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 Post subject: Airfix customer service
PostPosted: Wed 12 May 2010 22:05 pm 
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Hello from the Colonies!

Sadly my first post is not a happy one.

I purchased a 1/24 Spitfire MK I on Feb 27th at my local hobbyshop. When I opened up my $54.00US kit many of the parts were found to be "short molded".

I sent an email to Hornsby to explain the situation. A month later I sent another message to see if they had received the first one. This time I received a reply expaining that they were backlogged. That was on 3/29.

Now we are in mid May and I haven't seen or heard anything from Hornsby. My hobbyshop has told me that I can return the kit for credit but A) I want to build the kit and B) I have a good relationship with my storekeeper and don't want to stick him with a worthless kit.

So should I continue to be patient, or should I return it and buy some nice Eduard or other Hasegawa kits? Your opinions will be appreciated.

Thanks

Ed in Connecticut


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PostPosted: Wed 12 May 2010 22:09 pm 
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Stick with them, in my experience, they always get there in the end. I've received bits that I even forgot I requested :oops:


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PostPosted: Wed 12 May 2010 22:16 pm 
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Would your Retailer not exchange it for you  :?:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed 12 May 2010 22:30 pm 
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Dear Ed,
    Firstly, Airfix prides themselves on their customer service - and right so to my experience. I've used their replacement service half a dozen times over the last half century - always 1st Class!
    You might want to get in touch with Airfix USA (yes, they have an office just for us cousins across the pond). I've called and spoken with a human-being there a couple of times.


Hornby America Inc.
3900-C2 Industry Dr. East
Fife, WA.  98424-1829
USA
Fax: (253) 922-7203
Tel: (877) 358-6405

customersupport@airfix-usa.com

Lastly, if you bought the 1/24 Spitfire MK I at the Time Machine in Manchester, go ahead and take it back for a replacement - that place won't be hurting for it.

Good luck and happy modelling.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu 13 May 2010 02:16 am 
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I don't know about US consumer law, but in the UK, your contract is with your hobby shop, not Airfix, because it was the shop who sold you something.

So you can return the item to the shop and get a refund because it's substandard quality. The shopkeeper will then return it to the wholesaler on the same basis, and eventually it finds its way back to Airfix.

What Airfix actually does (has always done) is cut out all the middlemen and allow you to claim replacement parts direct free of charge. So if this is taking too long for you, you should be able to return the kit to the shop without harm to them.  

It typically takes Airfix abut 28 days to replace stuff IME, but if it's out of stock it takes longer because they have to wait for stock to come back in. Airfix products are now made in India (according to the box art of the Hannover I bought yesterday), so between this and international shipping delays, you could be looking at a bit of a wait if they are having to wait for more Spitfires to come in.

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PostPosted: Thu 13 May 2010 07:12 am 
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As many of the parts are short shot, the kit should be returned to the retailer for exchange or refund. The Airfix replacement parts service is for replacing the odd lost or defective part, not entire kits.

It's the retailers responsibility to sort it out with Airfix.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu 13 May 2010 12:33 pm 
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Gentlemen

Thanks to all of you for the quick and thoughtful replies.  I will return the Spitfire to my hobbyshop in Wolcott and give them the parts if and when they arrive. I  still would like to build the Spit but I have the 1/24 Emil (it is perfect)  to work on while I wait.

This is a great forum, thanks for the help!

Ed


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu 13 May 2010 13:08 pm 
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The 109 is indeed a great kit. It lacks detail by modern standards, but adding all that is part of the fun.

You still see a lot of them around built up at model shows, which happens because Airfix nailed the overall shape and proportions exactly right.

One thing to be careful of with it is that the model slowly sort of collapses to the left when standing on its wheels. The first time I built one I was sure it was me, but then it happened to me again 15 years later, and since then, others have reported the same.

