Lego Says They're Going To Do Something, Then They Do It

It always amuses us when we get letters from happy consumers who requested something simple from a company and are shocked that the company did it. The state of customer service in the world is such that people write happy letters if a company manages to function at all. Take M’s letter for example:

Dear Consumerist:

Kudos to Lego for prompt, satisfactory customer service!

I was a Lego kid — and now buy bricks for my son. Recently, I bought a set on clearance (50 percent off) from a major toy store; an attached note said that there were parts missing.

In fact, no parts were missing. One piece, out of hundreds, had been made incorrectly. I emailed Lego to explain the problem and received an auto-reply saying “Sorry about that! We’ll replace that piece in three weeks.”

Sure enough, the right part showed up three weeks later. Happy parent, happy child and complete set.

This is the kind of experience that encourages me to buy Lego products, even though their prices tend to be a bit salty. Bonus? Not made in China — produced in Denmark, Hungary and the Czech Republic, says the box — and no lead paint worries.

Go, Lego!

Best,

Reader M.

P.S. In many years of playing with Lego, this is the first time I’ve ever come across a faulty part. My childhood collection is still holding its own against the new stuff I’ve bought for my son. How many other toys can compete with that?

We have to admit that Legos were our favorite toys growing up. We still have our Blacktron II playsets or whatever.

We took a look at the CPSC’s recall page to see if Lego had ever had a problem with lead paint and indeed they didn’t. They did have one recall last year for a toy truck that had wheels that could detach and puncture people. The recalled truck was made in the United States.

Also, back in 1986, Lego recalled a McDonald’s Happy Meal toy because it was inappropriate for children under 3. All in all, not a bad safety record. Your parents’ feet, however, might disagree.

(Photo:Gaetan Lee)

Comments

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  1. snazz says:

    im sad now… all my childhood legos melted in our house fire. id love to still have them.

  2. warf0x0r says:

    I still have a ton of the Magnetron set. Good times.

  3. mopar_man says:

    I’ve still got all my Lego stored in my parents’ basement. It’s being saved alongside my old Hot Wheels for the day I hopefully have a son. Lego may be pricier then most toys but with that track record, I’d happily buy it to keep my kids safe.

  4. Antediluvian says:

    I love the older Lego sets which were more generic and didn’t have so many specialized pieces.

    I also remember my utter amazement and complete excitement as a child upon learning that you could purchase additional items not included with the sets. Trees! Flowers! Larger green surfaces! I was in heaven.

  5. @snazz:
    I feel ya. We lost a good portion of our toys in an attic fire. Sniff.

  6. Jean Naimard says:

    Although I enjoyed legos, I fail to understand how those could be construed to be more interesting than a good old-fashioned Meccano set…

  7. SaveMeJeebus says:

    My kid is wild about Duplos and I am happy because I was a Lego kid growing up. It is taking a lot of restraint not to order the Lego Death Star or Star Destroyer too.

  8. deanfortytwo says:

    Blacktron is the bomb. Remember Ice Planet? They were awesome, too. OH! And Space Police… Man, I’m going home to play with legos.

    @savemejeebus: My aunt bought me the star destroyer. Get it, it’s the coolest thing ever.

  9. @mopar_man: “I’ve still got all my Lego stored in my parents’ basement. It’s being saved alongside my old Hot Wheels for the day I hopefully have a son”

    You and my husband. But hey, why can’t your DAUGHTER play with the Legos? They were my favorite too!

  10. HeyThereKiller says:

    @snazz: That’s what you get for trying to install FIOS

  11. jaredutah says:

    It’s amazing the power a simple and polite letter or email can have. I broke the handle off of an omop (a type of mop you can get at Target) that I had owned for four months. I wrote an email on a Saturday to the company and on SUNDAY afternoon I received a reply with an apology and also was told they would ship out a coupon to me for a new mop immediately, which they did! WOW! I know mops aren’t too exciting (unless you are Stanley Spadowski), but I know that if I ever need a new mop and I break it, Method has my back! That company knows what good customer service can do.

  12. mopar_man says:

    @Eyebrows McGee:

    I can’t see why not but I’m sure she wouldn’t be interested in the sets I have. :P

  13. HalOfBorg says:

    We had a five gallon bucket of Duplos stored in the basement. Dam flood.

    All my kids loved Duplos and Legos.

  14. mmcnary says:

    I always keep an eye out for Lego at garage sales. They are usually dumped in a plastic baggie for a quarter…

  15. stubblyhead says:

    Your parents’ feet, however, might disagree.
    holy carp, you aren’t kidding. I would lose track of one of the blocks in the carpet of my bedroom all the time, and then find it the hard way. damn did it hurt to step on those things.

