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New models - what guarantee!

6916 Views 43 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  CeeDeeI
Does the various manufacturers have or show any respect after sales towards their customers?
I bought a Fleischmann 614 DMU diesel multiple unit from a Fleischmann registered retailer - right from the start, the unit emitted a loud grating sound while traversing over my layout. Fleischmann advised me to return the powered part of the unit to their address in the UK, cost of postage to be paid by me.
After four weeks, the unit was returned to my address in the same packaging I had used. No compliment slip or note was included to apologise for the inconvenience in having to send the unit back to Fleischmann or indeed as to cause of the noise emitted by the unit.
I soon found out as to why the absence of a note - the unit, to my horror was emitting the same irratating noise - in other words in plain english, nothing had been done and most probably not even checked over - the bubble wrap enclosing the unit, to me, looked very much like my own way of packing.
Prior to sending back the unit, Fleischmann stated that only one other model made a similar noise while in motion, and probably my unit would require some TLC and oiling of the gears. Certainly it looks like Fleischmann did not indulge my unit with lots of TLC and appropriate oil.
Fleischmann must have a strong hold of the H0/N gauges market and can afford to treat customers in such disgraceful manner.
I had a similar case with Bachmann over a guaranteed Class 158 making a not acceptable noise - the unit was returned in a identical manner, no repair being carried out.
Is this the way of manufacturers having no respect for their customers, to be accepted as normal for the 21st century. Slow
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Maybe this is simplistic, but did it actually get to Fleischmann? Perhaps it was just returned to sender for some reason by the post office?
Doug - the parcel was posted Special Delivery to Fleischmann 40 Brook Lane, Ferring, West Sussex BN12 5JD marked for the attention of a Mr John Hills in the sales office. Parcel signed at 12-40 on 20-10-2005.
However, what happened after receipt at Fleischmann, is unknown.
I did contact Fleischmann Sales by e-mail with no response todate.
As far as I know, Fleischmann do have respect for thier customers. This sounds like a mix up in the postal department. Perhaps it was put on the 'out' desk by mistake when it arrived. Us humans are not perfect

Give them a second chance - perhaps call in advance.
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Doug - I am more than willing to accept an error did arise as we all have failings at some point. How many or how much correspondence is required before Fleischmann will acknowledge my pleas for help. Fleischmann, unless they do rectify this misunderstanding, is to lose my future custom - then again what is the loss of one customer to Fleischmann - can Fleischmann really afford to adopt this attitude in the long term.
I wonder how much of this is due to their British department. Have you attempted to contact Fleischmann in Germany?

The other question is why didn't you return it to the dealer and have the dealer deal with Fleischmann? I know if I bought it from a dealer I would expect to return it to them and not have to send it to Fleischmann, especially if it was purchased new as you said. That would be the first place I would consider no longer visiting.
Denis David - to answer your question, yes I have contacted Fleischmann Web site in Germany and no doubt the excuse in this instance for not answering my contact is "language difference".
I also contacted the Fleischmann authorised retailer who sold me the 614 DMU, made arrangements with Fleischmann Sales on my behalf and the retailer quoted the contact address for me to send off the faulty 614 DMU.
On receiving back the 614 DMU supposed repair, I again contacted the retailer, who in turn stated it was Fleischmann who was at fault and they had bent backwards to assist me and therefore not answerable but only Fleischmann was.
Pointing out to both Fleischmann and the retailer - quoting the "Sale of Goods Act" that states in cases of being dissatisfied with goods or services, the buyer should contact the manufacturer or retailer or both with a written complaint.
Quoting the S of G act to both Fleischmann and the retailer has cut no ice.
Manufacturers and retailers know full well, that to take legal action against them is far to costly for the consumer to take action.
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I take it your retailer was a UK dealer?
Assuming that it was, then in British law, HE is 100% responsible for addressing your problem and well he knows that! If the goods are clearly faulty, and from what you say, this seems beyond doubt, HE must repair, replace, or offer a full refund, INCLUDING the shipping in both directions. Which of these actually happens is subject to negotiation between you and him. But what is absolutely CERTAIN is that he may not, in law, pass the buck to anyone else unless you agree to it. So don't! As for him 'bending over backwards to assist' you. From what you say here, he appears to have done absolutely nothing - other than give you an address to pass the buck to and avoid facing up to his own responsibilities!

I have experienced similar situations in the past and have always found that a very clearly written letter, describing the situation AND the legal obligations, politely but extremely firmly has, without fail, produced results. I haven't had to do it often, but have always had success when it was necessary

I don't know how our board Admin feels about this and I will of course respect his wishes, but it would be very interesting to know who the retailer is.

I would strongly suggest you make a careful and accurate note of dates - when you made the original transaction, when the fault was noticed, when you contacted whom (and by what means), when you returned the goods, when they were returned to you, everything that is relevant, including all the costs incurred in re-shipping.

