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  • Hard to pass on when they are outgrown - heirlooms to clutter your loft!!
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      10.02.2003 04:41
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      • "Hard to pass on when they are outgrown - heirlooms to clutter your loft!!"

      I have bought a number of items from Plan Toys over the last few years - all excellent quality and beautifully crafted. Some of the smaller less expensive items are especially cute - a tiny tooth shaped pot with wooden stopper for the tooth fairy delighted my 5 year old when he lost his first tooth a fortnight ago - only £1.50 and an heirloom already! I have also bought the Noah's Ark which is beautifully finished, the ark itself is in smooth curved natural wood with a red roofed 'cabin' with working yellow door that sits on the top. The animals/birds,reptiles etc are a simple design in cheerful but not gaudy colours with natural string tails. I have bought this twice as a christening gift and everyone has been charmed!! I have given the mini hand held 'kaleidescope' (about £2) as party bag presents for 2 year olds - ideal as most small toys are inappropriate for under 3's - it was a small party so not too expensive!!) However I recently decided to purchase a dolls house and visited the plan toys website www.plantoys.com to look at the range. As it's a big purchase for me, I emailed customer services to ask whether there were any shops in my area that had more than one model on display so I could stand back and see which one the children naturally gravitated to. Within minutes I had a response from Thailand which must be where the company is based (and finds endless supplies of replenishable rubberwood!!). The contact in Thailand said they had forwarded my query to the UK head office in Loughborough just a few miles from my home. After a few days waiting, I emailed Loughborough myself using the address given by Thailand but three months later have heard nothing. Nor have I had the email returned undelivered. This is disappointing given the 'quality' image cultivated by Plan Toys. Yes, the products are fantastic and stand on their own merits but in my experience customer service does not exist
      . Almost a happy ending - a few weeks ago I was given a second hand Plan Toys dolls house in mostly excellent condition. One of the components (a moveable wall) is missing (not broken) so I emailed Plan with the details and product no. from the box to ask whether it was possible to get a replacement - guess what - no communication. I now need to find time out of work to call them - not easy. So all in all I readily recommend the products both to buy for your own children or as gifts but on a large expensive purchase such as a dolls house (£85 - £200 plus maybe 5 sets of furniture at approx £16 a set - so a big investment overall!), I would be wary. If something breaks or is faulty finding out about replacement or repair seems tricky unless you are Thailand based! Mmmm - good excuse for a holiday! If anyone has had any luck with getting replacement parts, please add a review or comment as I would love to get the dolls house repaired. My recommendations below are based on my general experience of the products not the customer service! However I have only given a 3* overall rating so people are alerted to read this and be aware that there may not be any back up or spares once the product has been purchased.

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