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Old Feb 17, 2010, 03:01 PM
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Anaheim Hills, CA
Joined Jul 2009
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Buyer beware Hobby Lobby and customer service

I generally wouldn't do a post like this and prefer to just point out vendors who do a great job (see my post on Horizon/Parkzone) but have to say Hobby Lobby blew it with me and won't get any more of my business and I caution you to beware.

I rec'd a F-86 Skyblazer as a gift and had an issue the day of the maiden that was a result of a defect in my unit. When I assembled it all seemed fine until I powered up and tested. The engine made a grinding type noise (the fan to be exact) and barely moved. I took the wings off and looked at the fan to make sure it was seated properly and it was and nothing was blocking etc. I tested the fan w/o the wings on and it worked fine. I reassembled and still I got the grinding so I loosened the bolts holding the wing and once loosened as far as I dare go the motor worked. BTW, the motor also worked on bench test so I knew it was the fan assembly.

The first flight went fine and I didn't experience any issues but on the 2nd flight the motor seized in flight making the same noise which resulted in the plane crashing badly destroying the fan assembly and breaking much of the airframe. This was caused by the fan and not pilot error and it seems that not enough clearance is in the model/fan because as I said I had to have the wings screws pretty darn loose just to get it to spin and I was already worried about them ripping off because there was a little play with the screws loose.

I own 20+ models and have other jets. This is my first hobby lobby plane and 1st time I've had an issue such as this.

I talked to a rep on the phone who said I should return it and transferred me to returns and I got voice mail. After not hearing back for more than a day I went online and submitted the return request. A little over a day later I rec'd an email stating that my request was denied by Rachel Patterson in sales because I supposedly knew there was an issue.

The bottom line for me is that the motor worked on bench, had something wrong in design or with my unit that caused the wings to press to tight on the fan unit. I loosened and it worked so I flew. I had let it run up for a bit before launching so who would have done different. I did the same as anyone else would have done and if you polled 20 people at a field I'll bet all or most would have flown in since the problem appeared gone.

With modeling things happen sometimes and after an adjustment they are fine. All I can say is dealing with Hobby-Lobby was no where near the pleasant experiences I've had with Horizon and I own many of their models. I also have rec'd great service on World Models products and will keep my future business with them. You lose Hobby-Lobby...
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Old Feb 17, 2010, 03:14 PM
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Dorme's Avatar
United States, NJ, Manchester Township
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You condemning Hobby Lobby is like shouting at the cashier in the food line over prices. They don't make the model, they just sell it. And why, oh, why, would anyone fly a model with a problem without finding out the source first. Risking the model hoping it will self correct in the air, is beyond me.
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Old Feb 17, 2010, 03:19 PM
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Anaheim Hills, CA
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Dorme, the plane was a hobby-lobby branded plane and not just one they distribute and if the motor ran fine by itself, the problem turned out to be something pressing on the fan making it hard for the fan to turn. After loosening the bolts it worked fine on the bench with fan and wings assembled at full power and for a few minutes BEFORE the first flight then wouldn't you or anyone else think the problem was solved?

The plane should be replaced or at least the damaged components at no charge, I was not offered this.
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Old Feb 17, 2010, 03:25 PM
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Dallas, Texas
Joined Dec 2009
2,187 Posts
All these companies use sales people to screen returns and have general guidlines to omit possible fraud. My local hobby shop gave me some good advice the other day on returns to Horizon, etc.. Say nothing other than "it quit working". Less info is better. Im not so sure I would trash a company because of an individual's judgement call. Who knows, Hobby Lobby may have something you really want in the future. I do recall getting good answers on the sales questions I had for them, with far less wait than horizon...
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Old Feb 17, 2010, 03:32 PM
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Surprise, AZ
Joined Jun 2009
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But wait, you DID know something was wrong before flying it! Why didn't you try to fix the problem before flying? And I don't mean just loosening the wing to the point where you yourself said that you were worried about how loose the wing was. I know for a fact that I wouldn't have flown it as it was. I think it would be a totally different story if you would have called them when you first discovered the problem. Not after you crashed it because of a supposed defect. This is just my opinion of course.
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Old Feb 17, 2010, 03:33 PM
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Anaheim Hills, CA
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Nice advise. I just told the truth but I see what you mean. Rachel said it was a policy and made it very clear that was it. I've had the opposite with Horizon as I've always gotten right through the few times I've needed something and ALL people I've talked to have been helpful. If Hobby Lobby really chooses policy like that then it's an issue for me and should be worth noting for others. Planes aren't cheap but there are plenty of providers and I have great things to say for Horizon, The World Models, Common Sense RC and others so I'll keep my business there what others do is up to them but they should be aware of what they may be told should something happen. There was 100's of years of combined experience at the field before I flew and all thought as I did and that the issue was with the plane after it happened. The rest is just semantics .
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Old Feb 17, 2010, 03:37 PM
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Remember hindsight is 20/20 and that a fan didn't work, an adjustment was made, the fan worked on bench at high rpm for a sustained amount of time before the first flight and first flight went fine
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Old Feb 17, 2010, 03:41 PM
The Earth got in the way!
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United States, OH, Canal Winchester
Joined Feb 2007
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But you knew there was an issue. Seriously, I love how people blame the vendor and expect a replacement when you knew there was a problem.

