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Steve Webb ... slightly miffed!

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avtur31/08/2012 00:35:19
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A week ago I bought a Parkzone Spitfire IX, I asked to look inside the box before buying, no problem, but the guy in the shop was completetly impassive, sure he let me look at it but made no attempt to talk to me about it or sell it to me.

I asked for an extra battery pack, and was provided with an Overlander no problem; I asked if it was possible to get a pack already fitted with the PZ EC3 style connector; sorry no can do was the reply ... I bought the extra battery pack anyway.

I had explained I was on my way to a two week holiday, so the convenience of an additional battery pack with the correct connectors would be much appreciated ... sorry we don't supply battery packs with connectors ...was the answer.

So I was rather surprised the following day (and 80+ miles from the shop) to look at the spare battery and find it was already fitted with a 'Deans' connector; not bare leads as I had been told to expect. 

I've already spent several hundreds of pounds at this store this year ... and previously I felt that I was valued as a customer (the atitude of other sales staff) ... on this occasion .... if I'm going to be honest ... I did not feel valued in the slightest. And given the comments about batteries with pre fitted connectors I feel rather let down.

This shop is the nearest I have to a LMS, after this expereince I will now think that I have nothing to loose by going mail order ... shame because the attentive personal service I have had previously has been excellent ... but on this occasion it was a complete let down... I can only tell it how it appeared to me ... and this was it.

Spending £180 over the counter I would have expected better ...

Sorry ... I'm sure £180 is a drop in the ocean compared with what others spend and the total of daily sales ... but to me that was a big purchase ... and I did not feel valued for spending my money there. 

 

 

 

Edited By avtur on 31/08/2012 00:50:31

Mark Powell 231/08/2012 03:58:18
430 forum posts

One grumpy (and wrong) assistant. It happens.

'Go mail order' And I am not commenting, I have heard this so many times. So I would genuinely be interested in an answer.

What are you going to do when your LMS closes and all you want is one 36 inch length of 1/16 square balsa?

JohnSom31/08/2012 05:46:32
88 forum posts
7 photos

me in LMS shop

"Do you have a Multiplex Mentor in stock ?"

LMS

"No"

me

"if I was to order one how long would it take ?"

LMS

"I've no idea"

me

I went home and ordered on line. It was with me in 24 hours and I saved around £15 and that was after shipping costs.

- skip forward a few weeks.

me on phone to LMS

"I see you have a Parkzone SE5a listed in stock. I am just checking that it is still in stock ?"


LMS, after holding on several minutes.

"No, can't find it, must have sold it"

me, after hanging up I went on line and yes, you guessed it. Fast delivery and substantial saving.

I do like to patronise my LMS and accept their higher prices but some are their own worst enemy when it comes to customer service.

John

Max5031/08/2012 07:24:55
178 forum posts
8 photos

I go to my local LMS for most things, and have known him for quite a few years. Most of the larger lipo's i've bought have not had connectors, but i just fit them myself; no problem.

When i go into the local LMS, you do notice that alot of the purchases are for small items, so you do wonder how they keep on going, and as Mark says , what will you do when they have gone when you just want that one small item.

Also you never have a personal service from a computer on-line. They are cheeper on-line, but it is nice to have stuff straight away or to view before you buy.

Mal.

Mark Powell 231/08/2012 08:15:08
430 forum posts

This is why I asked the question -

Drop into my LMS about once a week.

Often want one simple item, yesterday a sheet 1/16 x3 balsa to replace a too soft one in a kit.

Buy glow fuel, T-pins, a bottle of Aliphatic glue, one can of Flair Spectrum paint, 'oh, while I'm here I will get some epoxy, an old MK Atlanta kit (very rare), A Junior 60 kit, knife blades, etc.etc.

If I can't do that, and many things are one off spur of the moment purcgases, I will give up modelling. Can't be bothered most of the time with online, and don't want to have to stay home waiting for its 'sooner or later' arrival.

Can I even get a length of 1/16 square balsa from Hobbyking or whoever, and how much will the postage be on this 3 pence, long and fragile item?

