Wednesday 7 July 2010

Less than Impressed

At the risk of some sort of legal action I feel the need to tell you a story of woe, and poor service.

Its a recognised fact (to anyone that reads this blog) that I like Wargames Illustrated and I like the Flames of War game/models. When the magazine was relaunched under the banner of Battlefront last year I signed up for a subscription immediately. This was probably one of the best purchases I have made all year and every month I have enjoyed the magazine cover to cover. The new format and look of the magazine isn't to every gamers taste, but its combination of well written articles and eye candy is just what I enjoy. So when my subscription came to an end in May I didn't hesitate to purchase another year subscription.

The only downside was that the 'subscription gift' offer no longer includes any Flames of War items, instead offering a choice of Battlefronts Moments in History vignettes or something from their Vietnam range. The subscription offer is handled by their UK distributor (who shall remain nameless for fear of legal reprisals!) and once the order is processed you email them your 'gift' choices. I opted for two osprey books on Vietnam on the grounds that it was an interesting period to learn about even if I never had any intention of wargaming it. I got an email back saying the books were out of stock and could I re choose. Fair enough, but I didn't want either of the Helicopter models on offer and I didn't want any of the Moments in History range (I've got enough unpainted lead without getting something else I don't have time to work on). So I rather cheekily asked if I could have an alternative from the FOW range.

I got a quick reply saying they would try to accommodate me and was asked what did I need. Great service (I thought) which was just what any customer needs. I sent a list of 'wants' back but kept it broad and left the final choice to the distributor. Then I waited, and waited and waited.

Half a dozen emails, and six weeks later, I have finally received my Subscription gift through the post. I should be pleased and excited (I got exactly what I needed) but instead I just feel relived this sorry saga is over and done with. I'll continue to enjoy my subscription for the next year, and the models I received will definitely get painted soon. But I have to admit that when my subscription comes up for renewal next year I may well be thinking twice before I get dragged into another protracted exchange like this one.


  1. When I had to renew, there was a note telling that there were "more options" available from the web site. I wasn't interested in the "moments in history" either, so I went there. But strangely enough, for all the FoW 'gifts' I would have had to pay the shipping !! And finally, I chose a Perry miniatures box (which was shipped quickly).

  2. Other magazines offer a discount on annual subscriptions. WI offers a 'gift'. At the end of the day it's the same thing, an incentive to pay in advance for the magazine. But its not much of an incentive if you have to chase its delivery!

    As for the 'Moments in History' range, I like them. I'm just trying to be a bit more disciplined about accumulating more models that I'll probably never get round to painting.

  3. I'm not sure what the e-mail exchange was like, but six weeks to received a custom gift off the normal list which you actually want doesn't sound too bad to me.

  4. The initial email exchange was quick and an alternative agreed to promptly... the next six weeks consisted of me sending follow up emails (after a suitable waiting period) asking if I'd been forgotten. This is the UK distributor for FoW after all; it's not as if they have to order in stock. I left the final choice in their hands and kept the options as broad as possible to facilitate matters. Like I said, I'm happy with what I received but the handling/customer service could have been better.

    I think part of the problem is that I had a similar experience with the same distributor last year. I waited over four months for a replacement part to be delivered and despite several promises from the distributor to resolve the matter I never did get my part. In the end I gave up and had to make the piece myself. Link

    I consider myself fairly easygoing when it comes to customer services. I’m not the sort to scream and rant down the phone when things go wrong and I understand that problems and mistakes sometimes happen. But the manner in which problems get resolved (or not) says a lot about a company.

  5. Why not renew your subscription at Salute? That's what I did and I got to pick what I wanted. They also have the entire FoW range with them there, so it's easily arranged and saves a lot of hassle.

    Just my two cents.


Thank you for leaving a comment. I always try to reply as soon as I can, so why not pop back later and continue the conversation. In the meantime, check out my YouTube channel Miniature Adventures TV