Saturday 30 June 2012

321 "Dear Games Workshop..." (a genuine complaint)

I just sent them this. Pity.
Dear Games Workshop,

I have been playing Warhammer 40000 since its Second Edition, and have always been loyal to the company. Despite - like many long-term players - being dismayed at disproportionate price hikes over the last decade-or-so in particular, and despite your apparent unwillingness to listen in any meaningful way to your 40K customer base, I have always striven whenever possible to buy my models and rulebooks directly from GW. 

A last week I pre-ordered my copy of the new Sixth Edition rulebook. Like so many others I have been full of positive anticipation for it and the new direction in which I assume you will be nudging the game and the hobby, encouraged, of course, by your trailers and publicity for the launch. Imagine, therefore, my displeasure and disgruntlement at not receiving my pre-ordered rulebook today. This after having received an email on Wednesday 27th June informing me it had been shipped. I find this utterly, utterly unacceptable.

I live in a rural area. By no means am I in the back of beyond: I'm only 25 minutes from Plymouth - a major city, postal hub and (for that matter) GW store location. However, other family commitments, coupled with the cost of travel, parking etc. and an apparently misplaced faith in your ability to post a book to me in a reasonable amount of time meant that I knew I'd be unable to get to a GW store on the feted 'launch day', so I chose to take advantage of your pre-order service. In the past my use of this service has resulted in the receipt of your products in a very timely manner indeed - my copy of Codex: Imperial Guard, for example, arrived the day before its official launch. This made me a happy customer. To wait until an 11am post in order to discover I did not receive something posted three days ago and then be in a postition to be able to do nothing about it is simply not good enough.

I called your helpline, and a pleasant gentleman called ++++ reassured me that I ought to receive my order "in the first half of next week" - "hopefully Monday", and explained that they don't usually get products to home addresses for launch days, suggesting that I ought to have gone to a store to pick it up. He also provided me with a tracking reference (although what help that will be on a Sunday when nothing travels in the post or on Monday when I'm hard at work I don't know) and (only) after listening to my complaint gave me this address to which I might email my thoughts on the matter. Please be clear: my grief is not with ++++.

I fully anticipate and appreciate that there would have been some notice/tickbox/small-print etc. advising me that delivery time might be upto 28 days or somesuch, but what was certainly lacking was a HUGE warning clearly stating something to the effect of:


Maybe this could even come with an addendum: "...EVEN IF IT GETS POSTED THREE DAYS EARLIER AND YOU LIVE ON THE UK MAINLAND".

Please forgive the flippancy there, but I hope you get a sense of my frustration (and this really is the crux of my complaint): If it had been made clear that I probably wouldn't receive my pre-order on or before the advertised date then I wouldn't have pre-ordered it. In fact, I would have planned to visit GW Plymouth or GW Exeter and I almost certainly would have purchased more of your products whilst in store.

In short, you have lost the faith of someone who really ought to be a valued customer; you have lost money I would have spent; you have almost certainly lost my direct custom, which will now most likely go to independent traders who seem not only to be more friendly but also a damned sight more efficient; and you have lost an awful lot of goodwill in someone who has always championed your work in a rather public and widely-read context, albeit anonymously. 

I respect that you still run your business primarily from the UK, and I applaud you for the friendliness of your customer services team. I only hope that (a) someone has taken the time to read and understand this complaint, and (b) someone has the wherewithal to reply to me personally. I hope you are able to take my comments on board, and I look forward to your response.




  1. It's been like this for a while, it's a way of getting people to visit the store and make impulse purchases.

    I understand your anger but it does mention this on the product pages when they're on advanced order, albeit in a hover-over box.

  2. Yeah. Thanks for the link, Dezartfox. *sniff*

    I appreciate I come across as a petulant child, but it never used to be the case. I guess I'm just getting old and grumpy.

    Maybe if they made their stores less gratingly unpleasant and soulless to visit I'd be more tempted to make the journey. Humph! There I go again - all negative! Goodness me - I'll be ranting on a forum or in BoLS comments next!

