Frequently Asked Questions
Our goal is to offer you the convenience of the Internet and the personal service of a family-owned business. Please feel free to e-mail us at VillagesOfFun@gmail.com with any questions you might have regarding our Lemax products.
Order $350 worth of merchandise, and your shipping is free . . . via FedEx Ground within the lower 48 contiguous United States!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the condition of the merchandise you sell.
A: Everything we sell is factory-new, still in the box, and never removed from the box. The only exception is, if we have a lot of defective items returned for a given item number, we may test all remaining items for that SKU. For instance, we had six copies of Monsters’ Ball (item #54302) returned one year, so we tested all the remaining copies in stock to insure they work properly. If a box rattles or clunks, thereby indicating it may be broken, we may open the box and inspect the item. Sometimes a noise is normal.
Q: Do you test every item you ship to insure it works?
A: No, we don’t. The exceptions are SKUs with a high defective rate and boxes that rattle.
Q: What do you do to avoid breakage during shipment?
A: Most big Lemax pieces (houses, buildings, and animated items) are packed well from the factory. Each of these big pieces is packed in molded Styrofoam that prevents movement during shipping.They’re packed well enough to withstand some jolting. Then, when we pack your order, we strive to cushion the individual items so they can withstand more jolting. We follow the best practices that FedEx and UPS recommend for packing. All this doesn’t eliminate breakage, but it minimizes damage during shipment.
Q: What do I do if an item arrives broken?
A: Just let us know within ten days of arrival. For damaged items, please send us an email containing the invoice number, pictures, and details of any damage. Pictures are generally required for insurance claims. We’ll work with you to have the item picked up and replaced at no charge to you. Or you can request a refund. Please don’t ship the broken item back to us before we send you instructions. FedEx is persnickety, so we have to follow their rules precisely. FedEx requires ALL the original packing material and the box your order was shipped, so please set all that stuff aside until FedEx tells us how to proceed with the claim. If it’s obvious that FedEx damaged the item, they will reimburse us for the shipping costs in both directions. Please note that for international orders we will will only issue refunds, not replacements.
Q: What do I do if an Item is defective when it arrives?
A: Just let us know within ten days of arrival. Please don’t ship the defective item back to us before we send you instructions. At your option, we’ll either replace your defective item, or we’ll refund your money. If you live within the continental United States, we’ll send you a return label for use with FedEx to return the defective item.
Q: Do you repair broken Lemax items?
A: No we don't, but you can contact Lemax, Inc. at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire if they know of anyone who repairs Lemax items.
Q: Do you carry spare parts for old Lemax items?
A: No we don't, but you can contact Lemax, Inc. at email@example.com to inquire if they can help you.
Q: Do you sell wholesale?
A: No. We are an authorized Lemax retailer and prefer to stay with the retail side of things. Along these lines, we reserve the right to limit quantities. We do have a number of dealers who buy from us, but we fill their orders after we process orders from our end users.
Q: Do you limit quantities, or can I order 1000 of a certain item?
A: We reserve the right to limit quantities, but we rarely exercise that right.
Q: Why is the styrofoam on some of the items dirty? Are you reselling used goods?
A: No, definitely not. We don't sell used merchandise. Everything comes straight from the factory in large intermodal shipping containers (40' x 8' x 8') direct to our warehouse. The reason that some of the styrofoam appears dirty is that the item may have been sitting around in the factory for several months, awaiting the color box it fits into. (I haven't been to the factory, but it's on my bucket list!). I can assure you that in no way does a smudge on the styrofoam affect the quality of the item inside.
Q: Are the Lemax items edible?
A: All Lemax items are made from plastic, poly-resin, ceramics, or other materials. No Lemax item is edible. While we’re on the subject the Lemax trees aren’t real either, so don’t plant them.
Q: I live outside the United States. Will Lemax products work in my country?
A: Yes, but you may need an adapter. Please consult with an electrician in your country. All Lemax items we sell are made for the U.S. and Candian markets. The cords and adapters work with 120-volt input only.
Q: Do you sell adapters that work in countries outside the United States and Canada?
A: No, we can only obtain adapters that work in the United States and Canada.
Q: My animated piece is a little noisy. Is that normal?
A: Yes, the motors that Lemax uses are sometimes a little noisy. Sometimes you can reduce the noise level by adjusting the volume control.
Q: Does it matter how I turn on or off my new animated piece?
A: Yes. Read and follow the instructions precisely. They're usually printed in multiple languages for your convenience. Some animated pieces must cycle down after you turn them off. In other words, some components continue moving until they reach their final position. It's best to wait approximately 30 seconds before turning the piece back on. Definitely do not unplug while the components are moving. This could cause the item to malfunction from now on.
Q: Do you ever have sales?
A: Yes. In recent years, from approximately June 15 to approximately September 1, we have offered 10 percent discounts on orders over $350. (Plus, you qualify for free merchandise and free shipping via FedEx Ground in the 48 contiguous United States. What a deal!) In addition, we offer what the largest selection of Lemax merchandise in the known universe. At the beginning of each season, you can choose from over 1,500 different SKUs (stock-keeping units, i.e., unique items) in our warehouse. We order dozens or hundreds of each SKU each year. Besides the items in current production, you can also choose from more than 900 retired Lemax items in stock ready for shipment. We sometimes run sales of 20 percent or more on select items. Be sure to check the Specials category of our web site often.