Not sure why it happens, but I think the fix is to add a shim of plastic above the end of the brackety-thing that the top of the undercarriage legs clip into. The idea is to build it up in a place that's out of sight, so that it ends up anchored to the underside of the top wing. This then prevents the undercarriage bracket from being able to flex unevenly when it takes the model's weight. Don't you love working parts? :-)

It's a while since I built one, but I think that was diagnosis I arrived at of the problem and the fix I devised. It should then still be possible to retract the wheels.

The other tricky bit is getting the engine cover on and off when the machine guns are in place. One is set ahead of the other, and once the cowling's on, it is pretty hard to get it off again, as you have to slide it forward so the gun apertures clear the gun muzzles. This is hard, since in doing this, the front edge of the cowling usually hits the back of the propeller blades.

The solution to this is probably lashings and lashings of Future / Klear to the whole area, so it can stand up to the handling it will get as you jiggle the bits free!  

Do post progress photos of yours!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri 14 May 2010 20:50 pm 
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Thanks for even more thoughtful, friendly responses!  I'm looking forward to getting started on the BF, thanks for the build tips, I'll be using them.

I just have to do an I-16-10/ AS2 diorama first. I'll post pics if they come out alright.

Thanks again friends,

Ed


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri 21 May 2010 09:15 am 
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Just adding to this thread......

I have needed spares for missing parts on two occasions in the last 6 months.... the first time, it wasn't until I phoned them (2 months after the initial request through the website) that I actually got anywhere. Now, on this second occasion, I'm nearly 8 weeks from the initial request (acknowledged on 29th March) and have just sent the first of what I am sure will be many follow-up emails. There is another phone call brewing, I'm sure.

I keep hearing how good the Airfix spares department are.... so what am I doing wrong here? I *am* a big Airfix supporter.... one look at my stash confirms that.... and I could live with the "missing bits syndrome" if it took 28 days rather than 3 months to get the spares.... but this is starting to try my patience. I want to be making models, not getting frustrated with customer service departments.

OK, rant over. Back to whatever you were doing.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri 21 May 2010 13:20 pm 
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Milo, there are two people who work in the 'Spares' Dept. How quickly they respond will depend on
1. How much backlog (of requests) there is
2. Whether they have the kit (or the particular part from that kit)
3. If/when they are likely to get that part
I know its annoying not to hear anything, but time spend sending e-mails to say 'We're dealing with the problem' is time spent delaying someone else's resolution  :(
Last year (when I visited the factory in September) they were taking approx 14 days to dispatch resolveable problems. This may have changed if they are inundated with requests - and we should remember that many requests are not problems of Airfix's making (I've lost part x/I've broken this bit) and they do it for free. Who else gives such service  :?:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri 21 May 2010 16:12 pm 
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Also, to expand on Ratch's point 2, these kits are produced in batches and shipped to the UK. If a batch sells out some parts may not be replaceable until another arrives. If there only a few runs per year, well, that's going to be a wait.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri 21 May 2010 20:31 pm 
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Ratch wrote:
Milo, there are two people who work in the 'Spares' Dept. How quickly they respond will depend on


Yeah, I know. I'm being unreasonable.

Ratch wrote:
many requests are not problems of Airfix's making


Not in my cases - parts were missing from the sealed bag when opened, and sadly not parts I could scratch-build a replacement for myself (a clear canopy and a tank track) - otherwise, I would have done. That probably adds to the frustration - I'm not asking them for a favour here, just asking them to correct something that should have been right in the first place.

... but hey, I don't *have* to buy Airfix kits. It's not as if we're engaged or anything.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri 21 May 2010 21:14 pm 
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You miss my point Milo. I'm not saying you don't have a legitimate claim, but yours may be in a pile that includes spurious requests that may be dealt with before yours  :(  I've been very lucky and only had to ask a couple of times, and have had excellent service  :D

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri 21 May 2010 21:30 pm 
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MiloBlack wrote:
Not in my cases - parts were missing from the sealed bag when opened...
... but hey, I don't *have* to buy Airfix kits. It's not as if we're engaged or anything.

