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January 24, 2012


Warning: Don’t shop at Hobbytown USA, Temecula

by Andreas Schaefer

Since we moved into the region I was a regular customer at Hobbytown USA in Temecula but this came to a screeching halt because of their bad customer service which also includes the entire franchise Hobbytown USA because they weren’t willing to help me settle my argument with the shop. So the shop and the franchise are loosing me as a valuable customer (I bought several remote controlled cars, helicopters, remote controls and much more) over an argument over $400.

My wife wanted to buy all our kids a toys they could use together and she settled on a Slot Car racing track system. So she went to Hobbytown USA in Temecula because we had good experiences so far and bought the digital SCX 3 cars racing system for $400. So on Christmas day we built the racing track and my wife and the two oldest kids were racing with it on the junior settings so that they don’t shoot out of the tracks on every turn. An hour or so later my wife’s car lane change system stop working which is crucial to play it because that is the way how to refuel the car and at the end of 2 hours playing the spoiler on the trunk of another car was ripped out on one side.

Because we paid so much I packed up the system and went back to the store to return it because the quality of the system doesn’t match its price tag. But there I got a real eye-opener because the store owner was not willing to return it at all. He more or less accused me that we played too rough whatever that means on a racing system and therefore it is our problem now. After I told him that I am disappointed and that I could return a toy even at Toys’R’Us he kicked me out of the store.

After I came home I started to searched the system SCX D10009X510 1/32 Digital System GT Pit Box Slot Car Set 20.4′ I figured out that I could have bought the system cheaper on-line. Close to a month later Hobbytown USA isn’t selling the system anymore and I am wondering why. In an effort to resolve that issue I contacted Hobbytown USA because it was their flyer that gave my wife the idea and it was them defining the catalog of the toys sold. Again now luck with them because they just told me that all shops are owned independently and they set the rules. When I responded that it was their catalog which choose the system from and that it is their name / brand on the store and so I expect that they should help resolve the issue they just didn’t respond anymore.

If a store sells toys at a premium and doesn’t want to be compared to Toys’r’us then they should make sure that what they sell is worth the money and if it fails they should correct it and I don’t care about the relationship between the store and the brand, period. I would have gladly accepted an in-store credit but they choose to let me down and ruin a good customer relationship.

So from now on I will not buy anything from Hobbytown USA store in Temecula and from a Hobbytown USA store anywhere including their online store. Hobbytown USA should have a look at Apple and how their customer relationship is making me preferring their store instead of buying at Fryr’s, BestBuy or any other computer store. I had an iPad 2 where the homebutton would sometimes not work even though I felt the click. They replaced the iPad 2 without any questions and this one costed $600. Even if the Apple store is more expensive I know that I get great customer service and that if anything isn’t up to par I can return it. Or they should look at the 2 person company of Studioneat which make the Cosmonaut, an iPad stylus, and when some of their tips did not work effortlessly they send out an email to tell their customers and replaced mine without questioning and now and I am an even bigger fan of them as before I got the Cosmonaut.

In today’s economy I don’t understand how a company can blow their customer relationships like this and they don’t care if I was a one-time customer or a regular, long-time customer. But they did and I won’t forget it.

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  1. Tim
    Jan 30 2012

    The example you gave regarding Apple replacing an item that they manufacture and sell is not the same as a retailer selling an item which they do not manufacture. The warranty of the item is the responsibility of SCX, not HobbyTown. You should contact them to get your item repaired or replaced.

    • Andreas Schaefer
      Jan 30 2012

      Well, if the system would have been broken down after a while then I would agree and yes, Apple, is the manufacturer as well as the retailer. That said what I am upset is that the shop is blasting out a system that is clearly (at least in our case) not work as advertised and I fell betrayed by the customer service of the shop. Toys’r’us, Costco and some other stores are accepting returns if the customer isn’t satisfied so why shouldn’t they especially considering that this is a $400 system and not just a $10 or $20 toy.
      My point regarding Apple is the customer service and how they treat customer and want to do everything for a customer to return. This shop doesn’t do anything like that and wasn’t willing to find any solution but rather expelled me from the store when I was comparing them to Toys’r’us. By the way even when I buy anything at the Apple Store that isn’t from Apple like a wireless keyboard charger they took it back and refunded the item because I was under the impression that I could power the keyboard and touchpad at the same time where they meant it could power one or the other at the same time. So my experience with Apple does also work this way.

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