Wizards of the Coast’s Customer Service and my D&D 5e Player’s Handbook

This past weekend at a D&D Adventure League game at the local gaming store, I pulled out my D&D 5e Player’s Handbook to check out a class feature description. I then noticed that my favorite Player’s Handbook looked a little weird at around page 63 in the Class section where the glue attaches the page to the spine.  Actually it was a problem starting from page 47 all the way to page 63. This happens to be the second PHB that I have purchased, I bought my son the first one, and just recently got a third one to have an extra for friends to borrow.  We own three…I know, you don’t have to say it.

The glue at the spine was starting to detach from the ends of the pages. And I had a feeling of dread… I had previous experience with a different problem with the third PHB that we purchased this month. That book had extra glue binding some of the pages near the spine, that was making it difficult to turn pages. But with that book it was easy to return it to the local gaming store for a quick replacement.  Needless to say, I was not happy to see this happen to my favorite book. I heard about this before. There’s an EN World post that discusses this issue: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?357983-Player-s-Handbook-Binding and on Order of the Stick: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?370006-Binding-issue-with-the-PHB. As I’m told this has been a common problem, and that I should just contact Wizards of the Coast and they will make it right.


 

But there’s a problem with replacing the book.  Why was this my favorite D&D 5e book? The main reason is that this is the book I took to GENCON 2014 with my son, and we had some signatures from the design and production team written in the black front section of both our books.  I wanted to just get a fix for this book and keep it.  I then took a little time, took a quick picture of the problem, and sent an email off to WotC’s customer service, and asked for help to fix it, and then waited for a response.  The response came back really quick and in less than 24 hours.  They told me, “We can send you a new copy of the Player Handbook if you can mail the defective copy to us.” And a link to the instructions: Dungeons & Dragons: Replacing Defective Product. They also said that the signatures would be lost.  Not the answer I wanted. 🙁

I made a tweet about it with a picture of my signature page so at least I would have a copy somewhere, and if you were wondering about the book, here is what the book looks like:

IMG_0198
My D&D book

So, I had a choice, send the book back, or start looking for a book repair service. And the most reasonable course of action would be to send the book back, and after searching for a book repair service company,  I found 5 local book repair service companies which was surprising.  The average price was in the range of $80 to $120 for a large book rebinding.  My wife said Heck no!  Why would you pay that much for a book that you can get replaced for free.  So that option was off the table, because she’s the boss.  I didn’t really have many options except keep the book, or send it off to be replaced. The only reason I would even consider going through all of this was because of the signature page.

Then I asked Wizards a silly question, could I keep the signature page, or could they send it back to me.  They said keep the signature page.  They took the middle ground, which I appreciate.  And here I am, still hesitant about packing up my book for shipment.  If I do decide to ship it back to Wizards, I need to figure out the best way to remove the signature page, and maybe someone knows how to scan an image of signatures on a page, and then make an impression on a new PHB.  Or I can do what some other guy did and cut the spine and make a spiral binding for the book. Because that’s where my thought process has taken me in all this craziness.  🙂


 

By the way, this is the second time I’ve had to an encounter with WotC’s customer service.  Wait, this is a good story. The first time was when I couldn’t find the D&D 4th Eidtion Dungeon Master’s Kit box set. Yes, I also play 4th edition all you haters. I had just started playing with my son, and I couldn’t find the DM Kit even though it was listed on the WotC website as being current.  It was sold out in all the stores and online. The only place I could find it was on Ebay and through Amazon resellers.  And it was selling for something like a 100 bucks.  Which was crazy, but I am a hoarder, errr I mean collector, so I called WotC, and asked them where I could go to buy it. They asked me where I looked, and I told them, and why I was looking.  I spoke about buying the D&D 4th edition starter set for my son and wanted to use the DM Kit to play some more stuff with him, then they said hold on. Came back on the phone and said they had one extra in their office.  I started to pull out my credit card and held in expectantly in my hand.  They asked if my address was correct in the system ( I have a D&D insider subscription) and then said it will be at your house next week, have fun playing D&D with your son. Hold on, you didn’t take my card information.  They said it would be a gift.  Wow!!!! And sure enough, I received a brand new DM Kit in the mail.

I understand why they did that.  But they really didn’t have to do it.  They did something that I will be forever grateful, and that’s why I’m not overly upset about my PHB.  But I am very sad to see it go. 🙁

-Michael

twitter: @mrlong78
facebook DnD5e group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/DnD5th/
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