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I recently bought a copy of World's Fair 1893 from Amazon. It was missing a small assortment of the wooden pieces. I've been having problems with unintelligible Amazon customer service responses recently (no, I do not feel like a $5 Prime Pantry credit solved my issue, but thanks for trying) so I thought I'd try contacting the publisher directly instead.

The publisher,
Randy Hoyt
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replied quickly and professionally and offered to send the missing parts out right away.

In hundreds of game purchases I've been lucky enough that the issue of damaged and/or missing components has only come up a handful of times. Some companies (Foxtrot, Upper Deck) have provided prompt and pleasant service, while others (Fantasy Flight/Asmodee) have been slow and taken several tries. So far no one has flat-out ignored a request, but I've seen reports of it.

My question for any game publishers who post here:

Do you prefer that customers with missing and/or damaged pieces:

- Return the whole game to get a replacement (when possible) from wherever they purchased it
or
- Request a small amount of replacement parts from you directly?

Why do you have that preference?


My gut tells me the latter is preferable because you're only out a few pieces as opposed to a whole game but what do I know about board game customer service.

Apologies if this has been asked before - I searched and didn't see anything similar posted.
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Reuben Lam
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Well *I* would rather just get the parts sent to me. Most likely the customer will have to foot the Mail bill to send the defect back, just to get a replacement meeple or card.

I can take a picture of the contents or the offending part with a sales slip/invoice as proof and submit as part of the email without cost.

A company asking to send back a game on my dime is just more insult to injury.
 
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Tom Powers
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Seems pretty obvious that the best deal for everyone is to just send the parts. Otherwise you're paying more for shipping (both ways), and you still end up with the same partial game back at the publisher, and the complete game with the customer.

Tom
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Jeff Michaud
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why in the world would any publisher (or do you mean retailer since you posted this in discussing retailers?) want to have to pay double shipping on a whole game vs. just pay usually a lot less and only once to ship replacement parts?

imho ymmv
 
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mregamr wrote:
Seems pretty obvious that the best deal for everyone is to just send the parts. Otherwise you're paying more for shipping (both ways), and you still end up with the same partial game back at the publisher, and the complete game with the customer.

Tom


This is where I stopped trying to guess as a consumer. There are things that seem obvious that turn out not to be. It's been a while since I worked with retail distribution but I know that different distributors/channels/methods may have built-in reasons to make one option more economical for the publisher because of the expectation that there will be defects at some point. For example, maybe Foxtrot sold 200 copies of World's Fair to Amazon directly and part of their contract allowed for a 10% failure rate (I'm totally making this up). As long as returns for defective products are below that threshold, Foxtrot gets paid either way. In that case, it's better for them financially to tell me to just return the game to Amazon. From a customer service standpoint though it puts you closer to your customers to replace parts directly at a minimal cost.

I definitely know what I prefer as a consumer but I'm hoping some publishers will chime in about what they prefer and why.

*edit* To jeffyjeff's question about forum, there is no "Discussing Publishers" forum that I could find and there are numerous threads about publishers in this one so it seemed like the only option since posting anywhere else is met with responses of "this belongs in Discussing Retailers". So my mileage may vary, but this forum seemed to get me the best mileage. We'll see how far I actually get though if no publishers actually respond.
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Paul Nowak
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I had one return with Uncle Chestnut's Table Gype through Amazon. If I recall, I was charged shipping for the item (in addition to what I had to pay to ship the games to Amazon). It was missing about half the pieces, which I am certain was "damage" from Amazon handling.

I used Amazon's fulfillment service, so there was no failure rate threshold.

I would have much preferred to send out replacement pieces to the buyer. It's an opportunity to have personal contact with the player, and costs less in shipping in just about every case.
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