Fleischmann / Roco Warranty Blues

I miss my Deutsche Bundesbahn Class 64!

I discussed some of my issues with my Fleischmann BR 64 locomotive in a post last winter. The BR 64 was performing very poorly and it was obvious something was really wrong. According to my dealer, the issue is that there is a gear issue and it is causing the wheel drive to get stuck and thus the poor performance. It seems that this is a clear design flaw that cannot be repaired and the locomotive needs to be replaced (good for him!) :-) He also informs me that my locomotive is one of four he has seen with the same problem (ouch! Bad for Fleischmann/Roco!).

It seems that when Roco acquired Fleischmann last year, all the Fleischmann managers were let go and there was also some signficant reorganization (both physical and organizational) which helps to explain the delay. That doesn't mean that I think this delay is acceptable, however. This is one of those occassions where a good dealer really pays off, they've already made their margins on this deal, and they do this all to support their customers. The benefit to the dealer (in this case) is that I definitely have high confidence in purchasing from them in the future! Thanks Walter!

For Fleischmann / Roco, however, another story. Given the relative premium they charge for their products (they seem to be the highest, even compared to Minitrix) I would like to expect a bit more from them right out of the box (especially as this locomotive came as part of a 'starter set'! What kind of impression does this leave with someone new to the hobby! Arg!!!) and despite a two year warranty, one certainly does not expect that a locomotive will spend a good portion of that time somewhere in a warehouse waiting to get 'looked at' rather than quickly replaced!

I hope this is not the future direction for the new Roco company and its Fleischmann acquisition, but we have seen similar sad developments in this hobby in the past. I would be interested to know if any others are also experiencing these sort of problems with Roco / Fleischmann?


  1. Hell, at least is has a warranty! The Japanese trains we love so much, for as inexpensive and well-built as they are, have no such thing attached to them at all. Indeed, in large part, unless you live in Japan, repairing them is a totally DIY affair.

    Still, it is painful to hear such stories of bad PR, and long-missing locos…

  2. Well, you know Europeans are not really aware of what customer service means, usually the Germans do better...but in the case of companies that go bancrupt and bought out every 2 years, I'm not really surprised ;-)
    I still am amazed how they can sell in the US so well though. I mean even here in Europe, if I want to call customer support, I can: as for my experience it was a single old guy answering the phone in German only and 2 days a week during a 4 hours time windows ;-)

    Only one solution: do our best for the industry to thrive again, i.e. buy plenty of average quality models with bad support in the meantime ;)

  3. Thanks Pierre....your experience with the 'direct' customer support is very amusing! :-) Of course, I suppose I should feel very lucky, as Artificial Science says, that I am able to get a warranty at all!