Customer Service Issues with Atlas

There is an old saying,

Good Customer Service will Retain Good Customers

How does this sound for service (N Scale):

Sent them a new locomotive that had a drive line issue, in this case it was a new GP-38. They returned it soaking in oil, and the drive line issue was never addressed.

Returned 6 new locomotives that had several problems, SD-50's and

60's. I had one that would bind up and die on a 15 inch radius curve. Another would not move until it had 6.5 volts of power. The others had similar issues. All 6 were returned with a note that they were all within specification. So 6.5V starting voltage for a 12V system is within specifications? The inablilty to negotiate a 15" radius is within specification?

A recent order from my favorite shop had a 60% failure rate, still no word about the failed locomotives. It has been well over a month. My shop is thinking about dropping Atlas because of this and many other similar incidents.

Finally, I contacted them concerning 2 more new locomotives that were not working very well. The first one sounded like metal on metal brakes after 20 minutes of sustained running. The other would not move in reverse through a curve. The issue here is that the copper strip making contact with the wiper was mal-formed and does not stay stay in contact with the wipre or even inside the truck itself. The frame design on the C-628 has the power pickups captive in the frame so they can not be easily removed to be fixed. It has been over 2 weeks and still no word from them at all. I even sent an e-mail to Paul Graf and never heard back. Not even the courtesy of an acknowledgement.

So is this just that Atlas does not care about N Scale customers? It is obvious they do not care very much for quality control and assurance. It seems they are more concerned with quantity than with quality.

Has anyone else gotten this kind of treatment from Atlas? I for one will not do anymore business with them; with Red Caboose, Deluxe Innovations, Intermountain, LifeLike(Walthers) and Kato making decent products, I guess there is no reason.

I also think it is time to liquidate all of the Atlas product from my collection, at least I won't have issues with Accumate couplers any more. So there are 250 locomotives and 1600 freight cars up for grabs. I would donate them to charity, but I do not see Atlas doing anything for them either. And that would not be fair to the charity.



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There's been a few similar threads over on uk.rec.models.rail from time to time about some of the stuff Hornby makes. Good news is that this kind of stuff has been a trouble for so long from some manufacturers is that a number of modelers have become very proficient at getting mediocre model mechanisms to work properly.

Bad news is that such manufacturers can drive people away from the hobby with enough bad experiences.

Doesn't Kato make the Atlas mechanisms?

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I don't have a lot of locos yet, but all the Atlas stuff runs very well, and almost all of them are Kato, a couple are made by someone else, not as quiet as the Kato drives, but they run fine.

Even some old Athern stuff runs fine with a little work to eliminate the wipers..


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No, at least in N scale. They used to. But currently Kato makes their in Japan (or so the label says) while Atlas makes their Kato clone mechanisms in China (alongside companies like Life-Like, Model Power, Athearn and Micro Trains).

As far as the original posters gripe goes - has he tried to call them and speak to some human in customer service? Maybe dealing with someone directly could result with a solution which will make all parties happy.


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Peter W.

Atlas is having money issues and has cut far back on service and new products as a result. Rumour has them being purchased by Walthers.

New products are cash on the container and with a string of bombs, Atlas's credit is running out with the Manufacturers in China according to my dealer.

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