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Roberto Chavez
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I ordered Leader 1: Hell of the North from FunAgain Games back in the middle of May. I received it soon afterward, but the game was missing the rules. I realize the game is rare and may be going out of print as we speak. I still found it surprising to open a shrink-wrapped game without rules, though.

I tracked down a PDF of the rules. It was only after reading the rules that I realized I was also missing a counter sheet. I followed up with FunAgain Games and asked if they could help with the missing counters. Their answer was "no".

I was not happy, but ... I saw that this game came originally from Europe. A few years back, when the alternate buildings in the Puerto Rico: Expansion I – New Buildings were first announced but not available in the U.S., I tracked down an English PDF of the building tiles. I printed them out, but found it very strange to play with building tiles and building strips-of-paper. If I could get some extra building tiles, I could glue the print outs to the extra counters and play normally. I went ahead and sent an email to Ravensburger(?) and asked if they could send me a counter sheet of building tiles. About 10 days later, I found a envelope from Deutche Post stuffed in my mailbox with the building tiles. I was surprised and impressed back then and wondered if I would have the same luck again.

I sent an email to Ghenos Games in Italy. They told me that FunAgain Games did not have spare parts, but that they would send me the missing pieces if I sent my address. I gave them that info and waited. You can make your own jokes about Gruppe Poste Italiane, but three weeks after I sent my request, I found an envelope in my mailbox with the missing counter sheet and the rules.

In the U.S. (generally speaking), a consumer has three months to complain to a merchant if the consumer is dissatisfied with the quality of a purchased item. You can read your credit card agreement to see exactly what that means. I take it to mean that if you discover a broken or missing piece, you can work something out with the merchant for relief. However, sneaky merchants have been knows to wait out the clock by telling customers to wait up to the point where the three-month window closes. I'm glad I did not have to find out how FunAgain Games was going to react to a charge-back for my game.

I am happy to have a complete game. Thank you Ghenos Games! FunAgain Games should thank you, too.
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David
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This is pretty standard. If a game was damaged due to shipping, etc., yes, the store would replace the item, etc. They're insured. Especially in something as niche as boardgaming (especially with a rare import), I don't think it's realistic to expect them to replace a missing part. Talking to the publisher is how this is resolved in almost every case.

That being said, there are probably things Funagain could have done better. I imagine their e-mail response could have been better worded or explained. That doesn't change the fact that the store has no control over what is in a shrink-wrapped package. Profit margin is way too low to be able to fix every missing item in games and that's why the game publishers are so quick to fix errors. I've had good response from Queen Games, Z-Man, Rio Grande, and others for fixing missing component errors.

It comes with the hobby - one that I feel has the best people from designer to player and everyone in between. I'm glad you got the issue resolved.
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The Dave
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This is standard operating procedure. I can't think of a single game store that would send replacement parts. It's not their job. Any time I am missing components, I always email the publisher, and so far they always send the pieces.

I think this is less about FunAgain failing, and more about a need for you to change your expectations.
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Chaddyboy
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Yup, as others have said, if there are parts missing in a shrink-wrapped box, it's the publisher's responsibility to replace them. The store might be able to help direct you to the publisher, but that's about all I'd expect.
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Rich Keiser
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Funagain has zero responsibility in this case. You would have saved everyone their precious time, IF you would have gone to the correct, responsible party first... which would be the publisher.

See how quickly they solved their problem?

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Discussing Retailers..... The Forum of Unrealistic Expectations.
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Kevin C.
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Quote:
Funagain has zero responsibility in this case. You would have saved everyone their precious time, IF you would have gone to the correct, responsible party first... which would be the publisher.

See how quickly they solved their problem?


How would you know, though, if you've never had a problem with a boardgame before?

In most instances with "defective" products, you bring it back to the store where you bought it.

If there is an exception to this, there is usually something to signal a change in procedure. That is why you see those orange "STOP! Don't bring this back to the retail store" messages in certain products.

I bought a little Honeywell fan from Wal-Mart the other day with one of those in there. This is, presumably, because the assumption is to walk it back to the store and exchange it. Wal-Mart has apparently worked out something with Honeywell to handle their problems directly.

