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1st Place Hobbies

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1st Place Hobbies
Posted by Brasada lumber on Friday, June 05, 2009 1:33 PM

Hello

I have an order pending with 1st Place Hobbies. The order number is 208669.  I have been calling because they claimed the order was shipped last week. I have not received the order.  The last few days I have tried to call and no one answers.

I am not able to leave a message on the phone..  This is strange.  In the past, I could always leave a message  and they would return calls. I have done business in the past and there has never been a problem.

Does anyone know what is happening at 1st Place Hobbies?  

There phone number is 1-888-750-7256

Thanks for any help you can provide. 

       Timothy

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  • From: Bedford, MA, USA
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Posted by MisterBeasley on Friday, June 05, 2009 1:54 PM

What kind of shipping was it?  If you just paid the cheapest ground rate, as most of us do, then it's probably still en route.  UPS, as I recall, says 7 business days.  I'm not sure if USPS will even make such a claim.

Do you have a tracking number?  If your order was shipped UPS, many companies will provide a tracking number if you get the status of the order from a web site.  You can use that to find out where the package is and when it's expected to be delivered.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by forward on Monday, June 06, 2011 6:10 PM

I've had exactly the same bad experience with 1st Place Hobbies. They billed my credit card account well over a year ago for an order that never shipped. They do not reply to emails, do not answer phone or messages.

I cannot recommend 1stplacehobbies.com and will continue to complain about bad business practices, no response to why my account was billed but no order ever shipped.

Sorry to hear you had the same bad experience.

 

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Posted by jrbernier on Tuesday, June 07, 2011 9:54 AM

Tim, 

Strange - I have never had an issue with 1st Place Hobbies.    Usually USPS ground is 7 business days, and UPS Ground is 5 business days.

  I just checked my TRAINS folder - I see that I ordered something from them on May 5th, and got a Order Confirmation that day.  On May 9th, I got an Order Status with tracking information.  The materials arrived about 10 days later.  I think you are not waiting long enough for shipping.  They do seem to have order processing/shipping days  and your order may wait a while before it ships - note the 4 day 'lag' on my order.

Jim

Modeling BNSF  and Milwaukee Road in SW Wisconsin

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  • From: East Haddam, CT
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Posted by CTValleyRR on Tuesday, June 07, 2011 8:44 PM

forward

I've had exactly the same bad experience with 1st Place Hobbies. They billed my credit card account well over a year ago for an order that never shipped. They do not reply to emails, do not answer phone or messages.

I cannot recommend 1stplacehobbies.com and will continue to complain about bad business practices, no response to why my account was billed but no order ever shipped.

Sorry to hear you had the same bad experience.

 

Did you complain to your credit card company?  And did they actually BILL your account, or just place a "hold" on the funds (shows as a pending order, but clears automatically after a couple of days if the merchant's invoice doesn's show up at the bank).  The hold is usually placed at the time of sale, to ensure you actually have funds available on the card.

Actually billing before they ship is illegal.  Even if they did ship it, things occasionally do go astray (or even get stolen) in shipments.

Connecticut Valley Railroad A Branch of the New York, New Haven, and Hartford

"If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right." -- Henry Ford

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Posted by tin can on Wednesday, June 08, 2011 9:58 AM

Never had an issue with 1st Place Hobbies, and they are my preferred online hobby shop.

As previous posters have stated, ground shipping via UPS or USPS takes time.  Their shop is located in Indiana; the last order I received took a full week to get to College Station, TX.

Their website says that they answer the phone from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm EST; which can make a difference if you are in a western time zone.

If you are actually charged for an item that you do not receive, you have rights and remedies through your credit card company.  Talk to them.  Trust me, a merchant does not want to hear from a credit card processor that a chargeback is pending.

Remember the tin can; the MKT's central Texas branch...
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Posted by pastorbob on Wednesday, June 08, 2011 3:53 PM

As I have posted previously, I have used 1st Place for some time with no problems.  The hit on the credit card is just for verification and goes away after a couple of days.  They have done this for some time back now.  When the item is actually shipped then I get the charge.  I do not consider this billing ahead, just verification, and I can name several other companies, not model railroad companies who do same.  I also have emailed them and received responses, never phone, don't like to talk on the phone if I can help it because of some hearing issues.

I have an order standing with them right now and I am not concerned.

