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Sol
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http://www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/ldpbusiness/business-features/2011/09/28/model-train-steam-steams-past-8m-barrier-92534-29497490/

gdaysydney
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My wife's family came from Liverpool  and I made the mistake of showing her the article - needless to say she hijacked the computer and started reading other articles  :lol:




John Flann
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Interesting Ron, I knew of Hatton's in the 1950's when working in Liverpool and became a customer early 1960's when living in Preston; so that's 50 years or so.

I've always had value for money. And good service. Recently I ordered Saturday-delivered Tuesday.

And my wife comes from Liverpool too.

Petermac
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And good luck to them. :thumbs

It's absolutely stunning how fast a business can grow with the world wide marketplace offered by tyhe internet.  They must have  had a model railway enthusiast as a bank manager back in the early 90's ...................

My experience of them is that they're efficient, reliable and normally, cheap.  I suppose there is something to be said for size afterall.  Selling the product they do, if you "stack 'em high and sell 'em cheap", you've got a good business model for today's market.

If I know what I want then I normally buy from the cheapest supplier. (I can't visit a shop so it's always online shopping and provided of course, that they offer a reasonable service as well).

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Being a Liverpool lad born and bred myself Hattons has always been my "Local" model shop.
I have been served by Christine on a number of occasions and she always does her best to make sure
you leave the shop happy.
The big plus since the refit is there are no boxes piled high in the shop anymore and all models are in
specially lit display cases...

Sol
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I found out today that one shop in Australia has ceased being a member of a local association and advertising in their in-house magazine as the members are not purchasing from the shop but from mainly Hattons. I can understand why this Internet shopping is a boon for us Aussies because of the big price differential between us purchasing direct from Hattons, etc as we pay no VAT & here in Aust, there is an importer between manufacturer & retailer plus add local VAT ( GST). In many cases. Aust price is nearly double for what we can purchase from the UK & thanks Hattons, etc for those savings.

 

Edit by Sol for spelling.

Last edited on Sat Oct 15th, 2011 09:55 pm by

Gwiwer
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The debate about retail pricing in Australia (specifically with reference to model rail items) comes up regularly in the various fora and is currently under way again on Railpage Australia. The local retailers are basically over a barrel and cannot buy stuff as cheaply as it can be sold from the UK. In order to make any profit they are forced to charge what are generally considered to be very high prices.

Hattons, and other businesses, may charge as they see fit and over many years Hattons has made a world-wide name for themselves as a bargain-price shifter of boxes in huge quantities. As such they can offer discounts based on these large volumes in the same way that Tesco can beat the local corner shop for price every time. We don't have control over tax laws as individuals but we in Australia can certainly benefit hugely from shopping online with such stores.

Put simply a typical UK-theme locomotive listed by a manufacturer as RRP £115 might be offered by Hattons for £100 and with no need to pay VAT it can be sold to a non-EU customer for something like £81 (I know logic says £80 but that's not quite how it works). On the shelves here it would sell for around $275 which factors in import duties, dealer fees and shop profit margins and also the fact that unlike Hattons only very tiny numbers of the item might sell locally. That would be around £180 :shock: and illustrates perfectly why we don't buy such things locally.

Last edited on Sat Oct 15th, 2011 08:50 pm by

Wheeltapper
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In the UK it does not seem to make a lot of sense that I can buy many of the Chinese and Japanese products direct from China or Japan even including shipment charges  for much less than from a so called large UK importer  where I only have to pay Uk postage but that is now frequently the case.

Its also noticeable that importing small amounts of stuff from the USA to UK seems to becoming both easier  and cheaper  than it has been which is a very welcome development as far as I am concerned.

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A lot of the price differential is down to overheads.

Hattons say that over 80% of their turnover is online.  That leaves 20% for "over the counter".  If that 20% had to carry all the wages, electricity, rent and rates etc. etc. then you'd see a huge increase in prices.  The overheads for an online business are just the computer and packing costs.  Naturally, they still have to buy the stock but so does everyone else.  I doubt anyone in UK would get higher quantity discounts than Hattons so they do have an edge.

I'm afraid I don't hold with this "it's not fair" cry by small retailers (I'm only talking about non-perishable goods here).  Everyone, and I mean everyone,  should sell online.  That's how shopping is done nowadays and to rely on just your shop for turnover is like opening a retail unit in the middle of an airfield !!!

Once the councils realise this fact and pitch their business rates accordingly, there might be less charity shops and "To Let" notices cluttering our high streets.

