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Am I expecting too much....

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Old 05-06-2008, 06:25 PM
  #1
a65l
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Default Am I expecting too much....

I recently ordered a Giant U can Do from my LHS. Seemed a nice carrying case for a BGX that had very recently become unemployed. This is the first Great Planes product I've ever bought. I got the box home, no damage noticed, but found some very minor damage to the fuselage. It's fixable, very fixable, but being the spoiled American consumer I am I figured I'd email customer support and see what they said. I don't have a copy of my email, but the jist of it was that I've got a problem, should I handle it through you or through my LHS? Oh and I included pictures of the damage. Here's the reply:

Andy,
Thank you for your recent e-mail. Most hobby shops have a no return policy. You could check with them. If not then we would require you to send the broken parts or the entire aircraft to Hobby Services. We would then replace the parts or the kit.

Call me spoiled, but is it too much to expect, maybee, a "sorry you have a problem with our plane?" I hate to sound cheap, but shipping this plane back to them isn't going to be.

Just for comparison, some time ago I bought a 40 size Twist from my LHS. One of the wing ribs was broken. This was Monday as I recall. I sent Horizon an email, and they shipped a replacement wing to my LHS, I just had to bring my wing to them. I had the new wing in my hand Friday night. Spoiled me a little bit, I guess. I suppose I expected Great Planes to have a similar policy.

This whole thing is really moot, I've already fixed the damage. I understand these things happen, that plane traveled a long way in that box. I guess it just chafes me that I've got to ship a brand new product back at my own expense for warranty service.

What do ya'll think... let's have it.

A

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Old 05-06-2008, 06:42 PM
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Default RE: Am I expecting too much....

*shrug*

I know I'm in the minority here, but I have had mostly "negative" (well, let's call them 'not as positive as others') experiences with Hobby Services. Radio equipment sent for repair took considerably longer than was promised, damage resolution as you've described, etc.

Now, I must admit, every single time, any "problem" has, eventually, been resolved, and resolved quite fairly. But like you, I've found that they seem less "eager" to do so than other companies, and their general "corporate culture" has been one of "We'll make it right if we have to" rather than "Please let us make it right"
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Old 05-06-2008, 07:02 PM
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Default RE: Am I expecting too much....

I have had extensive experience with Great Planes Hobby Services in the last year or so as it seems that EVERY thing that I buy from them has some sort of quality control issue...Yes, I said EVERY product. It doesn't matter if it's an ARF, speed control or *shudder* Rimfire brushless motor....I am so frustrated with GP products right now that it makes steam come out of my head.

To their credit, Hobby Services has always been fair and reasonably prompt with their service and replies. They have replaced everything I've sent in but I do agree that paying to send in a part (or whole ARF) for replacement after I just paid to have it shipped to me is a bit much.

I have had new planes crash on the maiden flight due to rimfire motor or speed controller failures and after I sent them in they did replace (or refund, or even exchange the plane for a different model ARF) but yeah, the packing and sending and waiting is annoying.

I don't think it's too much to ask to pay your hard earned money (usually a few hundred $$$) to put a new plane in the air and actually expect the thing to be made accurately and with high quality and have it go together as the instructions say it should and have all electronic components work right out of the box.

I sometimes wonder how GP/ Hobbico can stay in business when it seems that they have such a huge quality control issue.

I will say that once you get a GP/Hobbico plane in the air...they are great. Great flying characteristics and really fun to fly...at least once they're in the air. It's getting through all of the QC problems and getting them in the air that is frustrating.
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Old 05-06-2008, 09:58 PM
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Default RE: Am I expecting too much....

From my experience Horizon is WAY better with customer service. I have always been happy with their service. On the other hand, Hobby Services has never seemed as good. Some of the people I have talked to there have been quite rude, and even if I do get them to replace a part they seem to be almost always backordered. Then when parts are backordered they never seem to have an accurate due date. Once I sent in an engine that they agreed to replace but the engine was backordered for a month. Then they move it back a month. Then they move it back a month. Then they move it back 2 months! It took nearly half a year to recive another engine. With Horizon I tell them about a broken part, and they repace it without question, quickly and easily. So in my opinion, no you are not expecting too much, customer service just does not seem to be on the top of Hobby Services list.
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Old 05-06-2008, 10:03 PM
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Default RE: Am I expecting too much....

