It has been a strange Games Workshop day for me. I woke up this morning intent on calling Games Workshop about a missing part I had with my new Helcannon, As always Games Workshops customer service was great, they were processing my re-order when all of sudden the phone cut out! I tried calling back and all I got was a busy signal, 15 minutes later a GW customer rep called me on his personal cell phone to finish the conversation. Like I said, really great customer service! The rep said that they entire phone system was down, but wouldn’t give a reason. I really didn’t think much of it, but when I got to my local game store the owner asked me if I knew anything about GW changing their terms to retailers.
I told him no, but ask him why he asked me. It turns out that GW reps had sent out an email warnings retailers about upcoming changes to their policies. Like all GW retailers they waited for the slap in the face from GW to arrive. As it turns out, all American retailers got this notice and could be one possible reason for the phones “not working” in Memphis.
So, what has changed? As of tonight (always deliver bad news on the last business day) no retailer with a Games Workshop account is allowed to break open boxes and sell models individually or as bits. That means if the Warstore or Spikeybitz has a GW account they cannot sell bits. That is at least what has been relayed to me, and judging by a new Dakkadakka thread is the case. Of course, a smart retailer will find a way around this, but if you ain’t your out of luck. This also extends to Ebay, but Games Workshop has always had a strict Ebay reselling policy.
The more integrating question is why the change? Some say it is stop cheap parts going to Australian, anything else it is a stab at online retailers. My personal feeling and something I think has been building for a long time is GW might get back in the bits game. Since, only American retailers got the notice and the Chapterhouse litigation going so poorly; it makes me wonder if and when GW loses to Chapterhouse, will it mean the full bits range is back on!
I for one hope that is the case. When GW stopped selling the full bits range it angered a lot of people and ended up creating a new market that they are now trying to squash. It also makes a lot of sense if you want to create a “direct only” product. Like everything we will have to wait and see.
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