(Topic ID: 250259)

Don't stock up on parts


By pinheadpierre

47 days ago



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  • 168 posts
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  • Latest reply 44 days ago by Fifty
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    There are 168 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 4.
    -25
    #1 47 days ago

    I had an unfortunate customer service experience last week with Marco Specialties that I have decided merits talking about here so that others might avoid a similar experience. Part of the problem I encountered stems from my own behavior - I have a tendency to order parts I anticipate needing for a particular project or known upcoming maintenance task all at once. Sometimes, I will not get to that project or maintenance task for a year or more. Some parts I just like to have on hand so I can perform common repairs as needed without both waiting and paying for delivery of a single part or two.

    This has worked out fairly well for me as a general practice over the years, with a couple of exceptions - both of which have involved Marco and both coincidentally involving pop bumper parts. The first issue I ran across was poorly peened shaft attachments on pop bumper rings. The issue here is that sometimes the shafts are so poorly attached to the ring that the slightest flex or overtightening of the nuts will easily pull the two pieces apart. I have thrown at least a half dozen of these in the trash over the past couple of years, not bothering to ask for replacements.

    Perhaps because of this experience, I was less willing to let slide an issue I encountered with some pop bumper lamp sockets last week. Again, the issue came down to poor (almost non-existent) attachment of the leads to the body. The slightest twist (as is reasonable to expect when installing them or changing a bulb) and the lamp socket comes right off. This was not a situation like the rings where some were good and some were bad. ALL 12 of the lamp sockets were bad! At $2.89 each that's $34.68 plus shipping straight into the trash. In the scheme of things in the pinball world, that's chump change but still annoying enough that I felt compelled to reach out to Marco directly, let them know what I had encountered and ask for replacements since I was rebuilding a bunch of pop bumpers and could not finish the job since I didn't have any usable new sockets.

    Granted, it had been a long time since I had originally purchased these. (According to Marco, it had been three years. I am sure it had not been nearly that long. I thought it had been about a year.) Nevertheless, given that these were defective parts that had an unexpected defect not visible to the naked eye I fully expected that they would apologize for the inconvenience and simply replace them.

    Sadly, that was not the case. They initially asked me for photos so I sent them these pictures:

    ps1 (resized).jpg

    ps2 (resized).jpg

    ps3 (resized).jpg

    Cale at Marco emailed me back asking me to allow him time to look into it. A little over a hour later he wrote back again informing me that too much time had elapsed to do anything for me. Duly noted. Still, I have to ask, why put a disgruntled customer through the added hassle of sending photos if you know you're not going to help them?

    Since we can't change others, I will be changing my own behavior. I will no longer trust vendors to replace brand new defective parts unless the order is less than 30 days old. I will no longer order parts in advance unless I know I will be installing them within 30 days. I will no longer order parts from Marco Specialties. That might mean that I won't be able to get some stuff. That's a bummer, but I have decided that the convenience of their superior website search function and large inventory are not worth the (usually) higher prices or risk of eating it if something proves to be defective.

    I've got another big restoration project coming up. I'll be dropping a minimum of $500-$700 on parts for it. Looks like between PinballLife and PBR I can cover all the bases, so that's where my money is going now.

    #2 47 days ago

    58
    #3 47 days ago

    Marco's rules. You can't expect them to replace parts you ordered 3 years ago, that's unreasonable.

    18
    #4 47 days ago

    3 years ago?!?!

    19
    #5 47 days ago
    Quoted from TheLaw:

    3 years ago?!?!

    I just don’t understand what people
    Expect these days.

    32
    #6 47 days ago

    If I know parts are going to sit for a while before I'll use them I always look them over first to avoid this very thing.

    #7 47 days ago

    Yes, you should not stock up on parts for 3 years and expect the distributor (note: not the manufacturer!) to replace them. Change your behavior.

    34
    #8 47 days ago

    I bought a can of soup approximately 13 years ago while in college, I recently discovered it in a cabinet, when I cooked it the distinct taste of can couldn't be avoided, sure the used by date was from roughly a decade ago, but I called Kroger, sent them pictures, and at this point in time I feel I will be taking my business to Payless to teach them a lesson in customer service! I hope the rest of you learn from my mistake!

    19
    #9 47 days ago

    I’ve had good customer service from Marco in the past. My beef with them is their price premium and shipping premium they charge. Marco prices are generally 20-30% higher than competitors across the board.

    Pinball Life is my go to vendor for most things. I only pay the Marco price if I can’t find it anywhere else.

    10
    #10 47 days ago

    My underwear from high school don't fit anymore and boy am I angry!

