Tuesday 22 December 2009

Customer Service - How not to do it by MINIATURE HEROES

I've just had my wife in tears through frustration because she'd been trying to buy my surprise Christmas present for the past week and has finally given up.

She's not a gamer and does little more than ooh if I ask her what she thinks of this figure or that paint job. However, because she is a wonderful woman, she'd sneakily gone out of her way to find out what figures I needed to complete one of my armies and had discovered a UK distributor offering a 20% Christmas discount.

I still don't know precisely what she'd tried to buy, as she’s upset enough that her plans have fallen through, and the point was she had wanted it to be a surprise!

That’s always the best sort of present isn’t it? Unwrapping something and immediately knowing that the giver has spent their time to get something YOU want even though they know nothing about the subject matter.

Who has got her this frustrated and upset by the way they treat their customers?


That's who.

About 10 days ago my wife ordered on-line and received a confirmation email for the transaction, only then to get a refund notice with NO reason given.

Absolutely NO COMMENT... no apology, no explanation, no offer to fix the problem.



This has happened with both paypal and credit card orders. The website said they had stock and the check out process worked fine.

Despite contacting them directly via their web form on THREE occasions, NO reply has been forthcoming. There is no direct email address listed on their website. (Which I believe is a legal requirement in the UK by the way) and I've only just found their phone number buried at the bottom of their terms of use pages accessed from a tiny link.

Having looked on the website since she says that they now have no stock showing! So I'm guessing that their stock control is poor to non-existent and not reflected accurately on their website and that despite offering a sale they actually had very little stock at these prices.

I can only assume that this company had no intent of honouring orders placed during their sale at their sale prices once their very limited stock had been exhausted. Particularly galling as their Christmas sale was advertised on sites such as TMP.

All I can suggest is AVOID Miniature Heroes at http://www.miniature-heroes.co.uk/

Thanks to them my wife is upset that it looks like I wont have her surprise present to open on Christmas day, and she had been so pleased with herself, and they dont care enough to actually respond to her messages.

Is this rant a reasonable and balanced response to a company has had a problem with an order? After all it’s not as though we lost any money, refunds were given and we are not out of pocket?

Maybe it isn't.

But I would argue that there is no other recourse available to us from a company that doesn’t fulfil orders made with to it in good faith, provides no explanation for cancelled orders, does not respond to queries sent to them via the web form it promotes for communications!

Clearly communicating with its customers is not important to this company. So I have taken the step of communicating publicly here – I don’t think there is anything else left open to me. Besides if their customer service is this bad I'd rather conduct this conversation in a more public forum where other potential customers of theirs can see how the company responds.

So, TIM FITCH of MINIATURE HEROES. If you want to try and rectify this situation you can try filling the order you were sent in good faith, or responding to my wife’s messages or at the very least if you give a damn about customer satisfaction at all, leave comments here.

I’ll happily repost here any positive steps you want to take to rectify the situation.

EDIT: 22/12/2009 2149 GMT - Following the comments to this post I have changed the setting on my blog to not allow anonymous posters. Not for any clandestine reasons - just I'd rather know who I is posting and who I am responding to.


  1. Not available elsewhere?

    If you got an immediate repayment, what is the rant about?

    Are you sure the payment didn't just "bounce back"?

  2. In the T&C's it says

    Occasionally, orders or parts of an order are cancelled by my system for various reasons. Some reasons are:
    • Item(s) not available.
    • Difficulty in processing payment information.
    • Cannot ship to address provided.
    • Duplicate order was placed.
    • Cancelled due to a customer request.
    If your order is cancelled, you will receive an email to explain the reason for the cancellation. You original payment method will refunded for the appropriate amount. If you wish to change or cancel your order prior to dispatch please email me on info@miniature-heroes.co.uk with your order number. Please note as I generally dispatch orders within 3-5 working days, it may not be possible to cancel prior to dispatch. In this instance you would have to return your order once received in accordance with my policy.

