Walthers - Unfair Competition

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Do you buy direct from Walthers - specifically items from manufacturers other than items Walthers manufactures? If you do, I would really like to recommend that you patronize your local hobby shop, instead. (If you don't have a LHS, please find someone else to buy from ;) ).

Walthers has been moving aggressively into the retail market, while they continue to rake in money as a distributor. I realize that this has been happening for a while now, but this month, I just decided that I had to speak out. They are currently offering 20-30% off select wood kits by JL Innovative Design... while selling as a distributor to other small businesses. If this trend continues, LHSs are going to have a very hard time competing, given that Walthers can spend lots of money on marketing, with monthly sales, color flyers, free shipping offers, etc. Please don't let Walthers become any more monopolistic than they already are.
 

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
I can see your point. Unless they sell at full retail, they are undercutting their dealers. I'm sure they would argue that they are just eliminating excess stock.
 

modelbob

Administrator
My experience with Walthers has been they pretty much sell at list price or close to it, except for a few closeout items. I've almost always been able to find lower prices at my hobby shop or online.
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
Hey my thought is, if Walther's has to sell it so cheap, then what the heck are the dealers doing to clear that stock themselves? If the Distributor is over stocked then the dealers should be buying them cheaper and selling them cheaper.

I only buy from Walther's for sale items anyways. I stick to eBay for engines, and my LHS for freight (or, sale engines!)... I go where the supply is in stock when I need it. Basicaly, why go to the LHS to have them go online and order it, wait for it to arrive then drive BACK there to buy it, when I can have the man in brown (or the guys with the eagles for me) deliver it to my door?
 

Hawkeye251

Member
I generally prefer to support local business and can certainly see how Walthers is in many ways the Wal Mart of the hobby world. However, I can't remember the last time I had a satisfying experience at a local hobby shop.

Part of the problem is that I rarely buy any kits... I'm mostly after detail parts or supplies, and generally it seems that LHS's either don't have what I want, don't have things organized well enough for me to find, or as is usually the case, are selling stuff for more than I would pay at Walthers. Add in the 45 minutes it takes to get to any of the local shops, plus the gas and it really isn't worth it. Being on a fairly tight budget, I can't afford to buy up a bunch of parts to fritter away till I'm ready for them. I have to buy things when I need them, and it's really annoying to drive out to the shop to find that they don't have what I want. If Walthers doesn't have something, it takes thirty seconds and a few clicks of the mouse to find out.

That said, one thing I do try to make a habit of, is buying things online direct from the manufacturer, or an independent retailer if possible. Since I model in Proto:87, this is easy, as the only useful source of dedicated P:87 parts is through the Proto:87 Stores. Railflyer Model Prototypre and BLMA are examples of manufacturers that make it easy to order stuff direct, and I always check with them first before going through Walthers.

Though it's sad to see another swath of life swallowed up by the internet. Model railroaders have gained a vast new community within which to share ideas and learn, plus we now have access to thousands more products than could ever fit in the largest of LHS’. Which I think is pretty exciting.
 

CBCNSfan

Registered Member
Staff member
I can see your point. Unless they sell at full retail, they are undercutting their dealers.
Sorry GM, I guess all the thread responses seem to agree, so I quoted you.

I don't buy from the large mail order outlets, mainly because they are all in the USA. I'm not picking on the US, but adding another poin of view. So if I ordered from Tony's or Walthers I would start costing total by adding $ exchange, plus a 14% value added tax on any parcel over $20 Cdn. plus $5 service fee for the post office collecting the tax, and a Postal rate that belongs to the best of the scalpers. Now if Walthers wanted to sell to me direct (which they won't) they'd have to go even lower on their prices.
I don't know how this plays out in the USA, but if the cost of postage is anything like Canada, then they would have to drop their prices to compete with the local hobby shops. ;)
Just another point of view

Cheers Willis
 

Alcomotive

Grandson of ALCO Bldr
This is a very interesting topic. I have only ordered from Walthers once. This was when I bought my track supplies long ago but now I buy else where. Having said this I am more into buying at these following places than any where else:

  • LHS but not many around my area (in fact 2 that are 30 miles a way all others outsde 75 miles radius). I usually buy parts or rather details, paint and paint supplies and building kits from the LHS.
  • Train shows my biggest bargain hunting grounds. I like the hands on look and see approach of various equipment. I usually spend more here particularly for freight or passenger cars. Sometimes parts or spare parts. I find that you can never have enough spare parts. :D
  • E-bay although can be very good but some deals can be annoying with those scalpers who like to "pad" the shipping cost which really tick me off. Example: you win a bid fair and square on a boxcar for 2 bucks then they charge ya 8 bucks to ship it then you get the package and the shipping cost on the postage is a buck and a half. GRRRRRR!:mad:
    But I have had some good deals where I have overlooked those charges. I do buy a lot of locos new and used from e-bay that I would not have gotten else where. When ever possible I try to get as many items I can from the same seller and most of them work with you on shipping etc but the "communication" is the real key here.
  • Internet sales on the online hobby shops are great too. Most of them are pretty straight up deals. Some give member discounts or free shipping over certain amount ordered etc. I also buy the hard to come by stuff here and usually order in bulk which works out great. Most of them that I deal with are very nice and appreciate re-peat business and will relly work with you on some deals when you take the time to communicate with them.

