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Ordering Bowser parts - Update to the update - 10/6/18

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Ordering Bowser parts - Update to the update - 10/6/18
Posted by tstage on Wednesday, September 19, 2018 8:04 PM

Has anyone ever had issues ordering parts from the Bowser Retail Order website?  I ordered some Cal Scale super-detail parts from them almost 3 weeks ago and have yet to receive them.

The site says the parts are "in stock" and my MC was charged.  I've contacted Bowser via email and am waiting to hear back from them.  Seems I ordered something from them years back and it ended up being a bit of rigmarole to get the order completed.

I really like Bowser products but I can't say I've been particularly impressed with the correspondance with them over the years.  Sometimes they just don't respond at all to my queries.

I'm just curious if others have had similar experiences with them.

Thanks,

Tom

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Posted by garya on Wednesday, September 19, 2018 8:24 PM

tstage

Has anyone ever had issues ordering parts from the Bowser Retail Order website?  I ordered some Cal Scale super-detail parts from them almost 3 weeks ago and have yet to receive them.

The site says the parts are "in stock" and my MC was charged.  I've contacted Bowser via email and am waiting to hear back from them.  Seems I ordered something from them years back and it ended up being a bit of rigmarole to get the order completed.

I really like Bowser products but I can't say I've been particularly impressed with the correspondance with them over the years.  Sometimes they just don't respond at all to my queries.

I'm just curious if others have had similar experiences with them.

Thanks,

Tom

 

I've had good luck when I call them.  If I email them, no so much.  

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Posted by RR_Mel on Wednesday, September 19, 2018 9:04 PM

I’ve never had a problem with Bowser parts.  I’ve never ordered from their web site always over the phone.  Very friendly people.
 
 
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Posted by doctorwayne on Thursday, September 20, 2018 3:17 AM

RR_Mel
I’ve never had a problem with Bowser parts. I’ve never ordered from their web site always over the phone.....

I've not placed an order over the 'phone, but did send them an e-mail to place a fairly large order, parts of which needed to be ordered by the store.  I got a very prompt reply, and we had a good back-and-forth exchange to make sure everything was well understood.  I made it very clear that I was prepared to pre-pay as soon as they could give me the total cost., but also noted that I planned to pick up the order in-person.  Some of what I ordered was for a couple of friends.

They contacted me when the order had been assembled, and when I inquired about the cost, the short (but not unfriendly) reply was, "A friend has taken care of it!".

I knew immediately who it was, but I don't think that you should expect the same, Tom.

RR_Mel
....Very friendly people.

Absolutely!  One of my favourite hobby shops, both for the staff and the selection.  I'll be dropping by there next week, too, after visiting friends in Ohio - pretty-much a 700 mile round trip to the hobbyshop.

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Posted by Trainman440 on Thursday, September 20, 2018 9:01 AM

Yea, I ordered from them a month ago, they arrived within one week...

bought some detail parts.

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Posted by tstage on Thursday, September 20, 2018 10:15 AM

Well, I received the following [amusing] email response from Lee English this morning:

"this was shipped on the 7th. by US Mail.  you should see it this week"

It's coming from central PA to NE OH...and it takes 2 weeks??? Tongue Tied  I can get a decoder from Litchfield Station (AZ) in 2-3 days.

Would I be incorrect in reading between the lines that someone messed up at Bowser and it's going in the mail today??? Smile, Wink & Grin  I will definitely check the postmark of the envelope when it arrives.  At least they responded. Yes

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Posted by garya on Thursday, September 20, 2018 10:41 AM

doctorwayne

Absolutely!  One of my favourite hobby shops, both for the staff and the selection.  I'll be dropping by there next week, too, after visiting friends in Ohio - pretty-much a 700 mile round trip to the hobbyshop.

Wayne

 

Ask them about my mis-drilled K4 cylinders, will ya?  Never replied to my emails...

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Posted by doctorwayne on Thursday, September 20, 2018 11:30 AM

I'd forgotten about those, Gary.  Did you ever try drilling out most of the centre, then filling it with a plug of brass rod?  If you could thread the interior of such a hole, you could use a larg-ish diameter brass screw, then cut the head and any excess length off.  You'd then be able to drill a new hole for the brass bushing, and be back in business.
Is that cylinder casting the only type useable on your K4?  I'll try to remember to ask if they have one still laying around.  If they do (or have another type which would work) I'll contact you by PM for your address, and mail it to you.

