My experience with Chess Bazaar

beige-canoe

There has been recent discussion of chessbazaar.com (https://www.chess.com/forum/view/general/poor-quality-and-service-from-chess-bazaar) and I thought that I would add my 2 cents worth.

I bought a custom set (a 4 inch king version of their “Imperial Collector Series”) at considerable cost from chess bazaar about 18 months ago. Recently, two of the queens developed large cracks at their bases. I emailed them to ask about getting replacements as per their warranty for this kind of defect.

 When I had purchased the set, I asked about their warranty for my custom set and they answered “we will offer you Free Shipping, Life Time Warranty and Free Replacements for this custom chess set.” Despite this unequivocal promise, they replied to my request to replace the damaged queens as follows: “Sorry to hear about this but we would not be able to provide you replacements for the cracked pieces as we had made this set… specially in a custom order for you. We also didn't have its dyes/tools for the set available with us and creating a new one will cost us a fortune. Moreover, we do not provide any guarantee on custom sets.”

 It was only when I quoted their earlier email did they agree to replace the queens. They did not, however, actually do so. They instead sent me substitute queens from some other set (as near as I can tell from the 3.75 inch king version of the “Imperial Collector Series”, which had not been available when I ordered my custom set). As you would expect, the differences between the queens from the two sets are apparent. When I brought the discrepancy to their attention (with this photo - original queen on the right),

phplY72OS.jpeg

 

saying that I wished to have queens of the same size and proportions as the originals, they replied, “Sorry for this problem with your custom set but we had sent you 4 queens instead of 2 queens in replacement so that you can use them with your custom set.” The bottom line is that their idea of replacement is to substitute custom pieces damaged due to cracking with pieces that they deem adequate rather than replace them with the ones purchased.

 Because they did not even have the dimensions on record, I had offered from the very beginning to mail them one of the queens so that they could get it right. They rejected that idea. The fact that they did not even keep records of the piece dimensions raises additional questions about how they could guarantee replacement pieces in the first place. It seems clear to me that chess bazaar never intended to honor their warranty for the custom set (at the very least, not in the way that a replacement warranty for pieces within a set is normally understood). I’m frankly baffled at this poor behavior when the cost of making it right is far less than I put out for the set in the first place.

 To make matters worse, I accidentally damaged one of the kings in the set after they had sent me the queens. They quoted a $US 50 fee for replacing the king, which is fair, because the damage was my fault. I emailed them back saying, however, that I would not order a king until the queen replacements issue was resolved. I also said that under their idea of replacement, I would likely end up with a king that was not only out of proportion with the other pieces but would also be different from the other king in the set. Their reply?  They would not resolve the queens issue but they could provide 2 kings at a cost of $US 80 (which would presumably guarantee that the substitute kings would be of the same size as each other although probably not the size or proportions of the original set). And what would happen if in the future a knight, bishop, or rook cracked due to manufacturing defect? I would end up with 4 more disproportioned pieces. Or if I damaged one accidentally, I would need to buy 4 substitute pieces if I wanted all of the pieces to have the same dimensions (and who wouldn’t?). I decided to cut my losses and did not order the king substitutes. For my initial $CDN 490 layout for the custom set (about twice the price of the new 3.75 inch version now available), I now have a damaged set and four additional undersized queens.

 I am glad for the chess.com members who have not had any problems with chess bazaar. Chess bazaar’s sets are indeed beautiful for the price. I’m glad too for magictwanger as it seems that the issues that prompted his initial post may be on their way to being resolved. Unfortunately, there does not appear to be a resolution in sight for my issue. 

ilikewindmills
Call the refund police people.
htdavid

I am actually surprised that they give lifetime warranty on a custom made set...

 

Chessbazaar have serious problems with the internal structure of their organization.

 

My guess is that sales people makes their check on commission bases and so they will promise anything knowing that in few months they will not longer be working for that company, and so they don't care, they just take the commission and walk, and if there is any problem in the future, it is not their problem.

 

So be not surprise that they were surprised about the sales rep making this promises to you.

 

In this light, I think they actually did a fair attempt to make it right for you.

 

My recommendation here is for you to contact Alan from chessspy.com, At this moment it seems like there is some problems with his website but he visits this forums.

 

https://www.chess.com/member/chessspy1

 

He definitely will be able to make perfect replacements for your pieces, though I have not idea how much he ask for it.

celticduck

I am a 2-time customer of CB. The first purchase made me very happy and I wrote a positive review. They immediately put it up on their website and Facebook. The second acquisition went less well. I thought the set had many deficiencies.