Of course there are national import taxes to bear in mind which is why Richard can buy direct from the Far East and the States cheaper than he can from UK suppliers.  That's probably also why Australian retailers can't offer competitive prices on models imported from the UK.

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As someone who does quite a bit of shopping on line, I find there are some exceptions.  I like to go into stores to buy electronic goods and things like cameras, for example.

It really annoys the retailers here when shoppers go into their stores and get customer advice about products - AND THEN buy them online.

My kids buy their groceries on line now.  I couldn't have imagined doing that, but I'm warming to the idea.

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I generally prefer to see what it is I am considering purchasing first. And I mean see it not just view online images. Whether it be a shirt, a cauliflower or a model train.

However with the generally high level of manufacturing quality and consistency of build it is usually possible to take on trust the model railway items and buy confidently online.

There are exceptions. Some items (often small scenic pieces) which I cannot see to my satisfaction from online images may be found in local shops and in that case as I am there if I am satisfied I may well buy them there and then.

We have once or twice ventured into online grocery shopping to test the service more than anything. It was satisfactory but there is still no way to choose which cauliflower you get from all those available. And I don't buy clothes online because I need to try them on first. If they don't fit it can be a real PITA to return them and try to get a refund or replacement.

I have always found Hattons online service to be good. They are a box shifter and with that in mind I have to say on the occasions when it has been necessary to communicate directly (by email in my case) their response has not always been swift, nor customer-friendly, nor understanding. But I have always got the result I was seeking eventually and without additional costs.

Petermac
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MaxSouthOz wrote: ...............................................................................

It really annoys the retailers here when shoppers go into their stores and get customer advice about products - AND THEN buy them online.

................................................................

Couldn't agree more Max and that's something I'd never ever do !!

If I've taken up the retailers time and used his expertise, then it's only fair that I buy from him if I'm going to buy at all.

I meant "knowing" exactly what you want and then buying that product from the cheapest source - not something "like" it, the exact product.

gordons19
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Glad to hear Hattons are doing so well....:thumbs

They certainly deserve it on service alone.

Just as an aside on the maths and as you rightly say Sol, these calaculations often confuse people.  If VAT is 20% and something is £100 inc VAT, the net cost is £100 / 1.2 = £83.33.

To get back to the £100, £83.33 + VAT = £83.33 x 1.2 = £100.

If I had a pound for every time I had to explain the difference between gross margin and mark up in my working life, I'd be a very rich man....:cheers

Last edited on Sun Oct 16th, 2011 10:34 am by gordons19

Wheeltapper
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We now do all our shopping , including food , on line . It was, to start with ,a case of needs must but as we have got used to the system we have found it very useful and a considerable saving in time and money. We still use the local corner convenience store for last minute purchases but I find the free delivery service that my supermarket provides saves me hours of time and the hassle  of parking for the weekly main shop.

The internet gives me a much bigger range of products than our small town shopping centre .I could always go to the mega retail park at Merry Hill  but its not known to the locals as MERRY HELL for nothing and I would prefer to avoid that place like the plague rather than share the retail experience with 20000 other shoppers. I just dont understand people like my cousin who loves going to these mammoth retail sites for a day out - very sad in my view.

On the model railway front the internet  often lets me go to the manufacturers direct for orders and pricing is always competetive. I use Hattons , Kernow , Modellers Mecca from the big boys   quite often but also use small companies in Australia , USA and Japan . as well as UK There are probably half a dozen ebay shops that I use for particular items.

I still try to get to the local model shops on a "Use it or Lose It" basis but most do not have the range of goods that I will want  and although I can order through them there is usually a long delay from ordering to delivery  (on average 3 or 4 weeks) as the retailer often only orders from their supplier once a month whereas if I go on the net its often here next day.

My one gripe about the internet and model railway shopping is the minimum shipping costs charged by most of the big boys and box shifters. Whereas a charge of £4 for postage on a £75 order may be thought reasonable when the order may only be for one small item perhaps less than a couple of quid in value that same £4 minimum shipping charge becomes excessive.

Like it or hate it Net Shopping is here to stay.

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I've given up thinking about postal charges. The nearest model shop is nearly 50 miles away so at 40mpg and the price of diesel it's no more expensive to have a even small order from Kernow or Hattons. Added to that the wife has to take me as I no longer drive and it keeps the postie or parcels man in a job.

