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LEGO - Broken Promises

I'm not an active internet community member, but have played with LEGO since I was a child 20 years ago (exactly 1995 when I got my first set), and continue to do so today for myself and as gifts for children around me. Like most fans, I'm willing to pay a premium for LEGO because it's associated with quality and wholesome fun. It's cliche, but the LEGO promise of "only the best is good enough" has remained important to me through the years.

However, yesterday I got an email saying that my 1st Jan order has been cancelled. I know this affected many others, and I try to be understanding. If they had sent the email a few days after my order, saying it was a mistake and they're out of stock, I can understand and accept. More importantly, I would also have a chance to make my purchases elsewhere. However, the 3 Castle sets I ordered, all remained available on their website for 2+ more weeks (it only became "sold out" last week).

I know LEGO cannot produce every single set indefinitely, and they have production schedules to keep. But to say that an order they ALREADY ACCEPTED cannot be fulfilled, is like saying they've ran out of bricks. Since they own the factories, this can only happen if LEGO closes down. It seems to me that they simply decided not to honour the sale, and most importantly fail its own promise. Its promise of "only the best is good enough" and its promise of "will ship within 30 days".

Why does this anger me so much? Because as a toy company, it should understand that such "promises" to children are special. I promised my nephew that if he stayed with his grandmother (my mother) over the summer, we can build a big custom Castle together. As an uncle, I can't even begin to break this promise to him, but the toy manufacturer LEGO itself has done this to us.

Disappointment doesn't even begin to describe this experience, which is why I'm taking the effort to "rant" and also to see what others are feeling about this.

Also just to clarify, my disappointment is not so much about not getting the sets (although that is disappointing), but in how this issue was handled and the fact that it could even happen - a large toy company failing to honour orders made directly on its site.
bobabricksTheBigLegoski

Comments

  • aldreddaldredd United KingdomMember Posts: 203
    I think it's clear that something horribly wrong happened with their system over Christmas, into Jan, and are still cleaning up the mess. Can only hope they'll learn from the experience and tighten up their systems and processes for the future.
    The458
  • binaryeyebinaryeye USMember Posts: 1,750
    aldredd said:

    I think it's clear that something horribly wrong happened with their system over Christmas, into Jan, and are still cleaning up the mess.

    It has been a problem for longer than that.

    In this day and age, it's inexcusable for an internet retailer to have the inventory control issues that [email protected] apparently does. If I'm able to order a product, they should be able to ship it to me. Whether it's due to their inventory control system, the way it communicates with their shop system, or their procedures regarding sales, it needs to be fixed.
    dougtsTXLegoguymadforLEGObobabricksTheBigLegoski
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,446
    ^No, this happens constantly with Lego. I have had orders cancelled; you are definitely not alone. Their website is dated and could use a bit of work. What castle sets did you order and if it is supposed to be a custom castle, why can't you just order parts from Bricklink? Were these sets available at other places?
    dougtsTXLegoguy
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    Shop at home inventory should match actual in warehouse inventory. It's not that difficult to do really. Their continued unwillingness to fix this longstanding and glaring deficiency is, quite frankly, inexcusable
    TXLegoguytamamahm
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,298
    It's not just the errors, it's the timing. Three weeks to let a customer know you have screwed up is too long. Sure, we are used to other retailers having to cancel orders especially when they do deep discounts. But they usually cancel in a day or so. Taking weeks shows complete incompetence.
    aldreddTheBigLegoskitamamahm
  • aldreddaldredd United KingdomMember Posts: 203
    dougts said:

    Shop at home inventory should match actual in warehouse inventory. It's not that difficult to do really.

    Don't wish to make excuses - it's shocking just how wrong they got it, but it's more complex than you'd think :smile: - though given the low SKU count and pretty standard nature of the product, it should work far far better than it does.

