Model Shop shunning ???

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Davidglinn, Sep 5, 2004.

  1. Davidglinn

    Davidglinn New Member

    I have recently sent several emails to a number of model shops in the USA from the UK and it seems that most of them cannot even bother to reply to me. The only reply I have had was very curt and only provided some of the information I requested. One site even had a message saying that if there were any complaints I could email the boss. So I did and he never replied either !
    It is/was my intention to purchase a number of items, which although would not permit the shop owners to go into early retirement, would certainly help pay the rent. (about $100 worth of goods.)
    I am wondering if there is any particular reason why they do not respond. The shops advertise in USA magazines and indicate that they ship internationally, so why don't they respond ?
    Any ideas ? Does it date back to the old colonial days when we Brits decided to let you rebels loose ?
    Please respond or I will go nuts.
    David UK
  2. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    I know that some shops only check their e-mail when they feel like it, :( Most don't have a designated e-mail reader or internet employee. If dont get an answer after a few weeks just take it as they don't want yor business :( As for the "Boss" I have no explaination other than he hasn't read it. Unless he can't help you. (Which I cant imagine)

    Always put a "read receipt" on e-mails that way you will at least know if they are read. (Most people will send the read receipt) but a few wont. :(
  3. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member

    One supplier I tried to get hold of (that advertises in Australian Model Railway Magazine) for decals? Well I had to send them quite a few emails....... to try and get them to answer the damn phone!!! It was always diverted to voicemail/message bank which was full!!

    Did I get a response to the email? Nup. :curse: :rolleyes:
  4. Roger Hensley

    Roger Hensley Member

    Unfortunately, in my experience, many of the shops with 'e-mail' just do not read their e-mail. One local shop owner with e-mail just became a member of our division board. I asked him if he checked his e-mail. The answer was, "No." I suggested that he might want to start doing that since he was now on the Board e-mail list.

    Why don't they check? I have no idea. I would have back when I had my Train Shop. But then, I'm no longer in business. Maybe that makes them right and me wrong. Who knows.

    PS - I don't think that it has anything to do with your being a 'Brit'.
  5. Davidglinn

    Davidglinn New Member

    Mikey and Woodie,
    Thanks for that info.
    I always tag on a return receipt anyway which the email recipient has no control over. That way I always know when they receive my email. Sadly, some don't even check they have emails and some will not reply in any case. I can't understand their logic. Why bother to give their email address in the ads when they don't even check them regularly. What a way to run a business !!! I suppose it could be a good indication as to how reliable they are. Perhaps I will adopt the attitude that if they cannot be bothered to reply to my email then they don't deserve my custom and I will look elsewhere.
    I wonder if it would be a good idea to publish a blacklist of shops which don't reply to emails. That may make them sit up and take notice.
    Thanks again, both
    David U.K.
  6. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    I don't run a hobby shop, but a computer shop, but maybe I can shed some light. I stopped selling internationally, including to Canada, because it was a big hassel dealing with the customers who always complained about the high cost of shipping and the tarrifs that their government collected. Most seemed to think I should pay the duties and the additional shipping. About 1/4 of the orders would be returned to me as non-pickup and I would then have to pay shipping back, and then the buyer would want a full refund including the shipping to them. Balancing the markup I was making on completed sales minus the losses I was netting on customer refusals to pick up I was loosing money big time on international sales. Then there were the complaints like it wouldn't work over there due to power differences and/or differences in operating standards. Guys, it wasn't my job to be sure the modem I sold hooked up and worked in Belgum. Then there were the constant emails asking how much to ship such and such to Algeria. So, I would have to weigh it and estimate package weight, go online with the post office rate calculator. Email them back and never hear another word. More wasted time. Time I should of been caring for my US core business. Then there was the constant waiting on funds that were in the mail from Hungary. Parts setting in limbo waiting to be paid for. Then people would complain you never answer your phone. They are calling you at 3 pm their time which is 3 am here and wondering why no one ever answers the phone. And lastly, not with train stuff , but computers, I was suppose to know and follow US custom laws about to whom I could ship what. There for a while I couldn't ship software with 128 bit encryption to certain countries as it was considered to be a possible weapons source or some such nonsence. If caught sending IE5 with 128 bit to Poland could get you 10 years in the Federal Pen. :( So I don't think the colony thingy has anything to do with it. Fred
  7. Davidglinn

    Davidglinn New Member

    Thanks. I was beginning to sweat a little about my being a Brit.
    I am sure that when you were in business you would have utilised all methods to get customers, so why don't stores do it today ?
    I have seen some really excellent products at bargain prices but I am very frustrated when I get no replies to my emails. Tomorrow I will probably telephone a store in the USA and ask them to take a look at their emails and get back to me. I really want to buy something from them but I have been waiting over a week for them to open the email I sent. But I will tell you something, when (if ?) I do eventually locate a reliable store they will get all my custom, for what it's worth. In addition, I am considering starting a local railway modelling club so who knows what that may generate.
    Anyway, thanks and keep the wheels turning.
  8. Davidglinn