EDIT:  Actually,another idea occurred to me as I was typing, and will send you a PM shortly.

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Posted by garya on Thursday, September 20, 2018 3:41 PM

doctorwayne

I'd forgotten about those, Gary.  Did you ever try drilling out most of the centre, then filling it with a plug of brass rod?  If you could thread the interior of such a hole, you could use a larg-ish diameter brass screw, then cut the head and any excess length off.  You'd then be able to drill a new hole for the brass bushing, and be back in business.
Is that cylinder casting the only type useable on your K4?  I'll try to remember to ask if they have one still laying around.  If they do (or have another type which would work) I'll contact you by PM for your address, and mail it to you.

EDIT:  Actually,another idea occurred to me as I was typing, and will send you a PM shortly.

Wayne

 

I never heard back from Bowser, so I just bought another one on eBay. I didn't try drilling it out.  

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Posted by tstage on Wednesday, October 03, 2018 6:19 PM

Well, two more weeks have passed by (now more than a month, total) and still no detail parts from Bowser. Tongue Tied

I contacted them last week and received no response to my email.  I just wrote a detailed account of the experience for their customer service and let them know that I will be calling them tomorrow to request a refund.

Sadly, this experience (and a similar one with them a few years back) will more than likely keep me from purchasing anything online from Bowser in the future.  It's disappointing because I really like their product.  Maybe I just have a knack for ordering things from them at the wrong time...

Tom

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, October 03, 2018 6:46 PM

I'm going to echo what others have said, alI my Bowser experiances have been positive, and they have all been by phone.

Sorry you had troubles, just seens odd for them?

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Posted by tstage on Wednesday, October 03, 2018 7:03 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

I'm going to echo what others have said, all my Bowser experiances have been positive, and they have all been by phone.

And that's why I will be calling them to talk to them directly, Sheldon.

I think I've given them plenty of time so I'm not going to settle for anything less than a refund.  As mentioned, I find it all disappointing because I think they make a great product.

Tom

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, October 03, 2018 7:35 PM

tstage

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL

I'm going to echo what others have said, all my Bowser experiances have been positive, and they have all been by phone.

 

 

And that's why I will be calling them to talk to them directly, Sheldon.

I think I've given them plenty of time so I'm not going to settle for anything less than a refund.  As mentioned, I find it all disappointing because I think they make a great product.

Tom

 

Tom, I understand your frustration, and disappointment. Maybe I am just old fashioned, but I would have made a call long before now. 

I buy plenty of stuff online, but nothing beats talking to a real person.

Bowser is a small company, adapting to the web/email after decades of mostly phone business may be presenting some challenges. It sure sounds that way in this case.

Do you have a local hobby shop? Do they deal with Bowser?

Sheldon

    

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Posted by tstage on Wednesday, October 03, 2018 8:16 PM

Thankfully, Sheldon, there still is a LHS in my area (25 min. drive).  I don't know if they deal with Bowser.  I suspect not but I will ask the next time I'm in.  Thanks for the suggestion.

While I do try and support my LHS as much as possible, I do order some things online and rarely have any issues - even eBay.  In fact, most vendors are good-to-stellar in their service.

I've had a minor frustration with a larger DCC vendor (that most folks would recognize) because they don't always have things "in stock" that they list on their website.  Unlike M.B. Klein - their inventory isn't "live" so you don't know if you'll receive your items in 3 days...or 3 weeks until after you order.

While I generally default to emails, I'm not adverse to calling - even though I don't necessarily like phones.  Preferably, I'd much rather see or talk to someone in person but that isn't always possible.

Tom

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, October 03, 2018 9:27 PM

tstage

Thankfully, Sheldon, there still is a LHS in my area (25 min. drive).  I don't know if they deal with Bowser.  I suspect not but I will ask the next time I'm in.  Thanks for the suggestion.

While I do try and support my LHS as much as possible, I do order some things online and rarely have any issues - even eBay.  In fact, most vendors are good-to-stellar in their service.

I've had a minor frustration with a larger DCC vendor (that most folks would recognize) because they don't always have things "in stock" that they list on their website.  Unlike M.B. Klein - their inventory isn't "live" so you don't know if you'll receive your items in 3 days...or 3 weeks until after you order.

