CHOICE membership

Bissett Magazine Services have ceased trading. Subscribers left in the dark


#1

Bissett Magazine Services have gone into administration without actually telling anyone and have ceased trading, leaving thousands of subscribers to various collectable and part works magazines in the dark as to what’s going to happen next.

Bissett held the Monopoly on subscription services in Australia for anyone who wanted to subscribe to publications from DeAgostini, Hatchet, Eaglemoss etc. and the first anyone seems to have known about it was yesterday when people trying to contact them by phone or email were given an automated message that said they had ceased trading and all subscribers would have to contact the UK customer service teams of the relevant publishers to see what can be done to complete our collections and models. Their website however is still running, business as usual, and it still accepting new subscribers and happily taking their bank details.

Personally, in our household, Bissett was getting quite a lot of business from us. I’m one year into a two and a half year subscription that gives me parts to build a 1:8 scale model of the Back to the Future DeLorean, and I was still waiting on a backorder for two missing parts of my Millennium Falcon build, which should have been completed months ago. My son subscribes to the Marvel Movie Collection magazine while my stepson subscribes to a graphic novel collection. My partner also subscribes via Bissett to various crochet and knitting projects.

So far Eaglemoss is the only UK publishing house that has acknowledged this problem and they are working on trying to find a solution to help Australian subscribers continue with their builds and collections. There has been no word from DeAgostini, Hatchet, etc. at the time of this writing.

We’ve been lucky in that Bissett always sent us our packages first and then took the money from our bank accounts and debit cards a week later. I am an administrator in a Facebook group that is dedicated to providing mods for the DeLorean build and I’m getting reports from some people who had money taken from their accounts by Bissett over the course of the past few weeks without actually getting any deliveries and it looks like they will now have to ask their banks if there is any way that they can get their money back. There is absolutely no information anywhere about contacting anyone concerning money taken for goods not received and the best anyone can get from Bissett is the recorded message on the phone or the automated email response which says the same thing, Contact the UK publishers and see what they can do. Some people are even reporting that they spoke with Bissett only last week and they were assured that their missing packages and backorders were still being processed, myself being one of them.

So at the moment, no one seems to know what is going on. Eaglemoss themselves say they only found out about it all 2 days ago. One person has gone so far as to cancel his credit card for fear the administrators will try and bill everyone for one more issue of their subscriptions and then fail to deliver anything in return. It’s all just a waiting game for the moment unfortunately and there’s not a lot any of us can do about it. It’s even affecting the modders as some Australians are asking for their money back on the mods and upgrades they’ve ordered in case they can’t finish the build.

For some of us, there’s a chance we can get our newsagents to order in the rest of our magazines weekly, but there are also lots of reports from people who say their newsagent won’t deal with partworks magazines and in some cases they’re in isolated towns with no other newsagents to approach. The other problem with continuing via the newsagent is that people won’t get the rest of their promised subscriber only gifts, so a lot of people are hoping a new distributor can be found for subscriptions and they will then continue everyone’s subscriptions as normal. This in itself will mean everyone needs to hand over their bank details to a different entity in order to be able to continue paying for their subscriptions.

As previously mentioned, it’s all a big waiting game for now and there will be quite a lot of people around the country with a half built model or collection that they’ve already invested quite a lot of money into who really don’t want to be stuck with half of what they were hoping to end up with.

If I get any further information I’ll post it all here as it comes in.


#2

Thank you for the info, we have been collecting the Graphic Comics and now we know the reason behind the non receipt at our Newsagency.


#3

From what I can figure out, newsagents get their supplies from one of two different distributors, and Bissett isn’t one of them, so it shouldn’t be making an impact on newsagent copies.


#4

They had to order ours from them direct it is not one normally stocked by their mainstream suppliers. I rang our Newagency to let them know after reading the OP and they understood why it had happened. It is like a needlework book it had to be ordered direct from the UK for us as no one here supplied it but our Newsagency is very good at sourcing unusual requests. They just require payment upfront rather than on account for the “weird” ones.


#5

We’ve received some reports on this issue via socil media as well. The email we have seen includes the following info:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Subscriptions bissett@bissettmags.com.au
Date: 17 July 2018 at 21:20
Subject: Automatic reply: Why have you stopped trading?
To: Chell Michelle Rothwell chellie999@gmail.com

This is an important message for Bissett Magazines customers.

Please note that Bissett Magazines has ceased trading.

For information about the series you are collecting, please contact the Publisher’s UK Customer Service Centre. Contact details can be found on the inside front cover of the series you are collecting.

Thank you.


#6

Our newsagent won’t deal with partworks anymore due to issues with his ex supplier which I believe was Bissett. We are in the country so I have had to subscribe, but now I’m half way through the DeLorean and 11 issues into R2D2. Tearing my hair out as I’ve completed 5 partworks so far but now I don’t have a clue as to how I’m going to continue. I think the new GST on imports may be a problem in sourcing from the UK direct, any ideas anyone?