So, the “correct” party might not be obvious. Given the state of American retail procedure, it seems a little opaque to bypass the retail outlet, unless you are told otherwise.

I gave my money to Funagain, so they would be the first place I would go.

Also, I don’t think it is as clear-cut as you make it. We hear all the time about places like Coolstuff, Thoughthammer (RIP), and other retail outlets correcting problems like this.

Maybe there is a specific detail that allows the retail merchant to handle it, or maybe they have to pass it on to the publisher, but I don’t think it a “waste of time” to contact them first, as they are the ones with my “precious” money.

Plus, I wonder how a chargeback would be handled. I wonder if AmEx or Visa really cares about the obligations of publisher vs. retailers as opposed to dissatisfied customer with an incomplete product.

The upshot might be a headache for the retailer. I mean, I don't have to go to the publisher at all. I could return the thing and get my money back.

Kevin


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Did FunAgain really just tell you "no, we won't replace your missing counters" without telling you to contact the publisher? You are the only one with that email, we have no idea.

If they did NOT tell you to contact the publisher to get your missing parts, I'd agree you have a bit of a beef with them, that's poor customer service on their part. Yeah, in the boardgaming industry it is standard to get missing parts from the publisher, but the vendor should be communicating that info.

If they DID tell you to contact the publisher, no reason for you to complain about them then, they told you how the industry works.

I know of no vendor that stocks missing parts to give to customers. That is the publisher's job. What vendors DO do is send replacements if an item is damaged due to improper packaging, etc. Because that was the vendor's fault or at least not the publisher's fault.
 
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Alan
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Nice to see another publisher with great customer service, even abroad.

KUDOS to Ghenos Games thumbsupthumbsupthumbsupthumbsup


PS:Isn't funny to read in some threads that it's the publisher's responsibility to replace them and in the other that it is the store's responsibility?

 
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Chad Brozik
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chaddyboy_2000 wrote:
Yup, as others have said, if there are parts missing in a shrink-wrapped box, it's the publisher's responsibility to replace them. The store might be able to help direct you to the publisher, but that's about all I'd expect.


It's not quite that simple. There is an implied warranty of merchantability that Funagain has as BOTH the seller and merchant of the game. While I agree that the best way to resolve this (as I have with Rio Grande, Queen, etc) is to contact the publisher, it is not unreasonable to expect Funagain to provide a refund or replacement if the product cannot be used for the ordinary purpose for which it was sold. In fact, I would argue they have a duty to do so if requested.
There's 2-3 different ways this could have been handled from a customer service standpoint that would have left a better taste with the OP. Even Troll and Toad offers this in their disclaimers:

"If you have purchased a factory sealed item that is missing pieces, parts, instructions, etc., please let us know and we will contact the manufacturer to obtain replacement pieces."

Just my two cents. I constantly point out when people are especially entitled ("XYZ publisher OWES me this rare promo!") I don't think this is one of those cases.
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Kevin C.
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Quote:
Isn't funny to read in some threads that it's the publisher's responsibility to replace them and in the other that it is the store's responsibility?


I think it correct to say it is the publisher’s responsibility in the end. I wouldn’t expect a retailer to keep odd parts to a bunch of FFG and Rio Grande games lying around.

Perhaps rather than obligation, it is more a matter of pragmatism.

I have read about retailers replacing parts here and there, but those might have been special circumstance, or like was said above, it happens in transit from retailer to customer. In that case, the retailer might contact, say FFG, and then send the parts to you as a matter of correct customer service (since it was their fault).

In the end, though, I wonder how much "industry practice" really matters, given certain consumer law and the intangible value of customer service.

For example, let’s say I buy a game from a retailer that only accepts returns in the shrink wrap. I buy an imported game from them that I open and find to be incomplete. They tell me I need to contact the overseas publisher for replacements.

I believe at that point I can just say, “Rubbish…too much trouble for me. Give me my money back instead.” They point to their policy and refuse.