Bob

Bob Miller http://www.atsfmodelrailroads.com/
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Posted by wetidlerjr on Wednesday, June 08, 2011 5:26 PM

I have done business with them in the past, several times, with no problems. Shipping was quick but I am only 65 miles away. They are in Bluffton IN just south of Ft. Wayne. maybe you could find someone nearby to go check for you.

Bill Tidler Jr.

I was born in Ohio but I moved to Indiana as soon as I heard about it.

~Herb Shriner

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Posted by PRR_in_AZ on Wednesday, June 08, 2011 5:51 PM

You do have a lot of power with a merchant if you pay with a CC and they screw you over.  Not saying this is the case in your particular instance.  Direct TV tried to toy with me and illegally charged my debit card.  Wells Fargo is much bigger than Direct TV and they (DTV) didn't win the dispute.

Chris

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Posted by forward on Thursday, July 28, 2011 6:32 PM

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) cannot get a response from 1st Place Hobbies. 1st Place Hobbies billed my credit card first and 1st Place Hobbies did not ship my order and 1st Place Hobbies does not respond to emails, phone calls or letters.

  • Member since
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  • From: East Haddam, CT
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Posted by CTValleyRR on Thursday, July 28, 2011 8:38 PM

forward

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) cannot get a response from 1st Place Hobbies. 1st Place Hobbies billed my credit card first and 1st Place Hobbies did not ship my order and 1st Place Hobbies does not respond to emails, phone calls or letters.

While a business with poor customer service does not deserve repeat business, I can't escape the feeling that people are making unsupported aspersions against this company.  I have no first hand knowledge of any of these cases, and know only what I've found here and on the BBB web site, plus my own knowledge of the banking industry.

First and foremost:  I can't stress this enough.  Charging your credit card and not shipping you something is ILLEGAL.  That means against the law.  That means people pay fines or go to jail.  That means that business owners, even lousy ones, generally don't do it.  But again, I stress, everyone needs to understand how a credit card works.  When you give a merchant your card, and he swipes it on his reader, that does NOT generate an actual charge to your account.  What it does is create a "hold" or a "freeze" on funds, to protect the merchant in case you intend to run up a whole bunch of charges and skip town.  The hold shows up on your statement, and may LOOK like a charge, but if your bank doesn't receive the actual sales document from the merchant's bank within a reasonable time (varies by bank, but 4 business days is common), then it clears automatically and frees up the funds.  If I look at my account on line, transactions in this status are marked "PreAuth"; when the charge actually hits, it gets a 15 digit transaction number instead.  If you EVER have someone charge your card and not send you something, call your credit card company and report it.  You are liable for a maximum of $50 of fraudulent transactions, but most banks will give you a full refund if you report the fraud within one billing cycle.  If, as alleged by at least two people on this thread, First Place Hobbies has a history of illegal activity, then I'm surprised he is still in business.  One big bank chasing a fraudulent charge would be enough to shut him down.

So, having got that out of the way, I'm confused about your assertion about the BBB.  Did you call them and discuss 1st Place Hobbies with them?  Because their web site sure doesn't show any such thing.   It does, however, show this:

Type of Entity

Sole Proprietor

Contact Information

Primary Contact: Mr. Joseph Liekner (Owner)

Number of Employees

3

Is it possible that Mr. Liekner decided to have a vacation and closed his shop for a couple weeks?  A lot of small business owners do just that, and this guy is SMALL.  If you suddenly can't leave a message, it may be that his voice mail is full.

More importantly, though, while the business is rated a D-, the reason for rating it that low is:

Reason for Rating

BBB rating is based on 16 factors. Get the details about the factors considered.

Factors that lowered First Place Hobbies' rating include:

  • Failure to respond to one complaint filed against business.

Factors that raised First Place Hobbies' rating include:

  • Length of time business has been operating.
  • Complaint volume filed with BBB for business of this size.
  • BBB has sufficient background information on this business.

That doesn't sound to me like they can't get in touch with the company... just that 1st Place didn't bother to respond to the ONE complaint submitted in the company's entire ten years in business (and not responding to the BBB isn't illegal).

And one final note:  what is the tone of your communications with the company?  Are you starting out polite and friendly?  If not, you may have discovered the reason for the unresponsiveness.  No one likes to be called a scumbag (even scumbags bristle at the term).  You will catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Connecticut Valley Railroad A Branch of the New York, New Haven, and Hartford

"If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right." -- Henry Ford

  • Member since
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  • From: East Haddam, CT
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Posted by CTValleyRR on Thursday, July 28, 2011 8:44 PM

And some additional information.  I find, upon further review, that the SOLE complaint ever filed against the company was filed on 7/6/11.  Personally, I can think of twenty or so perfectly legitimate possible explanations for this issue.