#7

If you’ve paid for a subscription that you have not yet received, it’s probably worthwhile contacting your bank and seeking a chargeback.


#8

From the Build the Back to the Future DeLorean web page:

IMPORTANT MESSAGE
Dear valued Customers,

It is with regret that we have to inform you that our subscription fulfilment and customer service partner, Bissett Magazine Services has advised they are going in to administration. Rest assured we are working hard to find a solution to fulfil your order and we will be back up and running very quickly. We estimate the despatch of your product will be delayed, and we will take next payment only on despatch of the product. If you would like to contact us please email us at customer-service-australia@eaglemoss-service.com

Thank you in advance for your patience

Best wishes
The Eaglemoss Team

From Eaglemoss customer service UK,

Hi Vince,

Thank you for your email.

Unfortunately we do not have anymore information regarding this situation at this time. As far as we are aware, the Australian accounts are on hold until another company is able to take over the customer service department for the subscriptions.

Once we do have some more information regarding this, you should receive an email with an update.

I do apologise for any inconvenience.

If you require any further assistance, please let me know.

Kind regards
Jordan

Customer Experience Department
Data Base Factory - Unit 4 Pullman Business Park, Ringwood BH24 1HD
Email: eaglemoss@dbfactory.co.uk

From DeAgostini UK Customer Care:

Good day Vince

Thank you for taking the time to write to us.

Kindly be advised that the publishers are currently resolving the matter. They will be in contact with you as soon as the matter has been resolved.

If you require any additional information, please feel free to contact us.

Kind regards

Rivoningo

Customer Care

Please advise if any of your personal details have changed recently, such as contact numbers, address details or e-mail address. Should one or more of these details not have been provided previously, please add them to your next e-mail. This will ensure that we can contact you efficiently in future.


#9

A couple of people in the Facebook groups have reported that in the last few weeks Bissett has taken money from them without actually sending them anything. This is very unusual for Bissett as they usually send packages out first and then charge for them a week after Australia Post tracking has marked them as delivered. The people who were charged first and then sent nothing in return seem to be those who either recently initiated a new subscription or arranged to have an unavailable issue placed on back order. Back orders themselves usually don’t get charged for until you have had the missing issue delivered as well, which makes sense when it can sometimes take 6 to 12 months for a backorder to finally be fulfilled, if at all. The people who did get charged for nothing do seem to have successfully gotten their banks to refund the money for them though, with one person saying that it’s now a matter between the bank and Bissett merchants and no longer his problem.

With regards to Bissett’s unusual activity concerning taking money first (only in the last few weeks) instead of waiting until the customer received their delivery, I’m reminded of when Dick Smith went belly up and just before they handed themselves over to the receivers, they had a massive sale on gift cards knowing full well that these would not be honoured. It was clearly a blatant last minute cash grab to boost their bank balance just that little bit more before letting the receivers have their way with it. I get the feeling that Bissett was doing its own last minute cash grab, especially when they started taking money in advance for back orders which they would have known would never be fulfilled due to the impending closure of the company.


#10

Very interesting.

Their website still appears fully functional and it appears that one can still place an order

https://www.bissettmags.com.au/

I filled in the page to activate a subscription to one of its magazines and it still proceeds to the page where one can enter in one’s payment details (inc. credit card).

If the magazine has ceased trading, someone should close down or change their website to reflect this…otherwise unsuspecting consumers will be placing payment for subscriptions to no avail (or creating an unnecessary headache).


#11

Who would do it though? None of the staff will be thinking about that when they’ve just lost their job… I think this goes back to Director responsibilities… ASIC? You listening?


#12

Eaglemoss yesterday said somewhere (I forget where) that they will not be taking any new subscribers from Australia until they have a new distributor in place and are disabling any links they have on their sites that point to Bissett. The other publishers in the UK who do partworks magazines all seem to still have links to Bissett in place for anyone in Australia who wants to subscribe to something. There is no news about Bissett’s collapse anywhere online that I can find and still no way to contact them or the administrators, not that I intend to. It’s not a very transparent process that’s happening with this one.


#13

Not transparent at all, I’m pretty good at ferreting out details but this is like a brick wall of silence. Perhaps as consumers we need to get together and try to get a news organisation to pick up the story. I wonder how many subscribers there are, could be a very sad story for everyone if the publishers don’t move quickly.


#14

We received this report on Facebook:

" Eaglemoss UK and DeAgostini UK have stated that once they have organised a new Australian distributor then Australian subscribers will start receiving their issues as usual and they’re hoping it won’t take too long before they can sort this all out for us all. I’m sure Hachette and other UK based partworks publishers will also transfer their business over to whichever company becomes the new distributor, once a new distributor has been organised. Just a waiting game for now."

