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Subject: Warning on ordering from Boards and Bits, regarding return policy. rss

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Chad Bergeron
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I have a story to share that should serve as a warning about ordering from Boards and Bits.

My mother ordered me a copy of 7 Wonders as a birthday gift. Unbeknownst to her I already had a copy. She placed her order on August 17th, 9 days before my birthday.

It did not ship until August 26th, Nine days after being ordered. It did not arrive until August 30th. She had no choice but to give it to me later than expected. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but see above, where it turned out to be a duplicate gift. She was sad to find this out, but decided she would just send it back, and get a different game.

This is where the problem comes in. See, Boards and Bits has an incredibly broken return policy. You can only return a game if they receive it back 14 days after the order is placed. When they don't ship it until 9 days after the order, and it doesn't arrive until 13 days after the order, there is no way in the world to ship it back to them and have it arrive within 14 days of the order. For all intents and purposes, Boards and Bits has a non-functional return policy.

Compounding matters, my father called to question this, as the game is still in shrinkwrap, and they were going to get another item in its place. Any other retailer on the planet would be happy to take this back with a receipt, knowing that the item was still brand new and that a sale would still be made. On the phone, my father ended up speaking to the owner of Boards and Bits, who categorically refused to do anything to turn this into a positive customer experience. He stuck to his irresponsible return policy and refused to take the game back, or to issue a refund or credit (less shipping costs, which we accept as reasonable). Instead, the owner made the suggestion that try to return the game to another store somewhere and to get a refund from them. Besides this being fraudulent, it's also near impossible.

Needless to say, Boards and Bits has lost customers.

Be very careful ordering online. Check return policies. Question when packages take over a week to ship. Tell your friends, and anyone who gives you games as a gift. I've never wished harder for a FLGS. In all my BGG years I've never been so upset with a member of the community.
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Scott Everts
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Re: Do not order from Boards and Bits, or be very careful doing so.
I've purchase about 75% of my games from B&B and had really good customer service. But I've never attempted to return anything. I agree that this seems wrong. It should be 14 days from shipping, not order.

Thanks for pointing this out. Maybe they'll consider updating their policy.
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Scott Bartel
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Re: Do not order from Boards and Bits, or be very careful doing so.
This doesn't sound like any Boards and Bits experiences I have EVER heard of. B&B is a highly regarded retailer here on BGG. I have heard nothing but great things and have always had excellent service from them, myself.

The owner is an active member here too. I have no doubt he will chime in on this.

Edit: Just looked at their return policy. Here is a quote:

Quote:
Before you send an item back, please contact us to let us know what to expect. If it has been more than 30 days since you paid for the order, you will receive credit in the form of a Gift Certificate.


I find it hard to believe that even this wasn't honored.
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Boards & Bits
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Re: Do not order from Boards and Bits, or be very careful doing so.
[Chiming in]
Chad, I'm not sure exactly what to say.

First of all, my policies are posted on the site for everyone to read before placing an order with us. If they don't agree with the policies, then they shouldn't place an order. If they don't read the policies, how can I be held responsible?

Second, I work with customers all the time and do my best to make them happy. That said, if a customer calls and insults me or yells at me (as the caller did), I'm less inclined to work with them. If he had called and politely asked if there was something that I could do for him, we may have been able to work something out.

Our policies are what they are because there needs to be a deadline as to when items can be returned. Another person asking questions about your order stated that the other items were "Christmas presents" and that they may need to be returned at that time.

The reason it took so long to ship your order was that it contained a pre-order item. If timing was an issue, then ordering only instock items would have allowed the order to ship immediately, and a return wouldn't have been an issue. Assuming of course they didn't try to return something after Christmas!

That's my side of the story, so take from it what you will.
[Chiming out]

Tom
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Boards & Bits
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Re: Do not order from Boards and Bits, or be very careful doing so.
homiefud wrote:
This doesn't sound like any Boards and Bits experiences I have EVER heard of. B&B is a highly regarded retailer here on BGG. I have heard nothing but great things and have always had excellent service from them, myself.

The owner is an active member here too. I have no doubt he will chime in on this.

Edit: Just looked at their return policy. Here is a quote:

Quote:
Before you send an item back, please contact us to let us know what to expect. If it has been more than 30 days since you paid for the order, you will receive credit in the form of a Gift Certificate.


I find it hard to believe that even this wasn't honored.

The relevant part is this:
Quote:
We are happy to take returns of new, unopened merchandise as long as it is received by us within 14 days of purchase.