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In praise of Hattons service, goods ordered 11.00 Tuesday received 08.30 Wednesday. Excellent.
Mike

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Mike, we have had problems Down Under getting goods from Hattons especially if using the City Link method of postage - takes ages, like weeks & weeks but then Royal Mail was slow in early August coming here. I have two parcels posted early August & they are still not here & Hattons are blaming Royal Mail.

Normally about 1.5 weeks but when I first started in the UK scene and got bits & pieces from Mainly Trains, ordered Monday morning first thing here & they arrived Friday morning.

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I have to agree with Sol here on the problems with City Link.

Hattons offers a choice of carrier for international shipping with City Link air priority usually being the cheapest, followed by Royal Mail surface then Royal Mail air often with no more than £1 difference in cost.

City Link offer contract prices but "priority" does not mean you get things quicker. Far from it. They bulk-buy container space and ship when they have a full container via routes which might seem very odd.

Two packages have so far arrived here in Swiss Post mailbags. Quite small packages mind you and in a full-size mail bag! The transit time is anything from 3 - 6 weeks and was 3 months at one stage.

I select Royal Mail air for any new orders now. The transit time is around 10 days.

Hattons despatch the goods within hours of taking the order. The rest is not within their control but is partially within the control of their customers when they select their preferred shipping method and cost.

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I had a problem once when they had a huge backlog of Christmas stuff - don't know why but they concentrated on that for UK delivery and my "overseas" stuff took almost a month - missing a birthday in the process.

They did apologise but it still missed the birthday.

That's the only time I've ever had problems with them. 

I assume they all use the same sort of services for delivery but I've found it is usually no more than a day or so longer than a letter from UK.  A shop in Cornwall has similar delivery times as do most of the others I deal with.

To Europe (or to France at least), I can't fault Royal Mail - often quicker than within the UK itself !!!

Whilst I do grumble at the "standard" charges, it's much cheaper than going to a shop myself - even if there was one !!!!

John Flann
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One earlier City Link delivery took over two months, but my last recently only two weeks-I was surprised, perhaps I was just lucky.

With DHL, however it's very quick and a matter of days. It's more expensive but worth it.

Hatton's offers the opportunity, and you pay your money and take your choice. In other words you get what you pay for.

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I think City Link may have improved I have had three deliveries from Hattons in the last few months and they all seemed to take between 2 and 3 weeks..........and that includes the Canada Post element:roll:

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Ordered from Hattons yesterday - delivered this afternoon via City Link - that aspect could not be faulted.

Unusually for Hattons though packaging and packing   was very amateurishly and poorly done. It  looked as though a 5 year old had been given a roll of tape and left to get on with it so there was some minor damage but I think I can fix it without returning the quite expensive item to them with all the hassle that involves.

On the whole they are pretty quick but if stuff has to be back ordered they dont always let you know  when it does come in and its not unknown for it to turn up unexpected which I would imagine in some cases is awkward from a cash flow point of view.

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Parking is a problem at Hattons (on the rare occasion I'm passing through) so the postage option is still best for me if I buy from there - usually special offers.

gdaysydney
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I have had similar very poor experiences with City Link  and have left standing instructions that on no account are my parcels to be sent via that carrier

Last edited on Tue Jan 17th, 2012 03:26 am by gdaysydney

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:Happy  In the past week I have had two deliveries by Standard Royal Mail  from Hattons - in both instances the time from order to delivery ( in Australia) was seven business days !!! 




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Now that's good service Dave, very good.

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What I like is the service that Hattons provide. As I rely on mailorder I cannot have a look at the items and there are no local clubs that have knowledge in OO gauge British railway modelling. So sometimes I need someone to ask. And they always answer my emails. If something goes wrong and I get a duff loco - no problem they will sort it out in a fast and friendly way. The same can be said of Rails of Sheffield. In my experience the British model shop are more customer friendly than their German counterparts. More often than once I have been let down by poor service from German shops where it had been easy to spend money but much less easy to get advice or help.
So I am very astonished when I read that sometimes these shops are referred of as box shifters that are not good for the hobby.

Thomas

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Robert wrote: Now that's good service Dave, very good.

There are three parties involved - Hattons, Royal Mail and Australia Post - whilst I have never had cause to complain about Hattons it pleasing to see what can be done when the other two get their act together. 

 

 That said I suspect it was just a case of the "planets aligning" and I have most likely put the hex on delivery times for the rest of the year :lol:

 

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FS wrote: So I am very astonished when I read that sometimes these shops are referred of as box shifters that are not good for the hobby.