  3. Drax I feel the same way as you. I received my email on the 26th saying my Gamer's Edition had shipped. I had selected "priority shipping" and waited patiently. On the 29th, I received a tracking number but FedEx, the carrier, listed it as having been received by them on the 29th. I should get it by the 3rd according to FedEx, but why send me an email on the 26th that it shipped if it had not in fact actually shipped. Anyways, I hope you get your book soon, I was able to breifly look at a few pages at my local game store and it is very nice.

  4. Drax, a few of us around the world are in this position, and often making it worse so (in my case and the case of a few friends) is that we got a tracking number, and when running the tracking number we get the dreaded "We've issued a tracking number as requested, but have not yet received the actual package" message. Which means it wasn't even sent yet, they've just done an electronic request from the postal service in question.

  5. Bollocks to them. My first dealings with GW were in the earliest 90's before 2nd Edition. I ordered bits and a Dark Elves Blood Bowl team and had nothing but the most pleasant experience which made an impact on my 13 year old self. (Or thereabouts)
    I refuse to deal with GW directly any further after reading and hearing of, far too many accounts like your own.
    For something as simple as a pre-order, there should be NO small print. Either they can fulfill their obligations, or they can't. And if not, then don't even try to advertise a pre-order in the first place.

    I'm done. :)

  6. I've not bought anything from GW direct for a while now for this very reason (with the exception of a few odd paint pots) - you get the sense that nobody is listening to you. To be fair I'm not surprised: you can be big, or you can listen to your core customers, and the executives at GW have chosen to be big. We're fortunate that we have plenty of independent stockers of GW through whom we can continue our hobby, while showing a little bit of displeasure at the company that gave us probably the world's best wargame then walked off in the morning without leaving its number.

    Good letter, let us know what the reply is!

  7. I'm in this boat also, but here in the US I was garrenteed

    1. I was guaranteed if I preordered it by the 23rd midnight I would receive my cpoy on launch day. I too have supported GWS good bad or otherwise but such a big thing as this has made me rethink my support for their online or brick and mortar stores. Think I will support my FLGS more now. Plus I filed a complaint here in the US with the BBB

  8. That's why a friend of mine ceased his WD subscription. He was tired of people showing him theirs that they bought in stores, while he had to often wait up to 3 WEEKS after its release date for it to arrive in the mail.

  9. What's this Warhammer 40000 game you speak, just kidding. I envy you in that you've stuck by them and that you play 40K on a regular basis. I'm right there with you on the hobby side, despite the nay-sayers, I love their models.

    All I can offer is a pat on the head, a "there, there", and an invitation to join the swelling ranks of 15mm Sci Fi gaming. If you are still liking FOW, there shouldn't be any "scale shock" and the quality and selection of minis seems to be growing exponentially. Plus there are many rule sets that are fun, robust, and, best of all...FREE.

    Anyways, best to you Drax.

  10. Thanks for the comments and solidarity, Brothers.

    (>Ellis W: I had to look up the 'BBB'! Even Mrs Drax - a Chicagoan - has lived over here too long to be able to tell me what it is.)

    >Masta Cheef: Yup - I stopped getting White Dwarf delivered ages ago for much the same reason. Plus it was often battered when it arrived (not GW's fault). Then I stopped buying it too, because it was rubbish!

    >Hessler: The 15mm sci-fi scene does seem to be exploding...but I can't buy into it sadly: neither figuratively nor literally. Still, I adore FoW and it's a flame which is slowly and steadily growing...

  11. No reply...
    No acknowledgement...
    Not so much as a 'by your leave'...

    ...but at least the book arrived today!


  12. I am or was in the same boat you are in Bro, preordered it a few moments after it went live on their website and I am still waiting for it. Pretty disappointed...maybe its time to save up for one of those 3d printers :)

  13. That sucks massively. I had similar experience when they changed their shipping policy for WD, and am cancelling my subscription soon (I got a years free for complaining though). I now only use their post to store option for the odd time I want to get something limited/only available online as it means I don't have to be there to collect it. I picked up my collectors edition this morning having been away all last week and the weekend, got number 20!


Thanks for taking the time to comment!