Inform the retailer that you have done this (in fact inform him even before you start!) and that you have every intention of following through to the maximum extent of the law. Be polite, but convince him beyond the tiniest shadow of a doubt that you will NOT let him wriggle off the legal hook. Tell him VERY clearly that if he is unwilling to settle the matter amicably and co-operate, then he will also become liable for all the additional expenses incurred in obtaining your legal right to satisfaction. Inform him very clearly that his responses to your request are being recorded and that, if his refusal to assist makes it necessary, his refusal to co-operate will be used in evidence against him. Remind him of the damage that WILL occur to his business reputation should it become necessary to take legal action.

If you still cannot gain satisfaction from the retailer, then do NOT give up - never give up!
Telephone or write to your local Trading Standards Office, which are there to ensure that retailers comply with the law regarding sale of goods. It's one of their prime reasons and purposes for existence. It may be necessary to contact the dealer's local Trading Standards Office, but your own Office will advise on this and probably assist you in doing so. You may wish to contact the Citizens Advice Bureau for further advice. But do NOT give up!

As for "Fleischmann UK", I am not sure that they are in fact owned by the Fleischmann company. It is possible that they are, but perhaps not and have simply negotiated the right to use the Fleischmann name, in UK, as Fleischmann's representative/distributor to the trade. It would be useful if this could be ascertained for sure. Does anyone here know the answer to that, please?

Regardless of that, your dispute and its redress is technically with the retailer and no one else.This does not prevent you from negotiating a settlement with Fleischmann if you and they are both willing, but it is usually simpler to deal with your known and presumably English speaking retailer.
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Rail-Rider - what you say is one hundred percent accurate. The retailer in question is located approximately 300 miles from where I live in Scotland and this makes it extremely difficult to discus the issue to a satisfactory conclusion, and the fact contact by e-mail concludes in a wall of silence.
I have certainly pointed out to the retailer, of the Sale of Goods Act, and his responce again being the wall of silence. The retailer knows full well, the costs of taking legal action against him or the owner of the business is financially too prohibitve.
Fleischmann in the UK is shown under the name of EuroPartner Handler.
I had a similar dispute with gentleman in England who advertised his business of repairs to all types of model locomotives but specialised in Wrenn products. After charging me £56 to fit a new higher rated motor to a Wrenn DMU, a wait of nearly six months made it necessary to contact my local Trading Standards to recover both the DMU and money paid for repair. As it transpired no motor had been fitted to the Wrenn DMU. After numerous correspondence passing between myself and the T S, DMU was finally returned in the same conditioned when first sent to the repairer in Wrexham. The T S informed me the best method to recoupe my £56 from the repairer, would to take out a court judgement, this would not guarantee a return of my money if the findings were not in my favour. A court judgement was to cost around £150.
Believe me, I am most tempted to name the repairer and the retailer - however if any of the two gentleman decided to obtain the services of a good lawyer, it could turn out very costly to me in a deformation of character case.
The Fleischmann Class 614 DMU operates satisfactory - what is at state, does the noise it emits while traversing over the track, warrant a legal complaint?
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I would think that the excessive noise is unsatisfactory. While I can't tell you what to do I would lodge a formal complaint with Fleischmann of Germany. Language should not be a problem or an excuse. I've lived in Germany for four years and any company the size of Fleischmann will have many English speakers. I would also lodge a complaint with your version of the better business bureau and also look towards the numourous consumer groups that are up and about.
Eventually, I received an e-mail reply today from Fleischmann UK.

Dear Mr --------,
I did send you an e-mail about this loco on Wednesday, but it appears that you didn't receive it.
I understand from my repairman that he oiled and serviced the railcar and that it was running satisfactory.
If you are intending to visit the Warley Model railway exhibition at the NEC, Birmingham on December 3rd & 4th December, then please bring the railcar with you and we can see what can be done.
If not, then please send it back to me (or our authorised repair agents - Model- masters, 50, Clifton Road, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset BS23 1BW) and we will see if the fault can be rectified.

John Hills,
Fleischmann UK Marketing.

Questions: why did the authorised repair agents fail first time to rectify the noise fault.

Where I live, to attend the Warley exhibition would incur me with a return railway fare, bus fares to the NEC, hotel accommodation, meals, entrance fee to the exhibition.
Total cost incurred would to my estimation, be cheaper to bin the original 614 DMU and buy another set at £216.
I presume the NEC is a large building, not counting the number of people attending the show at the time of my 614 DMU being tried out for volume of noise being generated - as compared to a small room in my house.
I may be wrong to feel that Fleischmann treatment of this complaint is most shabby.
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It looks as though you are at last getting some individual attention and, though a little late, that's good. I think this is going to be sorted out, eventually.

Obviously your visiting Warley isn't practical, though the offer to try to help directly if you were, was a decent one. I would suggest mailing back to point this out and perhaps requesting that, as you have already shipped the unit back once at your own expense, it might be good customer relations on their part to cover ALL the shipping on this occasion.

As for explaining the failure to fix it first time, the only reasonable explanation I can think of is that repairman did not run the unit on the track, under load, either on receipt or before returning to you, but upside down on the bench where you say it runs smoothly! Extremely remiss if that was the case.

However, it's worth a second shot and I would go for it.
If this doesn't work out, then I would be looking for a complete replacement unit.

