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Well, I have about had it.  Three of my preorders have arrived damaged.  First, a Southern heavyweight observation car arrived with a broken wheel cap.  I know you may say that it is no big deal; HOWEVER, it is very noticeable when running with the set.  I notified Lionel and shipped it in for repairs.  After FIVE months, it was returned in the SAME condition it was in when I shipped it in for repairs.

Second, my George Bush, Sr. set arrived.  A step on the locomotive was broken.  I hear that is a common problem.  I will probably just glue it back on.  No big deal.  HOWEVER, for the price we pay for these items, you expect decent customer service.

And last, the antenna on the observation car with the George Bush, Sr. set arrived broken.  I called Lionel and customer service stated that they were not responsible and that I needed to call my dealer.  So, I did.  My dealer is great.  He sent another immediately.  The replacement observation arrived with the SAME broken piece.

What should I do?  Keep harassing Lionel or just live with it and cancel all my preorders?  Lionel has made it clear that they are not responsible for "cosmetic defects"?

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@lionel89 posted:

Well, I have about had it.  Three of my preorders have arrived damaged.  First, a Southern heavyweight observation car arrived with a broken wheel cap.  I know you may say that it is no big deal; HOWEVER, it is very noticeable when running with the set.  I notified Lionel and shipped it in for repairs.  After FIVE months, it was returned in the SAME condition it was in when I shipped it in for repairs.

Second, my George Bush, Sr. set arrived.  A step on the locomotive was broken.  I hear that is a common problem.  I will probably just glue it back on.  No big deal.  HOWEVER, for the price we pay for these items, you expect decent customer service.

And last, the antenna on the observation car with the George Bush, Sr. set arrived broken.  I called Lionel and customer service stated that they were not responsible and that I needed to call my dealer.  So, I did.  My dealer is great.  He sent another immediately.  The replacement observation arrived with the SAME broken piece.

What should I do?  Keep harassing Lionel or just live with it and cancel all my preorders?  Lionel has made it clear that they are not responsible for "cosmetic defects"?

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Curious who at Lionel actually told you they aren't responsible for shipping out broken or defective items. Isn't a piece with a cosmetic defect a reject? Like a dented refrigerator?  Doubt anyone here expects to buy something new, have it arrive damaged and then be told too bad. 

That bearing cap is indeed a very minor thing. I've had those off in the box on quite a number of these heavyweights. They just snap back on. I use just a tiny dab of glue when I do this. The step is the next step up (sorry) on the difficulty list, because two retaining pins are broken. Replacement would involve drilling out the broken pins, as well as painting the replacement to match the old step. Gluing in place is clearly the best solution, as you note.

The antenna is the most serious problem by a wide margin. I can't see how it going to be reasonably possible to fix that. All you can do is make a strenuous attempt at replacing the car a second time, and get a bit more aggessive with Lionel. Have the dealer check the car to make sure the antenna is OK, and and double-check the packaging, before shipping. Remind Lionel of the contents of their limited warranty, which includes defects in materials or workmanship:

"Lionel Limited Warranty Policy & Service -- This Lionel product, including all mechanical and electrical components, moving parts, motors and structural components, with the exception of LIGHT BULBS, LED’s & TRACTION TIRES are warranted to the original owner-purchaser for a period of one year from the original date of purchase against original defects in materials or workmanship when purchased through a Lionel Authorized Retailer*. "

I remember discussion about one of the engineering problems that Dick Maddox was concerned about when Lionel production was shifted to the Far East, and their scale, highly detailed cars began to be produced. That problem, which took a lot of time and effort to resolve, was providing a reasonably robust method of attachment of the detail parts. Lionel found an adequate solution, I think. Detail parts are reasonably well attached to their scale rolling stock. Clearly it's time for Lionel to revisit this issue, at least with respect to their passenger cars and engines.

Last edited by breezinup
@lionel89 posted:

Second, my George Bush, Sr. set arrived.  A step on the locomotive was broken.  I hear that is a common problem.  I will probably just glue it back on.  No big deal.  HOWEVER, for the price we pay for these items, you expect decent customer service.

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My Lionel George Bush dummy engine arrived with the same broken step.  I plan to glue it back on.  I thought mine was a one off but it appears the Lionel has a major packing problem with these models.  NH Joe

Unless the outer shipping box is damaged, the model inside should be packaged well enough to sustain the rigors of shipping. The model placed in a styrofoam container is just poor planning. 