The part you quoted was for the actual refund.

Tom
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Chad Bergeron
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Re: Do not order from Boards and Bits, or be very careful doing so.
Tom, thank you for the other side of the story. I should have made it clearer in the original post that I only had one side of the story. I regret that this still remains an unfortunate experience, and that I hope you reconsider altering your return policies. What if an item were preordered more than a month before it was available? Would the return option expire before it even hit your warehouse?
 
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Re: Do not order from Boards and Bits, or be very careful doing so.
Tom,

after reading thru your return policy, i dont understand it myself. perhaps you can elaborate on the apparent contradictions of deadlines?

from your website:

"We are happy to take returns of new, unopened merchandise as long as it is received by us within 14 days of purchase......Before you send an item back, please contact us to let us know what to expect. If it has been more than 30 days since you paid for the order, you will receive credit in the form of a Gift Certificate."

http://www.boardsandbits.com/returns.php?osCsid=dkdgnfqovi8k...
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Matt Shinners
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Re: Do not order from Boards and Bits, or be very careful doing so.
BoardsAndBits wrote:

The reason it took so long to ship your order was that it contained a pre-order item.


Hey Tom,

Just trying to clarify your policy while it's being discussed.

Are you saying that, should I preorder an item from you that is going to be released more than 2 weeks after I put in that preorder, there's no way for me to return it?
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Anthony
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Re: Do not order from Boards and Bits, or be very careful doing so.
I have had nothing but good experiences in the past with Boards and Bits, however I have to admit that return policy scares me a bit. I'd be more comfortable if it was from ship date, but purchase date means pre-orders and anything with them are right out the window.

I can't say I won't use them again since I have received good service, but I tend to price shop and in instances where all things are comparable I think I'll choose an option with a better return policy.
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Brook Gentlestream
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Re: Do not order from Boards and Bits, or be very careful doing so.
BoardsAndBits wrote:
The reason it took so long to ship your order was that it contained a pre-order item. If timing was an issue, then ordering only instock items would have allowed the order to ship immediately, and a return wouldn't have been an issue.


I'm a little confused. So if you pre-order an item, then its possible for the return cutoff/deadline to pass before the item is even shipped?

While it sounds like the original poster or his family didn't handle themselves well over the phone, it sounds to me like they have a pretty reasonable complaint.

Nobody ever expects or wants to have to return a game that they order, but the expectation of a reasonable return policy is always there. Setting a return policy that prevents the return from being possible seems far sneakier and malicious than just forbidding returns to begin with.

In any case, I thank both of you for presenting your points and will definitely be considering return policies and such in online transactions. Fortunately, I've never had to return anything I've ever ordered. But I don't ever want to put myself in a position where I might regret my order, either.

I have no problem ordering from Boards & Bits, as they're participation in this community gives me a sense of familiarity and "brand name" appeal. They are one of only two sites I would feel comfortable using. But now that I know this policy, I probably would not use or recommend them for gifts, Christmas or otherwise. It doesn't make them a bad company or anything -- every store/service has its niche. It still seems like an excellent site for buying games and getting a sense of community involvement.
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Brook Gentlestream
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Re: Do not order from Boards and Bits, or be very careful doing so.
To the OP: That's a pretty popular game and its brand new. I'm pretty sure you can easily trade that to someone on the east coast. It's too bad you have to go through that process, but in the end you can assure your family that the gift was not wasted and you'll end up with something you enjoy out of the deal.
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Re: Do not order from Boards and Bits, or be very careful doing so.
I recently dealt with a problem with an order I placed with boards and bits, and while the "problem" (ordering a pre-order with in stock items) was my failure to note their shipping policies, I contacted them, explained myself, and received excellent service in clearing up the matter.

It's important to remember the people you're dealing with are humans, they're very capable of understanding and also very capable of being insulted. Handling matters in a mature tone will bring you much closer to satisfaction.
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Re: Do not order from Boards and Bits, or be very careful doing so.
After hearing both sides, I am still siding with the orginal poster. That return policy makes no sense and the "read our policy and dont shop here if you dont like it" is simply poor customer service.

If a customer receives an item and it isnt even physically possible to return a perfectly fine item even though a "return policy" is in place then that is not a sign of confidence in the dealer.

A "policy" is not an excuse to provide poor customer service or even trick your customers or take advantage of them.

