Skip to main content

Hello All - I am very new to O-gauge railroading but am enjoying it thoroughly with my son. We started with a Lioncheif starter set, 6-83984, which is the Pennsylvania Flyer RTR set. The sound has died on it, and we are trying to get warranty repairs.

My issue is that the train is (was) in Warranty and I called, faxed and emailed Lionel with no response. My last contact via email was on 12-21. I've had no response at all. Is this normal? I've since bought two other locos from a dealer, but this first one was from Amazon so they are no help. Thanks in advance for any insights.

Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

Unfortunately you have a few things going against you right now.  The pandemic doesn't help but this is also Lionel's busiest time of the year.  You could also try calling.  You may wait on hold for a while and even have to try several times.  Folks have been complaining about this for a while but seems worse this year than ever and I would say that is due to the pandemic.

Perseverance.  Folks have been getting through.

@Markp2021 posted:

Hello All - I am very new to O-gauge railroading but am enjoying it thoroughly with my son. We started with a Lioncheif starter set, 6-83984, which is the Pennsylvania Flyer RTR set. The sound has died on it, and we are trying to get warranty repairs.

My issue is that the train is (was) in Warranty and I called, faxed and emailed Lionel with no response. My last contact via email was on 12-21. I've had no response at all. Is this normal? I've since bought two other locos from a dealer, but this first one was from Amazon so they are no help. Thanks in advance for any insights.

You will find that you will have to persist in contacting them.

As important, have you posted your problem on the board?  It is probably an issue you might be able to fix yourself (i.e. setting).

Find a forum area this pertains to.  Put your item number in and what symptoms you are experiencing.  Therte a a ton of people here to help.  If they can't fix it, they'll fix it to where nobody can!  Just joking.  Give it a try.

By the way.  Welcome to O-Gauge Railroading.  Your life will have always seemed empty, until now.  Congrats, and thanks for bringing your son ito the hobby.

It totally amazes me how some members continue to defend Lionel. I was a direct dealer for 6 years, had an authorized service station and sold lots of trains. I quit because of the quality of their switches  had a 50% not work ratio when new. Today, decades later it seems the merchandise they make in China still has a defective rate plus very high prices. I got into a discussion with a Lionel Worshipper on this forum who asked me what I would do to make them better. My reply should have been,  "answer your customers and fix defective merchandise."  Who are Lionel's customers, answer Older People like myself. Who will be the customers tomorrow? Even today they should look over their shoulder at Menards. I am told the Menards prices are 1/3 of Lionel's overpriced trains. Lionel Defenders what do you say?

Menards isn't going to mop the floor with Lionel.  Menards has a limited selection of rolling stock, a line of structures and an incomplete line of tubular track.  Menards has had their share of quality issues, it just they're $20.00 failures for rolling stock and around $100.00 failures for structures.  I'll grant that Menards simply replaces an item rather than repair.

Lionel still has the name recognition, distribution and product selection.

Disclaimer: I own no Menards train products and no Lionel O Gauge.

Rusty

Also, call the minute they open.  I find this works for any company.  When I call a company as soon as they open I have a much better chance of getting a person.  If I wait until afternoon - I've be on hold for an hour, and then get disconnected! 

From their website:

Lionel Customer Service Representatives (CSR’s) are available Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET to answer general questions regarding products and services offered by Lionel.

When calling Lionel Customer Service, please note extensions 9105 and 9106 are no longer valid extensions and will only delay you in reaching our staff.

Last edited by rick s

Markp2021 - A word of advice for the future (otherwise you'll hear about it - lol).  Whenever you Post on this Forum about a problem you're experiencing, if at all possible please include the manufacturer's product number.

I agree with what's already been said by others - that there are numerous very qualified people on here that are more than willing to offer sound advice - but the product number tends to narrow down the search of a possible cause of the problem.

Welcome to the Forum and I'm sure you'll pick up many helpful pointers here!

My New York Central 4-6-6T was defective out of the box.....I called them 12/30.....hung on for about 50 minutes (while I did other things). Spoke to a Customer Service Rep and was emailed a return authorization.

I would say, call....do not wait for an email......

Peter

Hi Peter,  I am/was thinking about one of these.  I cannot fine your original post to what your problem is with this model.  Please point me there or elaborate on what was not right.  Think saw were at least one other forum member also has a problem right out of the box.

Ron

It escapes me why they don't respond to their emails, it would be MUCH easier and MUCH quicker to arrange RMA's via email than to have someone transcribing all the stuff in a phone conversation.  They need to get into the 21th Century and use communications that work!

Especially after that "Trainworx guy" had gotten all the kinks out of LCS.

Email responses were 24 hrs or less ( usually less) away.

Oh well....but hey....the new trains have voice command.