I think you are putting Airfix down unfairly. If your kit is incomplete take it back to where you bought it, your contract is with the supplier not Airfix. I don't recall Airfix offering a lifetime guarantee anywhere.

I think the service offered by Airfix is second to none. I bought a second hand, fifteen year old boxing of a 1/72 Concord for £5 and through my own stupidity trashed the clear parts, I contacted Airfix and told them so, they replaced the lot in a couple of weeks FOC.

Do any other manufacturers offer a similar service?

Colin


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat 22 May 2010 14:17 pm 
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ColinM wrote:
If your kit is incomplete take it back to where you bought it


I buy most of mine on mail-order - so not quite that simple.

ColinM wrote:
I contacted Airfix and told them so, they replaced the lot in a couple of weeks FOC.


Good for you, Colin. I'm glad that you're happy.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat 29 May 2010 16:53 pm 
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Umm, interesting.
Try this one for size and I would like to know your opinions.

1. I renewed my club membership in November and received the Ltd edition Harriers in January all good so far.

2. Open the box to find the Fa2 windscreen completely smashed still in sealed bag, so sent off an email straight away and heard nothing after 28 days.

3. Posted another email off to Airfix at the end of February waited 28 days and heard nothing from them.

4. I telephoned them at the end of March and was told that the windscreen would definitely be posted out to me the following Tuesday and were apologetic about the emails not being responded to.

5. 28 days later and still nothing.

6. Telephoned again at the end of March, told this time that the part would be posted out the following Wednesday.

7. 28 days latter still nothing and I will have to phone them again. I feel like I am becoming a pest

Now I don't mind waiting, I don't mind scratch building missing bits if I am able even but I don't like being brushed off with what I would call a bare faced lie, twice infact.

All I am asking for is for the part to be replaced as it was Airfix who actually sent me the kit, not a shop. These harriers are new molds so it's not as if they are oop.

I have a kit that I can't build for the last five months and I am seriously thinking about sending the kits back and asking for a refund.

I know some of you have great joy with the airfix spares department, but I have to say that my experience has seriously left me cheesed off with them.

Regards
Mark

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat 29 May 2010 18:49 pm 
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Hi Mark,
pm me your name, address and membership number and I'll sort it out for you.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat 29 May 2010 22:13 pm 
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Thanks Richard and a PM has been sent to you.

Regards
Mark

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PostPosted: Wed 02 Jun 2010 21:28 pm 
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Have been an Airfix modeler since the 1960s and Airfix's Spares Department has always come through either with the part or sad condolences that the kit was out of production and they'd used up their supply of spares.

In the past year I have purchased 5 Airfix kits, of which 3 have had manufactor's problems: missing parts; broken or poorly molded parts in sealed factory bags. The most recent bad kit was the Spitfire Mk IXc with a short shot vertical stabilizer on both parts, this was back in Feb 2010.

In all three cases, I have emailed Airfix promtly and with a follow-up 2-3 months later. And in all three cases have not received anything other than the first automated reply "we'll get back to you." This is not the Airfix Spares Department I fondly remember from years past.

I live in California so it is not possible for me to call on the phone or stop by for a factory visit though I would dearly like to. I have contacted Airfix USA, with the same results--no reply.

My local hobby shop's profit margin is slim and their wholesaler does not ship reject kits back to England, this is to expensive Airfix does not cover the expense for them. They have been advised to tell the customer to contact Airfix's Spares Department for replacement parts.

I do want Airfix to succeed. The new red boxes, the decals for the reissued Gladiator and the new kits they are molding -- show they care for us modelers.

Airfix fixed the poor quality brown-paper decals. Maybe Spares and QC could be their next area of focus.

Perhaps someone in the Forum can pass this onto to Hornby.

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Robt.Yoha
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