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Subject: Troll and Toad - Experiences after 5 orders rss

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Michael Futter
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For the holidays this year, I received Arkham Horror and some cash. I decided that I was having so much fun with AH, that I would dive in head first and purchase all of the expansions.

I did some research on price and availability, and found that Troll and Toad had all of the items in stock (including a couple of other things I wanted to grab) for the right price.

I've ordered from them in the past and have been generally happy with price, ship speed, and customer service.

One order I did place for a bunch of Heroclix figures did net an incorrect figure being sent (in place of one I wanted) and a figure that was listed as mint that had most of the writing on the base worn off. These were fairly inexpensive items and T&T replaced them without hesitation.

The order I just placed came out to a hair over $180 before shipping. Each of the items that I ordered were in stock in great enough quantities that I wasn't getting the last one (or even one of the last two).

Most of the items were in mint/sealed shape, as they should have been per the listings on the T&T website. Two were not. The Kingsport Horror expansion has minor damage to the bottom of the box, as if it had been pressed on from the center of the bottom. There are creases radiating inward from all four corners. No big deal.

The Innsmouth Horror expansion, though, was absolutely not in mint condition.





When I placed my order, there were 7 in stock. I didn't remove the shrink wrap, but I can see into the box and I think there might even be internal damage... hard to tell without opening the box.

I can't help but feel insulted that I placed a fairly substantial order and that they couldn't include a mint copy, as promised on their site. Or, if they were all this bad, that they should have been listed as ding/dent and discounted accordingly.

I emailed them as soon as I opened the box and saw the damage (which was not caused by UPS or poor packaging, I'm swimming in those air padders and the outer box is perfectly fine). I'm waiting to hear back, but short of an overnight replacement and their payment of return shipping on the damaged one, I'm not sure I'm comfortable shopping there again.

Am I overreacting? Is this something they do? I'd love to hear from others that have shopped with them in the past. They got my business over Thoughthammer and a couple of other sites and I don't know if they should have.

Thanks in advance.
 
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Unfortunately, shit happens, especially when it comes to shipping. I've seen footage and heard people talk of nightmare experiences with how packages are handled by UPS/FedEx/USPS, and while I'm sure that's the exception, not the rule, it looks like you lost the bet this time around. The best way to judge the retailer is by how they handle the incident, and you've at least started the exchange.

PaladinXII wrote:
I'm waiting to hear back, but short of an overnight replacement and their payment of return shipping on the damaged one, I'm not sure I'm comfortable shopping there again.

Asking for overnight replacement seems like a steep order. If they send you a replacement, and pay to have the damaged one shipped back to you, then they've done their part. Is there a particular reason why you need it RIGHT NOW?

Quote:
Am I overreacting?

Since you asked, I'll say yes. Like I said, this stuff happens (I've only had a handful of items damaged in shipment -- I can think of three right off the top of my head, and I'm sure there were more -- out of literally hundreds), and besides, the damage to the box isn't terrible. Had it been me, I would have opened the box, checked that all the inside stuff was OK, and it it were, I would keep it and let T&T know that it was damaged in transit, but only to the box. Usually, just letting them know that something has happened, even without asking for something in return, will spur the retailer to offer something in compensation. At least, that's been my experience, and though I've only ordered one thing from T&T, which went well, I understand that (despite their crazy-high prices on rare items) their customer service is very good.

Take that for what you will.
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Michael Futter
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Thank you for your reply.

I was hoping to play this on New Year's Eve with friends. Sure, I can go without it, but I ordered this on the 22nd to make sure it would be here.

I do want to point out that there is no way that this happened in transit.

The shipping box was perfectly intact and the item was between two other items and tons of padding. This was packaged this way at T&T.
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Fair enough. I do think, though, that expecting them to ship you a replacement overnight is expecting too much. Who knows, though? You just might get it.
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Michael Futter
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It probably is expecting too much and, admittedly, I was pretty ticked when I wrote the post.

I think what really set me off is that the box was packed really, really well. Clearly, someone took the time to make sure that nothing was going to happen to the items inside. There were tons of air padders around the perimeter of the box and in between items. There was little to no jostling that could have been done.

I think it's the contrast between that care and, what appears to be, a deliberate attempt to sell a damaged product as mint that had me so peeved. I don't see how the original shrink wrap could have been intact with the type of damage. It's not just bending, the box is ripped through and you can see into the box through the hole. This leads me to believe that the box was re-wrapped. Maybe that means that they identified the damage, opened the box, and the contents are fine so they re-wrapped it. Still shouldn't have been sold as mint, but at least the components are ok. Unfortunately, given the return/damage policy, until I hear from them, I'm uncomfortable opening the box.