I would like to support my LHS but it is not feasable for my wallet when they can't or won't compete. One of my LHS does buy out old layouts and even does have space for others to sell their items in the shop but he gets a percentage. It is ok I guess.

Any ways this my 2 cents.
 

OldGettysk

Running the MC & Buffalo
Just my two cents , I look for deal wherever and however I can get them. I'm on a fixed income so being thrifty is a must .I look at hobby shops locally , yard sales , flea markets , train shows , garage sales ( also have a support team that looks out for me ) online retailers and Ebay . So you can see there are quite a few places to find bargains just have to dig in the dirt as OLD97 says !!!!!
 
I have never purchased from Walters direct but I have found that if you are patient there are many deals on ebay or online shops and I know many have been scammed there but I have been fortunate so far.

I search Hobby shops whenever we travel mostly in Maryland, Virigina and NC I have not been impressed. I am into HO and most of the new items I see are way off in pricing. Yes, I am the one scouring the used or trade-in shelves.

We have 2 hobby shops locally and they seem to be pricey to me. I bought all my track and roadbed and a DCC system from my LHS when I started my current layout 2 years ago.

When you go in for parts or small things you need help with they dont seem to have the time to help. I have even offered to pay extra to get their time to help to no avail. I think they are into custom work or repairs and dont want to fool with the do-it-yourself guys.

Admittedly I have most of what I want, however from looking at the prices at the local LHS if i wasnt in the hobby already I wouldnt be starting it.

Walmart and some crafts stores have better prices on some scale items, paints and scenery materials.
 
C

catt

Guest
All the Walther's sale items I buy are bought through my LHS.But then again 3 of the 4 LHS's in my town are either owned or at least managed by model railroaders.The 4th one doesn't matter as I don't shop there anyway. :)
 

B_Kosanda

Member
I order many, many items from my local hobby shop. They in turn order the merchandise from Walthers. That way I don't have to pay the 8 bucks, or what ever it is, to have it delivered. Also, I get a 10% discount because I'm a member of a Model RR club.

Bill
 

rhoward

S.L.O.&W. Trainman
I order many, many items from my local hobby shop. They in turn order the merchandise from Walthers. That way I don't have to pay the 8 bucks, or what ever it is, to have it delivered. Also, I get a 10% discount because I'm a member of a Model RR club.

Bill
Exactly the same here. BTW Walther's is not undercutting their dealers, as they also get the sale price applied to the wholesale prices. When I see a sale on an item I want from Walthers, I order it through my LHS and still get the sale price plus a 10% discount from them. They are not about to hurt the LHS as they account for the vast majority of their sales. Depending on yur LHS, you may or may not get the sale price from the LHS, but they do get the discount from Walthers.
 

sushob

Entrepreneurial Teen
Exactly the same here. BTW Walther's is not undercutting their dealers, as they also get the sale price applied to the wholesale prices. When I see a sale on an item I want from Walthers, I order it through my LHS and still get the sale price plus a 10% discount from them. They are not about to hurt the LHS as they account for the vast majority of their sales. Depending on yur LHS, you may or may not get the sale price from the LHS, but they do get the discount from Walthers.
Actually, dealers do not always get the normal percentage discount on sale items...it is often less. ;)
 

stripes

Member
I think it is a shame what Walters is doing! How can they expect the LHS to compete if they are going to cut their throats by undercutting the retail prices?
I also sell JL Innovative, but can only afford to sell at 10% off retail. (I buy direct from JL Innovative)

David
 

sushob

Entrepreneurial Teen
Oh, I see. I thought we were hearing some good news. :(
I'd prefer it were good news, but I can't honestly say I know many who like to order from Walthers. I've only ordered 2 or 3 times from them, and it was only for sale items with my free shipping code (as a retail customer) :D
 

HaggisKennedy

Coal Shoveler
The only thing I buy from Walthers is the sale stuff off the flyers, and maybe some oddball stuff I know none of the LHS will carry. None of them will order one pack of State Tool and Die drawbars for my TTX Long Runner project. They'll tell you that they will, but it'll hold until they do the 'big order'. And, I ain't waiting that long.

Having said that, I split my money between the LHSs, Train Show dealers, and Online dealers.

Kennedy
 

sushob

Entrepreneurial Teen
None of them will order one pack of State Tool and Die drawbars for my TTX Long Runner project. They'll tell you that they will, but it'll hold until they do the 'big order'. And, I ain't waiting that long.
It looks like my supplier has them in stock if you still need them. I won't hold them ransom :rolleyes:
 




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