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"Maelstrom Games- Are they about to go bust?? " Topic

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Goose66610 Oct 2012 11:25 a.m. PST

Anyone else seen this? Have a very careful read!

If they need "your money" to pay for items others have already ordered.. what will they use to buy the items you have ordered??

Everytime I have seen a sudden out of period "stock take" like their email of a 3 weeks or so ago and sudden "major discounting", it usually means a company is struggling with cash flow, which simply means they don't have enough to buy new stock. Ie they are broke.

To say they need cash to fullfill orders aleady placed.! suggests they are on the tipping zone of going bust.

Either it is a very badly worded statement or maelstrom are in serious financial trouble. If that is the case, personally I wouldn't give them any cash, as "customers" are very low on the debt order in the UK. Tax, banks and landlords come way higher!

Goose66610 Oct 2012 11:42 a.m. PST

Just been informed they are no longer accepting paypal as a payment method.. Hmmm defenitely suspicious . Looking more nad more like a last grab for cash before they fold, knowing customers stand very little chance of getting their money back!

nazrat10 Oct 2012 11:45 a.m. PST

Everything I have seen looks bad. I would stay away no matter how good the discounts appear!

john lacour10 Oct 2012 11:47 a.m. PST

shame. i like them…

Dave Crowell10 Oct 2012 12:06 p.m. PST

It could be that their expenses are high and they are trying to carry less overhead in terms of stock on hand.

Excess physical stock in hand can be a huge expense for a small business.

At he very least this shows a significant reorganization and reappraisal of their business plan is under way.

I wouldn't panic yet, but I would order with caution until things are sorted out.

VonStengel10 Oct 2012 12:13 p.m. PST

Well done chaps, is there anything else you would like to add to the speculation to damage the companies reputation?

So far no one has offered any solid evidence that the company is in any sort of trouble. If they are not, you are going the right way drive them into trouble.

Goose66610 Oct 2012 12:14 p.m. PST

Dave, have a look at their catalogue.. practically nothing is in stock and even so, why stop taking paypal payments..given they are the predominant payment method for our industry..

I suspect it is to avoid the paypal claimback ability for non fullfilled orders. Call be a cinic if you will.

HobgoblinBT10 Oct 2012 12:14 p.m. PST

And I have 2 orders outstanding from them, so maybe if other people order from them I will get my order fulfilled.

A search on companys house reveals the the director of Maelstrom Games is also a director of several other companys including Eye of the Storm Limited, Penda Strategies Limited and Anglia Games Limited, all 3 being new companys and all 3 incorporated on the same day,15 June 2012.

Mike Target10 Oct 2012 12:19 p.m. PST

I cant help wandering if the reason the offers are always restricted (especially with this latest one) to stuff thats in stock the problem they trying to solve is that they need cash to fulfil orders on stuff that wasnt in stock, whilst theyve got a pile of other stuff thats already in stock thats already paid for but is gathering dust. Therefore if they sell theyre surplus stuff they have the cash to fulfill the older orders.

This would also explain why you cant even put out of stock stuff in your basket there, theyre fed up playing catch up and want to get ahead.

Ive never had a problem, even recently, when Ive restricted my order to stuff thats in stock, If I order stuff thats out of stock I wait ages for it.

Easy enough lesson to learn…

Stuff is disapearing from the site as soon as it sells out now, and with this latest offer extended to FOW stuff has been selling out fast: they had a ton of FOW stuff two days ago…not so much now.

Marcus Maximus10 Oct 2012 12:34 p.m. PST

To be honest there are great people in this hobby and then there are nobs! A lot of wargamers place an order with a supplier or store and then once it arrives turn round and say "nah i'm sorry my cash flow ain't great this month let me get back to you" and hey guess what they never do, but the retailer is now left with a sizeable order he can't readily shift. This happens a lot. In today's real time fast payment banking, there is no reason, and it would make business sense, to only purchase on order placed and paid for, and why wouldn't you.

They also make it clear that there has been a systemic campaign raged against them on the internet, something in these serious economic times any business can do without. I also suspect that this malicious gossip is unfounded but like anything it now has a life of its own and is now clearly influencing customers to stay away, which will exacerbate an already diffcult time for any retailer. The Paypal being dropped could be for any number of reasons and I can think of several whys, if I was retailer. I do find though, your language comes across some what hysterical and matter of fact when you have little or no hard evidence, however, do keep us informed but less of the hysterics and more facts please.

And VonStengle is spot on.