  • DedgeckoDedgecko Seattle, WAMember Posts: 800
    MRPII, or any modern database system should be able to process the thousands/millions of orders they receive on big days w/o user intervention. If they don't put funding into a new back end for [email protected], their loss. I'll take my business to the local store, or just buy online from a big box store/Amazon.
  • TrayTray Member Posts: 2
    Thanks everyone, I feel better knowing I'm not alone. Cheers also for the bricklink suggestion, except I'm not an expert builder so we planned to start with the standard sets and just expand a little from them.

    I can't help but feel "system error" was just a convenient excuse, and they simply didn't want to honour the sale. Afterall, they are LEGO itself and have the ability to produce any sests. You shouldn't sell to customers what you don't intend to produce.

    Even it were a real error, many good brands cop the loss and live up to their commitments. An example I have in mind was a reputable international airline that had to honour underpriced tickets in their booking system.

    It just hurts much more as a toy company. It's one thing telling the wife our washing machine isn't gonna arrive, it's another telling a child the much awaited toys have been cancelled.
    TheBigLegoski
  • LegoTTLegoTT Member Posts: 483
    Have you called Lego Customer Service to share your story? I'm curious to know if they try to fix the situation in any way.
  • AanchirAanchir United StatesMember Posts: 2,979
    Tray said:

    Thanks everyone, I feel better knowing I'm not alone. Cheers also for the bricklink suggestion, except I'm not an expert builder so we planned to start with the standard sets and just expand a little from them.

    I can't help but feel "system error" was just a convenient excuse, and they simply didn't want to honour the sale. Afterall, they are LEGO itself and have the ability to produce any sests. You shouldn't sell to customers what you don't intend to produce.

    Even it were a real error, many good brands cop the loss and live up to their commitments. An example I have in mind was a reputable international airline that had to honour underpriced tickets in their booking system.

    It just hurts much more as a toy company. It's one thing telling the wife our washing machine isn't gonna arrive, it's another telling a child the much awaited toys have been cancelled.

    They do NOT in fact "have the ability to produce any sets". To do so would mean interrupting production of whatever other sets they are still producing and thus being unable to fulfill other sales — it would do nothing but escalate the problem and create more dissatisfied customers. They do not just have a warehouse full of fully-operational molding machines that they're not using. Whatever molding machines were used to produce those castle sets have by now been switched over to producing different parts for different sets.

    I'm not trying to belittle your situation or anything. It's seriously frustrating that the LEGO Group did not anticipate running out of stock of those sets, and even more frustrating that it took them this long to send you an e–mail about your order being cancelled. THOSE things are things that they should probably work on for future incidents of this kind. However, the response you expect from them — shutting down their production line and diverting those resources towards producing a discontinued set, just to fulfill a single order — is not realistic.
    dougtsjadeireneJern92
  • TXLegoguyTXLegoguy USMember Posts: 125
    Back in September of last year I had a similar thing happen to me. I placed a order from Lego and this set had a back order date of 2 to 3 weeks when I ordered. Well about 3 to 4 weeks later they emailed me and said they canceled the order because they couldn't fulfill it. That was the first time it ever happened and was not very happy about that.
  • monkeyhangermonkeyhanger Member Posts: 3,152
    Just maybe, they saw he was ordering 3 and incorrectly assumed "reseller!" if these were genuinely available for a few weeks after his order.
    Pitfall69
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,446

    Just maybe, they saw he was ordering 3 and incorrectly assumed "reseller!" if these were genuinely available for a few weeks after his order.

    Yeah, I know for a fact that Lego reviews orders.

  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 2,625
    The same thing happened to my wife 10 years ago. She had ordered the Santa Fe Super Chief kit for me for Christmas and it never showed up. So a few days before Christmas she checked the order at [email protected] and it said "cancelled" without any explanation or email from them apologizing for the inconvenience. She had to scramble and get me something but was pretty put off because they didn't even bother to email her, never did. Fortunately I was able to buy them at a slightly marked up price from an Ebay seller but they should have at least emailed her to tell her they were out instead of leaving her hanging.
  • VenunderVenunder Nottingham, UK.Member Posts: 2,617
    This has already tarnished TLG's reputation.
    I have to assume TLG know about the problems and are already working to fix this.

