wholesaletrains.com not so good with customer support

OK, so I am a bit of a sensitive person when it comes to relations with other people.  Partly this is because I am from the south where we bend over backwards to try to help a customer, but mostly because I have run customer support centers for various companies for more than 20 years. Well, today I simply wanted to know where the engine is for my little train, and I ended up feeling like I will never order anything from wholesaletrains.com again.  Here is the series of emails:

Sent: Friday, October 05, 2007 1:57 PM
To: customerservice@wholesaletrains.com
Subject: Order 200715924 status?

Could you check on order 200715924 to see if you have an estimate for the engine? This is my first G train and so I have cars and track with no engine. 🙂



From: WST [mailto:customerservice@wholesaletrains.com]
Sent: Friday, October 05, 2007 5:24 PM
Subject: RE: Order 200715924 status?

An estimate for what? I can tell you that, that item is on back order.

Sent: Friday, October 05, 2007 5:39 PM
To: WST [mailto:customerservice@wholesaletrains.com]
Subject: RE: Order 200715924 status?

I did not intend to offend anyone with the request. Since I referenced the
order number “200715924” and referenced the engine, I thought I was asking
for an estimate related to the order “200715924” which would seem to only be
the estimate for when the order might be shipped. The original order was


From: WST [mailto:customerservice@wholesaletrains.com]
Sent: Friday, October 05, 2007 5:54 PM
Subject: RE: Order 200715924 status?

Im sorry, I guess I was looking for a less vague request but I see what your
asking now. Your item CRE55453 is on back order which means WE are still
waiting to recieve it. You will recieve a confirmation when we recieve/ship
it. Thanks

Sent: Friday, October 05, 2007 5:59 PM
To: WST [mailto:customerservice@wholesaletrains.com]
Subject: RE: Order 200715924 status?


I was meaning both BAC81493 and CRE55453. If CRE55453 is holding it up, I can go down to Lowes and get some wire. It is the engine that I am most interested in. I have been building the track and have the cars, but do not have an engine.

I first instinct is to see if you have another engine that is comparable that I can get sooner, but I think that would leave you with an engine from your supplier that you have no customer for if you have the engine on order from your supplier.


So, I admit that my original message could have been more clear by explicitly asking them to check for an estimated delivery time for item BAC81493 on order 200715924, but I still think that the original message conveyed that request and did not warrant the response. It was the initial response that really turned on the sensitivity for me. Did the support person bother to read the message? Did the subject line not convey enough information that I was looking for the status of an order?

But, I figured that maybe this support person had just had a bad day and that I should apologize and explain my message. But, I cannot figure out if the response is just clarifying why they responded as they did or if they are being smug.

Now, in my support centers, I look for these kind of short answers back to customers because the brevity in the response immediately conveys a lack of patience with the customer. But, in the end, my question was never answered as to if there was any sort of timeframe for me to get the engine. And, the result is that I really want to simply cancel the order and buy from some place else even if it is more expensive. One thing for sure is that I will not do business nor recommend wholesaletrains.com to anyone. I realize that a wholesale place is basically able to undercut everyone by cutting everything to a minimum, but if you are going to respond to a customer support request, at least do it so that you do not offend your customer.


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