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Oct 2012 1:05 p.m. PST

A company 'struggling with cash flow' isn't necessarily broke. It may be in trouble because turnover has fallen unexpectedly and quickly and they cannot generate cash to meet necessary expenses without a stock clearance.

What it does probably also mean is that the company is undercapitalised or that they have risked too much of their available capital in stock and not left a contingency reserve.

Many real-world companies survive this kind of situation but a lot don't.

MM – facts were given, quite enough to indicate the company is in trouble but, I'd agree, not enough to say that trouble was fatal.

Problem is that, as was stated, customers are likely to lose their cash if the company does fold and there would be little they could do to protect themselves.

I have no idea what this campaign against them is all about but it may be the cause of their sudden fall in turnover.

Steve10 Oct 2012 1:10 p.m. PST

PayPal will cancel your account if you get too many refund requests. I don't know if that's whats going on, but why would you quit taking PayPal?

I think it's completely legitimate to raise the concern here about their ability to fulfill orders. However, that being said I don't think their post about the sale is really showing a problem. But the PayPal issue is a red flag to me.

CPBelt10 Oct 2012 1:16 p.m. PST

No paypal equals no order from me!

Wasn't a lot of their business selling GW stuff cheaply to foreign customers and then GW stopped allowing such practices? I would assume that has hurt them.

Goose66610 Oct 2012 1:25 p.m. PST

A shortage of cash to meet orders you have had placed, means you owe more money out, than the orders placed covers, coming in.. so you are bust!

Even if they are making 100% profit on the orders coming in, with over heads can they cover the costs of orders already placed that they cannot meet?

Just because they have "value in stock" does not mean they are not bust. You can be asset rich and cash poor! Woolworths were a prime example. But given the lack of stock showing on their store now, it appears that they don't have much stock of anything left to actually sell to raise funds.

Not taking paypal payments ontop of the statements makes me highly suspect of a snatch and run job with the cash. Guess time will prove which way it is for certain.. but..its for me Caveat Emptor!

Was looking at their redbox games figures, but won't be now.

WarrenB10 Oct 2012 1:31 p.m. PST

To be honest there are great people in this hobby and then there are nobs! A lot of wargamers place an order with a supplier or store and then once it arrives turn round and say "nah i'm sorry my cash flow ain't great this month let me get back to you" and hey guess what they never do, but the retailer is now left with a sizeable order he can't readily shift.

I don't know what this has to do with Maelstrom…

This happens a lot. In today's real time fast payment banking, there is no reason, and it would make business sense, to only purchase on order placed and paid for, and why wouldn't you.

… and I can't make head nor tail of this. There's no reason for something that's good business sense?

They also make it clear that there has been a systemic campaign raged against them on the internet, something in these serious economic times any business can do without. I also suspect that this malicious gossip is unfounded but like anything it now has a life of its own and is now clearly influencing customers to stay away

I've heard a couple of complaints of poor or non-delivery before my last, recent order, but I've had good turnaround on my few orders before now. I only heard about these latest rumours of trouble after said last order, while I sat twiddling my thumbs for weeks, waiting for it; and as I finally noticed the sheer, inexplicable volume of Maelstrom sales vouchers (but not on out-of-stock items!) tumbling into my email inbox; and as I noticed the Banelegions models had been squirrelled away to an offshoot company. It doesn't make me inclined to handwave the rumours.

richarDISNEY10 Oct 2012 1:39 p.m. PST

I have never had a problem with them in the past.
Even when I canceled an order, they were fast and courteous…

They did just move warehouses. Maybe an unexpected expense 'popped' up?

Greg B10 Oct 2012 1:43 p.m. PST

Have always had great service with them in the past, but these things look pretty serious. The offshoot companies etc…all a little hard to ignore.

It's too bad – I still remember getting GW stuff for them cheaper than at the actual GW store here in Winnipeg.

Black Hat Miniatures10 Oct 2012 2:29 p.m. PST

They are still paying my bills for Coat D'arms promptly


Personal logo BrigadeGames Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Oct 2012 2:33 p.m. PST

In any market when a business chooses as a marketing strategy to significantly discount product to grab sales from competitors unless one can keep the volume at extremely high levels or one has very deep pockets to fund a large inventory (and the high volume allows for some profit generation) it is difficult to consistently generate enough cash flow. This is not specific to the wargaming market but in a smaller overall market segment and with smaller market participants the effects can be pronounced.