Even if the Dad was unprofessional and insulting, is this the profesisonal customer service standard? If you beg enough and be "nice enough" then we may reverse our faulty policy? Was the Dad insulting because right from the beginning...screaming obscenities or did he just get angry when told that he cannot return an item because he is passed the deadline even though it was never even possible to return the item...
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Chad Bergeron
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Re: Do not order from Boards and Bits, or be very careful doing so.
lordrahvin wrote:
To the OP: That's a pretty popular game and its brand new. I'm pretty sure you can easily trade that to someone on the east coast. It's too bad you have to go through that process, but in the end you can assure your family that the gift was not wasted and you'll end up with something you enjoy out of the deal.


Exactly what I plan on doing. My parents were all prepared to resell it Amazon or eBay when they told me the story.
 
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Re: Do not order from Boards and Bits, or be very careful doing so.
laurion wrote:
Tom, thank you for the other side of the story. I should have made it clearer in the original post that I only had one side of the story. I regret that this still remains an unfortunate experience, and that I hope you reconsider altering your return policies. What if an item were preordered more than a month before it was available? Would the return option expire before it even hit your warehouse?

Yes, it would. Again, where would the deadline be?

The problem is this: I don't mind customers combining in-stock items with pre-orders to save a few dollars on shipping. But as soon as something is marked as sold, I have to replace it so someone else can buy it.

I guess I could stop letting people pre-order, then this wouldn't be an issue. But I think the best answer is for people to understand my policies and make responsible decisions.

I understand that your situation is a bit different, unfortunately I cannot make exceptions for different situations.

In the end, everyone loses when someone needs to return a mail-order item. After paying return shipping (and risking damaging the game on return and getting nothing), we both will have lost money on the deal. You are actually better off trading the game.

As for everyone suggesting I change the policy to the SHIPPING DATE, what would you do if you were in my shoes? Some pre-orders can take several months to arrive!

Tom
Boards & Bits

(Btw, I guess I know now how many of you have read my policies before )
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Re: Do not order from Boards and Bits, or be very careful doing so.
I have ordered many, many (some still unplayed) games from both CSI and B&B. I have found both to be excellent in every way. I run a game group and recommend both without hesitation.

B&B rise above and don't get drawn in, address the issue, and remain the class act I know you to be.

Thanks
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Re: Do not order from Boards and Bits, or be very careful doing so.
So, the OP ordered an item with a pre-order item and asked them to be shipped at the same time. In order to save people money, B&B allows users to purchase the item at time of order and ships when both items are in stock.

Return policy states that orders can be returned 14 days from order date, not ship date.

Seems fair.

The only way around this would for the buyer to have paid shipping twice, once for 7 Wonders and once for the pre-order.

The OPs situation may happen once every blue moon, but do people really think that B&B should allow returns on items that may have been purchased months before (with some pre-orders), just because they ship at the same time?

I think when you OK the fact that in stock items must be shipped with the pre-order, you are also accepting the loss of a return. If you want to avoid it, then pay shipping twice... once for pre-orders and once for in stock items.

Also, how old is the OP, when their Dad has to call on their behalf? OMG, our country is doomed.
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Re: Do not order from Boards and Bits, or be very careful doing so.

Every store has problems dealing with returns, but most find a value in making the return as painless as possible for their customers. The purpose of having a return policy at all is to provide a guarantee to a potential customer that if they buy from you then they will be satisfied with their transaction.

To the extent that your policy doesn't do that, you're not getting a whole lot of value for whatever expense or trouble its costing you.

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Re: Do not order from Boards and Bits, or be very careful doing so.
BoardsAndBits wrote:
laurion wrote:
Tom, thank you for the other side of the story. I should have made it clearer in the original post that I only had one side of the story. I regret that this still remains an unfortunate experience, and that I hope you reconsider altering your return policies. What if an item were preordered more than a month before it was available? Would the return option expire before it even hit your warehouse?

Yes, it would. Again, where would the deadline be?

The problem is this: I don't mind customers combining in-stock items with pre-orders to save a few dollars on shipping. But as soon as something is marked as sold, I have to replace it so someone else can buy it.

I guess I could stop letting people pre-order, then this wouldn't be an issue. But I think the best answer is for people to understand my policies and make responsible decisions.

I understand that your situation is a bit different, unfortunately I cannot make exceptions for different situations.

In the end, everyone loses when someone needs to return a mail-order item. After paying return shipping (and risking damaging the game on return and getting nothing), we both will have lost money on the deal. You are actually better off trading the game.

