Stuff coming back from Lionel service worse than it went in

Yes, it disheartening when things are repaired poorly. I think the best luck I have had is contacting someone at Lionel and getting the new part, then installing it myself. 

I have 3 new locomotives with bad smoke units.. and it says to call for replacements. Guess I will be calling for new smoke units... 

Keep the faith. Lionel will make it right. You just have to be patient. 

TCA Number 16-71884

He said he does not want anything with the rapido name on it to be junk.

Even looking beyond the world of toy / model trains, there are far too many companies that would rather maximize the return on their brand name than maintain its reputation. It's refreshing to read about a company that still cares, even if it's for a product I don't use myself.

C.W. Burfle
C W Burfle posted:

He said he does not want anything with the rapido name on it to be junk.

Even looking beyond the world of toy / model trains, there are far too many companies that would rather maximize the return on their brand name than maintain its reputation. It's refreshing to read about a company that still cares, even if it's for a product I don't use myself.

Here's Jason Shron of Rapido in his latest video explaining some of the problems he faces manufacturing in China:

Rusty

Always a big downer when something arrives damaged or non-operational, or later requires service.  With most goods shipped half way around the globe and then bounced around during delivery by the local carrier, I'm actually amazed I've had so few problems with trains and similar consumer goods. Probably a less than 1% failure rate and I buy almost everything from Amazon or similar on-line vendors.

That said, a 5-10% failure rate is pretty much par for the course in consumer electronics. Check out Consumer Reports for various experiences.  Some of the comments here reflect a different reality from my own of what a lemon is, and what is just the luck of the draw.  And inferring widespread quality problems based upon internet posts (and only 5-10 at that) is probably a disservice to others and misleading, in my view.

Just for an example.  I randomly did a Google search on "Amazon and Sony" (a company with a pretty good quality reputation).  This came up:

 

https://www.amazon.com/Sony-Po...15966734&sr=8-12

31% gave this projector at the top of the list that came up  a one or two star rating out of five.  I'm sure you could do the same with Samsung, LG, Hoover, and other reputable manufacturers.

That said, I always buy from my local shop or Charles Ro (or similar reputable on-line dealer).  They always will replace or repair anything that doesn't work.  Very reassuring. For that reason, I've never actually had to resort to using Lionel's warranty repair in 25 years with hundreds of purchases for that reason.  Not saying my experience is 100% typical, but it provides an approach that has worked for me.  I don't have any experience, and neither does anyone I know with widespread quality problems with Lionel, MTH, Atlas, etc. so I'm skeptical of the comments to this effect on this forum.  No valid sample for one big thing. So those of you who are worried by these comments, consider the questionable credibility of the analysis.  Buy from a dealer who stands behind the product, whether local or on-line.

Train Nut posted:

What's telling is "Lionel" is actively posting in another thread on this forum less than an hour  ago, but wont touch this one....

I've asked this thread remain open so I can monitor the comments and then talk to the appropriate people when the office is open again on Tuesday.

Dave Olson

Director of Engineering

Lionel LLC

"What's telling is "Lionel" is actively posting in another thread on this forum less than an hour  ago, but wont touch this one...."

I don't think so.  Why respond on-line to one consumer's problems, which need to be addressed by the company for that individual? Responding to comments that reflect emotion and opinion, not data or rational analysis, in my view, cannot serve the company. If they say they don't have quality problems, no one will believe it, because, of course, they occasionally do.  Any attempt to rebut the angry villagers with the pitchforks and torches will be met by additional enraged responses from said villagers. Best to focus on the task at hand and ignore the irate comments. Fix the original poster's problem and move on.

Dave Olson posted:
Train Nut posted:

What's telling is "Lionel" is actively posting in another thread on this forum less than an hour  ago, but wont touch this one....

I've asked this thread remain open so I can monitor the comments and then talk to the appropriate people when the office is open again on Tuesday.

Folks...Dave in fact did ask us to not close this thread.  In the past we have had members and advertisers request to have threads edited and/or closed so this is a first.  We have already gotten an entire afternoon of alerts to this thread so I ask that unless personal names and/or attacks occur, please limit your alerts.

Alan Arnold
Publisher/Partner-Advertising Sales Manager
O Gauge Railroading magazine
adman@ogaugerr.com
800-980-OGRR (6477)

I totally agree with all of this 

Out of the 6 Lionel engines I bought this year, 5 of them had to get a repair. I had one incident where the technician did not place any of the packing foam in the appropriate places on the engine, I feel as though that was a serious risk to the engineand could have resumed in damage to the engine. I hope Lionel listens to our comments and fixes their quality control issues. Maybe Lionel can hire someone to go monitor the QC in China?

