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Old Mar 06, 2004, 12:43 AM
Dead stick!!
Peter Young's Avatar
Joined Mar 2002
1,377 Posts
Rant
Why I will now only shop locally (and never again from Tower)

Hi

I have had almost 40 shipments from Tower Hobbies over the last 2 years. I am a "valued member of their super saver club", and have spent more money with Tower than I am willing to admit to in public.

This month something went wrong and a shipment went astray. I got the following e-mail from Tower.

The guts of it is that they will now no longer ship to me unless I use FedEx, and that I will have to pay a $25 quote deposit up front before they get a price for shipping from FedEx. In their words, the actual shipping cost will be "...considerably more."

So - one parcel goes missing and the "relationship" established over the last 2 years (and 40 transactions) counts for nothing.

Thanks a lot Tower!

Peter
Australia

(UPDATE - please read to the end of this thread for a happy ending - http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...5&postcount=37)

++++++++++++++++++++

Dear Tower Customer,

Thank you for writing Tower Hobbies. A trace on your package has proved unsuccessful. We apologize for the inconvenience. We can issue a refund for the order or send a replacement. Please note that if your lost order was shipping to an International destination and you wish to have a replacement, we must ship the replacement to an address in the United States. The other option would be for you to pay the Federal Express charges to have your package delivered to your country. Please let us know as soon as possible if you would like a replacement or refund. Please be advised that future orders can only be shipped to an address in the United States or via Federal Express to your International address. Unfortunately, we are no longer able to ship your orders via United States Post Office to your International address. Please note that there is a $25.00 deposit for all Federal Express shipping quotes. This is not the cost of the shipping, this is the fee paid for us to find the cost of the shipment which will be considerably more. This deposit must be paid up front on a credit card and is refunded if you opt to use Federal Express and is not refunded if you chose to cancel the order. Thank you for writing Tower Hobbies. We appreciate your time and your business with us.

-Tower Hobbies
http://www.towerhobbies.com/
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Last edited by Peter Young; May 13, 2005 at 07:15 PM. Reason: Included happy ending update
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Old Mar 06, 2004, 01:14 AM
Dax
There is no spoon
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Vancouver BC Canada
Joined Aug 2002
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well too bad for them. They loose me as a coustomer too.
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Old Mar 06, 2004, 01:34 AM
most exalted one
United States, CA, Hemet
Joined Aug 2002
3,567 Posts
This should probably be in the vendor forum so we all can read about the service (lack of). Customer care is supposed to be a priority of a retail business.
Fedex can't be the only way to ship. You'll be paying hundreds for shipping.
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Old Mar 06, 2004, 01:59 AM
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Telford, UK
Joined Feb 2000
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Peter,

I'm moving this to the Vendors forum.

tim hooper
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Old Mar 06, 2004, 07:01 AM
tic
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New Cumberland, PA. US
Joined Dec 2000
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Is it just me or is there an inordinate amount of confusion amongst members here as to the proper spelling and use of the words "lose" and "loose".... Yeah, o.k. that's being picky but I see it constantly.
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Old Mar 06, 2004, 07:55 AM
Registered User
Edison NJ
Joined Oct 2003
108 Posts
Same here

When I first got into the hobby 9 years ago, everybody said to order from Tower; best prices and service. I only ordered 3 times from them and they messed up every one of them. If I see something in one of the ads that I like, my local shop will order it and match the price. I wouldn't recommend Tower to anyone.
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Old Mar 06, 2004, 08:12 AM
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Joined Jan 2001
3,269 Posts
Re: Why I will now only shop locally (and never again from Tower)

Pakage losses have been increasing on USA to International using USPS. I don't imagine that you have ever been through the claims process for a lost USPS package. It first takes 6 weeks before you can even file the claim. You then file and it takes more weeks. We shipped a $200 order in Jan. to England and it's still lost and we have nothing. We refunded the customer, he was very nice and could have just jumped on here and blasted us also.

I however do not understand the $25 quote deposit. I would have thought a Fed EX table would have given them the proper shiping cost.

The bottom line is that we have been to the post office about 5 times trying to get our money back for the above lost package. Let's say Tower has 100 lost USPS packages, that would take full time employee just to work on this. Inside the USA, USPS has been nearly perfect. I am not sure why the International problems are popping up.