Just a reminder that in the current situation, normal does not apply.  I don't know for certain, but I'm guessing they are operating with much reduced staffing and no ability to hire and train new people.  In the old days this was called a disaster.  And it clearly isn't just Lionel.   Adjust your expectations for the next six to twelve months.  And get yourself vaccinated, which will probably be a time consuming and frustrating experience since we've never had to do this before.  But it's not like we get any choice in the matter.  Many of us are retired, but for those in the world of work, this is one of the most challenging times, short of world war, that we've heard about or seen.

Last edited by Landsteiner
@Landsteiner posted:

Just a reminder that in the current situation, normal does not apply.  I don't know for certain, but I'm guessing they are operating with much reduced staffing and no ability to hire and train new people.  In the old days this was called a disaster.  And it clearly isn't just Lionel.   Adjust your expectations for the next six to twelve months.  And get yourself vaccinated, which will probably be a time consuming and frustrating experience since we've never had to do this before.  But it's not like we get any choice in the matter.  Many of us are retired, but for those in the world of work, this is one of the most challenging times, short of world war, that we've heard about or seen.

While I tend to agree, they have work to do.  Even before the current crisis they had some issues.  The pandemic just really pushed them further.  I'm sure they know it and are probably tied of seeing the posts but I suspect not much can be accomplished until we get back to normal.

Yeah, this is an area that seems to be calling out for some work and maybe allocation of resources. I've been lucky enough to have never needed these services but can only imagine how frustrating it is for those who have. Especially when you've just received a shiny new loco in the orange and blue box.

Being able to talk to a person is paramount. Can go along way towards defusing a situation even if it's not resolved on the initial call.

Last edited by johnstrains

My New York Central 4-6-6T was defective out of the box.....I called them 12/30.....hung on for about 50 minutes (while I did other things). Spoke to a Customer Service Rep and was emailed a return authorization.

I would say, call....do not wait for an email......

Peter

That's because they know never to mess with a man in a bow tie!

-Greg

I would cheerfully not talk or email if a bunch of the required repair parts for customer repairs didn't have "must call Lionel" on them!  Why in the world they do that I'll never know.  If they have the parts, how about letting us buy them and do the repairs?  I really don't understand why some of the stuff you have to call, yet identical parts for different models in the same age range are able to be ordered directly from the dealer website. Lionel has been shipping parts quicker now, so that issue has largely been addressed, but when I can't get the parts on order, it's a moot point!

Customers will have a much better opinion of Lionel if I am able to fix their equipment than when I have to tell them I can't get in contact with Lionel, thus no parts to fix them!

@PRRronbh posted:

Hi Peter,  I am/was thinking about one of these.  I cannot fine your original post to what your problem is with this model.  Please point me there or elaborate on what was not right.  Think saw were at least one other forum member also has a problem right out of the box.

Ron

That is because I never listed the problem here.....I just dealt with it.

I new there was something bad immediately....when I put power to the track, the engine turned on for a about 5 seconds and fired the rear electrocoupler. It would only come up in TMCC mode...and, could not be reprogrammed out of ID#1.

No fan driven smoke, just whistle steam. Then, no smoke and a blinking cab light signifying a bad heating element.

In addition, the front steps on the R side were detached from the cow-catcher area.

Peter

That is because I never listed the problem here.....I just dealt with it.

I new there was something bad immediately....when I put power to the track, the engine turned on for a about 5 seconds and fired the rear electrocoupler. It would only come up in TMCC mode...and, could not be reprogrammed out of ID#1.

No fan driven smoke, just whistle steam. Then, no smoke and a blinking cab light signifying a bad heating element.

In addition, the front steps on the R side were detached from the cow-catcher area.

Peter

WOW!!!!!

I seem to recall about the time you posted that your wife bought this engine another forum member posted he had problems right out of the box.  And as I recall he listed some of the same things!  I am trying to find this post but the forum will not let my new iMac to access  the "search" function.

Things at Lionel sure are NOT the same post Mike Reagan

Will have to give buying this some second thoughts even though Concord is less than 30-miles south of me.

Ron

@PRRronbh posted:

WOW!!!!!

I seem to recall about the time you posted that your wife bought this engine another forum member posted he had problems right out of the box.  And as I recall he listed some of the same things!  I am trying to find this post but the forum will not let my new iMac to access  the "search" function.

Things at Lionel sure are NOT the same post Mike Reagan

Will have to give buying this some second thoughts even though Concord is less than 30-miles south of me.

Ron

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Well, I'm not pleased to have a failure like that right out of the box......but, I am going to give Lionel a change to make it right.......

When the engine was messed up right out of the box, I emailed the dealer where my family purchased to. It was Mr Muffin's and they have always done a good job for me. They emailed me back the next day. Since this was a BTO engine that was completely sold out, they advised my to call Lionel. I called Lionel the next day and received a FedEx Return Authorization by email in a few hours......the next day it was on its way to Concord and FedEx confirmed that it arrived 1/4.

I love the engine am hoping it can be restored to brand new. If it cannot, I will certainly press Lionel for a refund.

