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Bruunwald

Evil Empire has Evil Customer Service - Surprised?

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I was in a shop that sells their stuff today and the guy running the place was trying to be pleasant but he came across as the most bitter person I've met in my 44 years. Everytime I put a box back on the shelf after looking at the price tag ($60 for a tank... really?) he seemed to regret his life-choices.

 

A few customers were playing some board game and one asked him to run a demo of 40k. He agreed but he couldn't muster any enthusiasm--knowing that the potential 40k player would soon be as put-off by the price tags as I was.

 

Has anyone figured out the approximate outlay to field a 2000 point army?

 

I'm not defending poor customer service, but I have sympathy for some of those guys who maybe didn't know what they were getting into.

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I've bought their stuff for about 20 years now and fortunately in that time havn't had any problems with them, either with missing components or bad customer service, although as I've not experienced the first I've not really had cause for the second.

 

Having said that though, there is no other company in the world that fills me with dread when I step into one of their stores for the first time. If I've been several times, fine, no problem, but that first time,,,, sheesh.

 

The staffs level of... I'll be polite and say enthusiasm, can be counter-productive and more off putting than welcoming, I've come in to have a look and maybe buy something not be barraged by questions first, also I'm rotund and beardy, how much of a stereotypical old-school wargamer do I need to look to not be treated like I know nothing!

It's like being assaulted by a large over-friendly dog, only one that has far too much interest in your wallet.

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I know exactly what you mean. I was collecting LotR for a while. I went into the local store once and left feeling like I had been at a used car lot. I just wanted to go home and take a shower.

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Not long after, they invalidated my undead army for tournament play when they split Undead into two separate factions.
Yeah that still stings here too. Luckily most of my dry undead simply retreated into the WQ dungeon where they are now just fodder for some passing heroes.
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GW does have some of the best models though - and their sprue based system is kind of like a hybrid or super detailed miniatures and lego-esque customization and building.

 

Their price hikes are painful though, and they seem to be an annual event. Since they introduced Lord of the Rings miniatures, basic troop models have skyrocketed to more than DOUBLE their initial prices. The thing is those sculpts havent been updated in roughly a decade (we're talking plastic, not metal, minis). Really? $25 for 12 Goblins that are extremely small and have almost no detail or out of the box customization? No way Jose.

 

More than anything its just hugely dissappointing that prices are hiked for less product.

 

Having said that, their customer has never been bad to me and I find it surprising you got bad service. Additionally their LotR: Strategy Battle Game, 6/7th editions of Fantasy, and 3/4th editions of 40k are the flat out best table top games I have ever played. Too bad the only one that survived was LotR, which got the highest price hikes.

 

Between Wargames Factory, Reaper, Warlord, and the Perry Brothers though - not much reason to buy thier stuff anymore.

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It's really very simple.

 

Reaper charges X dollars for Y figure in metal, unpainted.

 

Reaper charges (X-n) dollars for the same figure in a cheaper alloy.

 

Reaper charges (X - k) dollars for an unpainted plastic figure, where (k) is a fraction of (X) that represents half or more of (X). Bones cost half or less what their regular pewter counterparts go for.

 

I therefore conclude that plastic figures are much cheaper than metal figures.

 

...and if this is the case, why is the Evil Empire charging as much for its plastics as it did for its metals?

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For me it's three things.

 

#1 I'm Australian, if you haven't seen the prices they charge us, swap your nationality to Australian at their website (yes the one website for every country) and have a look at the prices they want to charge us. If you think you have it bad in the UK or US, double it for here.

 

#2 Now I used to be able to order from UK websites and you guys know postage on some of these big boxes isn't cheap. It was still at least 25% cheaper than walking into the local store. But then EE in their infinite wisdom (lit: douchebaggery) told every retailer if they shipped overseas then EE would stop giving them stock. So we can't order from other sites unless we have a friend/PO box overseas, which is ridiculous.

 

#3

The staffs level of... I'll be polite and say enthusiasm, can be counter-productive and more off putting than welcoming, I've come in to have a look and maybe buy something not be barraged by questions first, also I'm rotund and beardy, how much of a stereotypical old-school wargamer do I need to look to not be treated like I know nothing!

It's like being assaulted by a large over-friendly dog, only one that has far too much interest in your wallet.

 

This! Oh my god. I don't even want to walk in the stores anymore. You take one step in and get pounced on and there's a look if you say 'Thanks, but I'm just looking at the moment'. It's almost like we need to pay a cover charge just to step into the store. I really really dislike going into the stores and since I can't order from overseas websites, they haven't had a sale from me in years.

 

If they have any models I want I look on ebay for them. I got a boxed forest dragon (with all pieces) for $35 off ebay. From their website it's $96!

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It's really very simple.

 

Reaper charges X dollars for Y figure in metal, unpainted.

 

Reaper charges (X-n) dollars for the same figure in a cheaper alloy.

 

Reaper charges (X - k) dollars for an unpainted plastic figure, where (k) is a fraction of (X) that represents half or more of (X). Bones cost half or less what their regular pewter counterparts go for.

 

I therefore conclude that plastic figures are much cheaper than metal figures.

 

...and if this is the case, why is the Evil Empire charging as much for its plastics as it did for its metals?

 

I quit the Evil Empire right after their resiny-plastic minis came out. Since it coincided with their "annual" price hike they actually charged more for the same mini in restic than they did in metal. So, you make a cheaper product and pass along the savings to the consumer in the form of a price hike (because, why not?) and aweful quality control? I'm not even saying to charge less, but at least use the money you are saving to offset the annual price hike for one year. The fact there even is an "annual price hike" and people in that hobby have come to accept and expect it is just sad. They are run by a board who know and care nothing about the hobby, and it shows. Honestly, if I ever miss that hobby, I'll bust out the Rogue Trader book and remember the time when the company gave a crap.