Get them on the horn and ask them to send you a shipping label. Shipping a Giant U Can Do is gonna cost you a TON! and NO, you are not asking too much. Spending as much as we do on these models, we should expect perfection
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Old 05-07-2008, 07:31 AM
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Default RE: Am I expecting too much....

I must have missed something. What's damaged?
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Old 05-07-2008, 08:14 AM
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Default RE: Am I expecting too much....

I feel your pain a65l. My GP Big Stik 60 had a broken front wing mount when it arrived. I called and they immediately sent out a new wing half. Too bad the covering on the new one was torn in 2 places. I called again and then they said to ship the plane back.....at my expense. I decided to just fix the covering myself. I wish I hadn't because after gluing the wing together I discovered that one side of the wing saddle was about 1/4" lower than the other. So, I had to deal with that. The quality control at GP seems to be a little lacking. There are other RC stores out there and they will see more of my business from now on.

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Old 05-07-2008, 09:20 AM
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Default RE: Am I expecting too much....

While I've not been in this hobby all that long, when I started it was almost exclusively with Hobbico stuff. GP/TF/Tower Hobbies/Futaba and my experience with problem solving pretty much mirrors your own. Problems were usually resolved but it always took a long time and usually wound up costing me money one way or the other.

Pleasant experience occured on my first H9 model which came with a cracked canopy. One call to Horizon and a new canopy was on it's way. Subsequent experiences with an ever increasing number of purchases from Horizon have all been good, while experiences with Hobbico particularly Futaba services, continued to go down hill.

While I still think the TF stuff is worth the hassle, nothing else I have now came from anything related to Hobbico. It cost me a chunk of change to move over to the "Dark side" on my radio gear, but I wouldn't hesitate to do it again and I've not bought one of their models for quite some time.

JMHO, YMMV...[8D]
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Old 05-07-2008, 09:52 AM
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Default RE: Am I expecting too much....

When you buy from a large distributor/discount store you are buying PRICE and SELECTION. Why would you expect SERVICE ? That is what LHS provide and why they charge more. I understand about not wanting to pay return shipping for something that's not your fault, but companys operating on a thin margin often can't afford to be generous, only fair. How many people damage stuff and would return it for free( I am not suggesting that is the case with you, I'm just making a point) hoping that the company would replace something. If a LHS is $25 higher on a $100 ARF, allowing for $15 s&h, how many people opt to save $10 and buy online. Toss in paid return shipping and the second shipping costs and a marginly profit deal is a loser. Now multiply that by hundreds of deals throughout the year. If their markup was high enough to absorb that type of expense, don't you think the LHS would undercut them?
Pay retail and you MIGHT get a "please" and " thank-you" and some *****-kissing. Just how the world works.
BTW I have had TOWER, HORIZON< and a LHS all give me poor service at different times. I keep trying other LHS and have found a good one. I also recommend Don's Hobby, Brillelli Engines, and New Creations RC for online.
Good Luck.
Mike
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Old 05-07-2008, 10:49 AM
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Default RE: Am I expecting too much....

I would not expect a perfect product but I would expect customer service that goes above and beyond.

Recently through Tower/GP I have not been seeing that.
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Old 05-07-2008, 12:00 PM
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Default RE: Am I expecting too much....

shame it has happened and im glad you were able to fix the issue but I have to ask.

Did you not open the box and go through the contents before you made the purchase? My LHS always makes sure the item is perfect before I leave the store maybe im lucky and a bit spolied since we have one of the better hobby shops on the east coast
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Old 05-07-2008, 12:05 PM
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Default RE: Am I expecting too much....

companies like the Hobbico empire make money off of volume, not margin. (at least when they sell to dealers like the LHS) However, Hobbico and Horizon are distributors. When you buy directly from them via the internet, you are paying retail prices for a product direct from the distributor...believe me they are making a heck of a margin in this case.

When you buy from a LHS, they are making money on margin, not volume...their customer service and convienence should be the reason you pay the potentially higher prices.

I have run into both incompetence and arrogance at my LHS but have also gotten to know some of the employees and received great service and help.

What is comes down to for me is that I expect the quality of the product to be top notch out of the box so that I don't need to use any kind of customer support. This means that the people who design, build, and ship the product should take pride in their work and strive to do the right thing....I have the feeling that in this day and age this IS expecting too much.
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Old 05-07-2008, 02:30 PM
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Default RE: Am I expecting too much....

Great Planes has the same return policy that alot of companies follow. I pulled up two, unrelated to RC, and did a copy/paste below.

Do I agree with these policies? Absolutely not. If I buy something and it's defective/damaged, I do not feel that I should have to pay more to get what I already paid for.

=== Sony ===
You may create a return merchandise authorization (RMA) online at www.sonystyle.com if your order has shipped within the past 30 days. To generate this authorization you will need to login by clicking Register/Login, then select Order Information under My Account. Select the appropriate order number and click return. Follow the directions on the website to complete the Return Request. Products must be returned in their original packaging. Shipping and handling is not refundable. RMAs are valid for only 30 days from issuance. You are responsible for and must prepay all shipping charges and you shall assume all risk of loss or damage to Product while in transit to Sony.
======



=== Black & Decker ===
Please return the complete unit, transportation prepaid, to any Black & Decker/DEWALT Certified Service Center, any Black & Decker Authorized Service Centers or DEWALT Authorized Service Centers listed in the Yellow Pages under "Tools-Electric".
======
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Old 05-07-2008, 04:45 PM
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Default RE: Am I expecting too much....

If I had taken this issue to my LHS, I'm certain he would have taken back either the fuse or the complete plane, and ordered another one. At his cost for shipping and handling. I get nothing but exceptional service from my LHS, and that comes at a price that, for the most part, is very competitive with the internet. I'm pleased to give him my business.

I usually open the box and inspect everything, but was in a hurry and the plane is really packed into that box well. There was no reason for me to suspect anything was wrong, the outside box was in perfect shape.

With literaly thousands of retailers on the internet, with varying prices and customer support, I suppose it's a lot to ask of a large company to stay competitive with everyone. I do think HS offers good products at fair prices, but when it comes down to brass tacks, something as small as a perceived lack of customer support is more than enough to cost someone's buisness.

A
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Old 05-07-2008, 05:05 PM
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Default RE: Am I expecting too much....

You are going to put a BGX-1 in the Giant U-Can-Do????

Wouldn't this be too much?

I have a BGX-1 and I ended up putting in a Magnum 1.80XL FS into the G-UCD. The weight was just about perfect, provided I threw the battery pack in the back.



BTW: The wrinkles on mine was a horror show. I ended up spending about 4 hours eliminating them. It looks fantastic now.

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Old 05-07-2008, 08:24 PM
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Default RE: Am I expecting too much....


Quote:
ORIGINAL: DiabloKid

shame it has happened and im glad you were able to fix the issue but I have to ask.

Did you not open the box and go through the contents before you made the purchase? My LHS always makes sure the item is perfect before I leave the store maybe im lucky and a bit spolied since we have one of the better hobby shops on the east coast
Diablo
I get up that way from time to time. Would you mind sending me a PM w/ name and address of the shop?
Thanks
Al
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Old 05-07-2008, 09:09 PM
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Default RE: Am I expecting too much....

I don't see any damage inthe pic. You should have taken it back to the hobby store. Let them deal with it. If you would have bought it direct from them then send the email. You went the wrong way. If it was that minor, just fix it and go on with your life.
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Old 05-07-2008, 09:15 PM
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Default RE: Am I expecting too much....

It's kind of like we say in our business.........

We offer 3 kinds of service. You can only have your choice of 2.

We offer Good service

We offer quick service

We offer Cheap service.


If you want it cheap and quick, it won't be good.

If you want it cheap and good, it won't be quick.

If you want it quick and good it won't be cheap.

Most things in this hobby follow this rule.

Bill, AMA 4720
WACO Brotherhood #1
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Old 05-08-2008, 07:30 AM
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YES
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Old 05-08-2008, 10:37 AM
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Default RE: Am I expecting too much....


Quote:
ORIGINAL: mikekosatka

When you buy from a large distributor/discount store you are buying PRICE and SELECTION. Why would you expect SERVICE ? That is what LHS provide and why they charge more. I understand about not wanting to pay return shipping for something that's not your fault, but companys operating on a thin margin often can't afford to be generous, only fair. How many people damage stuff and would return it for free( I am not suggesting that is the case with you, I'm just making a point) hoping that the company would replace something. If a LHS is $25 higher on a $100 ARF, allowing for $15 s&h, how many people opt to save $10 and buy online. Toss in paid return shipping and the second shipping costs and a marginly profit deal is a loser. Now multiply that by hundreds of deals throughout the year. If their markup was high enough to absorb that type of expense, don't you think the LHS would undercut them?
Pay retail and you MIGHT get a "please" and " thank-you" and some *****-kissing. Just how the world works.
BTW I have had TOWER, HORIZON< and a LHS all give me poor service at different times. I keep trying other LHS and have found a good one. I also recommend Don's Hobby, Brillelli Engines, and New Creations RC for online.
Good Luck.
Mike
He said he ordered it from his LHS
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Old 05-09-2008, 08:04 PM
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Default RE: Am I expecting too much....

Hey 2 slow2matter,
I realized that, after I had posted. That's what happens when you read parts of a thread at different times.
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Old 05-09-2008, 09:39 PM
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Default RE: Am I expecting too much....


Quote:
ORIGINAL: submikester

I would not expect a perfect product but I would expect customer service that goes above and beyond.

Recently through Tower/GP I have not been seeing that.
When customers equally go above an beyond then I can see the point. Too many customers today are birdbrains who think the LHS is akin to WalMart or Costco where you can return an obviously used or abused product.

I have never had a problem with Tower/Hobbico/GP on getting replacements for damaged parts and I have never had pay to return one either (some were expensive too). Perhaps it is my approach when outlining the problem, be it over the phone, email or at the LHS.

Tower asking someone to first return a product purchased at the LHS is reasonable. They didn't sell it directly to you and don't know how it was treated while on the shelf. I have witnessed dorks in the LHS rifle through an ARF then shove it haphazardly back in the box. They didn't want to buy it, just look at it. So is it the manufacturers responsibility to replace it sight unseen? Take it back to the LHS and have them deal with it.

If ordered direct from Tower and damage is found upon inspection, my experience has been they will send a replacement immediately and issue a prepaid UPS label via email. In some cases they told me to keep the damaged one for the inconvenience.

In a perfect world problems would be resolved without any effort on the consumers part. It isn't perfect so the consumer needs to step up and put some above and beyond effort into helping rather than whining on RCU.
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Old 05-09-2008, 09:48 PM
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Default RE: Am I expecting too much....

I once bought a 46 size U Can Do from Tower Hobbies. No damage to the box, but once inside I found the wing broken like someone had snapped it in two at the center section. It was major broken. Had to be put in the box this way originally. One call to Tower and explained as above. They sent me a return shipping label and promptly replaced the plane.
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Old 05-10-2008, 09:10 AM
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Default RE: Am I expecting too much....

Quote:
ORIGINAL: a65l

I recently ordered a Giant U can Do from my LHS. Seemed a nice carrying case for a BGX that had very recently become unemployed. This is the first Great Planes product I've ever bought. I got the box home, no damage noticed, but found some very minor damage to the fuselage. It's fixable, very fixable, but being the spoiled American consumer I am I figured I'd email customer support and see what they said. I don't have a copy of my email, but the jist of it was that I've got a problem, should I handle it through you or through my LHS? Oh and I included pictures of the damage. Here's the reply:

Andy,
Thank you for your recent e-mail. Most hobby shops have a no return policy. You could check with them. If not then we would require you to send the broken parts or the entire aircraft to Hobby Services. We would then replace the parts or the kit.

Call me spoiled, but is it too much to expect, maybee, a "sorry you have a problem with our plane?" I hate to sound cheap, but shipping this plane back to them isn't going to be.

Just for comparison, some time ago I bought a 40 size Twist from my LHS. One of the wing ribs was broken. This was Monday as I recall. I sent Horizon an email, and they shipped a replacement wing to my LHS, I just had to bring my wing to them. I had the new wing in my hand Friday night. Spoiled me a little bit, I guess. I suppose I expected Great Planes to have a similar policy.

This whole thing is really moot, I've already fixed the damage. I understand these things happen, that plane traveled a long way in that box. I guess it just chafes me that I've got to ship a brand new product back at my own expense for warranty service.
What do ya'll think... let's have it.
A
Well I can't quite tell whats going on with that photo but IMESHO, Anybody who does not enforce the firewalls or retract mounts of any plane out of the box, has a date and time of that thing going into the dumpster. I don't care how good the front end looks. brace it up with some glass and expoxy or Elmers if you have to but do something. Don't leave it as is.
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