My personal feelings that have made me lose faith in Lionel is it they wont address the "overall" issue on this forum.  Not an individual issue by saying- "we are looking into it" or "send it in we'll fix it". But addressing the big picture.  And there is an issue.  You can sugar coat it any way you want. But there is a quality issue.  Chosing to be members of this forum community i would expect a post explaining what is going on and ensure us that the truely do appreciate us as customers/loyal customers and what they may be doing to improve things in the future.  Instead i get the impression that they choose just to ignore the problem , and continue status quo while looking to move on to new products..  It would go a long way with me anyway....

I am glad Lionel is monitoring this thread and the ever growing raging mob mentality this thread is becoming. No one ever in a long lasting company ever designs thing to hurt their customers and their reputation....period. Do things go south? Yes and many manufacturers have dealt with those errors and moved on. Think about any automotive company and you can certainly read about such examples of manufacturing mistakes. When we buy something that is not right then I would strongly suggest that nicely speaking to someone direct will get a much faster response versus open public forum complaining. I have read many threads and written a few where things were made right and by stating a big thank you to the manufacturer were either completely or almost completely ignored.

Sad.

Frankly I would not want to be a manufacturer in this hobby since it sure seems like the customer base could never, ever, at any moment in time be even halfway close to happy. For those manufacturers you have my sincerest appreciation.

For those who insist on public complaining before contacting the manufacturer and their supervisors then maybe post a warning in the thread title so maybe the person who you really need to contact will see it.

Kudo's to Lionel and asking to keep this thread open since now it has become something much more than a individual product issue.

For anyone wanting to complain about me further then my email is in my contact info so lets stop wasting bandwidth.

Thank you,

Jeff Meyer

OGR PUBLISHER posted:
Dave Olson posted:
Train Nut posted:

What's telling is "Lionel" is actively posting in another thread on this forum less than an hour  ago, but wont touch this one....

I've asked this thread remain open so I can monitor the comments and then talk to the appropriate people when the office is open again on Tuesday.

Folks...Dave in fact did ask us to not close this thread.  In the past we have had members and advertisers request to have threads edited and/or closed so this is a first.  We have already gotten an entire afternoon of alerts to this thread so I ask that unless personal names and/or attacks occur, please limit your alerts.

Gentlemen, this says a lot about Lionel in my opinion.  No one is perfect.  Mistakes do happen, even when you have been doing a job for years.  The first step is admitting there are issues that need to be resolved.  It's how you respond to the issue that separates a company from the competition.  Looks to me like Lionel is going to grab the bull by the horns.  

TCA# 15-70824

This has been going on for sometime as many have said. I sent a "Maiden Rescue" back to Lionel when it was new and would not work. They sent me back a unit that worked, but two of the decals on the building were upside down - think that was someones return? (No one noticed this, or cared). Representative of my experience with Lionel

Well, I just recently got a LionChief GP-9 and I absolutely love it. It ran first time out of the box with no problems and it is still running now with no problems. In fact, I ran it today for a full hour. I think they should at least run a locomotive before shipping it out. They used to do that. I remember years ago, someone, I think it was CBS, did a documentary on Lionel. Back then, they were still in Michigan. Part of the video showed a lady seated at a table just running one engine after another. Maybe someone, like a reporter for OGR, could address this situation directly with Lionel and just see for sure what is actually going on. 

Captaincog posted:

I am glad Lionel is monitoring this thread and the ever growing raging mob mentality this thread is becoming. No one ever in a long lasting company ever designs thing to hurt their customers and their reputation....period. Do things go south? Yes and many manufacturers have dealt with those errors and moved on. Think about any automotive company and you can certainly read about such examples of manufacturing mistakes. When we buy something that is not right then I would strongly suggest that nicely speaking to someone direct will get a much faster response versus open public forum complaining. I have read many threads and written a few where things were made right and by stating a big thank you to the manufacturer were either completely or almost completely ignored.

Sad.

Frankly I would not want to be a manufacturer in this hobby since it sure seems like the customer base could never, ever, at any moment in time be even halfway close to happy. For those manufacturers you have my sincerest appreciation.

For those who insist on public complaining before contacting the manufacturer and their supervisors then maybe post a warning in the thread title so maybe the person who you really need to contact will see it.

