It’s amazing one of the constant reminders I have when modellers get cheesed off with a manufacturer would have to be the Powerline Xplorer saga. They promised it would be out in a certain year (can’t remember which year), then it was delayed for two years due to tooling and then continued to be delayed and in the end the Xplorer railcar was a fizzer and never came out yet we have Southern Model Rail Supplies actually promising an Xplorer Railcar plus also an Endeavours to suit and yes they have full filled their promise and delivered and yes they have kept their customers happy by constant updates on their webpage or even Facebook page.
Yes, Ausicision manage to do this, however we still have some well-known manufacturers who beat around the bush and some of them are known for even if you do ring them at a decent hour (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm) you are met with an arrogant and very rude person on the other end asking why on earth would you ask why is your model delayed- yes manufacturer it is OUR money you are playing with and if you don’t like it either we go elsewhere or Consumer Affairs will be notified.
Just recently I phoned up Consumer Affairs in SA about an inquiry about a non-modelling inquiry and I got talking about deadlines and how some places say it will be out say June 2013 and July 2013 and October 2013 comes around and no communication and when the manufacturer is phoned there is a rude, obnoxious person on the other end berating me for daring to ask.
They said to me the problem with deadlines is that most manufacturers do the right thing and put disclaimers (like public transport operators for late running public transport vehicles) however some don’t do this and they are very ones who anger the customers the most. However, Consumer Affairs did say that if you have waited more than two years for a certain product to come out and you have offloaded a deposit they suggest you ask for it back because that is just to see the numbers they will get and wait for it sometimes they can’t be manufacturers who come in at midnight promise the world and leave you empty handed but they have your money.
Consumer Affairs in SA get constant phone calls from modellers who have put down a deposit on a particular model and yes have not heard anything from the manufacturer and when they phone them the manufacturer treats them like dirt that is where Consumer Affairs SA steps in and they said on numerous occasions it’s the same manufacturer but they said since he is based interstate there is little they can do but Consumer Affairs contacts their interstate counterpart. Apparently a well-known manufacturer who they didn’t name was given its final warning either they update their customers or even still treat them with respect because it’s their (i.e. Customer) money they are using or else Consumer Affairs in that state will find something to actually charge them with.
Yes, us modellers don’t like to be taken as fools but it is scary that our own hard earned cash is being used by manufacturers to in some extent fund some lavish lifestyles- one would hope not and yes it becomes more scarier when you have found out that the model that you desperately wanted is coming out in two years’ time and then low and behold they cancel the order and take away your deposit. Whether this has happened to anyone here in Australia that is the ultimate question?
We hope and I still live in hope manufactures put more disclaimers in their advertisements and communicate better with their customers but given the manufacturing side of the hobby is sometimes only concerned for the quick return on their buck or even higher profits communicating with customers is actually the last on their agenda or not even in their mind.