Saturday, 12 September 2009

Black Tree Design

BTD have a terrible and well-deserved reputation for abysmal customer service. On 4th August 2008 I ordered some BTD Normans to use as Border Kingdoms armies in our Talomir Tales campaign. About three months later, part of my order turned up. The infantry were fine but I was not impressed with the quality of the cavalry; one of the horses only had three legs and others had minor casting defects. Still, given how long it had taken to get even these figures, I was not going to send these horses back. For all I knew, I might never see them again or any others besides! So, I painted these figures up and waited for the rest of my order. A couple of months down the line, I enquired about my order by email and through their website queries forum. I received no reply. I repeated this every couple of months, even adding a couple of written enquiries by post. I received no reply. Then suddenly I actually received a response completely out of the blue on 31st July 2009 informing me that the rest of my order would be due in a few weeks and offering me a free pack of figures of my choice. I replied immediately that I still wanted the figures and informed them which free pack I would like. It all went quiet again and I never expected to see the figures.

- Cue fanfare -

Today (12th September 2009) I received the rest of my order! One year, one month and one week after I originally sent it in, it turned up on the door mat. It even included a pack of free figures as an apology. The freebie pack was not the one I had asked for, but it is still useful to me, so that is all to the good. I doubt I shall ever use BTD again. I shall certainly not use their mail order service again despite the hefty discounts available. I might consider buying from them at shows if they are present, because I do like the style of the figures. At least at shows I could check that the figures are not miscast, and I would know that I was getting what I wanted when I wanted it. It's a good job I still want these figures for our games. The Border Kingdoms can now recruit some new troops to their army.


  1. Good for you it didn't turn out too bad. Wanted to order from them too but the feedback at TMP made me change my mind. I do hope they solve that problem. They have nice minis.

  2. I recently bought some minis from them and had excellent customer service, it may be they have improved their service in the face of bad reviews/the credit crunch? I was swiftly informed via email that my debit card could not be processed due to a technical error with their machine, but that a Visa or Mastercard would work and was given detailed instructions on how I could proceed. I followed these instructions and recieved confirmation shortly thereafter, again via email. My minis arrived within a few days and all were in excellent condition. I have no complaints about Black Tree but I can understand from your experience why you would be wary of them, as I would be of any company that had treated me in that way.

  3. Hi Paul, I am pleased your order worked out well. I have heard of others that have had good or at least tolerable service from BTD in the past. I hope your experience is a sign of things to come though. I would certainly be pleased if I could order from them reliably because they have good prices and some good figures. That said, I would need to be 100% certain that they were going to come up with the goods before I ever spent money with them again.

  4. Surely somebody somewhere must be getting good service, how could they keep in business otherwise?