Kudo's to Lionel and asking to keep this thread open since now it has become something much more than a individual product issue.

For anyone wanting to complain about me further then my email is in my contact info so lets stop wasting bandwidth.

Thank you,

Jeff Meyer

takata air bags come to mind!!!!

 

these kill people, wonder if those involved have stopped driving their cars1

Matt Makens posted:

I think the high end market is a small portion of the Lionel market. Lionel is a household name and I’m sure the entry level starter sets are the backbone of the biz. I’m wondering how bad the QC really is since you never hear from the happy customers and the unhappy ones are continually unhappy. ....................

The starter sets are not immune either. 

I recently (October York special) bought a Christmas starter set (the one from 2016, with the Docksider with Lionchief control, a boxcar, gondola and work caboose).

While I dealt with it with my dealer, the 1st one had issues with the couplers on the engine and both the gondola and the work caboose. (Pretty sure the boxcar was OK in the first set - so one of 4 pieces without a serious operational flaw - not great odds)

It took us 3 sets  for me to get a full set of engine/cars with no issues.  The original engine couldn't keep coupled around curves, it dropped any cars as soon as it entered the curve .  And this was not on the O36 curves that came with it either, I have an O72 tubular or O84 FasTrack loop I was using to try it out.  The other cars would as mentioned uncouple as well.  The other 2 engines had some cosmetic issues with graphics, but I was able to swap out a functional rear coupler from one of them.  It took the 2 other sets to find a good gondola and work caboose.

I need to confess I did not even try the power pack or track, as I used my normal transformer and carpet central loop.   I am giving the benefit of the doubt and assuming the power pack works and track is OK.

This was for a seasoned hobbyist (me).  I can't imagine how a new person buying a starter set for a train for around the tree would have dealt with such a flawed initial purchase.  Most likely would have just returned it and forgotten about a train after that.

I will say my recent purchase of the Polar Express (most recent, I think - the Bluetooth one) when an unnamed large department store had them on a good sale in December was very good out of the box.  Maybe some very minor cosmetic flaws (minor ones I let pass for the good price I got), but the set works and can pull it's consist (along with 2 add on cars) without the couplers opening.

I know, slightly off topic of what happens to repairs sent to Lionel (since this was dealt with locally), but the starter set reference made me think this initial quality issue might be a useful story.

-Dave

I'm very glad that this post didn't get closed. All of the manufactures can learn from it. All of them need to take a very close look at their repair departments. They must understand, their tech's must start doing a better job at repairing these trains. Their tech's must understand, that in no way, can a train be returned to a customer that not working properly. If the tech's need additional training, then the necessary steps need to be taken. If additional help is needed, than more people need to be hired. Also, somewhere in the building, hang up a few signs that read if its not right, I will make it right.

Interesting thread and several telling points here. Just to select a few: 1) it is more common to hear complaints than compliments, we all know that is true so we need to take this with a grain of salt. 2) I am sure we are all impressed that Lionel did not ask for this to be shut down- says a lot about the current organization. 

My bottom line, I am one of the happy Lionel customers.  Their service and customer response has been excellent in my experience over a broad range of products:  from a small issue on a dinosaur train (cheap item and they fixed it!)  to helping with suggestions on what board to replace on a legacy loco (one of those fleabay stories), and things in the middle.  I know some will suggest that these problems should not happen- ever.  But realistically, we have a hobby involving complicated electro mechanical toys that can be bought for prices that fit our budgets and allow us to have a fun hobby.

Here is a thought, we need to convene a group of forumites and build 100 locos- wonder what our performance rate would be?

 

Hokie 71

Chief of Operations, Free Union, Blacksburg, and Albemarle Railroad (FUBAR)

Ray Lombardo posted:

Troubling but I would want to hear Lionel’s explanation before getting out the wood and the nails.  Some of the damage complained of here is so blatant (remember that fellow with the MTH turbo train with parts floating around in the box - the accusation was that MTH broke it and sent it back that way) that Lionel staff would have to be idiots to send t back that way because it is going to get caught, the customer will be seriously ****ed, and in the era of social media everyone will hear about it.  Not smart.  Because I generally don’t assume idiocy from other seemingly rational adults, I would like to hear all the facts.

I cannot see the damage that well other than to see it is a scratch but I would, in all these cases that are very blatant, suspect shipping damage.

Lionel also does seem to have an issue with its manufacturing contractors that it needs to correct.  Too many horror stories here for there to be nothing here.  I wish them well in getting it right as they are an important part of the hobby. 