  16. FullFlava says:

    When I was younger, I had one of those sweet 8880 Supercar sets. I put it on a treadmill and cranked it up to like 10 mph just to see how fast I could get the pistons to spin. Wound up absolutely shredding a couple of the wheel pieces, which were unique to that set. I called Lego to see about ordering replacement parts and they just sent me a couple, for free, no questions asked. I’ve always been happy with Lego.

  17. enm4r says:

    I admit that I own way too many Legos. (And yes, I will refer to it in the plural, though that is not technically correct.) Probably thousands of dollars worth, spanning easily into college, special sets straight from Denmark that my grandma would bring back to me from visiting family and traveling various places in Scandinavia…oh those were the days.

    But really, the new sets piss me off. Harry Potter? Spiderman? Come on, quit with the super specific themes with random special pieces per set. Give me Space themes, Knights, City, AND PIRATES. What the hell, I own like every pirate set ever made. Make some more. They were way more cool than any of the space themes.

  18. SybilDisobedience says:

    Man, I was a Lego girl growing up. My dad (an engineer) initially bought them because he wanted me to have a constructive toy, to condition me as a girl to want to build things and interact with my environment more (or something). It worked – every single Xmas and bday, all I wanted was Legos. I still have my whole collection, safely packed in a Rubbermaid container and awaiting my future kid. If I have my way, any daughter of mine will also learn the world of building toys doesn’t belong solely to the guys!

  19. iota says:

    i use to work at a certain lego-themed amusement park in california.

    1) sets do come with missing pieces occasionaly
    2) if its missing and you come into the store, we’ll dig thru buckets of bricks to try to find it for you (well, my store would, at least)
    3)if we cant find it, there’s a “missing piece hotline” LEGO has set up. Call it, tell them which piece you need, and wait for it to be delivered (it takes a while since it’s coming from Denmark).

    Which, if you think about it, makes a lot of sense. Because it’s totally worth it to give out a few bricks to avoid a return and an angry customer. Especially since you can’t really resell an open LEGO set.

  20. AcidReign says:

        My brothers and I LOVED legos growing up, and our old legos are still stored away at my parents’ house for grandchildren to play with. My own kids, though, never got into them. I guess it’s video games to blame.

        We didn’t care much for the custom sets. Too many little oddball pieces that were useless for anything else. We looked for those standard 2 x 4 knob “stud bricks.” If you had enough of those suckers, you could build anything! We’d go through the lego sets at Sears, Loveman’s and K-mart, and calculate the number of those bricks per dollar that the set cost. We’d write letters to all relavtives gave us presents, and ask for that basic lego building set. When we got a new set, we’d take to the giant box my dad built out of wood, and dump the entire set into the box. I’ll bet as many as 80-100 lego sets got dumped into that box between 1966 and 1980!

        Some rainy summer days, we’d set up in the living room, and build for ten hours, and have an entire town done by supper-time. Or, we’d do things like trying to duplicate the Biltmore mansion in North Carolina.

        My favorite thing was to build gigantic ships/space craft/submarines that Hot Wheels rRumbler men could fit into, complete with the entire inside of the ship detailed. The walls would have to be 5 bricks high to accommodate those figures. Beveled roof pieces made great control-panels, and you could make little colorful wall displays above the control panel with a collage of different-colored 1-pin pieces. Chairs were made with two 2×6 pieces for the base, and the back by two curved 2-pin pieces.

        I recreated many, many various versions of the Enterprise (Star Trek), the Seaview, the Flying Sub (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea), and Skydiver (UFO). I also made a LOT of Skipjack and Trident-class subs.

        Fun times!

  21. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    The medieval Lego sets made the best D&D minitures ever.

  22. Starfury says:

    I love legos. I kept mine from when I was a kid and now my 7 yr old son son plays with them. The pile has grown; we have picked up several of the Ferrari kits, Batman cars, and some of the Star Wars kits. They’re not cheap toys but unless you lose the pieces they’ll last forever.

    One Lego kit I would love (but don’t have the $$) is the 5000 (five THOUSAND) piece Millennium Falcon kit. I also wouldn’t mind the Star Destroyer and Death Star kits.

  23. fluidfoundation says:

    Thats about the only reason I want to procreate.. to play legos with my kids!
    I can remember countless hours as a kid trying to make the largest SDF-1 model I could. Got him up to 4ft one year.

  24. InThrees says:

    I have nothing but good memories concerning legos – both my own from my childhood, when I would spend hours on my bedroom floor tinkering with them, and now when I give sets to my nephew.

    I’ve heard other stories of competent and proper Lego customer service. Good for them.