Thomas


Hi Thomas,

I think it may be a description of their business model rather than a reflection on their service standards. 

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Very disappointed with Hattons ,this is the 2nd time I had something on preorder only to have an email stating that the item had been cancelled by the Manufacturer on checking I found out that other suppliers had these in stock and seem puzzled by Hattons email. It appears that Hattons so I was told did not order these item s soon enough and by then then Manufacturer had sold out. A little bit of honesty from Hattons would be appreciated. I for one will never pre-order anything from them in future !! :Red Card

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I should of added that I emailed them about this and have as yet no reply ,seems that their PR is going down the hill

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Greenfingers wrote: Very disappointed with Hattons ,this is the 2nd time I had something on preorder only to have an email stating that the item had been cancelled by the Manufacturer on checking I found out that other suppliers had these in stock and seem puzzled by Hattons email. It appears that Hattons so I was told did not order these item s soon enough and by then then Manufacturer had sold out. A little bit of honesty from Hattons would be appreciated. I for one will never pre-order anything from them in future !! :Red Card

They probably are telling the truth:  the order was cancelled by the manufacturer as Hattons had not ordered early enough to secure the goods.  I think it depends how you interpret what you were told.

I have a parcel sitting on my table, delivered today from Hattons, for a 'pre-ordered' set of three flat wagons with BD containers.  I'm also looking forward to the 'pre-ordered' Beyer-Garratt.  I can only speak as a very satisfied customer of Hattons.

I once took Hattons to task over this term 'pre-ordered' which is a nonsense word.  You can't 'pre-order' anything.  Once you have placed an order, even for goods which are not yet available, then you have ordered them. They agreed with me but refused to change the word on their website.  Right, I'm off to 'pre-drink' a cup of tea!

Terry 

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I place an order with Hattons once a month and have been for the last 6 months and in all instances the package (very well packed) has arrived on time and on target 7 days after placing the order.

I ring them when I place my orders, and have found the staff members I have talked to very polite and always willing to assist if I ask about other items I have seen in their online cattledog.

Why do I use Hattons, simple cant get what I need for the layout in Australia. Besides I have found I can get items from Hatton far quicker than by placing an order with a local supplier.

Hattons gets my vote and good to see a company who thro hard work starting from nothing developing to what they are today.

(Bet I just put a hex on myself)

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Last edited on Mon Oct 19th, 2015 08:47 am by

toto
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:hmm

I see Ian ...... A man of few words.:mutley

I'll keep mine brief ........ Hattons ....... Very rarely beaten on value or service.

Toto

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:mutley:mutley:mutley

He's the strong silent one ...................:cheers

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Ordered some track from Hattons on line Tuesday morning, got a text from them to say it was being delivered today via courier and it was. Well done to all concerned.

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Likewise with my full brake / parcels vans. Ordered Sunday ...... Arrived yesterday. How can you argue with that ?


Toto

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Sorry guys but I started to ask a question on this post but then switched to....? ....? ... zzzzzzzzz ...er... thingy...oh yes exporting to Spain...?

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And the answer is "Yes, they do" ;-)

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Bob the builder does model railways! ;-)

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Hello there,

I bought a lot of stuff from them. But at this moment the shipping service seems to work very very slowly (I live in France) since they moved to a new place. Am I wrong...or not ?

Ed
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You're right Chris they have had a bit of a problem, but tell me it's now fixed.

I ordered some track last Thursday (18th) and only got it Wednesday after chasing the order via email.

Quote from Ben Ashwin at Hattons "the delays are being treated as a matter of urgency by everyone here".

Don't think you'll have to wait much longer.


Ed

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Problem solved: I cancelled my last order. And now, I'm waiting for my refund. :twisted:

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Hattons MD, Richard Davies, has in the past five days posted on RMweb to personally acknowledge the delays and customer frustrations currently occurring. Richard has not previously posted there before.

The shift from High Street retailer (OK, Smithdown Road retailer if you insist) to eCommerce warehouse business has it seems not been without some problems. Some comments have been made to the effect of a sharp and unexpected upturn in overseas orders following the Brexit vote and currency value adjustments around the world.

Something called Operation MacGyver has been taking place to rearrange the (only recently arranged) warehouse and to install new automated packing lines.

Notwithstanding this there have been a fair number of adverse comments citing unusually long delivery times, absence of the usual emailed information, conflicting information and mistakes being made at the picking stage requiring incorrect orders to be returned by customers.

