Matty Collector is the name of the website through which Mattel sells adult collector figures to online customers. Several toy lines are sold on the site, with new figures being released in limited edition runs each month. A company named Digital River manages the transactions and ships orders to customers across the world.

This page has charted the progress of Matty Collector since 2009, when the Masters Of The Universe Classics line was still in its infancy. It has been heavy going at times, and there are still some problems with the site. It took a considerable length of time for even the most basic customer support service (an e-mail address) to be set up, and trying to solve a problem with an order in the early days was a nightmare. The e-mail address is mattycollector.cs@digitalriver.com.

So have things improved? Well, the last time I updated this page, I suggested (with some reservations) that things were better. Unfortunately I spoke too soon. Towards the end of 2011 I needed to update my debit card details on the site. This task, which you might be forgiven for thinking should be easy, proved to be most troublesome. Not only did Matty Collector fail to have the most basic option to delete the old card, but once I had saved the new one as my default option, they continued to try to use the old one. It took far longer than it should have done to get the matter resolved. Having experienced Digital River's ineptitude first hand, I took a closer look at what other fans have discussed on the forums.

It is worrying that there are so many examples of DR failing to look after customers and not resolving their complaints. Fans are having to e-mail numerous times for even the most basic problems to be fixed. US customers have a slight advantage in that they can telephone DR's Escalation Department and bypass the inept Customer Service Department, but that really shouldn't be necessary. Mattel are making things worse by ignoring the issues and continuing to use an incompetent company. Therefore it is with regret that I have to withdraw my former observations about improving service. It isn't happening, and Mattel should take notice. Sadly many of the complaints arise as a result of quality problems with the figures. Quality assurance isn't a matter for this page, so I won't discuss it further here.

Making purchases on sales days is, fortunately, less problematic than it once was. The main complaint about the website itself has been its inability to cope with high traffic at sales time. The figures are released at a specific time each month, so obviously the site is visited by a crowd. The capacity is still limited, and a holding screen, informally known as the White Screen of Death, is usually encountered when making purchases. Nonetheless, it seems to be going more smoothly than during the site's early days.

A sale in November 2011 gave us a rather revealing insight into figures' production numbers. Some sharp-eyed fans (you know who you are) worked out that the number of available figures could be calculated... at least until Mattel spotted what was going on and put an order limit on the figures! Many of us had long suspected that Mattel was describing items as Almost Gone or Sold Out falsely. This experiment confirmed our thoughts, but more importantly, it gave us a better idea of how many figures are being produced. There remains a degree of guesswork here, but I suspect an estimate of 10,000 of each figure is about right. Unsurprisingly, the Mo-larr set still has about 8,000 units in the warehouse.

An interesting development, which is certainly connected to the stock situation, is Mattel's decision to make some figures available throughout 2012. Fans have been asking for this for ages, so it is good that Mattel are finally doing this. It just shouldn't have taken three years to put the arrangement in place. This is one to keep an eye on during 2012.

Many fans have now abandoned all hope of having a pre-order system, which would allow selection of figures in advance, and have given in to the push for subscriptions for all figures. The subscriptions are sold for only a short time each summer, but Matty Collector does send out regular e-mail updates, so missing out should not be a concern.

Delivery varies depending on where you live. US citizens are getting their parcels very quickly, but international shipping is something different. I generally expect to see a figure arrive about a month after ordering it (I am a UK resident). Seeing a figure a couple of days before the next sale date is fairly typical. The time can extend when parcels are held for the payment of value added tax and handling fees.

Mattel has tried to protect the site at sales time by including a Captcha system which requires the customer to read some letters and type them in. This is a tiresome system which is, at times, fairly difficult to use even by people with good eyesight. It discriminates against those with poor vision and a more user-friendly system should be chosen.

Logging in to the site ahead of sales time helps speed things up when buying from the site, but to access one's account involves a strange trip into the FAQ section to find the right page. Most websites offer a log-in link on the home page, and there is absolutely no reason why this cannot be done on Matty Collector.

We are seeing some improvements with the management of the Matty Collector site, but Digital River's appalling customer service still taints the process of buying figures from Mattel.