All of that said, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe some non-euclidian geometry of the box and the UPS truck conspired to pierce the fantastic packing to damage one item without disturbing the shrink wrap.

Accidents happen, certainly. This just doesn't feel like an accident to me.

Thank you, though, for helping me adjust my expectations (and to those that read your reply and recommended it). Either T&T will make it right or they won't. Either way, I'll be sure to post the results here. I'm not one to vent without follow up, especially when the business on the other end makes good.
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Karl M
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It can't hurt to ask them to do that but I think if they don't you really can't blame them. This is one of the differences between brick and mortar stores and online. My FLGS knows me by sight now and know that I matter to them and their bottom line. Troll and Toad? Not so much. I have ordered once from them for an OOP game and the experience was great. But if I buy locally and there is a problem, it's less than a gallon of gas and my time to let them make it right and the game is in hand and ready to play that night. Not so with a retailer many states away. And I understand your sentiment that you spent a large sum of money with them and that they should take extra care with your order, but the reality of the situation is whoever packed your order is likely some hourly wage slave who doesn't even like games and who may not even understand that a gamer wouldn't want a game box that is all banged up.
Edit- your most recent post showed up while typing mine. It would be great to hear how they respond to this problem.
 
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Malachi Brown
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For what it's worth, I have had game box damage without any packing box damage before due to differently sized or misaligned game boxes and either being dropped or being compressed. Both of those types of mishandling will not always cause external damage to the packing box, but can cause damage to the packed contents as they collide with or compress each other.

I'm not saying you are wrong, I just wanted to point out that it is possible to have a pristine looking outer box with careful packing and still end up with damaged goods.

Your haste to jump to the conclusion that they are acting in bad faith may actually make it harder for you to work with them to resolve the situation to your satisfaction.

Also, while I understand your ire at receiving games in damaged boxes, the fact that you keep saying that they aren't "mint" is curious to me, since you say your intent was to play the game this week. As soon as you do that they won't be mint anymore either.
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Michael Roop
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I think you are on the right track. You have taken pictures of the items that
were damaged (I assume you have the indented one photo'd also). You have notified
T&T of the damage and the state that it was shipped in. I understand your grief
also when you want to play that new game that you just bought.

HOWEVER, 2 things stand out to me. If I were you, I would not unwrap/play the
games until this is resolved either, I think you have done the right thing here.

2nd of all (I know this will be hard to swallow) you ordered a game that you wanted
to play during Xmas break. You waited until near Xmas break to order this item.

You have to understand that %^&* happens, especially near big holidays. You
should have ordered earlier to make sure no problems arose from this.
Like they used to say, never buy a automobile that was made on a Friday or holiday.
The workers are just to set on getting out of work and cashing their paycheck, and most errors occur then (holidays also).
Lastly, you cannot expect them to be in office during big holiday breaks. Lots
of companies much bigger than T&T take the last week or so of Dec. off.

Good luck with this, I'm sure T&T will make this all good.
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Rick Vinyard
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PaladinXII wrote:
I don't see how the original shrink wrap could have been intact with the type of damage. It's not just bending, the box is ripped through and you can see into the box through the hole. This leads me to believe that the box was re-wrapped. Maybe that means that they identified the damage, opened the box, and the contents are fine so they re-wrapped it.


It's also very possible that it happened at the factory prior to shrinkwrapping.

I received a copy of Goldbrau that appeared to be in the original shrinkwrap yet had scrapes across the back. Funagain missed it, and I almost missed it. I have to say their customer service was top notch. They made it right and that's all you can ask for.

The damage is most evident in the first picture, and you can see that the shrinkwrap is intact and undamaged in the second.



 
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Booker Hooker
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I hate it when I receive a new game box and it is damaged. In reality, it isn't a huge deal... I just like keeping my games in nice condition, and when they show up allready borked I feel gypped.
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Michael Futter
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Malachi wrote:
I'm not saying you are wrong, I just wanted to point out that it is possible to have a pristine looking outer box with careful packing and still end up with damaged goods.


I hadn't considered that and, though I find it unlikely, I will certainly keep it in mind in my dealings with T&T. I think part of what is coloring my impression of the situation is that this isn't the first time they sent me something graded as "mint" that clearly wasn't. It's harder to swallow the second time.