While everyone feels great when they get a bargain the end result is that the hit to profitability has an effect. Turning volume through heavy discounting and making a small margin does little for any business but eat up capital and resources that can be deployed elsewhere to generate larger margins. One tends to forget that this industry, especially for retailers, isn't like clothing where the markups are typically several hundred percent to start. A clothing retailer eventually has a 30 or 40% off if they have stock remaining from the season before. In reality they are still making a profit on that stock. In this industry, retailers discounting that high make very little or nothing before adding in all the expenses that a normal margin is supposed to cover. The cash to pay the day to day expenses has to come from somewhere.

The proliferation of mfg companies pushing product into the retail market has caused retailers to have to invest money in many different baskets. The mfr may care about the final selling price in some cases but in the end when they get their wholesale price they are happy. Retailers slog it out at venues and online with rampant discounting and in the end they make little. In the end the product is devalued and it is difficult to get someone to pay a normal price for it rather than the severely discounted price which by default then becomes the perceived value price. Additionally, mfrs that severely discount their own product while also selling wholesale have the added problem of retailer revolt.

If this industry was so incredibly profitable there would be many pics posted of company owners tooling around in their Ferraris and Bentleys.

Jedispice10 Oct 2012 2:43 p.m. PST

There's a long thread on DakkaDakka about it. No hard facts, but a lot of circumstancials.

Some rumours claim they owe a lot of money to somebody, some other rumours claim they got shafted by GW who didn't like their sales. Who knows? It seems like people are getting their money back when they pressure Maelstrom though.

Read for yourself. link

They have provided good service in the past, so I hope they can weather the storm.

Marcus Maximus10 Oct 2012 4:22 p.m. PST

@Gildas as Laffe points out, they are paying up when customers ask. If they were so tight on cash, why pay up so promptly, usually there is a delay when cash flow is extremely tight, I should know I've made multi-billion businesses wait for their cash for well over 90 days and it helped a business weather a storm…..

Anyway, I wish them luck, as during these difficult economic times, people need jobs and if these guys have been providing discounted hobby material to the paying public then the paying public should support them, or there goes another cheap source for your hobby crack. I for one would not wish anyone business failure or loss of employment. I like to think I've not contributed to that situation through any means particularly through innuendo.

Caesar10 Oct 2012 4:52 p.m. PST

Why do people think that paypal protects you better than your credit card does?

Deadone10 Oct 2012 9:04 p.m. PST

Part of their press release:

"As well as that, we believe that our retailing model must now change to selling products that are in stock at the time of purchase, and as such that will continue to be in place in the future, once our orders are cleared and our stock is sold. "

Does this mean you will not be able to order non-stocked items in the future?

If correct, that'll kill a lot of their trade. Not everyone wants te flavour of the month product.

Dumping the old inventory seems to mean they will not be stocking as much as before.

Frothers Did It And Ran Away11 Oct 2012 1:45 a.m. PST

I've ordered a few odds and sods from them but they don't sell the kind of stuff I usually want – never had any problems with them and often their stuff said something like "This item will be ordered direct from the manufacturer" or something implying they themselves didn't hold stock but I still got it promptly. Perhaps this is just another variant of the same?

I have often wondered how they manage to sell stuff at 10% off or more and offer free postage to anywhere in the world and still make a profit on items. Having worked in internet retail myself once you work in postage costs (which seem to be ever rising) and the dreaded VAT your profit margins can get really hammered.

Good luck to them though – hope its just a blip.

Mike Target11 Oct 2012 1:46 a.m. PST

@Thomas Hobbes:

Yes but people odering stuff that wasnt in stock was the problem: Some people complained that you shouldnt be able to order something they didnt actually have and all the people that were daft enough to order something not in stock complained when 6 weeks later it still hadnt been packed.

Thats why ages ago I decided I would only ever order stuff that was in stock and as a result Ive had nothing but good and prompt service from them.

Buff Orpington11 Oct 2012 2:18 a.m. PST

Why do people think that paypal protects you better than your credit card does?

It isn't the level of protection that concerns me, it's just that it's a lot easier to process the refund.
The concern here is that it may have been Paypal who cut them off.

Frothers Did It And Ran Away11 Oct 2012 2:24 a.m. PST

Or perhaps PayPal's 4% fee meant their profit line was squeezed just a bit too far?

Black Hat Miniatures11 Oct 2012 2:27 a.m. PST

Paypal's fee is much less than 4% if you are a business and turn over enough….