Had reason to send my Turbo Train back to MTH.  Even tho it was "mint/unused" - out of warranty - they made the updates & repairs at no cost to me.   Yea, I paid fright back to them, but they paid fright back to me.  Any wonder why so many purple boxes at my house? 

"For those who insist on public complaining before contacting the manufacturer and their supervisors then maybe post a warning in the thread title so maybe the person who you really need to contact will see it.

Kudos to Lionel and asking to keep this thread open since now it has become something much more than a individual product issue."

BINGO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!    

 

 

RT   

Surfline posted:

"Had reason to send my Turbo Train back to MTH.  Even tho it was "mint/unused" - out of warranty - they made the updates & repairs at no cost to me.   Yea, I paid fright back to them, but they paid fright back to me.  Any wonder why so many purple boxes at my house?"

Wow, that is such good news. You might want to let Scott, (VistaDomeScott) how you managed such good fortunes. 

Turbotrain Repairs

Charlie

 

The whole model train hobby repair thing is frustrating to me.

I am happy with Lionel's products, although I will say this: I purchased a Hogwart's set and it worked for exactly ten minutes. Luckily, I had purchased on sale from Amazon, and so, as a Prime member--back it went, no hassle, no charge.

This was not the case with a set I bought at my local Hobby Shop. The Lionchief Broadway Limited loco was bad, and it had to be sent back to Lionel in the huge box, for safety of shipment. I paid.

I must say that I find it a bit off-putting that I could buy a product, not have it work, and be expected to add to the cost of having a working product by spending my own money to ship it back so they can make it right. 

I understand that those are the rules, and so I play by them. But it doesn't make me happy, and it does not instill brand loyalty at all. Frankly, I buy more MTH now because I have found that the quality of the product is more consistent, even though I know MTH requires me to pay for shipping on a repair as well.

So it goes. I am limited where I can buy O gauge trains, and so that's the way it goes. But it is not customer friendly.

There is a group of people who are more exacting about their stuff than model rails.  HAM RADIO OPS.  Some of the ham radio items approach Lionel high end pricing.  And some of this stuff is run at high duty cycles with 100 watts or more of power to wire antennae which may be slightly out of tune.  Plus these radios have electronics in them.

I have used this stuff during a hurricane at an emergency operations center.  THIS STUFF HAS TO WORK! That is, low failure rate.

Maybe Lionel can ask some of the ham radio companies for advice.

The TEXAS SPECIAL:  The REAL RED streak of the golden prairies!

Landsteiner posted:

"I paid."

If my local hobby shop asked me to pay for shipping back to the manufacturer for warranty repairs, I'd simply say "I'd like a refund please" and find another place to buy.  Simply unacceptable.

I agree completely. It's like a bully taking your lunch money everyday......" Just deal with it."

Nope. Not anymore.

Seriously, moving from a smaller gauge to "O", I've had more problems with the electronics, speakers, boards, missing parts then ever on smaller gauge. One neighbor down the road has command HO large layout in his garage and has had nil problems. Its not only Lionel. But MTH engines I've had to replace 3 speakers, one on an Atlas. Boards on Lionel more then others. Engine on a MTH. As to neighbor who runs his trains for hours in a garage, has had zero problems with rolling stock or switches. Most problems I'll try to fix, but boards going out and speakers from a larger size, yet smaller cell phones, computers, games will last decades, even with abuse, but not trains. It does keep me from expanding, and buying any more new items.

Though I've only sent one item to Lionel for repair, it was my nearly brand new Legacy 990 set a couple years ago.  The remote was having issues, but they had me send the whole thing back to make sure.  I had only used it a couple times before whatever issue it had popped up.  When it was returned to me, they had replaced the remote.  This I understand, it's quicker to pull an already repaired one out of stock and send it back my way.  As long as it works properly, I could care less.  The issue I had, was that the one they sent me still had crumbs and greasy fingerprints from whatever snack the previous owner had consumed while using it.  I was a little POed, but I didn't want to deal with another issue so I just cleaned it up.

Volphin posted:
OGR PUBLISHER posted:
Dave Olson posted:
Train Nut posted:

What's telling is "Lionel" is actively posting in another thread on this forum less than an hour  ago, but wont touch this one....

I've asked this thread remain open so I can monitor the comments and then talk to the appropriate people when the office is open again on Tuesday.

Folks...Dave in fact did ask us to not close this thread.  In the past we have had members and advertisers request to have threads edited and/or closed so this is a first.  We have already gotten an entire afternoon of alerts to this thread so I ask that unless personal names and/or attacks occur, please limit your alerts.

