Help support TMP


"Why is poor customer service tolerated?" Topic


34 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.


Back to the Consumer Affairs Message Board



1,558 hits since 9 Jun 2018
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

kalgaloth09 Jun 2018 4:47 p.m. PST

I've had a recent bad stint with 2 companies as I've posted recently with poor service and I've seen others with similar complaints. Currently I'm at 39 days since I've paid for my merchandise and counting.

I've also seen replies where people say to "be patient", "the final product is worth the wait", or "it's only been X amount of time" and any of the other number of excuses for certain poor service companies.

Why do we as consumers tolerate it? Is it because we only have a certain number of vendors to choose from for oour particular area of interest and therefore are willing to navigate horrible customer service, communication, and delivery from these companies to get the items we want?

In no other part of being a consumer would I pay for an item and then sit hopeful for it to arrive.

Is it because these companies are a part time business or have inadequate staff?

I had an excellent experience from 2 vendors recently, Empress miniatures and Eureka miniatures.

With Empress I had notification on the shipping within days of my order and received my order here in the US in record time.

Eureka had excellent communication and was kind enough to hand pick all the poses from a line I wanted and bring the figures for me to a recent convention for pickup.

A+ for both of those companies.

Yet from other companies the experience is a total 180. I sit here with a dilemma I fell like most of us face. What to do? Put in a PayPal dispute and get my money back? It's getting close to the end of the time I can dispute the transaction. But I want the figures I ordered. Or sit and wait hoping that the order from these companies, that haven't replied to an email or site contact form, to mail my order?

rmcaras Supporting Member of TMP09 Jun 2018 4:51 p.m. PST

Because people are different.

Personal logo StoneMtnMinis Supporting Member of TMP09 Jun 2018 4:53 p.m. PST

Many companies in this hobby are part-time one-man operations. So, expect delays when ordering from smaller companies, it is just part of being a niche hobby.

Dave

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP09 Jun 2018 5:11 p.m. PST

I could tell you some stories. Stone Mountain is right, of course. You have to allow for the entire company being sick or on vacation sometimes, because the whole company is often only one man. That does not account for the occasional outright rudeness and neglect of orders which does happen from time to time.

The short answer is that I tolerate bad service (sometimes) because the vendor offers a product I can't get anywhere else. But the second or third time I'm blown off, I either find a different way to finish my project, or a find a new project.

Dynaman878909 Jun 2018 5:19 p.m. PST

I don't tolerate it. I do 95% of my business with companies that deliver product within 7 calendar days.
Exceptions being.
The cheap trees from china taking 30 days generally.
Orders from the UK generally take 2 weeks.

Extrabio1947 Supporting Member of TMP09 Jun 2018 5:22 p.m. PST

I really don't accept poor customer service. I understand the issues involved in one-man operations, but if that regularly causes delays, it should be clearly communicated, setting customer expectations up front. If it is going to take 90 days to fill an order, let the customer know.

Fife and Drum is a one-man operation, and Jim provides some of the best customer service in the hobby.

If a vendor provides poor customer service, accompanied by a lack of communication, then I'm done. There are many out there who truly appreciate your business, and many go out of their way to let you know it. Those are the companies I choose to support.

Private Matter09 Jun 2018 5:32 p.m. PST

I don't tolerate poor customer service, however my expectations are simple. I expect the vendor to be honest, communicate, and live up to their promises. If a vendor says they will ship your order in 5 days then I expect it shipped in five days; if they say 30 then I expect 30. If there is an issue meeting a promise then I also expect to hear it from the vendor first. What I won't tolerate is a vendor who says we will ship your purchase soon and then I have to chase them a couple weeks later. If I have chase a second time I cancel my order and get my money back. The real test of customer service however is when the vendor makes a mistake (and everyone will eventually) and their response to that mistake. That can make or break good customer service.

MechanicalHorizon09 Jun 2018 6:08 p.m. PST

IMHO it's because people base their decisions off what they want and not what they need.

They want the miniatures, so they buy them regardless if someone else has had problems in the past.

After all, it won't happen to them, right? That other person is just complaining about nothing, right?

