Questions, questions, questions
Here are answers to many of the questions I receive from time to time. Even if you don't have any questions, you might find some of this interesting reading!
Who are you, and how
do you do business?
Aren't all Marklin dealers "Digital Dealers"?
When do you expect you'll be able to ship my order?
Why should I pre-order items early in the year when they won't be delivered for many months?
What's the difference between regular, export, limited and MHI items?
Why do you stock so few product lines?
Why do you often have to order things I want?
Does Marklin ever have sale?
What if I have a problem with a purchase?
|Q:||Who are you, and how do you do business?|
|A:||I have been an
authorized Marklin Digital dealer for more than 20 years. By arrangement
with Marklin, due in large part to my support of their products via my
software, I am able to provide all Marklin products and repair services
for conventional and digital equipment in all gauges: HO, Z, 1, and MAXI.
While I specialize in HO, I can help you with all gauges and can provide
you with all items in the Marklin catalog. I'm one of Marklin's largest
dealers and have earned the Marklin Outstanding Achievement
Award for the past 6 years.
Being one of Marklin's largest dealers in the US allows me to offer very competitive pricing and unsurpassed service. I'm around on evenings and weekends (when it's convenient for you), so you can call or e-mail me to ask questions. Confused about what types of contact tracks or signals to use? Need some help in getting started with digital? Maybe you just got a starter set and don't know what to do next? Perhaps you just saw something on eBay and you're not sure what it's worth? It doesn't matter if you're a regular customer or you just stumbled across my web page by accident -- I'm here to help you with any question or problem you may have with your Marklin products!
|Q:||Aren't all Marklin dealers "Digital Dealers"?|
|A:||NO! Only a
select group of Marklin dealers who have been certified by Marklin
are authorized to sell, install and repair Marklin digital components. I
am a Marklin Digital dealer and carry the full complement of Marklin
Digital products. I have also installed decoders on literally hundreds of
|A:||About a week or
so after I do. Seriously, Marklin does not share their production
schedules with their distributors (Marklin US) or their dealers. And,
although Marklin does provide "anticipated delivery" dates on
their New, Export and MHI items, these are estimates at best, and
it can often take significantly longer before these items arrive. New
Items and Export Items, announced in February each year, are scheduled to
be produced throughout the year. As a result of how Marklin schedules
production, most new these items are scheduled to arrive toward the end of
the year (e.g., November or December). Often, these schedules cannot be
met, and it often happens that items ordered in February don't arrive
until January or February (or even later in) the following year. While I
do understand that this can be very frustrating, there are still
advantages to ordering early in the year, which is covered in the next
|Q:||Why should I pre-order items early in the year when they won't be delivered for many months?|
Marklin offers their dealers a discount for placing their orders early in
the year, and I pass the ENTIRE amount on to my customers. Yes, I
understand how frustrating it can be to order items in February or March
and wait many, many months for these items to appear. But, please
understand, there are good reasons to place your orders early.
Aside from the savings you realize by ordering early, you also increase
your chances of getting these items at all! Unlike many companies who
produce more when they know they can sell more, Marklin only produces a
limited amount of many of their items. Ordering early is your best way
to make sure you'll get the items you want. All too often, customers
come to me mid-way through the year and ask if they can order special
engines or sets, only to find out that Marklin is "sold out".
How does this happen? Well, besides Marklin (Germany) deciding to
"fix" their production schedules in order to produce all the
various new and regular items in their program, there's another
"wrinkle" of sorts. Marklin US has to provide the factory in
Germany with quantities of what they will purchase during the year. In the
case of New Items, as you can imagine, this amounts to a "guess"
on their part. If, for example, Marklin US orders 100 engines and they
subsequently receive orders from their dealers for 120 engines, it may
very well happen that 20 engines will not get delivered (or may not be
delivered until a subsequent production run is made the following year).
In short, "the early bird gets the worm" (and saves money). Of
course the availability of items often depends on the "type" of
item it is, as explained in the next section.
the difference between regular, export, limited and MHI items?
What's with these "Summer" and "Fall" programs that seem to come out of nowhere?
Why does the catalog often say "This item is sold out at the factory, your dealer has already placed orders for these items" ?
|A:||Let's cover these
one at a time, in order of their complexity:
|Q:||Why do you stock so few product lines?|
|A:||In a word, it's
all about service. I want to carry only the best of everything:
trains, electronic equipment, etc. I want to be able to provide the best
service possible, and I can only do that by doing business with suppliers
who stand by their products and give me world-class support and service.
If they can't support me, I can't support you -- it's that simple.
|Q:||Why don't you always have what I want in stock?|
|A:||Here, it's all
about price. I don't have a store where people are coming in all day
long to purchase items. But, I do keep a LARGE inventory of the
items people most often need: C-Track, switches, digital decoders,
transformers, boosters, plugs, wire, screws, etc. By NOT stocking
quantities of engines, sets, etc., I don't have to finance a large
inventory. This, of course, means that I don't have to keep a lot of money
tied up, losing (or paying) valuable interest. What I don't have to spend
in tying up my money, I can provide to you in the way of savings. Most of
the time I can get items from Marklin US in just a matter of a few days.
In an emergency, I can have items shipped to you directly. So, the
long and the short of it is: low inventory of expensive items translates
into low prices for you.
|Q:||Does Marklin ever have a sale?|
answer is "yes". Once or twice a year, Marklin puts items on
sale. These are often items that they've had laying around for a while,
overstocked, slow movers, etc. But, the savings can often be substantial.
I always let everyone know when these sales are going on. But, you've got
to be quick! Often, there are only a few of each item available.
|Q:||What if I have a problem with a purcahse?|
problems can occur. Wherever possible, I will do whatever I can to
make the situation right. If it's a simple, inexpensive item, I'll be happy
to replace it from my own stock. If a locomotive requires a simple repair,
I'll be glad to fix it at no charge. In the event that an item is broken,
defective or requires more attention, I will ask you to either send it back
to me (and I'll send it back to Marklin to have them repair it) or ask you
to send it to Marklin directly -- that can often save time.
If a situation occurs where you feel you must return an item for refund, that will be handled on a case-by-case basis, depending on the nature of the problem. Generally speaking, items that have been used (for example, locomotives -- even for a very short time) may have to be considered as "used" and will be subject to a restocking fee. If you have any questions about my policies, I encourage you to ask before you purchase. Unless arrangements are specified before purchase, I reserve the right to accept returns for refunds at my discretion.