    #11 47 days ago

    I understand both sides as I've done the same thing in the past. It's just an unfortunate situation...Lucky it's not a more expensive lesson.

    #12 47 days ago

    This thread is going to be a backfire of epic proportions. When I first read it I thought it was satire but sadly the OP is serious.

    30
    #13 47 days ago

    Unfortunately These shitty pop bumper lamp sockets continue to be sold to this day

    #14 47 days ago

    Marco always been berry berry good to me!

    11
    #15 47 days ago

    Three years is a long time.
    The pinball world is also pretty small and they likely know that they had a bad batch of these.
    We all order extra parts to avoid the shipping issue. (Right now, I need a single wire gate from Marco for my current project...I can't tell you how many times I've filled the cart with a bunch of stuff AND the $2.00 part I need).

    This could happen to any of us.

    Why would they ask for pics and then refuse to do something based on time passing?
    The time passed with or without the pics--it seems like an excuse..."Jump through a hoop and we are going to say 'no' anyway"

    They should have said "I'm sorry. Our policy is that we can't do anything after 60 or 90 days" or whatever without asking for the OP to jump through a hoop.

    I'm not sure what the right answer is but the situation seems kinda off.

    26
    #16 47 days ago

    Imagine if he asked Steve Young to replace them

    10
    #17 47 days ago

    Seems like a very small amount of money to be willing to lose a customer over, and also to be that ticked off.

    I think those parts probably are defective.

    But I think if Marcos offered 50% off of replacements that would have gone a long way to resolving this, and the OP not swear off Marcos and put up a post quite like this would have been better.

    10
    #18 47 days ago

    Steve likely would replace them as part of customer service. Steve gets a bad rap, he's really a great guy; hell we all get out of sorts at times.

    Quoted from gjm:

    Imagine if he asked Steve Young to replace them

    #19 47 days ago

    3 years is too long to gripe.

    14
    #20 47 days ago

    OP - I've had those sockets break like that before and you can easily fix them. A drop of solder on the inside tab of the socket and a drop on the lead, reheat and you're back in business and stronger than they were new. It sucks you have to do it on a new part, and its sucks they're so expensive, but at least you don't have to trash them.

    #21 47 days ago

    After 3 years, Marco may have changed their supplier and have no recourse with the original manufacturer. It is a bummer, but those are the chances you take when stockpiling parts. I do the same thing too.

    #22 47 days ago

    I wouldn't use those crappy old style ones anyway, just for the reason your complaining about.
    I'd go with the ones with the wires on them.

    11
    #23 47 days ago
    3-years-later-5af129 (resized).jpg
    #24 47 days ago

    What is it that you're "disgruntled" about? I don't get it. The fact that they even remotely entertained you shows good faith and professionalism on their part. Your request is utterly ridiculous.

    #25 47 days ago

    This post actually makes Marcos look pretty good. At least I know Marcos will consider returns up to 3 years, not even Amazon offers that

    #26 47 days ago

    Considering that pinball restoration projects and such often take a long time, it seems pretty unreasonable to expect any issues to be noticed within 30 days. If I was going to restore a machine, I'd order all the parts I need as I need them, but it could potentially be a year before I actually get to install them. Nothing about the time passed makes this not marco's fault for selling defective products.

    #27 47 days ago
    Quoted from gjm:

    Imagine if he asked Steve Young to replace them

    NO PARTS FOR YOU!
    NEXT!

    #28 47 days ago

    What's next, are they going to expect you to pay your own return shipping?

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/pinleds-terrible-warranty-

    A seller has a reasonable expectation that you'll identify a defect in a timely fashion so that they can replace it. 3 years later is not timely.

    #29 47 days ago

    I've had nothing but Excellent Service from Marco. But I did order a part in 2008. I better check it, then bitch about it on Pinside

    #30 47 days ago

    I get the idea of wanting to place one big order up front when starting a restoration project that may take many months....but why bother? You know you'll still have to place another couple orders eventually.

    I buy parts as I need them. I only get extra stockpiled when it makes financial sense to do it (eg buy 4 pop bumper rings for $20 instead of 3 for $21)

    #31 47 days ago
    Quoted from RWH:

    Steve likely would replace them as part of customer service. Steve gets a bad rap, he's really a great guy; hell we all get out of sorts at times.

    I have been doing business with Steve for over 30 years and he has never let me down and I agree he is a great guy and a huge asset to pinball.
    I'm not saying he wouldn't have replaced them, I was just thinking on how the conversation would have went.

    #32 47 days ago

    Being that Marco is about the only place that sells top quality white pinball rubbers, I tend to stock up on lots of them.

    #33 47 days ago
    Quoted from Blackbeard:

    3 years is too long to gripe.