Volleyfire11 Oct 2012 2:30 a.m. PST

One reason I can think of for dropping Paypal, the percentage they take off your proceeds from every sale made using them. Put that on top of free postage and heavy discount means you must be making tiny tiny profits on some orders. Stock is also dead money, the less stock you have the lees money you have tied up, and cash flow for every business in this country has been awful for the last four years so it makes sense to either go to a just in time system like supermarkets, or get rid of lines that don't sell very well or are expensive to buy in. Everyone I know in business is chasing customers for payment all the time, I know I am, where the payment is on credit terms rather than cash.
I don't think putting scurrilous posts up under the title 'are they going bust' helps anyone though. If I were Maelstrom I'd be putting an ad in the wargames mags denying this allegation if it is untrue and consulting my solicitor.

AndrewGPaul11 Oct 2012 3:28 a.m. PST

What allegation? The thread title ends qith a question mark, after all.

Personally, I gave up ordering from Maelstrom, since everything I wanted was listed as "on order". When my last order took over 50 days from payment to delivery, that was the last straw for me. Obviously others may have different experiences; I'm not claiming that my anecdote is representative.

It would have been nice if there was some sort of indication of how long I'd need to wait for items. If it takes nearly two months to supply my goods, I would think that the status "on order from the supplier" is misleading at best; "order will be placed after you've completed your transaction" would be more accurate.

For me, if I order from an online retailer then have to wait for them to oder from the supplier, I don't see the point. I might as well order direct from the manufacturer.

langobard11 Oct 2012 3:54 a.m. PST

I only order from them when they have what I want in stock, but then I do that with everyone else I order from too! Certainly never had a problem with them and hope they will be ok.

(Another Loser)11 Oct 2012 3:58 a.m. PST

Wonder if they have fell out with BF again ? As it says this by every item.
" This item will usually be dispatched within two working days, but only while stocks last. Once stock is exhausted this item will be no longer available."

HammerHead11 Oct 2012 4:07 a.m. PST

sound odd to me,they should not advertise stuff they know is not in stock or will be in for a while. I had some very poor experiences ordering stuff on line , either it took weeks & the item turned out to be poor, it dose not matter to me, a firm lives & dies on its reputation if they can`t deliver there is someone who will.
I ordered some special figs & it took some time to be delivered to me, the guy sent me an e-mail to clear the situation, I will order from him again
One e-bay shop is fantastic on delivery & what they sell.

Mick A11 Oct 2012 4:18 a.m. PST

I placed an order for in stock items last week (7 in stock of one and 6 in stock of another) when I read about possible problems I checked my order status which said processing. I rang them to find out what was happening and was told that they were actually out of stock of the items I wanted and it could be due their stock levels being updated every ten minutes. I was offered store credit or a refund, not offered the chance to wait until the items were restocked, so I took the refund via paypal which is now on temporary hold which apparently means there is not enough funds in the refunders account…

Take this how you want but I would say its not good news which is a shame as I have never had problems with Maelstrom before.


Angel Barracks11 Oct 2012 4:58 a.m. PST

I recently sold my Irregular Napoleonics and Dark Realm Miniatures at a huge loss, I sold and am still selling my Total Battle Miniatures at cost and have sold off my own personal collection of painted Napoleonic figures.

I am not in financial trouble at all, I have simply altered my business model and required some significant cash injection to make this change happen.

Could be they are doing something similiar..

The PayPal thing is odd though..

Manflesh11 Oct 2012 5:35 a.m. PST

This thread comes off as pretty malicious in intent. These sorts of things can be self-fulfilling prophecies.


Whiskey5111 Oct 2012 5:35 a.m. PST

I used to frequent a website called They used to sell FOW stuff at a 30% discount also with a massive inventory with free shipping after $25. USD They were doing something along these lines. They would sell items that were not in stock and then wait for several weeks for the things to come in, and then find out that the items were either no longer made or that the orders would get lost. They made a statement that they were doing someting around $2 USD million a year(may be lower or higher just going from memory) in sales and that because of the practice of selling items out of stock they generated a negative feedback on paypal and claims were opened against them for late items or sale of unobtainable items. Paypal froze their assets and held a huge amount of money that they could neither retrieve or refund. It bankrupted their site and they had to dump everything in stock with credit card only sales. It was one of the biggest hobby websites on the net for a while. I could easily see something like this happening again.

HammerHead11 Oct 2012 6:15 a.m. PST

I think these post are helpful if it stop people losing their money then why not? Most wargaming products are not cheap add the shipping & things can add up fairly quickly

1815Guy11 Oct 2012 6:27 a.m. PST

This looks like a business running out of control, and the owners looking to get some stability before they take a new position. The three new companies set up in June dont seem very reassuring to existing Maelstrom punters.