And he has to answer silly questions on the phone from some total newbie who hasn't bought his totally unsuitable 8 engined gas turbine B-52 foamy he is asking about from the shop. And the newbie moans when he cant get a part for it , after his inevitable crash, from the shop.

 

Edited By Mark Powell 2 on 31/08/2012 08:17:22

Edited By Mark Powell 2 on 31/08/2012 08:17:50

Greybeard31/08/2012 08:19:52
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Use them or lose them. enlightened

Daithi O Buitigh31/08/2012 08:21:40
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Mark - that's what my LMS used to be like - now it's "Got any 1/16" balsa?" "no, sorry". "Ply?" "nope", "Wire?" "Sorry - but we've a sheet of 1/4" in the rack there" 'Deans plug?" "Err - our technician took all those home - but if you want to call back in a week,..."

If I want airfix, trains, and so on - there's no problem.

btw - if I want 1/16" square, I use a Master Airscrew stripper, bought from, err-um - Hobby King wink

Mark Powell 231/08/2012 09:16:13
430 forum posts

Daithi O Buitigh (that took some spelling),

I've got three within a 20 mile drive. One is just like you describe, one is a HobbyStores (good, use it most, but use the first one as my small part in keeping him in business),

But the third...

It's quite large, with an old-fashioned 'ringer' on the door. It is an Aladdins cave. Vast boxes with huge composite gliders from floor to ceiling, kts of all descriptions imaginable, some good make ARTFs, glow and petrol engines from small to flat four OS Pegasus, balsa, glue, Kontronik motors, Robbe stuff, Multiplex or Graupner radio, never both at the same time, depending on his current whim, EDF units, everything. Even a retired airline pilot serving when he has his day off.

I am told he is very well off, has even more in his old barn at home, and is thinking of retiring. Shame, it can never be replaced if he does. And he never advertises anywhere.

I am not going to tell you its name or location smiley

Paul Marsh31/08/2012 09:29:42
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It's quite large, with an old-fashioned 'ringer' on the door. It is an Aladdins cave. Vast boxes with huge composite gliders from floor to ceiling, kts of all descriptions imaginable, some good make ARTFs, glow and petrol engines from small to flat four OS Pegasus, balsa, glue, Kontronik motors, Robbe stuff, Multiplex or Graupner radio, never both at the same time, depending on his current whim, EDF units, everything. Even a retired airline pilot serving when he has his day off.

... Is that Mick Charles in Ewell? He has a OS Pegasus for sale.

Prop Nut31/08/2012 09:38:47
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How local is a LMS? The nearest one to me is thirty mile round trip, that's £6 for a gallon of petrol but it doesn't end there. At 40 pence per mile (conservative), it's twice that, then there's £2 for parking. I can buy a lot of sheet balsa for that, including postage.

Mark finds it a 'bother' to buy online - I find it much less of a bother to do so. I don't have to stand in line for twenty minutes while the shop owner holds forth to his cronies then be told they don't have what I need anyway (that's happened in two LMS). I don't have to listen while some spotty seventeen year-old 'advises' me on stuff I was doing when he was in nappies. I don't have to search disorganised displays looking for the item I want then, having served myself, be charged top dollar for it, and if I couldn't be organised enough to avoid impulse buying I would give up the hobby. As for waiting for mail order, I get most next day, or the day after. I recently bought an item from the US that was out of stock with Horizon, ordered on Friday and received it on Tuesday, for only 10% more P&P that it would have cost here.

Effectively, I 'lost' my LMS eight years ago when I gave up on them, but I still support model shops because I buy from them mail order - they are just not that local to me.

Mark Powell 231/08/2012 10:05:42
430 forum posts

Ok, it's Spire Models on the outskirts of Salisbury. Don't use it often, only if I fancy a pint at the 'Cuckoo' on my way back.

40 pence a mile. That's only for the company car brigade claiming these ficticious costs to avoid paying tax. A real car costs much the same except for fuel, whether you use it or not. Don't want a 'lot' of sheet balsa, just the one piece, and I want it today, not next mother's day. Waiting for its glue to dry now. Cant do that if it arrives tomorrow. Thoght I had some, but didn't.