Can’t I then contact my credit card company? I was sold an incomplete game by the retailer…”boardgame industry policy” shouldn’t matter much at that point…nor should "shrink wrap only" since I didn’t get what I paid for.

Can I really be made to take this extra step to be made whole?

I would think I could just say to my credit card company or the Better Business Bureau, “Look, Kevin’s Carnival of Games sold me an incomplete game and I want my money back from them. I don’t really feel like taking the time to write a message to Germany for some missing dice and wooden cubes.”

In short, I didn’t get what I paid for and I don’t think “industry policy” can really protect a retailer from this in the end. They have my money and I don't think I can be made to go to some 3rd party for relief if what they sold is defective or incomplete.

(Indeed, I can still bring my Honeywell fan back to Wal-Mart for a refund. They don't have to replace it, but they do have to refund my money. They are the ones that took it, after all.)

At the very least, the bad publicity might be worth the refund and then taking it up with the publisher themselves.

Kevin

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Rich Keiser
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It is quite clear-cut to me. Equating two businesses, of completely different scale is the first mistake.

For some inate reason, I know that a small business, such as FLGS or OLGS operates by completely different operating budgets than a larger business such as most large retailers. These large retailers bake in the costs of returns and losses across tens of thousands of products that they sell. By working on such a large scale, they have us pay for the price of the entire return process. There is no game retailer on any scale close to most of the standard retailers that you cite.

Instead of taking a hard stance on anything, I actually evaluate the nuances of the situation. First off, I try to understand the resolution paths.

In the OP's case, there were definitely two options, and if they weren't sure of them, they actually didn't try to find out.

Secondly, I would then evaluate the options and decide which was best for me and then what was best for the other party.

In the case of a missing game part, I completely understand that the OLGS or FLGS most likely doesn't keep a crap load of parts for every game they sell for multiple reasons... one, its just plain poor use of resources, secondly its industry standard for the publisher to do that.

Furthermore, if they did crack open an in-shrink game, they would not only take it in the shorts for the first sale of that game, but also the second. So, in effect, they are going to be punished for something that isn't their fault.

Funny, I know that, and I don't own either a OLGS or FLGS, nor publish games. Not sure why that's inate to me, but it is.

Lastly, realizing the options, I understand that by contacting the publisher, I will effectively get what I want, albeit NOT INSTANTEOUS GRATIFICATION, and impact all the parties the least.


Now there is a caveat to this flow-chart, as all gray areas possess.

If the buyer is an excellent customer, who just doesn't nickel and dime me, but actually is good for my business, then I just might crack open a box and give them some parts, then try to work with the publisher.

For some reason, I guess that I'm just more realistic to the big picture and don't make demands on a small retailer. Why? Because I want them to stick around, my needs AREN'T always the most important, especially when they can be met in a myriad of ways. As a customer, I always try to work with a business owner, because that is what business is about.

If you look at my collection, you can see that I own and have owned a few games. In the 30+ years of gaming, there have been around four instances of broken, damaged, or incomplete games that were acquired from OLGS or FLGS. In all cases, a quick comm to the publisher got me the replacement part. Not that difficult. Oh, and I could wait a bit (a whole five days once) and nobody else was impacted.


natsean wrote:
Quote:
Funagain has zero responsibility in this case. You would have saved everyone their precious time, IF you would have gone to the correct, responsible party first... which would be the publisher.

See how quickly they solved their problem?


How would you know, though, if you've never had a problem with a boardgame before?

In most instances with "defective" products, you bring it back to the store where you bought it.

If there is an exception to this, there is usually something to signal a change in procedure. That is why you see those orange "STOP! Don't bring this back to the retail store" messages in certain products.

I bought a little Honeywell fan from Wal-Mart the other day with one of those in there. This is, presumably, because the assumption is to walk it back to the store and exchange it. Wal-Mart has apparently worked out something with Honeywell to handle their problems directly.

So, the “correct” party might not be obvious. Given the state of American retail procedure, it seems a little opaque to bypass the retail outlet, unless you are told otherwise.

I gave my money to Funagain, so they would be the first place I would go.

