I've come across a few posts in recent times about people asking who is better/cheaper- HLJ, BBTS or AMIAMI?
I've dealt with both for sometime so I will give a little rundown of what I've come across. I will not write down what I've read about these stores from other people, just my experience.
Years dealing with them: About 11 years
Payment details: Paypal, requires payment upfront for preorders, will not hold items during payment processing which may cause items to become out of stock (has not happened to me) will send payment request if Paypal payment agreement not setup when ordering in stock items.
Customer Service: Very Good, emails responded to promptly, any problem I've ever had, they have provided satisfactory resolution. If items are defective, tehy will send defective part if available in their parts bin, or they will get from manufacturer. Some items require returning back to Japan out of your pocket, but they will reimburse your shipping costs.
Preorders: Yes, paid up front with early-bird discount.
Pricing: Not the cheapest company to preorder with. However they have recently been discounting their items below MSRP. They have some pretty awesome sales if you are patient, you will get some incredible deals. I love their sales.
Shipping: Discounts/Free shipping promotions on EMS, SAL shipping is CHEAP and not overly slow to me here in the US. Shipping of products does take a little longer to process than other places but very reliable. They pack using cardboard sheets and shrinkwrap and/or air pillows which help keep shipping costs low. Sturdy boxes and neatly sealed. They do not guarantee mint boxes. I have received only a small amount of crushed boxes over the years, none in recent times.
Negative experience: None
Additional notes: As some of you may know, I have done reviews for HLJ on collectiondx.com. However this does not sway my opinion of their service. I have dealt with them years before I started doing reviews.
Favorite item ordered from them: Wow...tough question...too much to remember
What I would change: Allow preorders without upfront payment. As long as that feature is not abused by trigger happy buyers.
Payment Details: Paypal/Credit Card
Years dealing with them: About 3 years
Customer Service: Very Good, emails responded to promptly. I had a problem with an item being defective, they promptly sent UPS return label for exchange. Nice to be able to call and talk to someone or ask questions if needed.
Preorders: Yes, can be put into Pile of Loot. What is POL? You can store items in a pile of loot to save on shipping costs or to give time to save up the cash without losing out on the chance to buy something that sells out quick. They will store the items for 6 months. At the end of 6 months, they will charge you and send items out. Credit Card needed for that service. Preorders can be cancelled.
Pricing: Not the cheapest out of the 3 for Japanese items, but fair for the most part considering. Occasional sales.
Shipping: They offer USPS and UPS. Takes a couple of days to ship after payment. Packing is great, the best packing of the 3. Very generous bubble packing. Recently, they started using a new type of bubblewrap that doesn't pop even if you step on it!. Very cool. Boxes are sturdy and neatly taped.
Negative Experience: I ordered a Shogun Golion jumbo. They shipped in a nice big box. However, they threw out the OUTER NUMBERED BOX! So I do not know the number of my very limited Jumbo. They did respond to my problem and stated that they didn't have the boxes anymore. However, they did state that form that point on, they would send the jumbos out with boxes. Your welcome.
Additional notes: They have the option of upgrading to Collector Grade boxes to assure that you get a factory fresh item box. They hand pick your item, wrap it in plastic and carefully pack it for you for $2.00. Not bad, although my non-collector grade items have for the most part come to me in excellent shape. Pile of Loot is an awesome feature! Store items in your loot til youre ready to pay and save on shipping!
Favorite Item ordered from them: Shogun Warriors Golion Jumbo
What I would change: Nothing comes to mind.
Payment Details: Paypal only. Payment request sent when items ready to ship and after one week of non-payment.
Years dealing with them: About 2 years
Customer Service: Haven't had the need to contact them for any problem resolution. Emails answered promptly.
Preorders: Yes. Cancellations are not permitted once order is placed or run the risk of ordering privileges being suspended.
Pricing: Best prices of the 3 by a good margin at times
Shipping: You never know shipping costs until you get invoiced. Most people use HLJ shipping estimates to get a rough estimate of what the shipping will cost with Amiami. Keep in mind Amiami tends to use thicker boxes and paper packng material, so estimate may be higher. The fastest of the 3 when using EMS, even faster than BBTS with Priority Shipping! I get packages 2-3 days after payment! Orders packed and shipped within one day of payment. Downside is that EMS is darn expensive. Seems more expensive than HLJ even though rates are the same. Might be because of the weight of the packaging used. They use VERY sturdy high quality cardboard boxes and stuff the hell out of the box with crumpled up paper. Not newspaper, but those long rolls of paper that are perforated. Nice, but heavy. Great if you want your stuff fast and pretty.
Negative Experience: This would be my fault, but I cancelled a good portion of my preorder last year due to some problems and they threatened to suspend me from buying. So I caused the negative experience. However they empathized my situation and helped me out. Keep track of what you preorder!
Additional Notes: None at the moment
Favorite Item ordered from them: SOC Daitarn, SOC Daltanious and Yamato Liger
What I would change: Ability to view preorder page to see what has been preordered. It is VERY easy to click preorder on stuff and then be surprised by a big payment request when you least expect it. The good thing is that you can request a list through email.
I use all 3 for different reasons. HLJ is great for it's sales and non-scary shipping costs. BBTS is great for it's Pile of Loot, quick preorder offerings and collector grade items. Amiami is great for FAST EMS/shipment preparation, packaging quality.
Hope this helps. I am probably forgetting stuff but you can check em out: