Very disappointed with MB Klein

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bnsf971

Gomez Addams
Staff member
And this is all a perfect example of why most online forums prohibit posting about vendor disputes.
Person A has an issue, which ends up being resolved, but then somebody else has a problem with a different vendor, then the vendor feels compelled to answer, which does more harm than good, and soon everybody is actively engaged in vendor bashing, and on a complete tangent from the intent of the original post.
 
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Bruette

Well-Known Member
And this is all a perfect example of why most online forums prohibit posting about vendor disputes.
Person A has an issue, which ends up being resolved, but then somebody else has a problem with a different vendor, then the vendor feels compelled to answer, which does more harm than good, and soon everybody is actively engaged in vendor bashing, and on a complete tangent from the intent of the original post.
Well said!
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Sorry Guys I have to agree with New Guy. These sorts of things need to be made public so others at least have an indication of how a particular vendor will react to a problem. As you said Louis, the vendor (in this case) had the opportunity to give his side of the story but has elected not to. That only makes him look worse and as though he has something to hide or, possibly, has no legitimate explanation.

The idiotic thing here is all of this could have been resolved from the very first phone call that Mike made. All the vendor had to do was accept the faulty engine back and send Mike a new working one then send the faulty engine to Kato OR wait for the Rep to come in and hand it to him. It wouldn't have cost him a cent and Mike would have been (presumably) happy.

To give a contrary story, much along the same lines as Mikes but with a completely different outcome. The 2-6-0 Bachmann I purchased from Klein's had a broken wheel linkage. I emailed Klein's with the problem and by the end of that same day had three things from them:

1. An apology for the damaged engine,
2. A return number for me to send it back, AND
3. A UPS label so I didn't have to pay for the return shipping.

As such, Klein's will continue to have me as a customer. Mistakes happen, that is human, it is how that mistake is dealt with that makes the difference.
 

Boris

Beach Bum
While this thread has become somewhat long in the tooth, I want to throw this out to all the participants.

To some of us, this hobby is a passion, to others it's therapeutic, to still others it's a passion and a business, and to another group, it's only a business. Expectations of those of us who are consumers, are frequently different from those of us in the business of model trains, and with that comes conflict. What is common is that we can all be self serving, and everything said here has to be taken in that vein.

I have four local model train retailers within a reasonable driving distance of my home, and I won't deal with any of them. Why? Simply because they cannot fulfill my expectations, and treat me as a valued customer. I'm not even talking discounts here, just plain courtesy. I have had issues with internet orders, as I'm sure everyone has, but I have also had to pay both way shipping for returns of non hobby goods also. It's part of the way business is done. If we want the product badly enough, we will agree to the terms or do without. One of the local shops here will not accept a product return if the packaging has been opened, as "it destroys the value of the collectible" to open the package...not for nothing, but how do you determine the model is not defective without opening the model? It's the nature of the beast.

The original post concerns the posters dissatisfaction with a well known internet and B&M hobby dealer. They did not meet the OP's expectations or he wouldn't have complained. I use the same dealer, and have been relatively well satisfied with them, although I do less business with them now, because they don't take pre orders.
So they do meet most of my expectations. Then again, I wouldn't have started a thread to praise someone either, because that's not in my nature.

There's a lot of competition out there, and it's sometimes good to see what others have experienced.
 

MikeOwnby

Active Member
Most warranties I've seen ask that the defective item be returned to the manufacture.
Dave
That's true, IF it's beyond the retailer's return window. The vast majority of retailers have a period of time that you can return a defective item for replacement or refund rather than having to go through a possibly lengthy and troublesome warranty repair process. That return window may vary anywhere from 24 hours to 30 or 60 days, but almost nobody out there will just not accept returns on an item that's defective out of the box. If a place does have an outright policy of no returns for any reason then I just don't do business with them. It's one thing if something breaks after some use (even if it's way too little use), but when it's defective out of the box you should be (and usually are) able to return it to the retailer for immediate satisfaction.

This is where I do also realize that I'm being a bit nitpicky about Klein. Yes, I hesitate to do business with them now simply because they do run out of stock on things VERY quickly and don't have a replacement to send in some cases. That's what twisted my shorts about that GP15 they wouldn't work with me on. I didn't get what I wanted and they were too hidebound to simply swap parts and make that happen. I've had the same issue with Wal-Mart and Lowes, to an extent. Taking something home, getting it halfway assembled, then finding out there was a defective part. The difference there is that once I talked to a manager they WOULD simply swap out the defective part rather than forcing me to disassemble and bring in the whole thing.

To be fair, I do have to say that at least as far as returning a defective item, Klein is very good about accepting returns and even paying for return shipping. Can't fault them there. It's just that if you do get unlucky as I did you go through all that trouble for nothing and are then also still looking around to try and find what you wanted in the first place. I did state that I do still use Klein on occasion, but mostly just for items I know they'll restock, such as turnouts.
 

wpsnts

BNSF Conductor
That's true, IF it's beyond the retailer's return window. The vast majority of retailers have a period of time that you can return a defective item for replacement or refund rather than having to go through a possibly lengthy and troublesome warranty repair process. That return window may vary anywhere from 24 hours to 30 or 60 days, but almost nobody out there will just not accept returns on an item that's defective out of the box. If a place does have an outright policy of no returns for any reason then I just don't do business with them. It's one thing if something breaks after some use (even if it's way too little use), but when it's defective out of the box you should be (and usually are) able to return it to the retailer for immediate satisfaction.

This is where I do also realize that I'm being a bit nitpicky about Klein. Yes, I hesitate to do business with them now simply because they do run out of stock on things VERY quickly and don't have a replacement to send in some cases. That's what twisted my shorts about that GP15 they wouldn't work with me on. I didn't get what I wanted and they were too hidebound to simply swap parts and make that happen. I've had the same issue with Wal-Mart and Lowes, to an extent. Taking something home, getting it halfway assembled, then finding out there was a defective part. The difference there is that once I talked to a manager they WOULD simply swap out the defective part rather than forcing me to disassemble and bring in the whole thing.

To be fair, I do have to say that at least as far as returning a defective item, Klein is very good about accepting returns and even paying for return shipping. Can't fault them there. It's just that if you do get unlucky as I did you go through all that trouble for nothing and are then also still looking around to try and find what you wanted in the first place. I did state that I do still use Klein on occasion, but mostly just for items I know they'll restock, such as turnouts.
Good points Mike.
 
G'day all....well said Tony....Mistakes happen ...almost impossible for a large turnover place like MB Klien to be able to check out every detail of an item in sealed packaging but it's the way they deal with a fault that matters to the customer..Sounds like MB Klien are pretty darn good there..About three years ago I bought a couple of Bachmann DCC Locomotives from my usual seller (Little Caboose Trains) in Queensland...I opened up the first one , put it on my track and it "Buzzed"...I opened up the second one and it did exactly the same..The boxes said DCC on Board...but they weren't...No decoders...wrongly packaged by the distributor to LCT...I messaged Den at LCT and he sent me two replacements that he tested once he knew that there was a problem and found two that were as described . He found more in stock that were On Board listed out of ones he had that had same misleading boxing and white stampings on underside of fuel tanks saying DCC.. The correct locos arrived within 2 days and he offered me a credit on my next order for the return postage or to keep them for cost price of a DC only Loco ...He also covered the Express Post of the replacement order.so I just had to send him the cost price for the incorrectly marked (SD40-2's)...which I did...Not only that but in my next order a few weeks later he sent me a bonus Model Power HO semi trailer truck for my layout as an apology..To say I was impressed was an understatement..No fault directly of his own but he took responsibility for it just the same...Cheers Rod..
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Rod,

LCT sounds very much like Klein's in the way they operate and think, glad it worked out for you as it has in my case.

This maybe a some what "prehistoric view"; however, it seems to me that business' now a days treat customers as "prey" not customers. What really annoys me, and evidently some others as well, is business' seem to have this philosophy that it is "their right" to treat their customers anyway they want and "we" (figuratively speaking) sit on our butts, throw our hands in the air and accept it.

I don't know about anyone else but I worked long and hard (bloody hard) for my money and I'll be damned if I'll just hand it over to someone because they say I should. So far as I am concerned, if a business wants me as a customer that business has to EARN my business and my money, and the way they do that is how they treat and deal with me, not the other way around. That is why Klein's will always have me as a customer, and I assume LCT you as theirs. If more people took this "attitude" and refused to deal with business' that didn't provide a decent standard of service, then we might see fewer "rogue business' and a lot more business' like Klein's and LCT.

In plain English - put the "we only want your money and don't give a damn about you after we have it" business' OUT of business by refusing to deal with them.
 

Bruette

Well-Known Member
Tony I don't think it is anything new.

When I was just 11 years old I began going into hobby shops for model railroad things. Just cheap Tyco and Life-Like things. I must have gone into a half a dozen shops on my side of town and everyone treated me like a 'pain in the donkey" That is until I found MB Klein. I had to take the bus about 12 miles to get to downtown Baltimore from my neighborhood, Essex. When I got to Klein's they treated me like a "million dollar" customer. I don't think I ever spent more then $5 on any trip.

It's no wonder all of those other shops are long gone and MB Klein is still growing.
 

Selector

Well-Known Member
I have ordered materials of one kind or another from the following, and I have forgotten one or two:

MB Klein, Tony's Train Exchange, BLI, Factory Direct Trains, Caboose Hobbies, Valley Model Trains, Discount Trains, Internet Trains, Walthers, Blue Ridge Hobbies, Train Track.com, Trainworld, Modellbahn Ott, ... Never had an order go missing, never had a return go missing, never had an incomplete repair returned to me, not once.

Had to contact two manufacturers for missing or defective parts in structure kits: Central Valley and Branchline Models. Both responded very quickly. I had the parts inside of two weeks.

I know I have been somewhat lucky. Once a person has been in the hobby a while and his/her orders add up, there is bound to be a glitch now and then. I have always found that a courteous inquiry, with some tempered follow-up very couple of weeks or so, wins the day. So far, I have not had to do this in my hobby experience, but in other pursuits I have found it to be effective. The final recourse is to ask your credit card holder to issue you a refund, but it takes some convincing.
 

montanan

Whiskey Merchant
This has been an interesting subject that I have followed since it started.

I can see buyers having problems with defective items. Any retailer will probably replace them, if they have them. Sometimes a new item may hit the market and demand can easily overwhelm supply and a replacement may not be available.

Besides MB Klein, who is probably my number one place to go, I have ordered from numerous on line retailers. A certain item may be out of stock that I need from one retailer, whereas another may have what I need in stock, therefore they get my order.

One thing I will have to say about MB Klein is that in my experience, their customer service is great. I had an instance where I put in an order and later forgot to add a few other items. A single phone call was able to get the additional added to the order saving shipping for the extra items. I had another instance where I was trying to find some off the wall detail items which I couldn't locate on their web site. Made another call and explained what I was looking for. Who ever I talked to took my number, located a number of items that I could use and called my back. The total dollar amount wasn't very much, but they did take the time to search for what I wanted. I had occasions with other on line retailers where they told me I would need a part number from a retailer for them to even look for an item.

I guess their customer service may be the one thing that makes them my first place to shop.

I am sure that on line retailers have helped close down numerous local hobby shops, but I am sure that we all want to be able to get what we are looking for and don't want to have to wait for a small hobby shop to add out items to their regular order (telling us that they would special order it) and then wait sometimes weeks for it to show up. In my case, with no hobby shops at all in my area, on line retailers are my main source for the hobby.
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Louis,

I'm sure/know this "passing the buck mentality" is not a new phenomenon and that is what makes it so infuriating (at times). The "seller", regardless of who they are or where they get the merchandise from, should be responsible for what they sell.

Montanan,

"...I guess their customer service may be the one thing that makes them my first place to shop..."

That hits the nail on the head and what this thread is really, when all's said and done, about.
 

new guy

Active Member
The interweb has allowed us all to become our OWN 'hobby'shops' with the ability to order 'at a click' from anywhere in the world!

The downside of 'skipping a step' is WE get to discover all the 'joys' of 'dealing' with manufacturers and wholesalers that we were unable to experience before when we 'just went to the store and bought it' now that we have become our own 'suppliers'.
 

CMMR

Member
I have ordered from Model Train Stuff in the past with no issues and good service.

On January 9th (10 days ago as I type this) I placed an order an order with them for 5 different items that were all shown to be in stock. I received a confirmation of the order that same day. Several days went by without any shipping update on the order so I checked it online. It said that the status was "Ready To Ship". I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt, as I am in Canada and maybe they save all the International orders for the end of the week or something. The week went by, then the weekend, and finally on Monday morning (yesterday) I submitted a request online asking what was going on. As I type this 24 hours after submitting the request I have still not heard anything back.

Has anyone else had any problems with them lately? I realize that they are a pretty small operation, but this kind of service is not acceptable to me.
 

MikeOwnby

Active Member
You may not have received a reply to this latest email yet because it was a holiday yesterday, but I agree that 10 days is a bit much. Even though they're going to say that this is only the 6th BUSINESS day, that's still longer than I believe they indicate their service time is supposed to be. I had that problem with them once before, and of course they never do explain WHY it happens, but I have a feeling it's either caused by being unusually busy or maybe even staffing issues in the warehouse/shipping. Hopefully you can eventually get them to boot it out the door for you.
 

montanan

Whiskey Merchant
I had a very similar thing happen to as with Gary. I have been ordering from MB Klein for quite a while as I have no hobby shops at all near me. I usually get an email when the order ships along with a tracking number. I put my order in just about the same time and never got a single email from them. I checked the site a number of days later and the website noted that the order was being processed. This was about a week after the order was placed. Checked it the other day and from the best I could determine, the order had been shipped because I could no longer modify the order. This is the first time this has happened to me in years of ordering from them.
 

Hawkesburytrain

Active Member
Hey Gary,

I placed an order on the 3rd at night (Sunday)
It was shipped on the 8th (Friday)
Arrived in Canada on the 11th
And in my house this morning

2 weeks is normal for me, especially when customs takes 7 days, I live in Ontario
I found it weird also that it took 5 days to get pick up
 
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jwb

Member
As a customer of Klein for the past several years, I've noted their shipping times have increased, and it isn't unusual in my experience for an order to take nearly a week to ship after they confirm it. The remedy is to use others: Walthers often has items on sale, and their shipping and shipper (FedEx-USPS combo) are head and shoulders above the others. Trainworld has comparable prices and much better shipping. There are other options like Factory Direct Trains.

But also, Klein sells out of a lot of items almost immediately. The others still have them in stock. I can only say that businesses come and go, sometimes based on strange priorities by owners or managers. I've cut back on what I order from Klein, more from Trainworld.
 



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