Special thanks to @NubglummerySnr for keeping everyone updated across multiple channels.


#15

Ha. Thought I recognised that post.


#16

At least one person has had an official response from DeAgostini who say that newsagent supplies will not be affected by the collapse of Bissett. Eaglemoss in the meantime, has been adding a contact phone number to the official form responses which they are now pasting into various parts of Facebook.

From DeAgostini:

Unfortunately the company which supplies our subscription copies of our magazines in Australia has ceased trading. We are working to implement a replacement service but this may cause some disruption to the service across all our publications. Rest assured we will do everything possible to ensure you will be able to complete your collection / model build, and we do appreciate your patience whilst we implement an alternative solution.

Supply of our magazines through retail newsagent shops remains unaffected.

You can contact our customer service team at the following telephone number: +44333 300 1517 and by email on customercare@deagostini.co.uk

Many thanks

DeAgostini Publishing

Note the phone number supplied by DeAgostini is for a UK based phone number and could cost quite a lot to call, especially if you’re placed on hold before they answer your call, which is more likely than not.

The revised social media statement from Eaglemoss:

Hi all, it’s with great regret that we have to inform you that our Australian subscription fulfilment and customer service partner, Bissett Magazine Services has advised they are going in to administration. Rest assured we are working hard to find a solution to fulfil your order and we will be back up and running very quickly. We estimate the despatch of your product will be delayed, and we will take next payment only on despatch of the product. If you have any questions or would like to chat to one of our customer service team, please call (02)8378 7930 or email customer-service-australia@eaglemoss-service.com

At least they’re supplying a local number for us.


#17

And we now have word from Hachette UK who offer the following:

We are aware that Bissett Magazine Services (the company managing your subscription) has closed and we are working with several other publishers to ensure your subscription continues with as little disruption as possible. We have setup the email and phone number below so you can get in touch with our UK customer service team without calling an international number - the line is open from 16.00 to 23.00 AEST Monday to Friday.

We will update this site with more information as soon as possible but please rest assured we are looking at a number of options to keep your subscription running and we can guarantee we will keep your issues reserved for you.

Email: customer_service_aus@hachette-service.com
Tel: 283787931

Pretty sure that phone number should have a 0 in front of it. Although I haven’t tried calling it.


#18

But wait… there’s more!!!

Some people have been getting onto DeAgostini’s ModelSpace forum asking about missing backorders for various builds. Their reply is:

If the UK has stock of what you need, you can email internationalshipping@model-space.co.uk. But be aware, you will at some point be shipped your missing issues under your Subscription and be charged, so as soon as you have got hold of all you need, you should then cancel your Subscription.

Which means people actually need to contact the UK publishers if they’ve already approached their newsagents and asked to get their collections in weekly after the collapse of Bissett to tell them to cancel their subscriptions so they don’t end up paying for the same issues twice.

Hopefully, whoever does take over the subscriptions for all these UK based partworks companies, will have enough sense to initiate contact with everyone to see if they still want the subscriptions to continue and from which issues they need it to continue from.

I would have thought that they’d need to do this anyway seeing as all direct debit and credit card charge agreements were with Bissett, which you would assume means that the new distributor will need to get everyone’s payment details again and acquire permission from everyone to access their bank accounts. Is there a legal privacy breach taking place if Bissett has passed everyone’s bank details onto the UK publishers and the UK publishers then pass the bank details onto the new distributor? The UK publishers seem adamant that payments will be taken from everyone once a new distributor has been found and orders are ready to ship again.


#19

Well, if one good thing has come from the collapse of Bissett Magazine Services it’s that I’ve finally managed to secure the two missing issues of my Millennium Falcon build that Bissett had on perpetual backorder. After Bissett’s collapse I sent DeAgostini UK an email yesterday via their Model Space site to find out if they could get their hands on the missing issues I need to complete the build. Their own website has all individual issues listed as out of stock for months. Turns out they do have them in stock, they just don’t advertise it on their web page for some reason. Now I’ve got all the fun of waiting for the new local distributor to get sorted out so I can tell them to cancel the backorders and thus end my subscription. These issues have been on backorder via Bissett for at least 6 months or more, yet I send a single email to DeAgostini UK and within 24 hours I’m told they have stock I can purchase directly from them. Cost a bit more due to postage but at least I’ll finally get to finish the thing. Hopefully they won’t have faulty LED strips, which is why I needed one of the issues re-ordered to start with. Think I’ll be happier dealing directly with DeAgostini direct on this one if I do get faulty parts again.


#20

As an aside to Bissett folding:

Do these partsworks type of subscriptions offer value for money? Is the result reliable and a satisfying outcome?

The attraction of the special edition and glossy magazines with the anticipation of having to wait for the next issue is a time honoured tradition for magazine publishers.

Some of us have abandoned glossy print, so I sort of feel like I’m missing out on the opportunity?