Premium Bandai web shop will begin opening up preorders for the D-3 Ver. 15th Digivice. The 15th anniversary D-3 is an extremely limited product that will only ship a cumulative six thousand units between its black and blue models. Given the short window of acquisition and strong demand, this leaves western fans with a conundrum--how do they purchase a product deliberately made unavailable to them?
Enter the middleman service. This is a section of commerce which acts in place of a foreign consumer, buying the product and shipping it to them. This is how westerners acquired last year's Digivice Ver. 15ths, and it's how they'll acquire this year's D-3. Some proxies operate through eBay, while others are independent sites hosting their own services.
Be aware that the middleman has to eat too. You will not be paying the base price of the Digivice; P-Bandai is normally a case of the manufacturer selling directly to the consumer without an intermediary, and introducing a proxy service into the equation effectively adds a layer of markup because of the additional labor it creates. The import service has to turn a profit on buying the device and selling it to you, which generally takes the form of either a flat commission fee or a percentage fee derived from the base price. They also have to pay for shipping and transportation costs, and this means that you will probably be paying closer to $100 rather than $80, possibly more. The good news is that many such middlemen deal in huge volumes of product being sold to hundreds or thousands of consumers, which reduces the markup on any individual product.
However, products like the D-3 are sometimes limited in how much quantity can be sold to individual buyers, which means each intermediary can only acquire a specific number of them. Meaning each resource has a limited quantity that they can sell. So where can you buy these devices?
Option 1: eBay
Option 2: Independent Sites
These order options will not be available until the device itself goes on sale. These sites are run by a single store rather than being available through a commerce network like eBay, and are sometimes managed by only a single person. The reason the D-3 isn't available early is because these stores are waiting until they can actually purchase the stock off of P-Bandai before they list it. It's somewhat questionable whether the eBay stores were behaving ethically in listing the D-3s without actually acquiring them first, as there's a remote possibility that they will be unable to purchase the Digivices and be forced to refund their buyers. You may see a fairer deal from these independent sites, which will charge either a flat rate like $10 per order, or a percentage of the original price on top of it. However, expect that shipping and handling costs will still factor in.
The catch is that no one quite knows which sites will have the D-3 available. Some may buy D-3s but not list them immediately after the products go live. Others may list them immediately. The product could sell out in a few hours, or the high price may intimidate consumers out of buying Bandai out of their stock up until its release date in June. Part of the reason the D-3 is so limited is that the company isn't sure that Digimon series other than Adventure can sell anymore.ExamplesFrom Japan
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