Quote:
The engine made a grinding type noise (the fan to be exact) and barely moved.
So you disregarded this and tried to fly it because you figured a brushless motor grinding and not moving didn't seem like a problem. You just wanted to fly it and you were to excited and didn't want to wait for the replacement and now that the worst thing happened you EXPECT a replacement. Funny
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Old Feb 17, 2010, 03:45 PM
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Anaheim Hills, CA
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Let me clarify about the motor grinding, it was not the motor itself grinding and maybe that's not the best way to describe. The motor is fine now and before it's the fan assembly that made noise because it was restricting the blades of the fan from turning. I thought I had successfully alleviated that pressure...
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Old Feb 17, 2010, 03:57 PM
The Earth got in the way!
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United States, OH, Canal Winchester
Joined Feb 2007
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I'm sorry for being so blunt but, it an all to familiar thread. So many times on here I've read about people having pre-flight problems (whatever they might be) and then fly and have a disaster and then want a replacement.

People if you buy an ARF or RTF and there is a problem no matter how small call the vendor! They will most likely send you out replacement parts. It might take a few days or a week but, you will still have your plane. The skies will wait.

By the way it is a very nice flier. I have at least 30 flights on mine. And as far as HL is concerned they have replaced parts for me for free even after I said I would pay for them.
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Old Feb 17, 2010, 04:02 PM
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Canada, BC, Comox
Joined Nov 2003
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I ordered an Alpha Models F-86 from Hobby Lobby two years ago. When it arrived it looked like elephants had trampled on it. No way to tell if they were American or Canadian Postal elephants that did the trampling. I took it home from the post office, opened it, and everything was crushed. I figured that I was a dumb-dumb and should have refused the parcel. Anyway, called Hobby Lobby, explained what happened, and the sent out a new kit immediately, no charge. Didn't need to return the old one or even provide proof of damage, no questions asked. The best darned customer service I have ever experienced. Sorry your experience with them was not the same, but as much as you would tell people to stay away, I bet many more would say the opposite.
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Old Feb 17, 2010, 04:21 PM
The Earth got in the way!
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United States, OH, Canal Winchester
Joined Feb 2007
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I also feel that Traxxas an Hobby-lobby are by far the best at CS in this hobby. I have HL's F35 and on the maiden 1 of the main landing gear fell out while I was lining up for the landing. The other main gear collapsed and broke. I told them what happened,they asked if there was any other damage, I told them the nose cone tip broke off. They replaced everything even after I told them I would pay for it all. Traxxas is the same way. But if you knew there was a problem you would most likely be SOL.
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Old Feb 17, 2010, 05:49 PM
fmw
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I'm not fond of posts like this. Trashing peoples' reputations on the internet should be done with extreme care and for very good reason. Trashing them for fraud or theft makes sense to me. Trashing them for their unwillingness to pay for your mistake is not a good reason. If you don't want to do business with them again, that's fine. That's your choice. I just recommend that you do so quietly. Posts like this make you look bad, not the company.
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Old Feb 17, 2010, 06:09 PM
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USA, FL, Mt Dora
Joined Dec 2006
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Amen brother, Amen.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MusicManiac View Post
But wait, you DID know something was wrong before flying it! Why didn't you try to fix the problem before flying? And I don't mean just loosening the wing to the point where you yourself said that you were worried about how loose the wing was. I know for a fact that I wouldn't have flown it as it was. I think it would be a totally different story if you would have called them when you first discovered the problem. Not after you crashed it because of a supposed defect. This is just my opinion of course.
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Old Feb 17, 2010, 06:19 PM
Team 3DHS
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Nashville , Tennessee
Joined Jan 2009
5,477 Posts
Hobby Lobby has been great to me ... I think if you knew something was wrong ... you should have never flown it. You should have called them first and then they probably would have gotten you a new one.
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