Gentlemen, this says a lot about Lionel in my opinion.  No one is perfect.  Mistakes do happen, even when you have been doing a job for years.  The first step is admitting there are issues that need to be resolved.  It's how you respond to the issue that separates a company from the competition.  Looks to me like Lionel is going to grab the bull by the horns.  

These kind of threads also give Dave "ammunition" to present to the higher ups that there are problems that must be dealt with.

And sooner rather than later...

Rusty

December 6, 2107

Howard Hitchcock
President
Lionel LLC
6301 Performance Drive
Concord, NC 28027

Dear Sir,

I want to take this opportunity to inform you how an old Lionel collector/user
feels about the "new Lionel".

About a year ago, I took a 32930 ZW and 180 brick to my local hobby shop for
repairs, as it appeared to be DOA.

When I finally had time to see what progress had been made, I was informed
that the ZW was, in fact DOA.

I had note that your former Customer Service Manager was now doing repairs
on Lionel. I wrote to him, told him of the situation. He quickly replied
that he could not repair the ZW, as no parts were available. However,
if I contacted Lionel Customer Service, I could get a new ZW-L for $400.00
and my old ZW. He even so far as to contact "Dean" to let him know I
would be in contact.

I asked who "Dean" was and was told he was Dean Brasseur, Lionel Customer
Service Manager. I copied my entire email conversation with Reagan and
sent it Dean. He replied and said to call and the folks in Customer Service
would take care of it. I replied that I would call the first of the week.

I called the Lionel Customer Service number at about 10:30am on Monday
morning. I got an answering machine, I pushed the buttons for Customer
Service and was informed by the machine that all reps were busy and
then was disconnected YES- a dial tone!
I called back, got the same thing. My third call was to Dean's extension-
you guessed it-SAME THING! I then sent Dean an email detailing my calls.
He replied that he had checked and they had not missed any calls and that
someone would be in touch. He also informed me that they had been slammed!

Monday around 3-4pm, I got a call from Cathy at Lionel. I was unavailable.
I called Tuesday morning and the phone was answered by Cathy, who took my
info and told me an RA would be sent to me by that days end or by 9am the
following day. I asked her about "slammed" and she informed me that 2
people answered the calls for 3 divisions.

This took place the Monday/Tuesday of November 20 & 21, 2017.
I have yet to receive an RA or any other correspondence from Lionel.
I really don't want one now! I donated the ZW to a group in Chicago
and sold the two bricks. I thought you might want to know how
business is handled.

Sincerely,

 

 

Rusty Traque posted:
Volphin posted:
OGR PUBLISHER posted:
Dave Olson posted:
Train Nut posted:

What's telling is "Lionel" is actively posting in another thread on this forum less than an hour  ago, but wont touch this one....

I've asked this thread remain open so I can monitor the comments and then talk to the appropriate people when the office is open again on Tuesday.

Folks...Dave in fact did ask us to not close this thread.  In the past we have had members and advertisers request to have threads edited and/or closed so this is a first.  We have already gotten an entire afternoon of alerts to this thread so I ask that unless personal names and/or attacks occur, please limit your alerts.

Gentlemen, this says a lot about Lionel in my opinion.  No one is perfect.  Mistakes do happen, even when you have been doing a job for years.  The first step is admitting there are issues that need to be resolved.  It's how you respond to the issue that separates a company from the competition.  Looks to me like Lionel is going to grab the bull by the horns.  

These kind of threads also give Dave "ammunition" to present to the higher ups that there are problems that must be dealt with.

And sooner rather than later...

Rusty

Lionel doesn't need this post to know what is going on. They are well aware.  We are not their only customers.  Look at reviews on Amazon and other places.  As i stated earlier.  IMO they chooese to accept the situation and continue to increase prices to offset the losses...

The original post about the service problems with Lionel, or any other manufacturer, is informative.  How else are we going to know what the problems are that certain products have.  If no one ever says anything, you then fall into the trap of "this must only happen to me".  

Folks...this is to let you know that Dave contacted me a little while ago and asked that I close the thread but not delete it since he felt he had enough feedback on this particular situation to show it to those he needs to address at Lionel.  Stay tuned as I am sure he will follow up.....

Thanks,

Alan

Alan Arnold
Publisher/Partner-Advertising Sales Manager
O Gauge Railroading magazine
adman@ogaugerr.com
800-980-OGRR (6477)

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