Just hypothetically, the LHS owned by the nice but overworked old man is doing a land-office business.  The owner is taken ill.  What happens to the business?  What happens to the orders in the back room?

Food for thought.

Connecticut Valley Railroad A Branch of the New York, New Haven, and Hartford

"If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right." -- Henry Ford

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Posted by Lee 1234 on Thursday, July 28, 2011 9:18 PM

I just received an order from them.  Ordered Thursday arrived Wednesday. It came USPS.  I also got a sale email from them on Wednesday.  They do have limited hours, Mon-Fri. 10:00am to 5:00pm .  The phone is  1-888-750-7256 .  There also is the phone number 260 827-0765 on the invoice.  Check for a little sticky from your mailman.  Call your postoffice.

L
  • Member since
    June, 2008
  • 209 posts
Posted by tin can on Friday, July 29, 2011 10:34 AM

forward

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) cannot get a response from 1st Place Hobbies. 1st Place Hobbies billed my credit card first and 1st Place Hobbies did not ship my order and 1st Place Hobbies does not respond to emails, phone calls or letters.

You are asserting that 1st Place Hobbies billed your credit card.  Was a charge placed on your statement? Did you have to pay for it? If that is the case, then you have an issue with 1st Place Hobbies, if they did not ship your merchandise. 

Your remedy is not with the Better Business Bureau.  Your remedy is with your credit card provider.  They can process a chargeback that will get all of your money back.  Although after a year, I doubt that you have much of a claim, because there is a time limit on when you can request a chargeback. 

I too have an order pending with 1st Place Hobbies; I am taking advantage of their Summer Sale and obtaining some replacement axles for several Proto Geeps.

 

Remember the tin can; the MKT's central Texas branch...
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Posted by tin can on Friday, August 05, 2011 7:58 AM

Order received yesterday, everything as it should be.  Well packed.

I will use them again.

Remember the tin can; the MKT's central Texas branch...
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  • From: Olympia, WA
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Posted by gear-jammer on Friday, August 19, 2011 7:15 PM

I have had good experiences with 1st place hobbies.  I have used them in the past & will use them again.  They have a shorter window when they answer the phone, but I have always been able to reach them.

Sue

Anything is possible if you do not know what you are talking about.

  • Member since
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  • From: East Haddam, CT
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Posted by CTValleyRR on Saturday, August 20, 2011 9:36 AM

At this point, I would be interested to hear from the OP.

Did the order ever show up?  When all was said and done, was anything wrong other than the speed of the order?

It sounds like this was a fluke -- but having cast aspersions on a (most likely) hard-working business owner, the record shoudl be set straight.  Of course, this may require a little "manning up" (sorry, Sue) and admitting to being mistaken or hasty in our judgements, but we can all do that, right?

 

Connecticut Valley Railroad A Branch of the New York, New Haven, and Hartford

"If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right." -- Henry Ford

  • Member since
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  • From: Union, KY
  • 86 posts
Posted by Robby on Sunday, August 21, 2011 4:48 PM

I use 1stplacehobbies all the time and that means multiple times per month.  I just ordered 100 sections of midwest cork from them last Monday before I had to travel to Mexico and it was on the doorstep when I got home Friday night.  Been laying track all weekend.

However, when you order, there are checkboxes you must use that determines when you get your order. 

If you check the one marked hold order until all backorders are on hand, you could be waiting some time for your items to arrive as they are dependent on their suppliers.

I always check the box to cancel anything on backorder and ship the on-hand items immediately. 

 

You can also have them ship the backordered items in a separate shipment when they arrive but you'll get hit with the $8 shipping charge again.  If that happens to be a $0.99 detail part, you end up paying almost $10 for it.

Robby

 

 

 

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Posted by upbn2 on Sunday, August 21, 2011 8:43 PM

Most of what i have ordered lately has been through them. Talk 2 joe the the owner monday thru saturday usually from about 9:00am 2 about 4:30pm as they close at 5:00pm.they are still open 4 business

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Posted by CTValleyRR on Monday, August 22, 2011 9:17 AM

Again, more endorsements for the company.  Where is the OP?  Did he really have an issue, or did he just go off half cocked and now can't admit it?