Malachi wrote:
Your haste to jump to the conclusion that they are acting in bad faith may actually make it harder for you to work with them to resolve the situation to your satisfaction.


As ticked as I might be, I'm usually pretty good about giving someone a chance to fix the mistake. Despite my venting, my purpose in posting about this was to find out if others had similar experiences with T&T. It seems that those that have had damaged goods from them had their matters resolved. Though, it doesn't seem like that many people use them compared to other sites... am I reading that incorrectly?

Malachi wrote:
Also, while I understand your ire at receiving games in damaged boxes, the fact that you keep saying that they aren't "mint" is curious to me, since you say your intent was to play the game this week. As soon as you do that they won't be mint anymore either.


My point was more that if something is listed on a site as "mint" the box shouldn't be mangled. I use the original boxes to store my games and I would prefer that the components remain protected. This box has a hole in it and I paid for something that was intact regardless of my intent to open it.



ReignsEternal wrote:
2nd of all (I know this will be hard to swallow) you ordered a game that you wanted to play during Xmas break. You waited until near Xmas break to order this item.


It's not hard to swallow. You're correct. I was going out of town and wanted to time the order for arrival shortly after my return home. To their credit, T&T shipped the package the same day I ordered it. It could be that someone grabbed this one without looking closely since they were trying to get their orders out before the holidays.


rvinyard wrote:
It's also very possible that it happened at the factory prior to shrinkwrapping.


Understood. I made the erroneous assumption that a retailer wouldn't want to try to sell a damaged product at full price. Thoughthammer, for instance, has a Ding & Dent section (which also includes verification that all components are undamaged). T&T has different grading for their products and this should have been downgraded and discounted.

The silly thing is, I may have wanted to save a few bucks on a ding/dent with this order and, had it been listed/priced as such with the guarantee about the components, I would be perfectly fine.


Thank you all for taking the time to respond and for gently letting me know that I might be overreacting. It's nice to not be flamed when expectations need to be moderated.

I hope I'll hear from them this morning. I'll post a follow up.
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Kelsey Rinella
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One more example of why the BGG users rock. A user comes feeling emotional, and is offered reasonable explanations, some validation/commiseration, and the information he was looking for. I love it here.
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Michael Futter
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Quick update:

I did hear back from T&T. They are sending me a FedEx call tag for return shipment of both damaged items. I did let them know that one of the items was certainly passable and repeated that I would not have even mentioned it if the other wasn't so mangled.

I'm waiting to hear back on questions related to how the tag is being delivered (not sure if it's email like UPS RMA tags or if it's actually a label being sent by mail/FedEx); the ship speed back to them; and the ship speed on the items back to me. They did not offer to release the replacements before receiving my return, nor did I expect they would, but it looks like it's going to be at least a week or more before I have my replacements.

Not ideal, but about what one would expect from any reasonable retailer. This solution about meets my expectations, but doesn't exceed them and doesn't change the fact that they shipped me a damaged item that was listed as mint. I'm not sure if I'll purchase from them again as this is the second time this issue has come up.

Now... if they come back and say that the shipping on the return and replacement is 2-day or overnight, that would exceed my expectations.

Either way, I'll close the loop here. Thank you, again.
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Michael Futter
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OK... one last reply to close this out.

I called and actually spoke with Heather, the customer service rep that emailed me back this morning.

She was extremely nice and I feel much better after getting off the phone. Here's why:

The FedEx call tag was mailed out today. Assuming that USPS has its stuff together, I should have it by Monday from KY to NJ. FedEx return shipping will be no more than three days from NJ to KY. I was first told that once the items are received and logged, the replacements would go out UPS Ground.

This put my replacements at about 2 weeks out from today and 3+ weeks from original order, and when she realized that, she offered to ship the replacements to me overnight (upon receipt of the return package).

My guess would be that it still could be as late as Monday the 11th, but there is a chance that if timing works out, I might have the items on the 7th or 8th.

At this point, I'm quite pleased at how they are addressing this issue and, while it certainly isn't the most ideal situation overall, the customer service department is working their butts off to fix the shipping department's screw up.

It's situations like this that earn repeat business.

While I don't know for sure, I imagine that they would have been open to a conversation about a discount or credit instead of the swap if I were so inclined.

Thank you, again, to those that read and responded to this post, especially for handling my venting in an evenhanded fashion.

I'll echo Kelsey, I love it here.
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