 

Needless to say, the did not approve my negative review for their site. I can't see myself ordering from them again.

loubalch

Chess Bazaar, like a fair-weather friend, is solidly behind you when things are sunny and clear. Less so as the clouds begin to gather, and nowhere to be found when the weather turns inclement. As the Romans would say, Caveat Emptor -- buyer beware!

Or, as the old proverb says, "You pays your money and you takes your chance."

 

 

 
Ronbo710

Thanks for the warning. 

magictwanger

 I am the person who "originally" posted the bad service and quality thread mentioned at the beginning of this particular thread.....I feel for you!! Since my posting I put in a claim with my CC company and that got CB's attention......I did find(if you read my posting) the key inside of my "locked when it came to me" case,but that never should have been sent out like that.Still,it was easy to open...My bad! I have yet to receive my TWO damaged white rooks,but have been assured by CB that it was mailed.They gave me a tracking number......They "did" call me twice from India(after lodging the CC complaint) so I kinda' figured their heart was in the right place.....but....I was told by the fellow who called that they cannot reach me by my normal E-mail address....Huh!!n I got an E-mail just yesterday giving me the tracking number for my rooks......# of my 4 orders had issues,but as of yesterday I was going to still give them business,except that I'm worried about future communications in case i have new issues! One person tells me they can't use my email address and the next one(Sapna) sends me a message,weeks after I last messaged her....Hmm?.....I have my eye on three more of their sets (Bovnonnick,Antique Calvert,Grand Divan cigar) but am unsure i wish to move forward after this new posting......Btw,the cracking could also be a lack of proper humidity in your room,where the set is sitting.....if it is left out all the time.....I have some very nice acoustic guitars and i know this well,as they are very humidity sensitive.....Wood you know.-happy.png  Good luck.

cgrau

Sorry to hear of your experience, B-C. I would think that they manufactured your custom set by hand, and that a skilled artisan retained by them would be able to make a good copy by hand in the same way Alan Dewey would. I could tell you in general what your remedies are at law, but, without offering legal advice, as a practical matter you likely have very little recourse against CB. Your practical remedies are to accept the mismatched pieces, or to retain someone like Alan here at your own expense, to hand turn and carve replacement copies. Your likelihood of recovering anything from them, practically speaking, is dependent entirely upon their good will.

maik1988

Somehow I cannot really imagine this happening with other retailers like OS and HoS..

maik1988

 Also, with $ 500 to spend I would definitely not have chosen CB. There are much nicer sets in that price range from other retailers than what CB has to offer.

manfred_scriba_ms07

 

Sorry to hear about the bad experiences with CB. My experience with them over the past 3 years been very good overall. Their products are good to very good for the price. I purchased several sets and boards from Chess Bazaar and not every package arrived in perfect shape. I've posted in another forum too whenever I got damaged pieces, I contacted them and had the replacement in my hands within two weeks for free. In October I also ordered one custom set which I've received last week in a perfect shape. While ordering custom set they wrote me this thing "Kindly note that *Once ordered the custom sets cannot be cancelled, changed or refunded". Some people like the Chess Bazaar sets, other people don't think they're good but I think they're well made and attractive.

@maik1988 Neither HOS nor OS offer the services like custom set.

maik1988

@ Manfred: Yeah, I was wondering about that. What is the process of placing a custom order for a set? I mean, do you just say I would like it to be like (insert CB set here) but with a taller king and thicker rook, etc.? Or do you actually send them drawings to start from scratch? Because if so, I suppose your drawings must be really good. Another forum member sent a sketch of a set, front view and profile if I remember correctly, to Noj, another manufacturer, and they did the entire set for him. He however asked a graphic designer to do the sketches..

maik1988

I used to take some drawing lessons. It can be a pleasurable and rewarding pastime.

cgrau
maik1988 wrote:

@ Manfred: Yeah, I was wondering about that. What is the process of placing a custom order for a set? I mean, do you just say I would like it to be like (insert CB set here) but with a taller king and thicker rook, etc.? Or do you actually send them drawings to start from scratch? Because if so, I suppose your drawings must be really good. Another forum member sent a sketch of a set, front view and profile if I remember correctly, to Noj, another manufacturer, and they did the entire set for him. He however asked a graphic designer to do the sketches..

Maik, that other member would be me. 