    Davidglinn New Member

    You are absolutely correct in just about everything you have written. I know a little about custom rules and regs, (being part of the E.C has not really helped us here in the U.K., but I will say no more about my pet hate :mad:) and I fully accept all you say about the customers wanting costs and postage information etc etc. But if you advertised to sell internationally then surely you must have expected all this. There will always be thoughtless Europeans who will telephone the States when you are all asleep. I (smuggly) have never done it.
    In spite of custom tarrifs and duties, postage etc, it would still be much cheaper for us Brits to buy from overseas in most cases. Just to give you an idea, if I wanted to buy a Rivarossi 4 car coach set for my layout, it would cost me between £69 and £85. That works out at about $117 and $145. I have a magazine in front of me which indicates a certain store in the USA, which will remain nameless because they have not answered my emails (yet ?), are selling 8 car sets (not Rivarossi) at $63.92. Another store is selling Rivarossi 4 car sets at $29.99, and other makes as low as $4.99 each.
    I need at least 8 cars now with more to follow later but if I buy them locally it will cost me up to $290 but only around $60 plus postage etc if I bought from the USA. ($39.92 if I didn't mind the brand name) This is not penny-pinching. If some smart minded store keepers get in on the act they will realise that they could make a killing here in the U.K. I can't speak for all us Brits, but I certainly wouldn't mind paying a few dollars over (just a few, mind) the USA price for these items.
    But the stores referred to above both indicate that they ship overseas, so why they are appearing to be reluctant is a puzzle.
    I may well fill in their on-line order form and see what happens. It will be interesting to see what they charge for postage etc. Ouch !!
    Thanks and best wishes,
  9. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    I have learned that some of those low price leaders who advertize in mags are poor in customer service and have been know to cheat Americans and not answer our email. SO maybe you just need the name of a reliable discount source that ships overseas? Me and lots of my friends use this place and they answer their phone, have great prices, and have always answered my email inquiries.

  10. interurban

    interurban Active Member

    Hi Dave don`t worry about being a Brit. I am one to, and all reply to me :D
    ? have you tried any Canadian Hobby shops I was thinking Toronto??
  11. Davidglinn

    Davidglinn New Member

    Strangely enough, Trainworld is one of the few which has replied to me. I sent them a second email late on Friday and I am awaiting a reply on that. I may well order from them if the S & H isn't extortionate.
    Thanks for that.
  12. Davidglinn

    Davidglinn New Member

    Hi Chris,
    How long have you been a ex-pat ? May take the plunge myself soon, but to warmer climes. We have friends in Turkey who are trying to get us to move out. Property prices and cost of living very low, but I never found any model shops when I was out there recently. So I will probably give it a miss.
    I haven't yet tried any Canadian stores. I am slowly going through some magazines and connecting to lots of websites but I haven't found a Canadian one yet. Quite a few Canadians advertising on eBay, though.
    Thanks for that and keep the flag flying. I know you are not going to believe this, but it is not raining and the sun is shining. Very warm !!
    Best wishes
  13. petey

    petey Member

    I will second Dash10's recommendation of, Train World. They ship quickly (in the States), and have, consistently, the best prices. I have found their web site to be somewhat cumbersome. However, I always call in my orders. If you can do this, have your order/info ready to relate. They are fast, on the phone. Good luck.
  14. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    And they prob will not answer until Tuesday. Monday is a holiday here in the states. Fred
  15. Davidglinn

    Davidglinn New Member

    Dennis and Fred,
    Thanks for that, especially about the holiday. I would have probably ended up cursing whilst trying to get through on the phone, or fax, or email or whatever.
    Some of the airfares are bargain rate and it may be cheaper for my to fly over and return to the UK with a suitcase full of goodies. Can you imagine my wife believing that one !!
  16. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    There are other ways too. Fred
  17. interurban

    interurban Active Member

    Hi David, I have been expat 24years, not been back to M/Cr as yet.
    May be soon.
    I will ask my LHS if he would ship to S/Wales U.K if he got an order from you.
    Will let you know but keep trying other options that the folk here have mentioned. :thumb:
  18. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    David: While I would like to see you buy Canadian, you have to remember that:
    the price may include import duties already;
    there aren't many bargain stores in Canada.
    My peeve has always been outfits that provide an 800 phone number but it doesn't reach to Canada and they don't provide a local number so I can pay the long distance charges.
  19. cobra

    cobra Member

    Interesting discussion . Fred has some interesting points on what it's like to wear your 'business hat ' .
    I live in Canada , but at a border city . When I buy from the U.S. , I have it shipped to friends in a neighbouring U.S address that is close to me . Everything works fine that way .
    Interestingly , the ONLY purchase I made overseas was from Backwoods in England . I can't say enough good things about Peter at Backwoods who got my brass On30 loco to me with no hassles , on schedule and in perfect condition . Maybe I lucked out . I do try to avoid emails and I phone whenever possible . I did phone Peter ( Backwoods ) first before ordering and I call Brett at Sierra West for orders too . Sometimes with small companies , emails get lost in the shuffle or two man operations and such . Many times the little guys have other jobs .

  20. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member


    I suggest you try my LHS. He has a huge invebntory and has always answered my e-mail promptly. He ships overseas.

    You can see Jack, and his shop in this thread:

    His web site:

    No catalog on-line or otherwise, just tell him what you need, or describe it and he will help. Sounds liek you know what you want, if you give him Walthers numbers, I'm sur ehe will respond to that as well. If you want to call, it's 765-742-5577 (USA).

Share This Page