But regarding the LMS, I agree with much of what you say, pimple factory yoofs and all. Impulse buying? For me that is part of the fun. Don't do 'organised',.Been there, done that, for too many years. Good at it too.

My waiting comment is mainly about staying in for it, or get a note though the door that I have to drive twenty miles to some overpriced cowboy delivery firms depot. And they are cowboys, a post here quoting £340 to £2500 for the same boxes to the same place proves that.

Each to their own, but they do have their uses, some of them almost 'essential', and it is 'use them or lose them' as others have said.

Edited By Mark Powell 2 on 31/08/2012 10:07:38

Edited By Mark Powell 2 on 31/08/2012 10:17:55

Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator31/08/2012 10:27:42
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How dissapointing. Webbies is my "local" as well. As you say Avtur, normally the service in there is great, the guys are know their stuff and are generally very friendly and helpful. From what I know of Steve himself he'd be mortified to read about your experience.

I really can't think what the assistant was thinking of, I must be honest I don't buy a lot of Lipo's from there but whenever I have they always come with a connector on - I don't think I've ever seen one from there that doesn't. I've also seen, on various occassions, at least three of the assistants in there actually soldering replacement connectors on for people (particularly younsters on R/C cars) who perhaps are not feeling totally confident in their abilty to do it themselves.

I can only make one suggestion. Why not get in touch with Ady or Ann, and ask to have a chat. I'm sure you'll get a positive response and they'll have an opportunity to put things right.

BEB

Edited By Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator on 31/08/2012 10:34:53

Phill @ Elite Workwear UK31/08/2012 10:53:10
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After a good number of years in modelling in the same place I have only just discovered the best model supplier I have ever used on my door step (almost)

I used to look toward Lincoln or Scunthorpe for modelling supplies. I remember Hobbins Models in Lincoln - they closed when Andy Hobbins retired but they were the best LMS by far for many many miles and when he closed it caused me a real problem. Now I use Gliders at Newark. They have a proper shop you can visit, staffed by enthusiastic, knowledgeable modelling folk and also operate a top quality mail order service. If I need balsa, glues, props, covering, petrol engine stuff and of course any manner of ARTF kits they usually have it on the shelf and to top it all off usually reasonably priced.

3 Cheers for Gliders (I don't work there or get commission - although I should wink)

I think the LMS v mail order argument is quite a clear but one that will rage on for many years until there is a clear "winner" in the market place.

For me, I work 40 hours + per week running my business, have 4 kids to look after and try to shoe horn some modelling in to my schedule. All this means that mail order is the best way to go if I am to get anything done at all - not always about cost but some price variation you can't ignore or put up with just to support a LMS. If I had time I would probably enjoy a nice drive to the shop and sit with a cuppa and have a chat to the guys behind the counter. It comes down to they quality of the LMS, where you live in the country makes a BIG difference and how busy your life is.

I am a member of several local business support groups and we come across similar problems in every sector. It seems that smaller independents who either don't/can't offer the service or products are barely making ends meat, and often disappear, whilst the fat cats take over.

Final point - I wonder what impact Hobby King is going to have in the UK - I suspect it will damage many small shops who make the money on the big ticket items - it will hopefully wake up the larger distributors and spur them on to lower prices to compete and improve service - only time will tell.

Right - back to work - feel much better for that!...

Hamish31/08/2012 11:09:32
642 forum posts
47 photos

"I wonder what impact Hobby King is going to have in the UK"

They will desimate the small shops who will have ever more Airfix type kits as they sell and make them money which is essential. My LMS is going this way but will order in on request. This week I took delivery of two orders from HK delivered within a matter of days of ordering both of good quality items. The choice from HK is also immense although not all available from UK so a wait is inevitable on some items.

Unfortunately delivered by Parcelforce which is absolutely dreadful in any info provided or response to complaints. My latest complaint asked in the first instance if they could tell me who lived in Buckingham Palace and if not to esculate to a supervisor. Will wait and see.