  25. AlisonAshleigh says:

    I HATE legos. I grew up with 2 younger brothers and was constantly stepping on legos. I couldn’t wait until I got older, and lived on my own, and never had to step on a lego again.
    Fast forward to me at 20. I was living with my then boyfriend, who was 26. And spent all of his spare money (along with my money, intended for bills) on various lego sets. Thousands of dollars, and legos EVERYWHERE. On the kitchen table, in the bathroom…he even took all of my clothes out of the walk in closet and put a lego airport inside. No matter where I went in the house, I was stepping on legos.
    Legos make me really angry.

  26. harshmellow says:

    My 8 year old son has tons of Legos. They are, hands down, the highest quality toy you can get. They are so well-desgined and well-made that I still marvel at “those Lego people”!! My son thoroughly enjoys them. They are a bit expensive, but we always know we are getting a top-quality toy when we buy Legos. Oh, and one of our sets was missing a piece and one of the instruction books, emailed Lego, and they sent the replacements right away! Just like the original poster said.

    Nowadays, you can order any single Lego (!) that you need, including color. And I must mention their Lego Designer software. It is a free download and you can build Lego creations on your computer (like a 3D modeling software) and BUY THE THING WHEN YOU ARE DONE. You can even make a box for it. A. MAZ. ING.

    The Lego people are geniuses!

  27. mopar_man says:

    Which, if you think about it, makes a lot of sense. Because it’s totally worth it to give out a few bricks to avoid a return and an angry customer. Especially since you can’t really resell an open LEGO set.

    Exactly. If only more companies could figure this out.

  28. BritBoy says:

    This post is so positive ! Great to read.

    NOTICE to all crappy companies : simple low cost actions from Legos well organiszed customer service has given them a great reputation and a long list of ‘way to go’ comments on Consumerist.

    Lego is kinda expensive…..but hey, you know what, its WORTH IT and people know it.

    (sorry AlisonAshleigh, dont think thats a Lego problem, thats a boyfriend problem :-)

  29. BritBoy says:

    @harshmellow: LEGO designer software !!!! Wow. Now if only I had THAT when I was a kid…..I could have made that submarine waterproof !

  30. SaraAB87 says:

    Legos are one of the best toys, I was a lego girl too and even though I wasn’t very good at building the sets it seems like a toy the whole family can play with without getting bored. Even older adults love to play with legos and kids love it because the parents play with them instead of not wanting to play because the activity is boring or childish. They also stand the test of time as kids today will still play with old legos and it sure beats watching those modern kids videos constantly for the adults! Plus they are a toy that lasts, no lead paint and not made in china, so the extra cost for a toy that lasts and is safe for your kids to play with might be worth it. Unless your kids are totally entrenched in video games to the point where they won’t do anything else legos are the toy to buy!

  31. Hanke says:

    @enm4r:
    Yeah, I was in the Lego aisle at Toysaurus. What the heck happened to the good old Town stuff? Everything is merchandised now. What the heck is Bionicle?

    My sone has all the Thomas Duplo sets, which I order direct from Lego Shop-at-Home. Dissappointing that they moved their distribution from Enfield, CT to TX. Now standard shipping takes 3 days, instead of overnight.

  32. Buran says:

    @mopar_man: What sets are they?

    I’m female and I love “boy toy” stuff. I have WWII airplanes all over my living room, for instance. Oh. And an M1A2 minesweeper. Oh. And lots of miniature Volkswagens.

  33. valthun says:

    Yep they are good, I recently had a kit that was missing one piece, and it was a critical piece too. I went to their website, found the part and ordered it as missing, I received automatic confirmation and the item was shipped, I was able to complete the kit by delving into my giant lego bin, but still I was able to get the missing piece replaced. You can also practically build an old kit on the site, and it will allow only the number of that piece that was on the kit. However it would still be cheaper to purchase on ebay, and some custom pieces may not be available.

    While the prices seem expensive, it does come out to about a penny a piece.

  34. ZekeSulastin says:

    I tried the Lego designer software … mrh, it’s a heckuva lot more fun just to grab Ye Olde Boxe of Brickes and go at it. Now, if I could get a Lego brick plugin for SolidWorks (normal CAD software) or something that could divide a design INTO Lego, we could be going somewhere …

    A friend and I went into a Lego store and spent like 45 minutes making a Lego spaceship (two mech engineering majors …). We didn’t notice the people at the other Lego table watching us … when we left, we gave it to the group of children to play with. I think I have a quick snapshot of them adding to our design – best mall moment ever. Lego rocks.

  35. harshmellow says:

    @ZekeSulastin: I agree that it is way more fun playing with the blocks rather than the software, but the awesome part about the software is that you can build your own kit, buy it, and build it for real when Lego sends it to you! I really wasn’t expecting such depth in the software when I found out about it (thought it would be typical flash game or something), but it allows you to really make your own kit.

