Far too often we as customers hear, or participate in, stories teeming with dismal customer service. That is why I was frustrated on opening a War at Sea Base Set booster and seeing a factor mistake.
Back in the end of March I received an order from TheWarstore, run by Neal Catapano, which has an online outlet at TheWarstore.com in addition to its brick and mortar location in eastern Long Island. I purchased an empty Sabol Army Transport case because my FLGS does not sell them that way. Since I was placing an order I decided to purchase two WAS Base Set boosters. I am lacking sufficient numbers of certain uncommons and other models. I hoped to remedy that with my purchase. The items arrived quickly enough from Mr. Catapano and I ripped into my gaming items with glee. Sadly, the first booster I opened suffered a factory mis-pack.
I received a stat card for the USS Enterprise and the model for the Vittorio Veneto. Looking in my WAS Collector’s Database (you can get your own HERE but be sure to right click and choose SAVE TARGET AS to download the database to keep track of your collection) I saw that I have 3 USS Enterprise and 3 Vittorio Veneto. Unsure of what to do I called TheWarstore and spoke with an employee who directed me to speak with Wizards of the Coast and if Wizards could not remedy the situation I should then get in touch with TheWarstore again. The Wizards site did not have a phone number for me to use so I went to the Axis & Allies foruMINI where the wonderful members, and mods, directed me in the right direction. I found Wizard’s policy on Replacing defective or incorrect miniatures or stat cards and, with the foruMINI’s help, decided to ask for the model of the USS Enterprise to match the stat card. If that was not possible I asked for the Vittorio Veneto stat card. I mailed everything off, including a letter with all the required information, and waited.
Today, almost a month to the day after I mailed the stuff to Wizards, I received a letter. It says:
Thank you for taking the time to write to us. Unfortunately I must inform you that we no longer have any of the miniatures/cards you requested on hand to offer as replacements. We are granted a certain amount of replacement miniatures when a new expansion is produced, and those replacements are only available while supplies last. In this case, we cannot get hold of any more of this specific miniature or card. I have enclosed a little something extra for your time and patience in this matter.
We apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused you.
The letter accompanied my original Vittorio Veneto and the stat card for the USS Enterprise. It also came with a Bolzano complete with its stat card. I really appreciated the extra step the Product Replacement Coordinator at Wizards took. Sure the Bolzano is, in my opinion, a crappy rare and sure this didn’t actually fix my problem. I still have the Vittorio Veneto model and the stat card for the USS Enterprise. I applaud Wizard’s effort but their customer service didn’t go far enough.
So I called TheWarstore and spoke with Mr. Catapano who answered the phone by chance. After explaining the situation to him he informed me that he would fix the situation for me without a problem. He stated that a replacement War at Sea booster is on its way to me. I offered to send him the entire booster and he declined. I offered to send him the mispacked items and he declined. I would have sent him photos or other proof but he said that the booster would be arriving at my door shortly.
He provided world class customer service. Whatever he loses in terms of fiscal resources from the shipping of the replacement booster will more than be made up by maintaining good customer relations. I didn’t ask for a replacement booster and certainly didn’t expect anything like this. But actions such as these by Mr. Catapano are a driving reason for his repeat business. Based on actions such as these I am proud to say that I shop at TheWarstore.com when I cannot find what I need from my friendly local gaming store of Battleground Games in Abington. I am able to say that if you shop at TheWarstore you will be treated like a member of the family and will receive the gaming product you use and be treated to stellar customer service.
Naturally, I hope we all support our local gaming stores, which serve as the focal point of our gaming communities. But, if you shop online please consider TheWarstore. It is sad that a simple act of kindness like this shines so brightly when so much of our customer experience is that of customer disservice. Even Wizards in their own way did what they could for the situation. Despite that I have a recommendation for Wizards. Instead of wasting your customer’s money on postage along with the finances of the company on postage please include a list of products that you no longer have replacement miniatures/cards for on your website. This will save customers the time, money, and effort from trying to seek redresses for the impossible.
Lastly, I know this article reads like a glowing review of TheWarstore and it is. But, be assured that I was not paid for or compensated in exchange for saying these honest words about Neal and his gaming store. I speak on this blog as a gamer and a gaming customer. I don’t support any product that I have not personally used or experienced. It is my hope to continue these review vignettes in the future for other products and businesses. You may very well see similar posts about Battleground Games in Abington and Litko Aerosystems’ tokens.