They've been good for me in the recent past. I ordered a set of Napoleonics rules from Maelstrom. It was a set I wasn't going to pay the lavishly high RRP price for just to browse them, but at the heavy discount I was happy to buy from Maelstrom on chance.

It wasn't in stock but at a big discount and free P&P I didn't mind a short wait, and I was protected with Paypal. Paypal is better than a credit card, btw, for purchases under £50.00 GBP

Maelstrom ordered the rules, made a few bob on the transaction with a quick turnover, didnt need to hold stock, and everyone was fine & happy. It's a business model that certainly could work.

But it needs Paypal. Which is no longer around for Maelstrom…….wow! I wonder why?

It also needs promptish supply from their suppliers, and the two big firms mentioned so far are known for their control of their markets. Not sure how either of them would feel at a retailer discounting their price-maintained products. Other retailers will be losing out, and no doubt screaming blue murder to GW and FOW. Maybe they are pulling the chain and not supplying. Or wanting cash up front, which looks like it would be a problem for Maelstrom.

It looks like major changes are ahead for Maelstrom, one way or the other.

I'd be cautious about ordering, and deffo not without Paypal. If Paypal cant apparently support them, what do Paypal know that I don't?

In any case, as they do 99% fantasy stuff they dont stock anything I'd want to buy anyway.

I do wish them well, and hope they can sort out their current issues.

Gottmituns20511 Oct 2012 8:11 a.m. PST

Paypal is the closest thing to pure-Bleeped texting-evil on this planet.

If Paypal drops them, then Maelstrom MUST be in trouble.

Also, I recall Battlefront only hooked up with them again, because Maelstrom agreed to not undercut their product with huge discounts…

That is a bad bad sign.

Goose66611 Oct 2012 9:40 a.m. PST

This is not a conspiracy, it was a question. I have nothing against Maelstrom games. Having won some of their plastics bundles in the past on ebay, I actually don't want them to go under believe it or not.

But their statement has me worried. And it looks far too much like it could be a grab for cash before they go under (which might be against the law in fact, under deception, depending on what the state of the company finances are, but thats for the likes of trading standards etc). Or a very badly worded press statement..

I still dont' see how if, they need cash to pay for orders already placed and previously paid for by customers, where the cash will come from to pay for the orders for the customers who place new orders.. thats why I am mega suspicous about this.

Volleyfire11 Oct 2012 10:31 a.m. PST

What allegation? The thread title ends with a question mark, after all.

The title infers or implies something, whether it ends in a question mark or not. An inference or implication of this sort is as good as allegation to my eyes, it can certainly be as damaging.

Gottmituns20511 Oct 2012 11:17 a.m. PST

They must really be hurting….they are upping the discounts on a lot more stuff now.

sma194111 Oct 2012 11:23 a.m. PST

It's easy to discount stock you don't actually have.

Jimlad4811 Oct 2012 1:38 p.m. PST

I wouldnt see it as an allegation, but a genuine question which is worth answering. We are seeing a retailer putting out an email, the wording of which seems a little unusual to say the least, implying that your cash will be used to fund someone elses orders. At the same time there appears to be growing concerns on other sites about delays in shipping and orders placed for stuff that is in stock not actually shipping, raising reasonable questions about whether it was actually in stock to begin with.
Personally, my own opinion is that they used to be good and very prompt, but I've not used them for a while following delays in shipping stuff to me. I think the behaviour we are seeing is odd, and certainly if I were to order something, I'd be looking for reassurance from the community as to whether I am about to throw good money into something that could be on the verge of no longer being in business.

richarDISNEY11 Oct 2012 3:14 p.m. PST

If Paypal drops them, then Maelstrom MUST be in trouble.
Did they, or did Malestrom drop them?

(Another Loser)11 Oct 2012 4:43 p.m. PST

Here's something odd ? Yesterday i ordered 2 German Fallschirmpionier Platoons (GE766),and there were 3 instock.
Just looked on their site and now there's 4 instock?
So peoples might want to hold back ordering anything ?

madaxeman11 Oct 2012 5:05 p.m. PST

Whoever is writing their promotional copy at the moment either should be shot for incompetent self-destructive scaremongering, or applauded for writing between the lines in a very large font indeed.

I'll decide which it is based on whether my order from the 5th October arrives or not….

Deadone11 Oct 2012 5:07 p.m. PST

I've noticed a restock of German FOW stuff too.

Nick R11 Oct 2012 7:38 p.m. PST

I read it that they found more stock in stock take, or could be other stuff previously sold coming back available as people cancel orders.

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