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I realise this probably isn't the best place to praise a Reaper competitor but (admitedly a few Christmases ago) my dad made a larger order from GW and recieved the wrong package in return. In fact instead of his army stuff they send him a ton of LOTR stuff. He called up and informed them of their error, and they told him don't bother sending the figures back, Merry Christmas, and they'd send out his correct order pronto.

 

That said it's stupid they charge more for a plastic figure that's cheaper for them to produce than a metal one. But hopefully if enough companies like Reaper start producing their own plastics at a reasonable price point they'll be forced to follow suit.

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I realise this probably isn't the best place to praise a Reaper competitor but (admitedly a few Christmases ago) my dad made a larger order from GW and recieved the wrong package in return. In fact instead of his army stuff they send him a ton of LOTR stuff. He called up and informed them of their error, and they told him don't bother sending the figures back, Merry Christmas, and they'd send out his correct order pronto.

 

I'm glad that not everyone's Christmas presents from them are 'unfixable'. I don't want that to come off snarky at Daria, it isn't meant to be. You just have the exact opposite Christmas story as I do.

 

My now-hubby bought me Riders of Rohan for Christmas. I was thrilled! I opened it to find 12 riders and 0 horses. The box was supposed to have 6 of each.

When he called to get replacements, send back extra parts, whatever; he was told "The box says contents may vary from what is shown." and "he should go buy another box and maybe he would get the box of 12 horses."

I'm pretty sure that's the last time they got our money.

Ok, that's a lie, he special ordered a box through our FLGS in the hopes it would be right. I got my 6 riders, and he got 12 bow-legged plastic dudes.

And I haven't picked up any of their product since.

 

 

On the flip side, our booth at Gen Con this year was right across from them, manly British accents and all. I have to say the couple fellows I chatted with were very nice. I don't get any overly excited puppy salesmen, which was nice. I tend to mace them.

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I use GW figures for D&D (right now we're doing 3.5 in the Mordheim setting) so I just buy a little here and there. I love failcast because every time I buy it I get two miniatures (one flawed off the shelf model, and one free replacement). Never had a bad experience with their customer service, but we can't know how you are approaching them, explaining the problem, etc. We also don't know if they had a newb or disgruntled worker on the line.

 

In the last ten years I've gotten at least 20 replacements from them for miscasts, including the ENTIRE fortified manor because one peice was badly baked. Hate their diabolical price scheme, love thier replacement policy.

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That said it's stupid they charge more for a plastic figure that's cheaper for them to produce than a metal one. But hopefully if enough companies like Reaper start producing their own plastics at a reasonable price point they'll be forced to follow suit.

 

I'd hope.

 

Part of the problem is that they really do produce some good games and game products. I have very much enjoyed every GW game I've ever played, and I even went so far as to pick up the Space Hulk reboot when it came out, for all that it was supposed to be a limited edition product.

 

Reaper has done some sterling game product as well. Trouble is, they're much more devoted to producing quality miniatures (or as I've been told, "We're a miniatures company, not a game company.") Part of this is good; it means they focus on producing a really high quality product at good prices. Bad thing is, they don't get you hung up on and addicted to their games, which you must then repurchase a couple years later, causing you to suddenly have to reinvest a bunch of money in the product, and...

 

Hm. Okay, maybe that's not such a bad thing after all...

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Just to throw my two cents into this mix, here's my story of how I quit GW:

 

<begin rant> I'd been collecting, painting and playing their games for almost 20 years at this point. I was starting a new army and bought a transport vehicle. The back hatch of said vehicle was badly deformed. I called them up all cheery like and explained the situation. I was cut off and promptly informed that I'd have to take a picture of the bad part, and send it in an email to them and they would "review" whether or not I should get a replacement. I was fine with following their instructions, but was quickly becoming infuriated at how poorly I was being treated. I told them how loyal I was and for how long, but that didn't matter. In fact, the "gentleman" on the other side of the phone told me "If you have been in the hobby so long, then you know how to use green stuff. Why don't you just go buy some from your local GW and fix it yourself and save yourself the trouble." I hung the phone up, screamed obscenities for about half an hour and haven't played, painted, or purchased anything except for a couple of minis that I still feel guilty buying. That's been almost three years now. <end rant>

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The only problems I ever had with a GW miniature that I actually bothered to call in about was once when some parts did not come with my order. I called them up, they sent out the product, free shipping, and did not ask for a return. The second time was when an Obliterator was missing a head. Another phone call, they asked me for the packer's code, and sent me out a replacement free, without any expectation of a return.

 

Bad news travels, because most people don't feel the need to speak up when they get good service, only when they get bad. So while I'm not denying any stories here are not true, what is the statistical average of bad experiences to good? The sample size is ludicrously small, and I think there's some self-selection going on too.

 

I'm probably not going to come back here an read the replies. Truth is, I am a fan of GW's games, figures, and settings, and I have no desire to suffer self-abuse like the last time I participated in a discussion about GW here on Reaper. This is one of the reasons I mostly stick with Beekeepers these days and don't frequent the other forums much. Make no mistake, I am a fan of Reaper as well, and have dropped an unseemly amount of money on their minis as well. But to be a fan of GW around here, it's better to just keep quiet about it.

 

Damon.

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