Best of good luck.
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Hoping against the odds, that eventually the noise will subside to a level acceptable to the human ear.
Alas! after giving the 614 DMU its daily run, the three DMU indicator lights started to play up and have now ceased to function. Inspection of the 614 DMU underside, shows that the metal bright metal strip used to collect power from the two bogy axle wheels had dropped off "somewhere" along the layout. The strip was eventually found, and repositioned on the bogy. However, the fixing of the metal strip is, crude, a small hole at centre of metal strip fixes to the screw head that secures the bogy to the coach chassis - not being tight and secure, metal strip easily becomes detached.
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I have been playing around with a Romford motor bogie today. It makes a noise in one direction but is perfectly sweet when running in the other. I have narrowed this down to slack in the motor shaft and when the bogie runs in one direction the flywheel rubs against the motor housing. I may need to introduce a small washer.

Do you get this sound when running in both directions or just one?

Happy modelling
Afraid this noise persists in both directions.
Noise is best described as two pieces of rough metal surfaces being rubbed together and sound generated amplified. After several circuits of the 614 DMU, sound becomes so irritating to ones hearing, you are forced to drive the unit into the nearest siding on the layout.
I was informed, though I am not 100 percent in agreement, that noise is caused by Fleischmann fitting a "Pancake" type motor and its gear formation in the 614 DMU.
Fleischmann in the 80s brought out a diesel model BR Greyhound, this model I still run to this day - the motor fitted, was an identical motor to the present 614 DMU, a Pancake 12v dc, with all gears attached to the outside of the motor casing.
Fleischmann, nice try for giving reason to noise 614 DMU emits.
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The motor bogie should simply be replaced and the original faulty unit send back to Fleischmann Germany for examination.

This would be the right thing to do.

This is customer service. Bachmann did it with the Class A1 motor and I cannot think of a Hornby example off the top of my head right now (Scalextric Digital Slot Car Racing Control Units?) but no doubt they would do the right thing also.

Your dealer who you bought this from should organise this for you or give you your money back. Have they said why they cannot do this?

No point in messing about. Ask the question!

I bet if you were next door and not 500 miles away in Scotland you would have had a new motor by now.

Do these folk want your continued business or not? Sorry to be brutally honest buts thats how I am when it comes to customer service. Messing around with issues like this does not do the hobby or the industry any favours whatsoever.

Happy modelling

PS I have noted the other thread where you have been given instructions on removing the body. In it there is a claim that these motors are inherently noisy anyway. What I will do is have a listen at the Fleischmann display layout at the Warley show and see exactly how noisy this model is. The DMU that John Hill's had running at the Ontracks Continental Open Day was super silent. It had to be as John was demonstrating sound!
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what constitutes "silent".
I would think the engine should go pass a certain point silently and only hear the clicking of wheels when passing over the rail track joiners and points.
The authorised Fleischmann retailer says to send back the 614 DMU to them for checking and if found as faulty as maintained by me, then they will approach Fleischmann for repair or a new unit, but I must accept the interior lighting fitted at my request and paid for by me at the time of purchase would be lost.
Since I removed the roof from the body of the 614 DMU and tried to follow the instructions to take out motorise bogy from the chassis - I decided against this operation and reassembled back the unit.
To check all was correct, again tried the 614 DMU, and lo behold the 614 DMU was now traversing over the layout at a reduced noise level.
What is most important to me, is what degree of noise to accept, as to send back the 614 DMU to the authorised dealer or Fleischmann will no doubt be returned by them as no fault to be heard. It is a fact of life, no matter how hard you try a noise to heard, you can't make anyone hear the noise.
I feel through frustration and carriage cost, Fleischmann fully expect that I will give up trying.
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I am in Railway modelling (with breaks in it) since 33 years and hve made experiences with lot of different companies. My biggest dissapointment: Maerklin - most expensive and very poor afters sales service and customer care. I am in Austria so one should think Roco as an easy option - no no - repairs took weeks and month- compared to Hornby: some days! In terms of miles and language Roco, Fleischmann and Maerklin are much nearer but the friendliest and most effiecient service ever experiened is provided by Hornby. My rolling stock now is 100% Hornby. Of course it is sometimes frustrating when a model one likes is produced by a different company but I prefer to stick with Hornby. Hornby customer care in combination with Rails of Sheffield now provide me with an excellent service that no local model shop and continental model railway producer can touch.

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Well there you have it. Seems that the German companies may have a thing or two to learn from the Brits! A common trend maybe that you should find a dealer that you can work with and try to channel your purchases through them. I think we would do each other a favor by promoting those dealers that go the extra mile, or is that kilometer? While others that suggest your on your own when dealing with the manufacturer be given the cold shoulder.
Couldn't agree more Dennis. All my purchases have to be through the post via the internet because 00 kit isn't available here in Spain. I therefor rely one hundred percent on my dealer in the UK and they never let me down, whether it's a petty query over the phone or directing me to a cheaper alternative when I am after a particular item. Their service is fast, reliable and, best of all, the staff know what they are talking about. "The Signal Box", long may their business flourish.
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