    Unless you are willing to phone the CS team every time this happens
    the only way to get TLG to fix this issue is to tell them in your next customer survey.

    Negative surveys will trigger further investigations.
    With enough negative feedback they should try and do something to quickly fix the problem.
    TrayTheBigLegoski
  • LegoTTLegoTT Member Posts: 483
    http://shop.lego.com/en-US/King-s-Castle-70404

    Is this the Castle you are talking about? I think I saw two or three of these in my local Lego Store today (though I cannot be sure). Are you in the States?
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,477
    edited January 2015
    Like others have said, this has been going on for some time.. How long? LEGO hosed me out of getting 3 #10173 Holiday trains when they were on Clearance for 49.99 USD each back when they were being moved to EOL. At least you got a note. They were on 'backorder' about 30 days after they were gone everywhere. I finally decided to contact them and they said 'sorry, they are out of stock and discontinued, and you card was not charged, but you can buy some of our other fun product'.
    Needless to say I was not happy, especially when I saw them at the store for 49.99 USD and decided against buying them as I had three on 'backorder' still (and if I remember correctly they also became available online again after my 'backordered' order but yet still ran out before fulfilling my order).
    But I agree with @Aanchir‌ , they cannot just start up the lines to make 1-2- even 20 sets. I also realized that back then complaining to CS would have been like arguing to a brick wall, no pun intended.

    This is why I have telling people in this forum that have items on back order at LEGO (especially if they are EOLing) to constantly harass and annoy LEGO CS until their items ship. Especially if they see said item become 'available' at the site (and not show as OoS or any other status). If you see that item you have on back order on sale at the store, buy it. Do not assume LEGO will ship them to you. You could always return them to a store, or LEGO online, if you wind up with too many of them.
    This is why I wound up with 6 pig farms. When those were clearance priced at 17.98 USD, I made an order for 3. That order went on back order, then they appeared again online as 'available' (with my other order still in 'backorder' so I ordered another 3 as CS was not in office when that occurred). Then that order shipped, but then the back order actually shipped as well, but I would rather have that happen than not get any.

    But LEGO has been this unpredictable for some time. I say 'Better safe than sorry'
    thenos
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    Aanchir said:

    They do NOT in fact "have the ability to produce any sets".

    I wonder...

    Until relatively recently, they were able to supply a "set" that you had designed. They had the ability to put together an arbitrary collection of pieces and ship it to you - albeit with limitations and at a price. Of course, it requires that the appropriate pieces are available. So there was a way.

    I sometimes think it's a pity they don't do this anyway for retired sets, although it might prove expensive for the purchaser. However, when they've taken orders they can't fulfil, it's perhaps something they should consider. I suspect it would come down to how automated the process was or could be.
    TrayTheBigLegoski
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,446
    Those "sets" were all made using Digital Designer with pieces Lego already has on hand. When ordered, it came in a generic white box with a printout of the set you designed. This was not even close to a normally produced set. The "set" also took longer to get to you (much like Pick-a-Brick orders).
    madforLEGOTheBigLegoski
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    ^ and the pieces were all picked by hand. It was very cost ineffective for them to provide this service. And it was poor value for consumers as well. Good idea, but proved impractical in the end
    Pitfall69madforLEGOTheBigLegoski
  • XefanXefan Member Posts: 1,149

    Just maybe, they saw he was ordering 3 and incorrectly assumed "reseller!" if these were genuinely available for a few weeks after his order.

    Exactly, if I've learnt anything from these types of incidents it's that the people consistently getting stung are the ones ordering multiples which isn't too say it doesn't happen in other cases too but that there seems to be a pretty consistent pattern that the more duplicates you order the more chance you have of getting screwed.