Just trying to give you some additional data on the subject.

thanks
Steve


Quote:
Originally posted by Peter Young
Hi

I have had almost 40 shipments from Tower Hobbies over the last 2 years. I am a "valued member of their super saver club", and have spent more money with Tower than I am willing to admit to in public.

This month something went wrong and a shipment went astray. I got the following e-mail from Tower.

The guts of it is that they will now no longer ship to me unless I use FedEx, and that I will have to pay a $25 quote deposit up front before they get a price for shipping from FedEx. In their words, the actual shipping cost will be "...considerably more."

So - one parcel goes missing and the "relationship" established over the last 2 years (and 40 transactions) counts for nothing.

Thanks a lot Tower!

Peter
Australia

++++++++++++++++++++

Dear Tower Customer,

Thank you for writing Tower Hobbies. A trace on your package has proved unsuccessful. We apologize for the inconvenience. We can issue a refund for the order or send a replacement. Please note that if your lost order was shipping to an International destination and you wish to have a replacement, we must ship the replacement to an address in the United States. The other option would be for you to pay the Federal Express charges to have your package delivered to your country. Please let us know as soon as possible if you would like a replacement or refund. Please be advised that future orders can only be shipped to an address in the United States or via Federal Express to your International address. Unfortunately, we are no longer able to ship your orders via United States Post Office to your International address. Please note that there is a $25.00 deposit for all Federal Express shipping quotes. This is not the cost of the shipping, this is the fee paid for us to find the cost of the shipment which will be considerably more. This deposit must be paid up front on a credit card and is refunded if you opt to use Federal Express and is not refunded if you chose to cancel the order. Thank you for writing Tower Hobbies. We appreciate your time and your business with us.

-Tower Hobbies
http://www.towerhobbies.com/
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Old Mar 06, 2004, 03:36 PM
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Peter Young's Avatar
Joined Mar 2002
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Thanks Steve

It's interesting to get a vendor perspective.

My point is the basis that Tower shift from USPS to FedEx for one customer. If USPS is unreliable they should ship all packages FedEx. I presume they make a judgement that some customers are higher risk - either because they live in an area with less reliable mail services, or they make false claims about parcels not arriving. In either case they target those customers for this FedEx only policy.

So why after 40 successful transactions have I been targetted when a $40 parcel goes missing? The mail service here is no different, so I presume they have decided I'm making up the claim that the parcel didn't arrive?

I can't fathom it.

Peter
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Last edited by Peter Young; Mar 11, 2004 at 05:08 AM.
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Old Mar 06, 2004, 04:20 PM
Registered User
Joined Jan 2001
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Well......

"I presume they make a judgement that some customers are higher risk - either because they live in an area with less reliable mail services"

Did they say that?
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Old Mar 07, 2004, 07:48 AM
Registered User
United States, OH, Cincinnati
Joined Oct 2003
63 Posts
What confused me about this is that Fedex has a contract with the USPS to haul there packages! No other freight carrier can haul the "Mail". I am not sure how the package was shipped, but there is a good chance that the international leg was handled by Fedex anyway!

Joe
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Old Mar 07, 2004, 09:03 AM
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I've been buying from Tower for over 25 years, with no problems.
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Old Mar 08, 2004, 01:29 AM
Dead stick!!
Peter Young's Avatar
Joined Mar 2002
1,377 Posts
Yep - they didn't say that...that's why I said "I presume". I can't work out the logic, so I am guessing that after a parcel goes missing they have a policy to change the shipping method to that customer - a change for international customers that effectively means they will no longer be able to afford to shop with Tower again.

If I had spent as much money as I have with Tower in a local hobby shop we would have a relationship - a basis for resolving these sorts of problems. I have spent a lot less at one local shop and they will sell me their own personal stuff if they don't have what I want in stock.

Anyway, lesson learnt for me.
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Old Mar 10, 2004, 06:36 PM
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Peter Young's Avatar
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Hi all

After further negotiation I received an e-mail from Tower advising that they would replace the lost item and not require me to ship FedEx for future orders - although they did say that if this ever happens again I will be back to getting FedEx only deliveries.