While I generally default to emails, I'm not adverse to calling - even though I don't necessarily like phones.  Preferably, I'd much rather see or talk to someone in person but that isn't always possible.

Tom

 

Tom,

I would be surprised if your LHS does not deal directly with Bowser. They can likely pick up the phone and place an order, again, Bowser has been doing business that way for five decades.

I'm not defending Bowser specificly, but I have seen this before, older people, older businesses, slow to understand how to do business effectively in the information age.

I do lots on line, but I run a business that requires me to buy lots of special and unusual products for restoring old houses. Many of these suppliers are very small family companies located all over the country. And it often seems that personal contact by phone is still the best way to get what I need, make sure it is right, and get it delivered in a timely fashion.

While I have adapted well enough to online ordering, Amazon, Ebay, etc, all of that is rather impersonal. The younger generation seems to prefer things to be impersonal......some of us older folks, not so much.

Trainworld was slow to get with the online thing years back. Even after they had a web site you had to call the 800 number and read your order to one of those "abrupt" New York gals - some people thought them rude, they were not rude, it's just a New York thing, they were busy, and they were giving you the best prices on the planet......and the next guy wants to order his trains too.....

I am a big fan of online/direct marketing/central distribution, no matter the actual communication method, phone or web portal - it is the wave of the future.

Again, hope you get it worked out,

Sheldon  

    

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Posted by tstage on Wednesday, October 03, 2018 9:50 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

Trainworld was slow to get with the online thing years back. Even after they had a web site you had to call the 800 number and read your order to one of those "abrupt" New York gals - some people thought them rude, they were not rude, it's just a New York thing, they were busy, and they were giving you the best prices on the planet......and the next guy wants to order his trains too.....

Again, hope you get it worked out,

Sheldon

Ah, yes - I remember ordering from Trainworld a few times early on.   Yea, the Brooklyn gals could sure sound gruff on the phone but I always made sure I had all the correct information for them to help expedite the order and make their jobs easier.  NO technical questions - just part # and quantity.  Now you can pretty ordering anything off their website w/o even needing to pick up the phone.

I'll let you know how things work out with Bowser, Sheldon.

Tom

 

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Posted by tstage on Thursday, October 04, 2018 11:01 AM

Called Bowser this morning and they will be refunding me the full amount.  Should I decide to order from them in the future it will definitely be by phone vs internet. 

The gentleman on the phone was apologetic and did reiterate that it was shipped on 9/7.  So it is possible that it got lost in the mail, or placed in someone else's mailbox.  I'll give them the benefit of the doubt on that one.

I'll be going to a big train show this weekend here in the area so I'll look for the Cal Scale handrails and horns there.

Tom

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Posted by dknelson on Thursday, October 04, 2018 11:07 AM

tstage
shipped on the 7th. by US Mail.

Tom I think the key phrase in Lee English's response was "US Mail."  the package has entered a mysterious realm of wonderment.  Who knows what neighbor has your Cal Scale parts and is wondering what the heck they are.

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Posted by tstage on Thursday, October 04, 2018 11:25 AM

Dave,

I don't know if it was Lee who actually answered the phone but they were pretty quick with the refund; although it probably won't show up in my checking account until the end of the today or tomorrow.  And I told the gentleman if the parts ever did show up I'd pay for them.

Product does - gasp! - get lost or misdelivered by USPS so I'm not ready to close up shop on Bowser yet.  As mentioned, I'll do my ordering and any necessary followup with them by phone in the future and I'm fine with that.

Tom

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Posted by rrebell on Friday, October 05, 2018 8:23 AM

tstage

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL

Trainworld was slow to get with the online thing years back. Even after they had a web site you had to call the 800 number and read your order to one of those "abrupt" New York gals - some people thought them rude, they were not rude, it's just a New York thing, they were busy, and they were giving you the best prices on the planet......and the next guy wants to order his trains too.....

Again, hope you get it worked out,

Sheldon

 

 

Ah, yes - I remember ordering from Trainworld a few times early on.   Yea, the Brooklyn gals could sure sound gruff on the phone but I always made sure I had all the correct information for them to help expedite the order and make their jobs easier.  NO technical questions - just part # and quantity.  Now you can pretty ordering anything off their website w/o even needing to pick up the phone.