As for everyone suggesting I change the policy to the SHIPPING DATE, what would you do if you were in my shoes? Some pre-orders can take several months to arrive!

Tom
Boards & Bits

(Btw, I guess I know now how many of you have read my policies before )


Tom, As I mentioned before I've had good experiences with your company, but the policy does strike me as odd. I've never read your shipping policy until this thread brought it up. I've never needed to return a game so the idea that I might not be able to never crossed my mind. I plan to read some other OLGS shipping policies now because I frankly don't know if your policies are as much as anomaly as they strike me or if I simply didn't realize this industry was different.

Despite the fact I've never returned anything, I don't think I could preorder from you now knowing that I abdicate my ability to return it by doing so.
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Chad Bergeron
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Re: Do not order from Boards and Bits, or be very careful doing so.
Quote:
Also, how old is the OP, when their Dad has to call on their behalf? OMG, our country is doomed.


Thanks for bringing this down to the level of puerile. I'm 34, and my Father called because he and my mother had placed the order. It was a gift for me. I did not know they'd had any difficulties or had even made this call before they told me the outcome. He didn't call on my behalf, he called on his own behalf. Please don't throw insults when you haven't bothered to read the whole post.
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Re: Do not order from Boards and Bits, or be very careful doing so.
Nah, you don't understand a thing about business. The policy makes perfect sense. If you want to save cash on shipping, by lumping in pre-orders with in stock items, you have to take the risk. It isn't B&B's responsibility to float you a purchase that may get reversed several months done the road, just because you were too cheap.

Next time, read a policy like a rulebook. These are the rules of the game of buying from retailer X. It isn't, "hey, what I think is fair for me is the rule."

Not that I have ever placed a pre-order, but I bet some or all other retailers are in the same boat.

Lastly, if you go off the handle with a vendor or customer, you deserve the shit that befalls your sorry ass.


Argorius wrote:
After hearing both sides, I am still siding with the orginal poster. That return policy makes no sense and the "read our policy and dont shop here if you dont like it" is simply poor customer service.

If a customer receives an item and it isnt even physically possible to return a perfectly fine item even though a "return policy" is in place then that is not a sign of confidence in the dealer.

A "policy" is not an excuse to provide poor customer service or even trick your customers or take advantage of them.

Even if the Dad was unprofessional and insulting, is this the profesisonal customer service standard? If you beg enough and be "nice enough" then we may reverse our faulty policy? Was the Dad insulting because right from the beginning...screaming obscenities or did he just get angry when told that he cannot return an item because he is passed the deadline even though it was never even possible to return the item...
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Re: Do not order from Boards and Bits, or be very careful doing so.
laurion wrote:
Quote:
Also, how old is the OP, when their Dad has to call on their behalf? OMG, our country is doomed.


Thanks for bringing this down to the level of puerile. I'm 34, and my Father called because he and my mother had placed the order. It was a gift for me. I did not know they'd had any difficulties or had even made this call before they told me the outcome. He didn't call on my behalf, he called on his own behalf. Please don't throw insults when you haven't bothered to read the whole post.


I think your Dad should have posted here, since it was his problem.
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Chad Bergeron
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Re: Do not order from Boards and Bits, or be very careful doing so.
BoardsAndBits wrote:

The problem is this: I don't mind customers combining in-stock items with pre-orders to save a few dollars on shipping. But as soon as something is marked as sold, I have to replace it so someone else can buy it.



Tom, in the rare case where someone does return a game, suddenly you are face with having another of that item in stock to be sold. No one is saying you shouldn't replace an item immediately, and it is a little disingenuous to imply that. Unless your warehouse -literally- cannot accommodate an extra item of stock or two, this is a specious argument.
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Re: Do not order from Boards and Bits, or be very careful doing so.
Hey Tom, listen to this guy. He knows how to run your business.

laurion wrote:
BoardsAndBits wrote:

The problem is this: I don't mind customers combining in-stock items with pre-orders to save a few dollars on shipping. But as soon as something is marked as sold, I have to replace it so someone else can buy it.



Tom, in the rare case where someone does return a game, suddenly you are face with having another of that item in stock to be sold. No one is saying you shouldn't replace an item immediately, and it is a little disingenuous to imply that. Unless your warehouse -literally- cannot accommodate an extra item of stock or two, this is a specious argument.
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Re: Do not order from Boards and Bits, or be very careful doing so.
laurion wrote:
Thanks for bringing this down to the level of puerile.


Personally, I think you did that already with the title of your post.
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