The sketches were only the beginning of the process. We compiled as much photographic evidence of the design as we could, and were able to discover a number of hi-res photos of the set in action. We then undertook a long and thorough iterative process with Gregor Novak in which he would turn and carve blanks, and we would compare them with the pictures, and suggest modifications which he would then incorporate into the next round of blanks. Not only is Gregor one of the world's preeminent chess turners and carvers, but he is a very patient man. Here is a picture of only a small sample of the blanks he turned during development...

phpVoHOe7.jpeg

Here is an example of the feedback we would share...

phpPc8Pde.jpeg

magictwanger

 Well,finally I got my two rooks....Took almost a month,but all seems to be OK......I think CB has some very nice sets at good prices,but it's been such a hassle that I'm still on the fence about ordering from them again.....Basically,it was in communications.After all the original "unanswered" emails I'd sent,they responded after I logged my post and called my CC company.....They stated they tried to email me,but my usual(totally fine) email address did not work for them....Until my CC company told them I'd lodged a complaint.Then my address was fine!Suddenly got a message that my pieces were shipped,followed by a "sale" they were having!

I guess my address worked after all. When I read all of the criticisms from folks,about cracking pieces and boards it puts me off,especially how I had to pull teeth to get my  issues resolved......but....I'd like to give CB the benefit of the doubt,as they made good overall and sent me another email declaring support for me......We'll see.......Best to all-happy.png

TundraMike

There is one inherent problem they had up to two years ago or so.  They did not seal their dyed pieces. You may not notice it if you bought a rosewood and boxwood set as those pieces are not dyed. But I went back and tried to wax some black dyed pieces (yes their ebony is dyed also) and the rag becomes a mess. Just like when I went to wax the crimson set I bought 2 to 3 years ago, just one big mess.  The antique pieces also were not sealed.   They seemed to change shades etc. given a week in the box.  Just my observations. They finally told their workers or whoever finishes the pieces to seal them after you stain.  Now it is now a problem but I have 4 sets that I can not wax at all, either dyed boxwood or dyed ebony or the great crimson color that bleed all over.  

That was very careless. On the other hand not that I was happy with ever HOS I bought but at least the dyed wood was sealed.  

What bothered me is they should have taken the sets back and corrected the finish but they never wanted to. 

As I understand  Gregor puts several coats of sealant on and finishes the pieces off better than anyone.

 

Ronbo710
wiscmike wrote:

There is one inherent problem they had up to two years ago or so.  They did not seal their dyed pieces. You may not notice it if you bought a rosewood and boxwood set as those pieces are not dyed. But I went back and tried to wax some black dyed pieces (yes their ebony is dyed also) and the rag becomes a mess. Just like when I went to wax the crimson set I bought 2 to 3 years ago, just one big mess.  The antique pieces also were not sealed.   They seemed to change shades etc. given a week in the box.  Just my observations. They finally told their workers or whoever finishes the pieces to seal them after you stain.  Now it is now a problem but I have 4 sets that I can not wax at all, either dyed boxwood or dyed ebony or the great crimson color that bleed all over.  

That was very careless. On the other hand not that I was happy with ever HOS I bought but at least the dyed wood was sealed.  

What bothered me is they should have taken the sets back and corrected the finish but they never wanted to. 

As I understand  Gregor puts several coats of sealant on and really finished he pieces off better than anyone.

 

Agreed. If it comes from Noj it is top shelf all the way. I am eager to receive my Tal set.Smile

maik1988

 @ cgrau: It must have been a pleasant experience working that closely with someone as good as Gregor. Like discussing chess with a grandmaster over a cup of tea. I've always liked the look of the dubrovnik sets he makes. Wish they were at the price point they were at 4 years ago though.

Rsava
Stauntonmaster wrote:

Customers need to practice caution with Chessbazaar’s products. From my own peronal experience and that of many others, the CB chess sets are full of faults and defects of all sorts. Some of these defects are visible such as hairline cracks, chips, disproportionate pieces: one knight’s head bigger than the other, one bishop shorter than the other or the base of one king smaller than the other. To see the hidden defects such as scuffs, some thin hairline cracks you would need a magnifying glass like the ones you have on your mobile phones. Besides, the weights of the pieces are so different, I bought a set from CB where the pawn was heavier than the queen! That is why Chessbazaar has even a large section for ‘imperfect chess sets’ in its website. The main trick CB has been using over many years are the everyday sale to allure the customers into buying their junk and they have been very successful so far thanks to the gullible chess addicts! 

Why do you continue to dig up old threads about CB?

We get it, you hate Chess Bazaar. Lots of us dislike them. 

But your behavior is bordering on some sort of psychosis. 

Who are you? Are you a vendor that has a grudge against them? Identify yourself so we can see who we are dealing with.

snickerspanda

Was going to say the same thing. I like the discussions here by experts on good sets, and it's really annoying right now to read that crazy hate in every single thread. It's doesn't convey any information and looks really suspicious like systematic slander.