A tale of two customer service experiences

Some people colour to relax or geocache but I prefer Lego. I have a casual collection of Lego Star Wars Minifigures and discovered noticed awhile ago the Rey figure had a cracked torso. I filled the web form at the Lego site and the replacement arrived today. I’ve made to purchases from their site directly and both experiences have been positive. The most recent order included free shipping at CDN$35 and a free poly bag Lego set, a police helicopter with a police woman. The replacement part came with an apology letter saying the quality control people were notified.

Lego allows me to use PayPal and won’t allow me to click on items that are out of stock. BattleFront, the company that makes the Flames of War miniatures game I play does not allow PayPal so I have to go through a local store. If I could order direct free shipping doesn’t happen until US$100(CDN$140) and there is no guarantee that what ordered is available. Almost everything on my order through a local store was out of stock and so the order was cancelled as what was in stock wasn’t enough for the free shipping. I cancelled the order and have no plans of making another.

The really extraordinary thing is this past weekend BattleFront launched version four of the Flames of War rules. Customers were supposed to trade the version three book for a pair of free version four books. As far as I know no one in South Western Ontario has access to these new rules except through bootleg PDFs. When I mentioned it to Battle Front on their forums they implied I had the wrong information about why my local store didn’t receive any books.

The BattleFront representative then said stores got good shipping deals at USD$300 and a small box was only USD$30 shipping. The claim of stores getting free shipping was refuted by a store owner responding saying USD$300 was $10 shipping and not free, if the stock was available to fill the order. The store owner was saying the stock problems were so bad they may have to drop BattleFront products.

So one company apologizes and says we have a department to keep this from happening, and the second company suggests customers don’t have all the facts and their policies are reasonable. Reading the BattleFront forums as often as I do I see stock problems and customer complaints almost weekly. The new editions to the line up were apparently shipped with incorrect items. Plenty of other posts about backorders, lost orders, and damaged orders.

I guess both companies could be used as examples of customer relations in some business program. I certainly wouldn’t invest in BattleFront if I money too, it strikes me as a company committing suicide. In fact I’m really hesitant of ever buying from them again.

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