Also, I don’t think it is as clear-cut as you make it. We hear all the time about places like Coolstuff, Thoughthammer (RIP), and other retail outlets correcting problems like this.

Maybe there is a specific detail that allows the retail merchant to handle it, or maybe they have to pass it on to the publisher, but I don’t think it a “waste of time” to contact them first, as they are the ones with my “precious” money.

Plus, I wonder how a chargeback would be handled. I wonder if AmEx or Visa really cares about the obligations of publisher vs. retailers as opposed to dissatisfied customer with an incomplete product.

The upshot might be a headache for the retailer. I mean, I don't have to go to the publisher at all. I could return the thing and get my money back.

Kevin


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Jim McMahon
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Unreasonable expectations combined with an unwillingness to change or acknowledge that they may have been incorrect in their assumptions.
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Kevin C.
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Quote:
In the OP's case, there were definitely two options, and if they weren't sure of them, they actually didn't try to find out.


Isn’t that what the initial email to Funagain did?

I think expecting a consumer to analyze “nuances” or “resolution paths” over a boardgame purchase is a bit much. It’s a rather trivial purchase and any information I need can be gleaned with a “Hey, can you help with this?” to the retailer.

I’m not going to analyze the business model to figure out distribution and such…nor am I going to try and figure out what is “best” for the merchant. Fair, certainly, but not “best.”

In this case, an initial inquiry as to how to proceed, I think, is reasonable. I really think there must have been something in the tone of Funagain’s email that put him off.

Quote:
Not sure why that's inate to me, but it is


Could be experience or something like that.

I have no idea, for instance, what the "ritual" is to return a broken fishing lure or 3 yards of yarn I bought online that turned out to be only 2. I would probably contact the retailer first about the problems I was having.

I think you might be confusing your prescience for information gained through experience. There is nothing inherent in boardgaming, or any small business, for that matter, that says they shouldn't be the first stop for information or a remedy with defective/incomplete products.

When I was buying comics back in the 1980's from my little neighborhood shop (hole-in-the-wall, one guy), if I got one with stains or rips, I would bring it back to the store. I didn't go to Marvel. It was just logical to me to go back to the place I bought it.

I think you are asking something of the consumer that they are under no obligation to know or buy into. I give you my money as a merchant and you could very well be my first contact should things go awry.

That doesn’t mean you are the one to remedy it, but this attitude of, “You should know better, silly. This industry doesn’t work that way” isn’t one I believe to be a valid business stance.

Quote:
I will effectively get what I want, albeit NOT INSTANTEOUS GRATIFICATION, and impact all the parties the least.


I don’t think that is what is on display here at all. The OP made a joke about Italian mail service, but I think that was made in the morbid spirit of our own jabs at the USPS. I don’t think he was saying to Funagain “I want this NOW,” but rather, “I would like to you help me with this since I bought this from you and you have my money.”

Quote:
Because I want them to stick around, my needs AREN'T always the most important, especially when they can be met in a myriad of ways. As a customer, I always try to work with a business owner, because that is what business is about.


But here the OP’s basic need was “A complete game that I can play.” He wasn’t asking for dancing girls to roll the dice for him or Orson Welles to narrate his session. He simply wanted all the pieces that he paid for.

How do you "work" with a retailer in this case? Either they can help or not. It seems like the OP did, indeed, "work" with Funagain. He took them at their word they couldn't help and then contacted the publisher.

What is funny about these conversations is there seems to be this edict that we consumers should treat boardgame retailers/publishers differently from other capitalistic entities. Yet, we criticize those individuals who are so naïve to think that these merchants should act differently towards us.

So, in this case, Funagain sold an incomplete product. Not their fault at all, to be sure. The OP does the natural thing within our system and contacts the merchant to make it right. This is well within basic consumer/retailer practice.

He is met with some sort of subjective boardgame economics in which we try to care about what works best for Funagain, as if because they sell boardgames, they aren’t a for-profit enterprise that is subject to consumer law.

Yet, when someone posts a thread suggesting, for example, that FGG limit sales of GenCon releases to one per person so everyone gets one, those people get lectured on Friedman and Smith and are told, “FFG is a business…they exist to generate profit. What would they do with all their leftover stock if not enough people showed up?”