Wargamer Blue09 Jun 2018 7:02 p.m. PST

If they take your money they should be giving excellent service.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP09 Jun 2018 7:09 p.m. PST

Have you made any inquiries about the delay? In some cases there are a limited number of vendors. There is one vendor who provides poor service, so i won't order from him. I find another vendor to be rude to deal with in person, so he doesn't get my money either.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP09 Jun 2018 7:14 p.m. PST

Worth mentioning that both good and bad service tend to be situational. Within in the last two days, I have seen a vendor taken to task for his mail order, who is very easy to deal with--at a convention, buying stock he has in hand. I've seen another one praised for excellent mail order--which has also been my experience. But that same dealer is so bad at conventions I've promised myself that any future dealings will be mail order only: he's just not worth the aggravation during a convention.

We do not all do everything equally well--or equally poorly.

kalgaloth09 Jun 2018 7:45 p.m. PST

@79thPA

Yes. I have attempted to email Redoubt Miniatures and Grubby Tanks with zero response. I have been able to contact Blacktree design through Facebook instant messenger and although he has responded it hasn't resulted in my order being shipped. The first excuse was they are running a sale so shipping could be delayed. But they are ALWAYS running a sale it seems so this in my opinion is nonsense. Then it was explained figures come from Scotland through the UK to the US. He stated they expected their order to arrive Tuesday of this past week and it'd be shipped out the same day. I waited until this Friday past to inquire about the order and haven't had a reply as of yet.

With Blacktree I certainly feel a bit more confident but an order placed May the 2nd and its' June 9th without being shipped, to me seems unreasonable. And Grubby/Redoubt has been zero response to all inquires.

nevinsrip Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Jun 2018 8:50 p.m. PST

As a part time vendor I can say that I always try to get orders out within a week. Sometimes things pop up unexpectedly and it may take a few days longer.
However, I try to keep customers updated when I run into a delay. It's not acceptable to not communicate with the customer. I ran into a wicked summer sinus infection that had me down for a solid week. I emailed the customers (both of them LOL, LOL) and they were very understanding.

I, too have had my share of frustrations, especially with Front Rank, who just never bother to reply to queries.
But on the whole, most vendors are spot on. Just the odd exception, in my experience.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP09 Jun 2018 9:07 p.m. PST

It took me three months to get a complete order from BTD before.

Grimmnar Supporting Member of TMP09 Jun 2018 9:45 p.m. PST

Kalg,

I believe PayPal disputes have six months now.
Confirm that to be sure.

Grimm

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP09 Jun 2018 10:04 p.m. PST

I sent an order to England in 1983.
It was a hand written order, with a "certified check in pounds sterling". Or at least, that's what I think the term is.
I forget who the order was to, or what it was for. It was probably Ancients, but I don't do them anymore.

It's only a little bit late. I check my mailbox every day. I'm an optimist.

bsrlee09 Jun 2018 11:32 p.m. PST

Don't order from Amazon then. Books listed as 'in stock, ship withing 24 hours' can take one to two weeks to get in the mail for no apparent reason.

keithbarker10 Jun 2018 12:00 a.m. PST

I agree with what lots of people wrote. I expect good service and will usually order again from companies that give it.

However I also agree with the people that pointed out that some companies are part-time or one-man-bands. Here things like vacation, moving house or illness can delay. I think this is understandable but that it should be communicated clearly on the web site and facebook. Good communication is part of good customer service, so this won't stop me coming back for more!

IMHO opening PayPal disputes with small companies should be avoided for as long as possible. PayPal disputes cause disruption in more than just your payment and can add even more delays to the one-man-band's shipping.

kustenjaeger10 Jun 2018 1:30 a.m. PST

Just on the Grubby/Redoubt point there is a banner/message on the front page of the new Redoubt site explaining the situation and saying that there is a backlog of emails?

https://www.redoubtenterprises.com

Edward

Empress Miniatures Sponsoring Member of TMP10 Jun 2018 1:56 a.m. PST

Can we take this opportunity to say thanks for the kind recognition of our work. We try very hard to get peoples orders out as soon as we can and as there is only two of us in the office on work days real life or circumstance can get in the way and we do know in over ten years of trading we have upset the odd customer as well. Actually we have had the odd customer upset us so its honours even with that one.

Usually delays are caused by constantly renewing moulds to ensure quality or just keeping up with huge demand. Sometimes its simply real life. Even though we work in a 'fun' environment we do try and take holidays : )

Shows can be the most disruptive as they take days to prepare for and days to recover from but if anyone has a concern with an order or just a question please just e mail us on mail@empressminiatures.com and we are very happy to update.

With Empress Miniatures, just like the Mounties, never fear you will always get you man, or men, or vehicles, or rules, or terrain, etc.

