Seeing our name mentioned amid some of the speculation here, and find it's perhaps newsworthy enough to leave some comments.
I don't know if you have everything figured out with what you posted regarding the source of Doctor Who action figures to the US market, so will give what I should about what they represented to me.
My information is there is a new licensed source, and from what they lead me to believe they are the Amazon reseller. Email I sent to Character Group was very obviously forwarded to this group, so I have reason to understand they are allowed to work within some set of terms, and I have no direct understanding if that legally cuts Underground Toys out of the picture, or if they are operating in concert with other terms, or some other formation of the situation. However, Underground Toys also has given me a direct response they are no longer carrying Doctor Who toys and action figures, and I suspect they are not carrying any new Doctor Who product, and it may be a case where their license is expired, but, to that set of points, I am unsure.
Amazon prices were increased, I believe the new group said, after some (I don't know which) were listed in error, so some kind of correction probably took place, but they should answer for themselves. That may have been my doing, though, as they were listing prices below wholesale, and I explained it's a little tough to compete when the source offers them for less at retail than they were charging us for wholesale (which actually does happen in places elsewhere in the Doctor Who license at times)...but, they readily seemed to suggest that pricing was in error anyway, so it got adjusted, and to some point in the discussion were trying to prepare to take my order and get all their ducks in a row. If it sounds like some sort of discussions went on, they did. We thought we were entirely on our way, and I expected about a week ago to announce on our web site and blog we had the product in transit to us.
I sat down to send in an order...and found we had new email where we were then offered to operate within new terms they gave us after it seemed we had relations and we were ready to send them our order...perhaps quite a lot larger than they expected. For those who call us "small" above, let's also be clear, very early on, before exclusives destroyed things in part of the market, Underground Toys acknowledged we were their number three customer by dollars, (only two large chains were doing more at that moment, as I was given to understand,) and was trying to negotiate with us for larger discounts if we took on licensed product in the line outside of toys and action figures...but, really, that kind of thing never sold well enough for us to go through the required quantities of Doctor Who trash bins, ice cube trays, and whatever else was there, so we declined...but, small is relative, and where our service is personal, regardless of size, we had the great good fortune to have the opportunity to work with the Doctor Who community at large, and specifically with many of you. And we still do so. And from the quantities we acquired in limited and numbered runs like the SDCC Doctors, I've got an impression we handled a lot more than people seem to understand, perhaps partly because we really did try to sweat the details and get orders right for each customer and give personal service, and we never got into the bulk e-commerce stuff that others embrace. If we seem "small" because our customers still matter to us, then that's a good thing...I hope everyone good gets to look small that way. But, perhaps, that's neither here nor there, either, at least for the current piece of discussion at hand. We still appreciate each and every opportunity we had in the course of time, and tried hard to be worthy of your trust and custom, always.
However, the new terms for Doctor Who action figures are not, in our opinion, in harmony with the way we have successfully operated now for more than four decades. One specific requirement is definitely beyond the scope of our manner of transacting business, and we said so. Therefore, we made a decision, and at this time we are not yet handling this product line, in spite of also making clear we want to do so, and it is still a priority for us, and in spite of a door likely being open at any time if we choose to do so on those terms of theirs. We felt the terms restrain us from competing as we would choose and as we should for the sake of our customers, or to have the liberty to transact in certain ways on dated product in the fullness of time, if we felt a business need to make choices that still should not harm the brand in any way. There was discussion. We have certain concerns. We and the potential supplier each has a business to run. Decisions were made to stick to certain principles of business for now, it seems to me.
We are certain we could simply sit at the table and do profitable business in a volume to meet every requirement set for volume, and those requirements here were reasonable enough, even if new, so this is definitely a loss of money for us, but, as we understand them, the current terms restrain us from setting price freely.
I don't feel this is a door forever slammed shut. But, I'm certainly a bit taken aback that we are seeing terms never imposed by Underground Toys already in this relationship, and in fact, when they (UT) once discussed these things with us, we said we're in favor of competing for the benefit of customers and they should respect that...the USA arm of UT apparently felt we were important enough to consult and listen to, and for all the other things that may or may not have happened, they never looked at this area again in their dealings. That wasn't even an agreement, it just never got revisited because they listened and it settled the matter, and the discussion I had with them apparently was convincing on the facts...and, I don't doubt, facts were presented also by others.
In the future, if we can have a meeting of the minds somewhere, we want to carry these lines again, as soon as possible. But, we're not going to agree to something and then operate differently out of the light of day, either. We're not going to agree to something we feel we can't live with. We also understand relationships take two or more, and if the decision is to proceed without us, rather than adjusting as we feel we need, we may not carry the lines in the future with this US supplier.
It's possible for people of good will, and businesses, to disagree and not come to terms. Sometimes, the best deal you make is the one you don't make. And, we make different decisions than others because we are not everyone, or anyone, else. While I certainly hope for the situation to evolve and for the new supplier to come back to us, it may also never happen. In that case, we'll have done what we felt was best and right and necessary for us and for customers, much as we might wish things were immediately different. Wholesale pricing is reasonable enough, though we and our customers could always wish for a lower price, and the issue is not that we were getting a price at wholesale upon which we couldn't operate. A little bit, there sounded like some dust still settling, too, in a new relationship, and that's something that happens. There were finer points where I doubt we saw eye-to-eye, but different businesses should expect that can happen. So, for anyone wanting to parse our decision, there was a lot of peripheral stuff, we weighed in, and in the end it was one related set of definitions we decided wasn't a fit no matter how we looked at it, and after some work to clarify exactly what was being said, we were left with no doubts about meaning or language.
Like I said, things could evolve instantly. We'd like to be carrying these lines in their entirety. It's great stuff of which Character Group should be proud. But, with things as they are today, we're not carrying the Doctor Who 5" figures being released in 2020 and beyond through this current source, as a decision we feel our business needed to make in consideration of the latest version of terms presented to us, and on behalf of ourselves and our customers and our continuing in business.