This is an ok response, although I think Tower need to consider developing a more flexible approach to those customers with a long track record.

Today I received a much more satisfactory response from Tower's client service manager. I've copied it below because I think it does reflect a genuine effort to serve their customers.

Peter

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Mr. Young,

In an effort to ensure we are meeting our customer's expectations, we try to monitor all forms of feedback whether they are direct comments sent to us or comments posted on various forums. We have read your posting on RC Groups.com and wanted to apologize for your disappointment in our service. Our response to you was a response we use when we have not demonstrated successful delivery to an International address and the replacement order is beyond a specific dollar value that would allow us to gamble on a better outcome if we shipped the same way again. We always offer the customer a refund for the merchandise they do not receive. Our experience has taught us that it is not responsible retailing to continue to ship to an unsuccessful address via a non-traceable method to get the same result over and over. We offer FedEX as an option for guaranteed success in the delivery.

I agree that Fed Ex is not the only option available it is the one we have chosen. We have priced other shippers, such as Global Express, which are also guaranteed. The problem is, all these International shipping options require the same process for us. The charges are determined by DIM weight. DIM weight cannot be determined until the entire order is picked, packed and weighed as it is a calculation of weights and dimensions combined. We charge the $25.00 deposit for this because we put the labor and material into preparing the order for shipping just to get the shipping price. In the past we did not charge a deposit and we frequently went through this process just to have customers back out once they heard the price. A deposit separates the serious from the curious which keeps our labor efficient, which keeps our overhead lower, which keeps our prices affordable. We all like affordable prices!

You actually should not have received the email response you did. We should have, and did, replace your order on 3/9/04.

We do value all our customers, but especially our International customers. You wait longer for product, you pay more for shipping, you have less human contact options with us via phone. When you order from us you do so because you put some thought into doing business with us. We realize that you probably looked for an option closer to home but we
want you to feel good about choosing us.

If I can ever help in any way, please let me know.
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Last edited by Peter Young; Mar 11, 2004 at 05:10 AM.
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Old Mar 10, 2004, 07:07 PM
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Daytona Beach, Florida, United States
Joined Nov 2003
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Hey folks, the USPS does not control what happens to a package once it is handed off to postal entities in other countries. Deliveries are made based on that country's practices, and not every country has universal mail service. Some countries even have regional postal services, each with their own regulations.

You must also keep in mind that, given the heightened security issues of the past couple of years, there are a lot of entities other than postal services that get involved. I can just imagine a highly trained security person somewhere where there are few RC airplanes opening a box with a JR 10X transmitter in it and thinking that he had discovered a top secret military device, or more likely, thinking it was a bomb which needed to be destroyed immediately.

And then there are customs agents who want to decide what the duty on each piece should be, and they fill their shelves with stuff for months and months while they ponder their decision. Just try mailing anything of value to just south of our border sometime and you'll see what I mean.

Like it or not, we live in a very complex world and when we ship things outside our own borders -- whereever our borders might be -- we are rolling the dice as to whether or not that package will make it all the way.

Tower has probably taken a great many hits in the past months, and may be erring to the side of fiscal caution. It seems unlikely that they like the problem any more than their customers do. They, like many other suppliers, have a lot of their dollars tied up in goods in transit. They are keeping their fingers crossed hoping that their shipments actually reach their intended destination. Sometimes the shipments are never heard from again, and there is simply no one to contact to try to track the shipment down. The State Department is not likely to create an international incident because a SlowStick is missing in a country where we do not have an embassy. Yet the shipper has his money in that box, and he will never see it again.

We can solve this problem of course by simply getting everyone on Earth to just get along with one another.

It shouldn't really be a big issue.
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Old Mar 10, 2004, 07:48 PM
Dead stick!!
Peter Young's Avatar
Joined Mar 2002
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Commercially the Tower policy doesn't add up. You don't sell $4,000 worth of goods to someone over 2 years, then stop selling to them because a $49 parcel goes missing. No sensible business does this.

What a clever business does is have a computer system that flags high value customers. When a problem arises with a high value customer these issues are escalated automatically to a more senior case manager. You DO NOT apply a uniform approach to both one-off purchasers and high value customers alike.
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