So, I guess my question is why the OP shouldn’t treat Funagain like any other retail outlet in the country? Again, he didn’t demand anything special. He said, “I have an incomplete game. Can you help me?” He was put off by the answer, but I think, as I said, this has more to do with tone that content.

He came here to vent, but people do that about all sorts of things that are reasonable and unreasonable.

I think he did have a reasonable expectation that the retailer might do more than just say "no...that isn't how the industry works."

If for no other reason than the "industry" has nothing to do with me demanding my money back, which would be worse for the merchant than sending me the publisher's address and s "Sorry about your inconvenience" missive.

"Learn the industry, junior," seems a sure way to lose customers.

Kevin
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Kevin C.
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Quote:
Unreasonable expectations combined with an unwillingness to change or acknowledge that they may have been incorrect in their assumptions.


I still don’t see what is unreasonable about an American consumer contacting the retail point of sale to help with a damaged/incomplete product.

If Funagain said, “Hey, sorry about this but we don’t handle replacements. For that, you need to contact the publisher. Thanks for your purchase and let us know if we can be of any additional help,” I would agree that such venting might not be warranted.

(I still think the OP was right to go to the retailer first, even if this isn’t “how the industry” works.)

If, however, Funagain’s response was along the lines of “No…we don’t do that. That isn’t how boardgame replacements work. Goodbye,” then I think it is poor customer service.

Again, it doesn’t sound like the OP pushed or hassled Funagain in any way.

Indeed, he brought up the pretty important point that consumer law trumps any sort of internal boardgaming rubric. If I don’t feel like contacting the publisher, I can probably get my money back from the retailer.

Kevin
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TonyKR
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From what the OP posted, he asked Fun Again about replacing the counters -- a request that Fun Again wouldn't be able to help him with under normal circumstances (retailers tend not to stock individual replacement components). He never said whether he asked to exchange his copy for a (hopefully) complete copy, which is something I'm sure Fun Again would be more than willing to do assuming they had stock left, which they might not given that the OP said the game looked to be going OOP.

The exact nature of the request, the words used to make it, and the wording of the response from Fun Again are pretty vital to determining the reasonability of the OP's expectations as well as whether Fun Again could've been more helpful in resolving the issue. Without having access to any of the emails, none of us will ever know any of that.
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Roberto Chavez
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OP here.

You all need to calm down. After a day of reflection, I'm much calmer.

I'm not going to post emails about my discussion with FunAgain Games. If their BGG representative decides to do that, I would be unhappy, but there's nothing I can do to stop them.

I see no purpose in "proving my side of the story" when being right no longer matters. I vented last night and that vent is part of BGG history. Today, I still have my game with all the pieces. I feel much better.

Thanks for all your contributions.
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Jeff Rietveld
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Pugnax555 wrote:
From what the OP posted, he asked Fun Again about replacing the counters -- a request that Fun Again wouldn't be able to help him with under normal circumstances (retailers tend not to stock individual replacement components). He never said whether he asked to exchange his copy for a (hopefully) complete copy, which is something I'm sure Fun Again would be more than willing to do assuming they had stock left, which they might not given that the OP said the game looked to be going OOP.

The exact nature of the request, the words used to make it, and the wording of the response from Fun Again are pretty vital to determining the reasonability of the OP's expectations as well as whether Fun Again could've been more helpful in resolving the issue. Without having access to any of the emails, none of us will ever know any of that.


As a retailer, the return process is pretty simple with some minor work.
It didn't take long to confirm with all my publishers/distributors, that this is what a retailer can do:
Customer has bought X, which was defective. Customer walks in, I open up new copy of X, verify everything is complete, and swap the games. I contact publisher/distributor, and appropriate credit/replacement is issued.

I don't think this is an area that Funagain has failed. The added cost of having to re-ship a game makes this a LOT more burdensome than for a B&M. If you buy from an OLGS, just deal with publishers directly. If you buy from an FLGS, LGS, or ULGS - working with them should be faster and easier for you.
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