  36. RAREBREED says:

    Legos have to be the best toy ever created! I remember the Techincs sets where you had to build engines and stuff. Those things used to take HOURS!

  37. joemono says:

    I would just like to echo many of the comments already made. Legos rule, no question. And no, I will not refer to them as “Lego brand toy bricks” or whatever it is they want me to say.

    Lately I’ve gotten into building Lego Mosaics. I made one of a photo of my wife and I from our wedding, and more recently made one of spider-man for a friend: [www.mocpages.com]

    Also, if you can’t find that missing piece through the lego website or through ebay, there is always [www.bricklink.com]

  38. joemono says:

    I guess my other comment got eaten… Oh well, I mostly wanted to chime in and agree with everyone here that Legos rule.

  39. joemono says:

    Or not.

  40. Brad2723 says:

    Had a similar experience. I bought the huge Imperial Star Destroyer and it was missing a piece. I couldn’t find the correct part on their website so I called their toll-free number. It was only a 15 cent piece, so they sent it free of charge and I got it in less than three weeks!

  41. viriiman says:

    @JAREDUTAH
    Never thought I’d see a “Stanley Spadowski” reference in my life.

    I can now die a full and happy life :-)

  42. drjayphd says:

    “I know mops aren’t too exciting (unless you are Stanley Spadowski), but I know that if I ever need a new mop and I break it, Method has my back! That company knows what good customer service can do.”

    Well, that just goes to show you that Method gets it… because life is like a mop. Sometimes it’s full of dirt and crud and bugs and hairballs and stuff, but you’ve got to clean it out. You gotta put it in here and rinse it out and start all over again. And sometimes, life sticks to the floor so bad a mop isn’t good enough. It’s not good enough. You gotta get down here with a toothbrush and really scrub, and if that doesn’t work, if that doesn’t work…you can’t give up. You’ve got to run a window and say, “HEY! THESE FLOORS ARE AS DIRTY AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!”

  43. drjayphd says:

    @viriiman: For those of you just joining us, today we’re teaching poodles how to fly.

  44. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    Star Wars lego sets are the best. Harry potter and Bionicle..not so much.

  45. Maurik says:

    I love lego. The reason it’s expensive is because it’s all made to within a tiny margin of error. Try that with any other cheap toys manufactured in areas where labour is cheap.

    Go lego! :D

  46. f3rg says:

    I bought what has to be a couple hundred dollars worth of old Legos from a college kid at a garage sale around the end of last semester. $10. I was/am happy about it.

  47. TeraGram says:

    Oh, Legos, Legos, Legos!

    I have a love/hate relationship with the company.

    My nearly seven-year-old daughter loves the construction toys, but loves even more the (now discontinued in the US) Clik-its.

    Lego will not/can not tell me WHY they are available over-seas but not in the US (legitimately; they are available via Ebay).

    I’ve written several polite emails and none of them ever have a complete answer. It is usually an answer like “they are no longer available in the US”. OK but I asked WHY! Don’t restate my question, dumbass!

    oy.

    Still, we have Legos coming out of our ears and eagerly anticipate her skill-level increasing such that we can spend hundreds on the big sets for us um I mean her.

  48. jrdnjstn78 says:

    @joemono:

    That’s a cool site! My son is obsessed with Lego’s (he’s 8). I don’t get him any of the high price lego models, that’s just too much for a 8 yr. old. He keeps them in a big Rubbermaid bucket and makes his own creations. I’m glad he’s into Lego’s it brings out peoples creative side.

    If you go to the Lego website you can send in a snail mail request for the Lego magazine, a free 2 yr subscription.

  49. Little_Nikke says:

    MOPAR_MAN – You are so wrong – give ‘em to your daughters! 95% of the Leggos that were given to me and my sister were space related. The other 5% were medieval castles. She’s an engineer who knows more about Medieval English history than most English, I’m a PhD student who gets most of her funding from NASA. We have a running fight over who will get the Leggos (also currently in the parent’s basement) – it’s my mother’s hope that this will force one of us into procreating so we can lay dibbs.

  50. viviennet says:

    Legos were the most awesome thing! I’ll always remember that the only thing my socially awkward professor father and equally awkward brother bonded over was legos.

    I used to get really excited when my brother let me play with him and we’d build all these awesome spaceships. Good times…

    I’ve just spent the last half hour browsing on their website, time to relive childhood memories!

  51. Ah, Lego’s…
    Time for a nostalgic moment.

  52. Lonestar says:

    I too loved lego as a kid over 30 years ago… but just in case you are older and still like em check this 16ft a/c carrier out

    [www.brickshelf.com]