Peter

Just another data point... I opened up a number of engines around the end of November and two of those had problems.  I emailed customer service about each problem separately and received emails from Aaron fairly soon thereafter letting me know that he would send an RA# and label for each.  It took about 3-4 weeks for those labels to arrive, but they did in fact get to me as promised.  The holidays were right smack in the middle of that process, so I did expect some delay.  The engines are now at Lionel.  I cannot speak to their overall service level, but in my case they were responsive and while not super-quick, they did follow through.  I have yet to receive the engines back but at this point I am happy they are back at Lionel getting repaired.

Ben

@Markp2021 posted:

Hello All - I am very new to O-gauge railroading but am enjoying it thoroughly with my son. We started with a Lioncheif starter set, 6-83984, which is the Pennsylvania Flyer RTR set. The sound has died on it, and we are trying to get warranty repairs.

My issue is that the train is (was) in Warranty and I called, faxed and emailed Lionel with no response. My last contact via email was on 12-21. I've had no response at all. Is this normal? I've since bought two other locos from a dealer, but this first one was from Amazon so they are no help. Thanks in advance for any insights.

Hi All - I finally got a response from Lionel today! February 2nd 2021 and my initial contact was December 22, 2020. I have already had the train fixed, but it would have been nice to have it done under warranty. Just FYI for all those out there with open RA's. Thanks.

Chuck - I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of Mike Reagan, and it remains to be seen whether Lionel's service end will ever come close to what Mike accomplished during his stint at Lionel. Let's hope so.

PS - I still call up his instructional videos on You Tube from time to time because they were so informative. 

Well unfortunately when Dean left the pandemic just started or was about to start. Arron I believe just took the helm.  I will hold off judgement until after he has some normalcy to work with. If things continue as they are after the pandemic is over then they need to seriously re-evaluate what they are doing.  I guess I'm a glass half full guy.

No disrespect to former service manager Dean, But when Mike left Lionel, the service dept took a downhill turn and never recovered.

No question there. He cleaned house on parts and customer service. An Ra# was a mere email and 24hrs or less away.

(Not all of us are retired and have an hour or two to sit on hold.)

What a good time in the hobby that was!

Last edited by RickO

Other than the interminably long wait times at Lionel for anything requiring a phone call, I don't really have any complaints about parts.  Even through the worst of the pandemic, they were still shipping parts way faster than MTH.  Nowadays, I get my orders in about two weeks from placement, I've got no issues with that.  I haven't used their service in a long time, but when I sent a couple of Legacy systems in, the turned them around reasonably quickly.

At our previous home I always shopped local, but we moved and that is not much of an option anymore.   Now I have a few train shops that I'll order from online, not ebay or non-descript web only stores.   In the past year I have received two defective Lionel units which when I contacted the dealer promptly sent me a replacement and a RMA with prepaid shipping. So did you try contacting your seller for a replacement?   On one unit I contacted Lionel direct and still no response to this day.     

Recently I placed a small parts order with Lionel. I didn't remember if I received an email confirmation, so about a week later I thought I would email an inquiry. The parts arrived a few days later, I believe less than 10 days after I placed the order.

3 weeks after the order was placed & 2 weeks after my email inquiry I received the following email reply from Meghan at Lionel:
"I apologize for the delay in response. We have been experiencing issues with our automated order confirmation emails. It looks like you have received your order, please don’t hesitate to call or email if you have any issues with your orders."

I received my order in less than 10 days which is quite acceptable. My thought is, if you need a repair, call Lionel and stay on hold with your phone on speaker, until they answer or until it seems like an unacceptable wait time and try again. Do something else while waiting, maybe play with your trains.

It sounds like there have been plenty of positive outcomes, but I just think that they should do a better job in managing this process. I think this thread proves that. So here comes my rant:

Having to wait on hold for extended time just seems insane to me. Maybe I'm the insane one. Pandemic or not, my business has seen bumps and we are an American manufacturer.  We rarely have missed delivery dates nor do we ignore customers. Customer service can be done from a home office if needed.

A Lionel online portal and submission system would make too much sense to track your order/returns/repairs.

In my situation, they (Lionel) did well. I certainly don't have the patience to wait 40 days for a response, so I'm going to figure it out and pay for it on my own when it should have been a warranty issue. I bet they count on that to save money. They have little competition, so why should they improve? Just my opinion.

After not much help from the purchasing dealer, I called Lionel on 2/4/21 about a replacement piece of 36" lighted curve track for one which had a crack completely across the roadbed. It was from a Lionel Junction set I purchased this Christmas. Called Lionel around 9:15 am and hung up 30 mins later because of no answer. Called back at 12:40 pm and a customer service person looked up to see if a single piece of track was available and then confirmed my customer info - 45 mins for that call. Today I am happy to say I received my piece of track! Thank-you Lionel!

Add Reply

Post
This forum is sponsored by Lionel, LLC
OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
330-757-3020

www.ogaugerr.com
×
×
×
×
Link copied to your clipboard.
×
×