    So whilst the original story of a disappointed child not being able to build a mega castle is all well and good, I'd wager that from TLG's point of view its better that one kid be disappointed than 3 separate ones who would be happy to just make one normal castle each.

    Which isn't to defend the slow responses from TLG and the lack of information and so forth but I can see why they might make the decisions they do.

    Even if 3 resellers end up with one rather than one reseller with 3 it's still going to lead to greater price competition aftermarket so for TLG even the worst case of resellers ending up with them anyway it's still better than fulfilling single orders with duplicate items.
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    Pitfall69 said:

    Those "sets" were all made using Digital Designer with pieces Lego already has on hand. When ordered, it came in a generic white box with a printout of the set you designed. This was not even close to a normally produced set. The "set" also took longer to get to you (much like Pick-a-Brick orders).

    Not wishing to second-guess the OP, but it may not have to be "close to a normally
    produced set". The important things to most people are the right pieces and the instructions. The instructions are always available, although not necessarily bound nicely. I already noted that the availability of the pieces might be an issue.

    In this instance, any additional cost should be TLG's problem. Quite simply, they shouldn't be trying to sell something they don't have. In other circumstances, this could've been a child spending his or her Christmas money, eagerly awaiting a delivery every day, only to be told after three weeks that he or she was not going get what they thought they'd already bought.

    FWIW, and again not wishing to double-guess the OP, "3 Castle sets" doesn't have to mean a multiple order of one set, nor move into "potential reseller" territory.
    TheLoneTensorTrayTheBigLegoski
  • TheLoneTensorTheLoneTensor MericaMember Posts: 3,950
    edited January 2015
    ^ thought the same thing about the 3 castle sets, might have been different ones.

    It is amazing that a company so proud of the total automation of their factories, can be so inept at basic internet retailer inventory control and order fulfilment.
    TXLegoguycloaked7TheBigLegoskilegomasonRainstorm26
  • DougoutDougout Member Posts: 888
    So you tried buying these sets 6 months after you forced your nephew to visit his grandma or you tried buying them 6 months in advance? You're right though, they own factories, it's their duty to fulfill your promises. Lego is prejudice, could be the start to WWIII.

    Sincerely though, I hope you get whatever your demands are. It wouldn't be true socialism if you don't.
  • thehornedratthehornedrat Member Posts: 87
    edited January 2015
    This happened to me too. My order for the Santa's workshops was cancelled. Albeit, I ordered it post Christmas rush during the exclusive double VIP sale earlier in January.
  • 77ncaachamps77ncaachamps Aspiring Time Traveler Stuck in the West (US)Member Posts: 2,442
    Pitfall69 said:

    Just maybe, they saw he was ordering 3 and incorrectly assumed "reseller!" if these were genuinely available for a few weeks after his order.

    Yeah, I know for a fact that Lego reviews orders.


    I wonder if this only applies to online ordering and not buying in store with a VIP membership.

    Has anyone ever been turned down at a Lego Store?
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,129
    Stores turn down known resellers. Generally only on limited supply and newly released items, but I've seen it happen several times and heard the employees tell of several other times where they've done it

    Interestingly though, lego retail did back off some of their more hardcore directives against resellers last year after getting accused of racism in the way these policies were being described by some

    Obviously it's a lot easier to cancel online orders than it is to track, monitor, and turn people away in store
    Pitfall69
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,446

    Pitfall69 said:

    Just maybe, they saw he was ordering 3 and incorrectly assumed "reseller!" if these were genuinely available for a few weeks after his order.

    Yeah, I know for a fact that Lego reviews orders.


    I wonder if this only applies to online ordering and not buying in store with a VIP membership.

    Has anyone ever been turned down at a Lego Store?
    Yes, there have been people that have been outright banned from Lego Brand stores. As @dougts‌ said: It is easier to just cancel an order.
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