Kind regards,
Paul & Christine

redbanner414510 Jun 2018 4:40 a.m. PST

I have no problem with delays if there is communication but if you ignore me, in the future, I'll ignore you.

kalgaloth10 Jun 2018 2:14 p.m. PST

Thank for the link kustenjaeger. Not replying at all is my real issue but at least I know the order isn't in a pit and forgotten.

@Paul and Christine my order couldn't have gone any smoother. Not to mention the figures are amazing.

KYPD3811 Jun 2018 10:10 a.m. PST

@Winston… your "check" wouldn't have been able to be cashed. Early 80s you'd have needed an international bank transfer, or paid by a cheque drawn from a UK bank. (Were international money orders a thing then?)

The world is much simpler with the advent of PayPal and streamlining of banking systems.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2018 12:28 p.m. PST

I typically pay using PayPal, because I know they will pull the money out of the seller's bank account, if I file a complaint. Had to do it once, many years ago.

If a seller ignores my e-mail messages, after two weeks, I pull the trigger, and file a complaint. Lack of communication cannot be excused, except in extraordinary circumstances. I understand catastrophes happen. I also understand the world is full of crooks, thieves, and scam artists. I take prolonged silence as a "work piece indicator" of a crook/thief/scam artist.

Carefully review the company's posted return/refund policy -- and hold them to it. If they warn me in their policy that there may be delays, I take that into consideration before I submit my order.

On e-Bay, even non-corporate/non-business private sellers routinely mail out auctions within days. If a "professional" vendor cannot ship in a timely manner, they will lose my business, unless they communicate why the delays, and when I can expect my order to ship. Cheers!

kalgaloth11 Jun 2018 7:05 p.m. PST

Sgt Slag this may be what I'll end up having to do as well. And you make a fantastic point on shipping. I may just have to move on from this and request a refund. thanks!

Lord Ashram12 Jun 2018 4:01 a.m. PST

Having just stepped into the vendor side of things a few months ago, I have come to really appreciate some of the issues with getting stuff out the door, and especially as a new company. The sheer number of unforeseen onstacles as a new venture has been mind melting. Like… a single issue that pops up and suddenly bang, a week of shutdown. Thankfully we have largely sorted out our two biggest issues… shipping was a mess after our first con, as we used the US postal service and they straight up lost dozens of orders… and production has been limited because we 3D print stuff and we had only a single printer, so it was SLLLLOOOOWWW going. A switch to UPS and the recent purchase of another fifteen grand of printers seems to have helped with that. But holy Jesus, it has given me about fourteen heart attacks in two months, and not being able to fulfill what we promised in the time we promised it has bothered me to absolutely no end:(

I tend to give more leeway to smaller operations that are clearly not full time stuff, like a few people have mentioned, and if you just tell me what is going on, I'm more okay with it. In the end, if the vendor is open and tells me what is going on, I sort of just remind myself that this is toy soldiers, not life saving equipment or anything, and I try to be patient.

dapeters12 Jun 2018 9:39 a.m. PST

I am kind of fine with anything, if they are up front, one game mat producer regularly get ding here, but if you look at his ordering page he says it can be awhile (I think six weeks or six months, something like this.) If the figures I am ordering are shown in green plastic tell me that there actually day glow orange instead. If the item is no longer in a box, tell me that as well.

Frontline Tim20 Jun 2018 1:45 p.m. PST

As a manufacturer and a one man band from design to doing the trip to the post office. I would point out that at times life gets in the way of getting orders out.
Now I do agree that a lack of communication has no excuse and any delay should be pointed out. On this point this should cut both ways. Over the years a few times I have sent out invoices that do not get paid and emails go unanswered.
While metal can go back in the pot and resin will sell eventually, time can not be regained. A mail with changed my mind, can no longer afford the order etc would mean I could be working on on other order. Communication should run both ways.

MiniPigs Supporting Member of TMP21 Jun 2018 9:43 a.m. PST

It's all about communication and customer service. You cant do anything about a charlatan but when a vendor hides because they lack communication skills or are afraid they will lose the order, they're creating the very anxiety and self fulfilling disaster they think they're avoiding.

For instance, I ordered a while back from Musket Miniatures. 40mm ACW. Now you would think anyone dumb enough to order 40mm ACW would get treated like a prince or at least like a fatted lamb. But, I've heard nothing, nada, zip, zilch. One would think I would get an email update from someone whose business is based on having bought a range from someone else. Maybe the figures arrive and maybe they dont; it's like Russian roulette but with a single shot pistol. Maybe it's a terrific outfit that provides quality goods but how would I know?