Jon Laughton31/08/2012 11:46:27
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Hmm. I bought three kits plus servos & batteries from Steve Webb models over the phone earlier this eyar. Asked for a discount and got one - SMC wouldnt offer one for the same kits. When the kits were delivered I found that some of the ABS fairings in one were damaged and decided not to use them or repaired them but there should have been a check before despatch.

The service on the phone and prior to that in response to my initial enquiry by email was very good.

I made a substantial car journey from NE Manchester to visit the actual shop once, about five years ago and found the atmosphere to be a little 'cold' and unfriendly. I tried to visit on another occasion as I happened to be passing and it was closed!

In summary some excellent service but also some poor service - I guess no shop can guarantee perfect service all the time and we all have our off days.

On balance I will continue to use the shop by mail order.....

Jon

avtur31/08/2012 12:11:21
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Posted by Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator on 31/08/2012 10:27:42:

..... As you say Avtur, normally the service in there is great, the guys are know their stuff and are generally very friendly and helpful.....

 

 

BEB

Edited By Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator on 31/08/2012 10:34:53

In the interests of fairness I was keen to include that comment, but on the visit in question it wasn't a very satifying expereince, hence my comment.

From my own experience of buying lipos I was expecting 'bare wires', normally no problem I'm well set up to deal that... at home. Just that I made the purchase en-route to my holiday destination, so paying a couple of quid extra to have the connector fitted would have been a great help, I did explain this, (as it is I only have one pack for the new model). What really frustrated me was to be told that packs were supplied bare wires, no option for fitting connectors, and then find it was fitted with a connector (and sadly not the right one for me).

As far as comments about LMS are cocerned then SW is my LMS, and feeling rather less frustrated now I'll say that with a place like SW to hand (well 30 miles away) that's quite useful. Given my own expereince as LMS myself then I am very well aware of the need to try and support LMS.

Thansk for you commets BEB, I have emailed my comments to the store to see if they wish to repsond.

Edited By avtur on 31/08/2012 12:13:38

Steven Webb (Steve Webb Models)31/08/2012 12:36:31
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Hi Avtur,
 
One of our customers let us know about your post here, and thought it proper to let people know our comments "from the horses mouth", as follows below:
 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
 
Thank you for your mail, and I am sorry that you feel that your experience at the store was not up to your expectations, and our usual standards.
 
It was myself who served you in store, and I recall your visit, as I remember you commenting on your impending holiday, if I recall correctly you were on your way to North Wales?
 
With reference to your comments on viewing the kit, I would have been happy to give you more information if required, but I was under the impression that you knew exactly what you were after. I am very familiar with the whole range of Parkzone and E-flite models, and would have been able to answer any questions you had.
 
With reference to the battery pack, we do normally carry both the Overlander and the genuine E-flite battery packs, however we had sold out of the E-flite packs at the time of your visit. All of the 2200mAh Overlander packs are now fitted with a deans connector (a recent addition), If I misled you here then I do apologise. What I should have made more clear was that they are not fitted with the EC3 connector suitable for the Parkzone models. The E-flite battery pack which we were out of stock of already has the EC3 connector installed.
 
Should you wish to chat about this personally, then please do feel free to give me a call.
 
I assure you that I and we value every customer and every sale, but once again I apologise for you not feeling valued during your visit, and hope that we can put things right for you next time you call.
 
My best regards
 
Adrian
 
Steve Webb Models Ltd

Edited By Steven Webb (Steve Webb Models) on 31/08/2012 12:37:05

Edited By Steven Webb (Steve Webb Models) on 31/08/2012 12:37:45

avtur31/08/2012 13:01:04
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Hi Adrian,

Many thanks for taking the time to reply and your explanation about the battery / connector situation.

Have a better understanding of things now, and as I said have previously received excellent service in the shop.

I don't doubt it will be too long before I'm back for something else.

Matter satisfactorily closed as far as I am concerned.

Rgds, Paul

Steven Webb (Steve Webb Models)31/08/2012 13:32:04
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217 forum posts
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Hi Paul,

Thanks for the reply, and I look forward to seeing you again in the near future

Regards

Adrian

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