I’ve just heard through the grapevine a piece of news which makes me feel like I’m back to Colonialism times. Back then the great empires of the time ruled the world determining trade routes and the flow of commerce itself. Back then, if you were a colony, the empire to which you belonged determined who could buy the goods you, as a colony, produced. Sounds weird today in a world where we often talk about global economy and where the internet has made the world a much smaller place right?
Well it seems the giant in the wargaming business has decided otherwise and thus is trying to bar independent retailers, those in Europe and in the USA, from selling to costumers in the southern hemisphere.
Communities in Brazil, Argentina and other affected countries have been ablaze as word has reached us that GW will soon enforce new terms and conditions regarding trade accounts which will, plainly speaking, be an embargo on the sales of GW products from independent retailers to costumers located in the southern hemisphere of the globe.
This rumour which was originated on at least 3 different sources in the UK and the US has been given some credence by Maelstrom Games owner, and pretty nice guy to boot, Rob who has replied to a topic in Warseer addressing the topic:
I thought I’d better just add something here before we are misquoted or misrepresented – I’m not saying that’s happening in this thread, I just want to make sure that doesn’t happen!
Games Workshop told me their new terms and conditions regarding trade accounts on Wednesday, but they have asked me to not reveal what was said until Monday the 16th of May, which is when they will reveal them to the general public. At that point we will inform all our customers what is happening.
Maelstrom Games Ltd
Even though Rob’s reply doesn’t specifically confirm or deny the rumours his answer does show that some sort of change will be put in effect and that is enough to make hairs rise around here.
Previouslly this week, when we first heard about this rumour we contacted Rob’s store to check the information and and employee did respond saying he har heard something along the lines of this rumour.
There’s no reason to justify such an action other than compelling local hobbyists to buy from local distributors which, in all honesty, sounds like a phony attempt to solve a problem by circumventing the true cause.
You might have read on this very blog a while ago about GW finally touching down in Brazil through a local distributor (we reported it here). Well I’m sad to report that initiative has failed. Miserably. Due in no small part to the prices set by the local distributor people simply opted to keep on buying from abroad. Buying directly from GW and paying not only for shipping but also the absurd import taxes in effect in Brazil was still A LOT cheaper than buying from the sparse local gaming stores which carried GW products. Suffice to say that once the local distributor decided to cut his losses and lowered his prices to reasonable levels, the sales soared. Pretty much all they had in stock is gone. Te few kits still available through their online store are the ones still unreasonably priced.
I have no news of how the GW business fares in Australia and in Argentina but here in Brazil such policy of not letting independent retailers abroad selling to costumers here, if really put in effect and enforced by GW, will effectively cut us out of the hobby as, at least for now, we have no seller or distributor of the GW business down here.
To add insult to injury it has transpired that GW is indeed looking for a new business partner in Brazil and the company who’s been negotiating to be the distributor down here, “Legends do Brasil”, is a terrible trader with a well known, and well documented, history of selling products and not delivering them nor giving the proper refunds effectively conning people out of their money. A simple search on google shows, literally, hundreds of complaints against the store and its owner, Sandro Viviani (more complaints can be found here and here and here and here … phew! – IN case you do not speak portuguese use the Google Translator, as that should give you an idea of the sort of company GW is negotiating with). You can’t believe GW would be so careless in choosing a business partner right? Well “Legends do Brasil” clearly states they’re doing so in their blog and on a post on “Warhammer Brasil” earlier this week. Suffice to say brazilian hobbyists, aware of “Legends do Brasil”‘s infamy are dreading such partnership.
In the end, I do believe I am the person more qualified to judge to whom I should entrust my hard earned coin and my trust. If I have been buying from Rob at Maelstrom or Neal at The Warstore for so long there’s a reason I have chosen to do so. Hence I shouldn’t be forbidden to go on doing so, or worse, see myself obliged to buy from a disreputable seller because GW can’t seem to find a business partner who understands that paying 300 dollars for a starter box is extremely unreasonable.
Guess we’ll all have to wait until Monday to see how this turns out but communities in affected countries already have their worrying hats on. This might well be the end of the hobby in Brazil. Guess we could always go play Infinity or Warmachine in the end.