loving the Classics? Spectacularly inept and self-destructive company? North Korean front organization? Mafia vanity project? CIA false-flag operation? We may never know.
Years ago they advertised that 1931's Universal HEAVEN ON EARTH was available, but of course it never was, and I wonder if they still peddle it today. Untrustworthy, to be charitable.
I ordered from them a couple of years ago and they were late but at least I got a response at some point by phone and by email. This time, I ordered in January and despite all my attempts to reach them by email, since their phone has been disconnected a couple of months ago, they still have my $290 and I still have no DVDs. Not sure what I should do next.
They finally did deliver HEAVEN ON EARTH in a horrible fourth or fifth generation dupe, but at least I have it now. It was John Carradine’s 1931 Universal debut, and one of only two in which he was billed as ‘Peter Richmond.’