    Yes - three years is a long time. 3 years is what Marco says. They base this off of all that I have to go on which is an order number on the bag that I keep this style of lamp sockets in. As a matter or organization, I tend to consolidate identical stuff in one bag from whatever vendor it came from. Under this system, multiple orders of a part can easily end up in the same bag. That's clearly a bad idea. Again, I don't think these are three years old, but I can't look it up like I could on PinballLife which allows customers to look back through old orders. Maybe they are that old, maybe not. I don't have a way of really knowing.

    If only some of them had been defective, I would've just thrown them in the trash and carried on without much more thought about it. It was the fact that ALL of them were defective that made me give them a call.

    I actually didn't ask for anything originally. What I did was call them and tell them what was going on. Maybe I was doing something wrong and breaking perfectly good parts? Maybe this was something that they know about and would be happy to help with? Maybe they would tell me what many of the comments here suggest and tell me to do a thorough quality check/stress test on all the parts I order rather than trust that they are all good? I felt it was worth a call. The result of the call with the weird photograph hoop jump prior to the half expected denial of exchange was what struck me as weird.

    Quoted from Rdoyle1978:

    Yes, you should not stock up on parts for 3 years and expect the distributor (note: not the manufacturer!) to replace them. Change your behavior.

    That's what I'm saying. Thank you.

    Quoted from pb456:

    Seems like a very small amount of money to be willing to lose a customer over, and also to be that ticked off.
    I think those parts probably are defective.

    I'm really not that ticked off. I mainly want to warn others not to buy parts in advance unless they are a professional repair business that mows through parts quickly. For the rest of us, our personal and professional lives often cause hobby projects to get shoved to the far back burner for longer periods of time than expected.

    Quoted from pb456:

    But I think if Marcos offered 50% off of replacements that would have gone a long way to resolving this, and the OP not swear off Marcos and put up a post quite like this would have been better.

    You are right. Anything would have gone a long way and this would not be an issue. The dollar amount doesn't matter. This is a matter of principle for me since I am talking about new, unused parts that could easily still be on their shelves.

    Quoted from High_End_Pins:

    Unfortunately These shitty pop bumper lamp sockets continue to be sold to this day

    Thanks for verifying that. I guess that's the crux of the matter for me. They know I bought these from them and very likely know they are defective.

    Quoted from gutz:

    OP - I've had those sockets break like that before and you can easily fix them. A drop of solder on the inside tab of the socket and a drop on the lead, reheat and you're back in business and stronger than they were new. It sucks you have to do it on a new part, and its sucks they're so expensive, but at least you don't have to trash them.

    Marcos told me to fix them with jb-weld.

    Quoted from ss-pinball:

    Why would they ask for pics and then refuse to do something based on time passing?
    The time passed with or without the pics--it seems like an excuse..."Jump through a hoop and we are going to say 'no' anyway"
    They should have said "I'm sorry. Our policy is that we can't do anything after 60 or 90 days" or whatever without asking for the OP to jump through a hoop.

    This is what puzzled me, too.

    Quoted from wolfemaaan:

    This post actually makes Marcos look pretty good. At least I know Marcos will consider returns up to 3 years, not even Amazon offers that

    I don't know about that, but it could be a win-win for them and other customers. Maybe a few people who have practiced the same dumb habits that I have will also change their ways and Marcos will have fewer calls about merchandise defects from guys like me after way too much time has passed.

    #34 47 days ago

    You don't know how lucky you are. Try imagining ordering parts back in the 60's and 70's vs. now. Us old guys remember.

    13
    #35 47 days ago
    Quoted from pinheadpierre:

    but I can't look it up like I could on PinballLife which allows customers to look back through old orders. Maybe they are that old, maybe not. I don't have a way of really knowing.

    Sure you can...

    Screenshot_20190827-122502_Samsung Internet (resized).jpg
    #36 47 days ago
    Quoted from pinheadpierre:

    I don't think these are three years old, but I can't look it up like I could on PinballLife which allows customers to look back through old orders. Maybe they are that old, maybe not. I don't have a way of really knowing.

    I can definitely log into my Marco's account and see my previous orders

    #37 47 days ago

    Marco has had parts when I needed them and when no one else had them. I think we all buy a little extra to keep from paying multiple shipping charges...but expecting a resolution after 3 years is unrealistic. Heck...most companies only have a 30 day return policy.

    I will be aware of purchasing pop bumpers from them in the future, however, since a couple of people on here mentioned questionable quality.

    #38 47 days ago
    Quoted from zacaj:

    Considering that pinball restoration projects and such often take a long time, it seems pretty unreasonable to expect any issues to be noticed within 30 days. If I was going to restore a machine, I'd order all the parts I need as I need them, but it could potentially be a year before I actually get to install them. Nothing about the time passed makes this not marco's fault for selling defective products.