I'll let you know how things work out with Bowser, Sheldon.

Tom

 

 

Remember ordering stuff from Tainworld, I thought they were nice and was ordering a closeout item, Ertl boxcars and they made a sugestion of another closeout item not listed, Ertl flatcars, I ordered a bunch of both (I general repaint them as they were tooled by Gould (later Tichy).

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Posted by tstage on Saturday, October 06, 2018 2:27 PM

tstage

Dave,

I don't know if it was Lee who actually answered the phone but they were pretty quick with the refund; although it probably won't show up in my checking account until the end of the today or tomorrow.  And I told the gentleman if the parts ever did show up I'd pay for them.

Product does - gasp! - get lost or misdelivered by USPS so I'm not ready to close up shop on Bowser yet.  As mentioned, I'll do my ordering and any necessary followup with them by phone in the future and I'm fine with that.

Tom

Instead of starting a new thread and creating a disconnect, I wanted to give an update to the update about my recent Bowser order saga.

As mentioned above I called Bowser Thursday morning and was told by them that they would refund me the total amount on my missing order.  The new wrinkle is that the order showed up on Friday afternoon in the mail; having been shipped on 10/3 - i.e. the day before I called.

Before heading out of the house this morning for a train show, I emailed Bowser to thank them for the refund but to also let them know that the order showed up.  Since that completed my original order I reminded them that I would gladly pay for the newly arrived parts.  I received a reply back from Lee an hour or so later telling me to "Please keep the parts no charge" because "we screwed this up badly". Surprise

While I was NOT expecting this, I do want to publically acknowledge Bowser's kind gesture and their customer service in the matter.  That speaks volumes to me as a customer and I will give them more benefit of the doubt in my dealings with them in the future.  I will also send a thank you to Bowser for making things right.

Tom

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Posted by doctorwayne on Saturday, October 06, 2018 3:00 PM

Perfect!  A happy ending.

My dealings with Bowser/English' Hobbies have always been positive and polite, and I'm not surprised by this outcome.

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Posted by tstage on Tuesday, October 09, 2018 6:35 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
I would be surprised if your LHS does not deal directly with Bowser. They can likely pick up the phone and place an order, again, Bowser has been doing business that way for five decades.

Sheldon,

I stopped by my LHS last week and they do not deal directly with Bowser; only through a distributor.  I may opt to go that route though since he can get the parts and that saves me S&H.  It also helps the LHS out - albeit in a small way.

Tom

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, October 09, 2018 7:11 PM

tstage

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
I would be surprised if your LHS does not deal directly with Bowser. They can likely pick up the phone and place an order, again, Bowser has been doing business that way for five decades.

 

Sheldon,

I stopped by my LHS last week and they do not deal directly with Bowser; only through a distributor.  I may opt to go that route though since he can get the parts and that saves me S&H.  It also helps the LHS out - albeit in a small way.

Tom

 

Did they give any reason for not dealing directly with Bowser? Last I knew, Bowser will deal direct with shops of any size and does not have minimum orders or other such requirements. But I suspect there is a minimum order regarding reduced or no shipping costs.

My local guy, who is VERY small, deals direct with Bowser, Intermountain, MTH and others. 

Anyone with a hobby shop today who has locked themselves into just buying from a few distributors is foolish, and likely paying too much for some stuff....

Sheldon

    

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Posted by tstage on Tuesday, October 09, 2018 7:40 PM

No, he didn't give a reason, Sheldon.  I know they deal with Walthers and a couple of other distributors.  Business is also pretty sparce so they are looking for a location with less overhead.

Tom

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Posted by NeO6874 on Tuesday, October 09, 2018 7:41 PM

If it's one of the two I'm thinking about, it's either that they

(a) don't do HO that much

(b) are trying to get out of the biz

-Dan

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Posted by tstage on Tuesday, October 09, 2018 8:19 PM

Wow! - Long time no hear, Dan. Surprise

It's the LHS in Willoughby.  Rob still has plenty of HO stock - particularly Branchline, Proto 2000, and Accurail kits.  I try to help him as much as I can with newer Accurail offerings and supplies.

Tom

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Posted by NeO6874 on Tuesday, October 09, 2018 8:27 PM

Definitely not the two I was thinking of :)

-Dan

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