Connecticut Valley Railroad A Branch of the New York, New Haven, and Hartford

"If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right." -- Henry Ford

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Posted by Avoght on Sunday, December 18, 2011 6:16 PM

I haven't dealt with 1st place yet, but already had plans to pay them a visit this week.  I'm only a few miles from them.  If anyone has anything specific they would like info on about them let me know.

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Posted by Heritagefleet1 on Monday, December 19, 2011 6:03 PM

I just called their number and got their 'after-hours' recording that prompted me to leave a voicemail. I'd try reaching them tomorrow during business hours. Another thing to remember is that its Christmas and mail is being hamered by weather, and overflow of Rush holiday packages... I'd give it a few more days - it'll probably show up.

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, December 19, 2011 6:17 PM

What an unfortunate thread.

The OP questions the vendor, but never again responds to the thread that he started.

Rich

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Posted by cmrproducts on Monday, December 19, 2011 6:34 PM

Seeing as how old this thread was (2009) I believe it was a unique way to get a LOT of FREE advertising !

And you all played right into keeping the thread going! ;-)

Good JOB !

Maybe others will catch on to this method of getting FREE advertising from satisfied users and getting around the RULES!

BOB H - Clarion, PA

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Posted by richhotrain on Monday, December 19, 2011 8:34 PM

Bob,

Get real !

Do you really think that this type of "free advertising" is helpful to 1st Place Hobbies?

Reviving a two year old thread that questions its integrity?

If 1st Place Hobbies wanted a  shill to promote its name, it would have commissioned a fake thread that praised its customer service to the heavens!

Rich

  • Member since
    May, 2007
  • From: East Haddam, CT
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Posted by CTValleyRR on Monday, December 19, 2011 8:35 PM

cmrproducts

Seeing as how old this thread was (2009) I believe it was a unique way to get a LOT of FREE advertising !

And you all played right into keeping the thread going! ;-)

Good JOB !

Maybe others will catch on to this method of getting FREE advertising from satisfied users and getting around the RULES!

BOB H - Clarion, PA

Maybe, and maybe not.  Do you know for sure that the owner of 1st Place Hobbies is the OP, or are you just casting aspersions yourself?

The fact that the thread was resurrected twice by users who appear to be unrelated to the OP also makes this unlikely.

Besides, I don't think gaining endorsements from satisfied users is a violation of the TOS.  It happens all the time, asking others to evaluate products and services.  MB Klein and MIenne Benchwork have both been discussed on these forums within the last month.

In any event, I've repeatedly said that I haven't ordered from the company in question.  My sole intent in posting to this thread is to make sure that people are sticking to the facts, and not misinterpreting actions (the "charging" of a credit card) or ascribing powers to the BBB that it doesn't actually have.

Connecticut Valley Railroad A Branch of the New York, New Haven, and Hartford

"If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right." -- Henry Ford

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Posted by maxman on Monday, December 19, 2011 9:20 PM

richhotrain

What an unfortunate thread.

The OP questions the vendor, but never again responds to the thread that he started.

This thread was started about 2-1/2 years ago.  It appears that the OP has about 13 total posts.  It also appears that there have only been two this year, one in January and one in April.  Based on this activity level, it is my belief that it would be very doubtful if he would revisit this particular subject.

My suggestion would be that if anyone really has a burning desire to find out if he ever got his order,  or would wish to chastise him for not following through on his post, maybe they could use the start a conversation function and contact him directly.  Otherwise I believe that the horse has already succumbed to the beating.

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Posted by pturvill on Monday, March 12, 2012 2:10 PM

Old thread or not, 1st Place Hobbies seems to have vanished in about mid-December 2011. Their Web site is gone, and their last Facebook post was 12/11/2011. Nobody seems to be able to get to them by phone, email or Web.

Has anyone heard from them in the past three months?

Paul Turvill AT&GRR (HO) Digitrax DCC / RR&Co.
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  • From: Fruita, CO
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Posted by slammin on Monday, March 12, 2012 2:26 PM

Its been several years since I ordered from them. I tried their listed "non toll free" number, 260-824-5509 and it just rings, unanswered. Their status has been the topic of discussion on many other forums, with no positive answers. 

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Posted by Avoght on Tuesday, March 13, 2012 5:28 AM

I was in their store mid to late December, there was no signs of any issues at that time.  I was by there a couple weeks ago and from the exterior looked the same as normal.  If I get to town this week, I'll stop by to check out the situation.

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