    The issue wasn't them being stingy on the 30 day policy, the issue was someone who bought parts 3 years ago (or 2 or 1, it doesn't matter -- it's being measured in years, not months let alone days) never inspected them and then put them in storage for all that time. They were actually quite accommodating given that they even entertained the idea of replacing the parts. Since they spent an hour on it then called the OP back, I'll bet they actually made the effort to see if they could replace the parts and found that they couldn't for one of any number of possible reasons. Not the least of which is that they may not even get the parts from the same place any longer.

    #39 47 days ago

    I've fixed dozens of these by soldering them where the weld broke.

    By dozens, I mean dozens. And I ordered from all over the place, not just Marco.

    The solder is stronger than the tack weld anyway, and will conduct electrically better in the end.

    You might even start soldering them all as they come in BEFORE they break.

    #40 47 days ago

    I see I am in the minority here but "bad parts" are bad parts. I agree 3 years is a long time but on the other hand this stuff should not break that easy. I know I would be pissed also but I doubt I would trash talk against one supplier. Sadly 95% of the stuff we are all buying today is made in China and it is a bunch of shit. Chris (HEP) put a post up about that a few weeks ago.

    If I was the supplier I don't know what I would have done 3 years later. But I see the OP point also.

    The sad thing is accepting junk as being OK is just part of the world we live in. I just bought a new recliner about 3 weeks ago from a major company and that recliner broke in 11 days. They exchanged it with zero issues but I still was kind of pissed because I wasted 1/2 a day dealing with it. Between dragging the broken one back to the store, getting the new one home, unboxed, and put together, etc the process ended up wasting 6 hours of my time just because someone used a bad piece of wood to save a company 25 cents? NO QUALITY CONTROL in CHINA - that is one thing for sure.

    #41 47 days ago

    I just reuse the old light sockets.

    #42 47 days ago

    I have had 2 issues with marco. One was the balls shipped in a order were so badly pitted right out of the bag using them on a machine would have scratched it to death. I sent marco a picture and they sent me 2 new units the day or so after with no issues. The second issue I just contacted them yesterday about. I did an order in July and on that order I got 2 fully assembled stern right and left flipper assemblies. When unpacking the order I did look at the items I was unpacking but only to verify bags with numbers on them and not actual detailed inspection of all bag internals. I went to go install the flipper assemblies the other day and one assembly was missing some significant components. I have yet to hear back but it has only been about 12 hours since i submitted my unfortunate issue with them.

    But all my other past orders with them have been great. Im just going to make more of an effort now to just take my time and fully inspect items inside and out when receiving them so they can be notified in a timely fashion.
    IMG_5996 (resized).JPG

    #43 47 days ago
    Quoted from cosmokramer:

    Sure you can...[quoted image]

    Quoted from TreyBo69:

    I can definitely log into my Marco's account and see my previous orders

    Thanks - now I can, too. My computer had logged my in automatically with an email address/password that didn't show any orders on the account page. Weird. I logged out and back in with a different email address and found most of my orders, though at least one order is not listed for sure and I don't have any other email addresses. Double weird. Anyway, I was able to confirm that they are crazy old. At least that's settled.

    #44 47 days ago

    I just can't even begin to describe how absolutely ridiculous this thread is. Did I just read this? Is the OP complaining about Marco not accepting returns on parts that were purchased 3 YEARS AGO????

    3 YEARS AGO??? That's almost an entire college or high school experience!

    Holy shit - we've hit a new low in stupidity. Sorry.

    Wow pinside is on fire this week for greatest topics of the year!

    #45 47 days ago

    I decided to change the title since I don't know how other vendors would handle complaints about defective parts after a long period of time had passed.

    11
    #46 47 days ago
    Quoted from pinheadpierre:

    I will no longer order parts from Marco Specialties.

    Your courage is inspiring.

    #47 47 days ago

    How about changing the title to "Make sure you examine your parts before stocking up!" I get your point, but you can't blame Marco.

    #48 47 days ago

    Your order was placed three years ago and you start this thread to bust their balls, oh sorry, warn others?

    #49 47 days ago

    Some business go above and beyond. Case in point - Bay Area Amusements - and missing/incorrect rubbers:

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/thanks-to-bay-area-amusements#post-4840596

    #50 47 days ago
    Quoted from Mike_J:

    Your order was placed three years ago and you start this thread to bust their balls, oh sorry, warn others?

    A little of both, yes. Is time really such a factor when we have confirmation that these parts are known to be defective?

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