I myself have one overdue order and one which I am assured by email has been picked, packed and despatched despite the manufacturer in question stating the product will not be released until December this year .....

Further to those issues a few users ave reported technical problems with the Hattons website which have been carried over from the now-closed eHattons.com to the revamped httons.co.uk which has basically assumed the identity of the previous .com site with its own previous content and style now vanished.

Graeme Hogg of their IT department is in email contact with those he knows to be affected.

I am left with the feeling that while Hattons is trying hard to make amends for some recent poor service that they might have jumped a bit too far and are struggling to keep things going. I do hope they resolve their issues swiftly.

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Can't understand why there is no notification on their website that they are experiencing difficulties and dispatch may be delayed, however the thing that got me miffed is that they processed my order and took the payment on Friday 19th, even though the goods had not been picked or packed.

If I hadn't contacted them initially via their website on Tuesday 23rd, I might still be waiting.

(Rick, to be fair not everyone has access to RMweb or would know about that particular thread. I knew there was a general one, but it was only after I'd had a problem that I saw the latest posts regarding deliveries and realised it wasn't just me).


Ed


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Ed wrote:


(Rick, to be fair not everyone has access to RMweb or would know about that particular thread. I knew there was a general one, but it was only after I'd had a problem that I saw the latest posts regarding deliveries and realised it wasn't just me).




Quite so. And one reason why I made mention of it here knowing that we don't all see every modelling site there is.

A little additional information here didn't seem to be out of place.

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I've been using Hattons now for years but if you're trying to order Peco points and trackwork forget it  coz you'll end up talking to a very friendly young lady who hasn't a clue as to what you're talking about in respect of what rail code, insulfrog, elctro frog, set track, crazy track, rail joiners and radii  and if you can't quote the product serial number then an hour later you'll end up with a large telephone bill and no track .

So, phone up Gaugemaster instead where you'll be talking to someone who knows what you're talking about but not much about nail polish and gloss lipstick !

Allan 

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I'm sorry to hear of this.  It won't be the first time "automation" and a move to "e-commerce"  has fouled up an otherwise exceptional business so I'd tend to go along with them for the time being to give them the oportunity to get things sorted out.  It is sad that, apparently, machines are to blame for what should be a "personal" shopping experience...........:cry:

What is more upsetting is that they have gone to the bother of posting something on RMWeb when probably the majority of their customers don't go there ......................:roll::roll:

Do the rest of us take it that, unless we belong to RMWeb, we're not important !!!!  :twisted:

This opens the door even wider to their competitors ...............

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It was RMweb users who also happened to be Hattons customers complaining about deliveries Peter, not specifically Hattons MD explaining about delivery problems. I think he was posting before this happened about other matters.

I'm sure this is just a temporary glitch, otherwise I would have posted about it before. As it is, I was really just answering Chris's query about slow delivery.

I may be wrong, but I'll continue to use them.


Ed






Last edited on Fri Aug 26th, 2016 02:24 pm by Ed

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Oh, I'll certainly continue to use them Ed.  When ordering stuff from UK for delivery here, a few days delay is no problem at all.

I was merely saying that, just because you're King of the Castle, doesn't mean you automatically stay there.  You have to work harder to stay at the top than you do to get there in the first place because everyone else is shooting at just you.

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I really can't complain about Hattons delivery service because whatever I order arrives before I put the phone down - well nearly......

And they've ALWAYS got what they advertise in stock - plus they're not just all about a choo choo in a red box but also the materials with which to build one. Anyway, what I said about ordering Peco track ... well. You should try Peco's own website then you'll really know what confusion's all about - they've got it down to a fine art ! 


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I'm waiting for the end of all their problems. Then I can order anything I want.:brickwall

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Can anybody make sense of Hattons' website?  It is now abysmal.  If you want to buy a new item, you have to wade through pages of secondhand models, trying to pick out the new stuff.  If you click on the 'new stock' heading at the top of the page, it all comes up as weekly lists of new releases.  One of the most 'user unfriendly' sites I have ever come across.  In fact I have given up on a few occasions and looked elsewhere.

Terry

Last edited on Sat Aug 27th, 2016 06:29 am by col.stephens

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When you view a page of products there is a check box top right of the view. Uncheck the box to remove second-hand items. I agree that some sections gave become swamped by second-hand stuff but not all. Some of those listings are also offering long-discontinued but sought-after items.


                 

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