I would imagine most people selling in the hobby haven't a clue about how to provide customer service. I am not easily offended but one accesory making company, which is something of a darling on here, offended me so much with their poor manners that irrespective of the fact that they made everything to my liking, I will never deal with them again.

Actually, I have had very scattered experiences, some companies you'd never think were professional give some great service and some of the sacred cows on here bite the proverbial big one. In fact, one very touted miniatures manufacturer is so bloated with their own self importance, I am tempted to post an open letter about their buffoonery. Some of their mistakes with my orders would be comic except that they're happening to me!

Now, I do get a lot of thanks from vendors about the sizes of my orders which i don't think are all that large but tells me they're usually saddled with filling paltry orders. This tells me there are also a lot of cheapskates in the industry.

But, it is a smallish hobby which has niche appetites and I think that contributes to suspensions of common sense in the hopes that ones hard to find miniature or scenery can be realized. Partly that is because a lot of makers, even makers who sculpt their own figures, fail to complete ranges.

And it's not just miniatures and scenery makers, it's also painters. I recently interviewed about 20 different painters and the attitudes are across the board. Some are very agreeable but their prices were beyond what I wanted to pay for the use I intended. Others sent me a "List of Demands" such as, I dont do tartan, no more than X amount of figures at a time, I wont deliver until Christmas, tell me what miniatures you want painted so I can decide if I am interested. Is it me, or does this fall under the category of stupefaction?

Of course, others are very reasonable and I've selected three. I hope their delivery times are also reasonable. I do appreciate that a painter can be something of a personal relationship ( I like to know one painter is painting my stuff) and isnt the same thing as ordering unpainted figures but still, when I hear I dont do tartan, it makes me want to send him an ImagiNations army of the all tartan wearing army of MacScottia.

Tyler32621 Jun 2018 1:12 p.m. PST

Perry, Front Rank, Old Glory , Calpe… no issues. Fast and good service.

MiniPigs Supporting Member of TMP24 Jul 2018 9:47 a.m. PST

In the last 6-8 months, I've had to apply for a chargeback with 4 different miniatures suppliers. No contact, no responses, no nothing. That's 4 more times than I've applied for a chargeback for I dont know how many years…maybe 15?

There are a lot of hucksters in this hobby.

We are evidently sheep and that's why we put up with it.

Double G Sponsoring Member of TMP29 Jul 2018 1:10 p.m. PST

A lot of people get into the hobby business with all the good intentions in the world.

They are involved in the hobby, so they try to make a few dollars with a business, probably the main goal is to use the profits to fund their hobby.

Then reality hits; it's not a hobby, it's a business and it has to be treated as such. Have and hold stock, answer phone calls and reply to emails in a timely fashion, ie, treat others the way you'd want to be treated.

Some adapt and are very good at what they do, others are in over their heads.

Doing the business part time or being a sole proprietor are not valid reasons for poor customer service, they are excuses.

Part of the problem is with wargaming, many companies offer exclusives to people, so you either get it from them or you have to go direct, often overseas, only to be told they don't sell direct to the USA, so and so is their exclusive US agent, contact him.

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP30 Jul 2018 2:26 a.m. PST

Double G: +1

MiniPigs Supporting Member of TMP13 Aug 2018 6:26 a.m. PST

Well my rules of thumb with people in the hobby are as follows:

1. If a business is hard to find, don't do business with them. Especially with painters. If they dont want to paint for money, then I say, grant their wish.

2. If they dont answer an initial email, don't do business with them. Never chase anyone with your money.

3. Make a small order first, to see whether they're a scam outfit.

4. If a range is incomplete, dont do business with them. Chances are they've lost interest in the range or they cant afford to get the rest sculpted. Either way, you're throwing your money away. Incomplete doesnt mean that the items you want dont exist but that items

5. If they haven't updated their online media in over 6 months, chances are they are defunct.

6. if they act like they're doing you a favor, don't do business with them.

Not a few posters on here make excuses for people who are unresponsive or don't ever ship their products. These posters defend the proprietors by asserting that their product is great and/or they do it part time or they have health issues. It's interesting how this hobby seems to have a higher percentage of health issues than society at large; perhaps it attracts the sickly?

Also notice a lot of posts praising businesses when they just do what they're supposed to do; ship their crap in a timely manner.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.