Remember, these models come from China in a container and the continued to be handled until they arrive on a doorstep here in the USA. Lionel’s packing system is obviously not up to snuff. I buy other manufacturer’s trains that are made in China and they arrive in perfect shape as they have better packaging systems...

Tom

@BobbyD posted:

Curious who at Lionel actually told you they aren't responsible for shipping out broken or defective items. Isn't a piece with a cosmetic defect a reject? Like a dented refrigerator?  Doubt anyone here expects to buy something new, have it arrive damaged and then be told too bad. 

The customer service rep. said that.  I was shocked. 

@breezinup posted:

That bearing cap is indeed a very minor thing. I've had those off in the box on quite a number of these heavyweights. They just snap back on. I use just a tiny dab of glue when I do this. The step is the next step up (sorry) on the difficulty list, because two retaining pins are broken. Replacement would involve drilling out the broken pins, as well as painting the replacement to match the old step. Gluing in place is clearly the best solution, as you note.

The antenna is the most serious problem by a wide margin. I can't see how it going to be reasonably possible to fix that. All you can do is make a strenuous attempt at replacing the car a second time, and get a bit more aggessive with Lionel. Have the dealer check the car to make sure the antenna is OK, and and double-check the packaging, before shipping. Remind Lionel of the contents of their limited warranty, which includes defects in materials or workmanship:

"Lionel Limited Warranty Policy & Service -- This Lionel product, including all mechanical and electrical components, moving parts, motors and structural components, with the exception of LIGHT BULBS, LED’s & TRACTION TIRES are warranted to the original owner-purchaser for a period of one year from the original date of purchase against original defects in materials or workmanship when purchased through a Lionel Authorized Retailer*. "

I remember discussion about one of the engineering problems that Dick Maddox was concerned about when Lionel production was shifted to the Far East, and their scale, highly detailed cars began to be produced. That problem, which took a lot of time and effort to resolve, was providing a reasonably robust method of attachment of the detail parts. Lionel found an adequate solution, I think. Detail parts are reasonably well attached to their scale rolling stock. Clearly it's time for Lionel to revisit this issue, at least with respect to their passenger cars and engines.

Hey, the piece that holds the bearing cap on broke off the cap.  I have tried to put it back on, but without that plastic tab to hold it in place, there is no hope. 

I hate to keep making the dealer make up for Lionel's shortcomings...

It’s a double-edged sword- we expect highly detailed models but the with the expectation of more detail, quality and breakage become an issue. I also believe the manufacturer/dealer has the obligation to repair or replace. Could you imagine buying an automobile, the wheel falls off as you take delivery and your told that’s in you - live with it? 

i agree, Lionel needs to revisit its design/engineering with respect to manufacturing and durability 

Normally I would say the heck with the company; get on with fixing it but I'm not sure you can fix those issues. The antenna would be especially tricky. I really hope Lionel steps it up. It's not like shipping is a newly invented concept and we're still learning how to pack items without them breaking. It's even more embarrassing if these items are being broke at the factory. I hope it's bad design for shipping. 

I feel for you.  The bottom line is that today's trains are more detailed and feature-rich than ever.  At the same time, almost all of them are being shipped individually and directly to the end user.  Compare this to "the old days" when rugged postwar toys with cast-in detail were shipped by the case-load to a dealer (and then brought home from the local hobby store cradled lovingly in the back seat of your car.)

I agree that Lionel needs to improve the packaging of certain items.  But if I were in charge there, I would either beef up the details or omit them altogether (at the expense of realism.)  Another option might be to package the detail parts separately, and allow the end user to install them at home.  Some buyers would probably balk at this approach.  But it's clear to me that things cannot continue the way they are, it's just not sustainable.   My $.02.

Last edited by Ted S

The solution is simple: 

First: Bring back manufacturing to America with products that proclaim: Proudly Made in the U.S.A.

Second: Purchase your trains from Brick & Mortar dealers or former B&M dealers who have taken their business On Line due to the fact leasing a B&M building has become financially impossible as a result of continued unrealistic extremely high rates thanks in part to greedy landlords.

This is another reason why Home Office is fast becoming of age.  It won't be long before high rise buildings will be as empty as last year's bird nest. 

 

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