A warning to all RC enthusiasts – Hobbyking

It’s been a while since I posted anything on my site. This is mainly because I have been busy and unable to race. However, during the time I have been away from racing I have found a little time to indulge in my other passion which is RC aircraft. Unfortunately this has been a real problem due to the activities of the online company Hobbyking. I am not in the habit of writing negative reviews of things and try to look on the positive side of problems I experience with model shops and online distributors, but this experience is worthy of an article.

The purpose of this is to get the word out about some extremely bad customer service and an attitude that is extremely poor in my opinion. Let the rant begin!

I decided to buy their Durafly Vampire EDF jet some weeks ago as the plane had some great reviews and looked to be an exciting little model to use. I placed my order for the plane along with two lipo batteries, a receiver and a tube of glue for attaching the wings. When the order had been processed I saw that delivery was to be about a week which was good considering the last time I had used them was to buy a small HD camera and that took the best part of six weeks to arrive (and was garbage when it did arrive).

A nice crack and scrunched foam on one of the wings.

Sure enough, and true to form, five weeks later nothing had turned up but I took it on the chin. When it finally arrived I unpacked and found considerable damage. One of the wings was crushed with a crack in the leading edge along with stretch marks at one end and a severely crushed edge. The other wing had damage to the trailing edge. The nose of the plane had also had pressure on it and the pieces of foam had started to come loose from their original moulding. There were also shabby aspects to the plane such as one of the stickers not being properly placed on the tail which looked really poor. Basically this plane looked like it had been crashed several times and it wasn’t even built yet!

So, as anyone would do I contacted Hobbyking and asked what they were going to do about it. I was told I could return it but I would be liable for the original postage, customs charges and the return postage. This totalled around $100. Yes, $100 to receive a box of broken foam and I had to pay to return goods that were damaged/faulty to them that were non-refundable! Therefore I would have to incur this hit in order to send it back to them. I replied to let them know that this was not acceptable to me and I felt that they were responsible for the postage costs cosidering I had been supplied with faulty goods.

The reply was short and to the point, and simply repeated that I would have to incur all the postage costs. I replied once again and said this was unacceptable and then opened a Paypal dispute. The Paypal dispute freezes the money you have paid for goods until the matter is resolved. I felt this was my only opportunity to make an impact on them as their attitude was basically ‘piss off’. I also posted comments on the site asking them to be fair and these were promptly deleted!

Once the Paypal dispute was in action I received an email from them with a marginal change of attitude (funny as soon as the money is frozen they contact me). They apologised for their previous email (even though it was a standard generic one they send out) and they offered me a paultry $20 to end the Paypal dispute. They must think I was born yesterday! I replied to inform them that this was not enough and heard nothing in return. I then decided as their site asks you to return all faulty good within 7 days that I would apply for a return RMA number as their site says you must do. What did I discover? They had deleted the order from my account! So even though I was within 7 days of receipt of the parcel I could not now obtain an RMA number to send it back! Unbelievable.

Needless to say this plane won’t fly very well!

Even after a long and difficult wait due to the Paypal dispute I then was told by Paypal that I would have to pay the postage costs. That’s right even a company like Paypal believes that if you are supplied with faulty goods it is your responsibility to pay the postage back to the company and that this is non-refundable!

The purpose of this article is to bring attention to the modelling community about people like this. On the whole I have found model shops in the UK (people like Al’s Hobbies) and Japanese companies (such as Banzai Hobby and RC Mart) to be excellent, and so willing to help. However, people like Hobbyking are extremely shady in the way they go about business such as deleting comments and orders and expecting to supply any old crap and the customer having to foot the bill.

My warning is if you are planning on buying from them you had better hope everything goes to plan otherwise be prepared to loose a lot of money either from having defective goods or from paying postage back to China as they don’t care two hoots about you or your custom.

About Jonathan Vickery

Welcome to my website. I am 31 years old and have been racing RC cars since 1994. Almost all of my RC experience is with Tamiya F1 cars having first raced an F102 and then an F103. I race in the UK Super Production Cup Championship and achieved sixth place in 2010, winning three finals.