  3. You DID get a refund though - right?

    I understand the frustration but you really don’t KNOW why they gave you a refund and I would agree that they could have responded to your emails but who knows why they gave you a refund. Is it really worth destroying someone rep over this?

    Seems to me that the discount was a large part of this issue, she could have checked another source and maybe told them what happened and they would have extended a discount (a lot of folks are hurting right now and would love to take your money). I would suggest moving on and finding another source for you wants.

    I appreciate your situation and not to be inconsiderate to you or your wife but this seems a bit harsh - again - you got a prompt refund.

  4. I don't think this is too harsh. I understand that if they have limited supplies, they give the refund but it should have included a reason. If she had known several days ago that they were out of stock, she could have purchased the gift else where.

    I am glad the money was refunded. At least they got that part right. It's just too bad your wife was the one that got burned.

  5. >Is it really worth destroying someone rep over this?

    If I posted that I'd want to be anonymous too...

  6. In reply to anonymous' posts - who may be more than one person.

    first anon post - Not available elsewhere in the timeframe available for xmas although i will be ordering elsewhere in future. No the payment didn't bounce it was refunded. The rant is because i think the complete lack of communication and inability to complete the order is not good customer service.

    second anon post - requoting the t&c's from the site doesn't help. payment had been made and then refunded, shipping adress is in the uk and used frequently, no request to cancel was made... but at least TELL us why its cancelled. Even their own t&C's state "If your order is cancelled, you will receive an email to explain the reason for the cancellation" and there has been NO comms. And NO its not in her spam box.
    what was your point in this comment anonymous?

    anon three - yes my wife got a refund - and no i dont think this is harsh. this company didn't care enough to bother to say what the problem was or offer to send the goods when they were aavailable and has ignored attempts by my wife to communicate. If the company in question can't be bothered to explain to a new customer what the problem is then why should i be prepared to give them more money, and i chose to let other people know about the situation as clearly telling the company privately has had no effect. As to destroying someone''s rep over this...well the only rep this company has in my house is one of "not delivering and not caring".

    That's not good service. If you think it is then by all means go ahead and deal with them, I wont be.

    Shelaxie - thanks for your comments.

  7. >If I posted that I'd want to be anonymous too...>

    Ahhh - NO!

    I am merely saying before you start slinging mud make sure it is what it is and don’t assume the worst. Not disputing your case here. JUST BE DAMNED SURE before you take someone down!

    They did not send an email – I would like to know why and suggest to them that it is not good customer service and you may want to reconsider your practice because if you don’t people (like myself will go else where). So yes I do think this is overkill for this situation.

    BTW – Isn’t the Anonymous #2 the company you were dealing with? Maybe you have a chance to dialogue now.

  8. I wouldn't say this is 'taking someone down' but more 'stand up and explain your lack of communication and your lack of explanation'.

    I can understand the rant and saying 'you got a refund' is beside the point...let's face it, if someone nicks your parking space in a carpark, you are narked at them...whether or not you find another place to park.

    If the company isn't replying to e-mails then there is every reason to be anoyed. If there is a good reason then apologies are easy...but not knowing, one way or the other is a pain in the butt. It has also ruined a surprised gift on Christmas with no time to make alternative arrangements...no money can make up for that sentiment.

  9. Perfectly acceptable rant I'd say. Communication with customers is vital for a web based, or focussed, company.

    I work at Wonderland Models and this year we have had 3 times the number of online order we had last year, a workload we were completely unprepared for. Despite receiving between 350 and 400 orders a day we were just able to keep up with processing the orders and responding to customers.

    I run the models department and I was trained how to process orders this Christmas to help. We had one of our mail order guys dedicated to contacting customers and responded to up to 150 e-mails a day!

    Unless Miniature Heroes are having severe staff shortages or catastrophic technical issues I cannot think of a reason for not replying to you or informing you why they cancelled your wife's order with no explanation.

    I hope your wife has not been put off by this as she seems to have put in a lot of effort to get something special for you.