Q: I see you are now selling some vintage board games. That’s great, but what do all those weird letters stand for in the Product Specifications field for each of the games?
A: They’re our subjective grading system. We try to grade the box, the instructions, and the playing implements (including the game board). Here’s a translation of the shorthand:
PR – poor
FR – fair
GD – good
VG – very good
FN or EX – fine or excellent
VF – very fine
NM – near mint
MT – mint (reserved for those games that are still in their shrink wrap
Payment Options Questions
Q: What forms of payment do you accept?
A: We accept Paypal, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, money order, cashier’s check, and personal check for buyers in the United States. We only accept Paypal for international orders.
Q: Why do you require Paypal addresses to be confirmed?
A: Paypal requires that sellers ship only to buyers with confirmed addresses, or they will not stand behind the transaction. Confirmed addresses help protect buyers from identity theft.
Q: How does the form of payment affect shipping time?
A: We ship your order as soon as your payment clears. Naturally, credit cards and Paypal clear immediately, so your order ships sooner. If you pay via check or money order, your payment has to arrive through the mail. Orders paid for with money orders and cashier’s checks ship immediately. Personal checks can take up to ten business days to clear our bank.
Q: Why do personal checks take so long to clear?
A: In this age of electronic clearinghouses, our financial institution still processes checks the old-fashioned way. So, it still takes ten days. And when they say ten days, they mean ten days. They’re about as slow as the boat that brings our Lemax merchandise from the factory to our loading dock.
Q: I live outside the United States. What forms of payment do you accept from international locales?
A: International customers (including customers shipping to a forwarding company in the United States): Please send your payment via Paypal. Your Paypal address must be confirmed. We reserve the right to cancel all orders that do not adhere to this restriction.
Q: If I enter my credit card information on your web site, how do I know that you won't sell it to the Russian mafia?
A: When you enter your credit card information online, no human being at our company sees it. That information is encrypted (so, even if we could see it, it would look like gibberish) and passes through our web site to the financial institution that we use to process our credit card transactions. Your credit card information is not stored on our web site.
Q: What companies do you use for shipping?
A: For orders being shipped to a location within the United States, we ship via FedEx or the United States Postal Service, whichever costs less. That is determined automatically during the checkout process. Within the U.S. shipping via FedEx Ground is generally the lowest cost method of shipping whenever your package weighs more than a few pounds. We use the United States Postal Service exclusively for shipping packages outside the United States.
Q: Is insurance included in the shipping charges?
A: We insure all your orders at no extra charge. This applies to international, as well as domestic, shipments.
Q: Do you combine purchases to save on shipping costs?
A: Yes. In fact, we strongly encourage it. The first pound (the first ounce, really) costs the most to ship, so we advocate combining purchases whenever possible.
Q: Why do you require that I include my telephone number? It’s unlisted, and I’d prefer not to give it out.
A: We understand your right to privacy. We request your telephone number because it’s required for FedEx and for some international postal shipments. It’s very useful if problems or questions arise during shipment. If you don’t include your phone number, your package could be lost in transit. Rest assured, we will not divulge your telephone number to anyone, and we will not contact you unless something arises that requires timely resolution. If you can provide an office or cellular phone number, that will suffice. Note that for international orders sent to a post office box, the United States Postal Service requires that you include a telephone number.
Q: I live near your warehouse in Folsom, LA. May I pick up my order in person and save the shipping costs?
A: Yes, you may. Be sure to call and arrange a time for pickup that’s mutually convenient.
Q: Why do you charge so much to ship internationally?
A: For international shipments your best option is generally the U.S. Postal Service. Priority Mail International is now the lowest cost option for international shipping. Note that for some countries (e.g., Australia) the size limitation on each package is 79 inches, length plus girth. That's calculated as the longest dimension plus plus twice the sum of the other two dimensions. Four standard-sized Christmas houses will fit into boxes this size. If you order more than four houses, that will require a second box.
Please understand that international shipping costs can amount to more than you paid for your merchandise. Bear in mind that two postal services have to collect their pounds of flesh. Also, regardless of the shipping method you select, please allow 3 or 4 weeks for your packages to reach you. The postal services of your country and ours, plus the customs process, can be very slow. Please be patient. We try to provide you with a tracking number, wherever possible.
Q: How do I qualify for free shipping?
A: If you order $350 worth of merchandise, and you live within the 48 contiguous United States, we will ship your order free via FedEx Ground. The free shipping does not extend to shipments outside the 48 contiguous states, nor does it pertain to any shipments requested via the United States Postal Service.
Q: Shipping costs are getting higher all the time. I live within the Continental United States. How can I minimize my shipping costs?
A: You can minimize your shipping costs in several ways. First you can eliminate them altogether, as long as you live in the Continental United States (the "Lower 48"), by buying $350 worth of merchandise at a time.Orders over $350 are shipped free via FedEx Ground within the 48 contiguous United States.
In general, you can save shipping costs by placing a few large orders as opposed to many small orders. The first pound of any shipment is the most expensive. If you combine purchases into one purchase, you only pay for that “first pound” one time.
You can also save a few dollars by shipping via FedEx Ground to an address that FedEx recognizes as a legitimate business address.
Q: After I place an order, how long does it take you to ship it?
A: As your payment clears, your order goes into the queue to be packed. During our peak season, which runs from September through December, we ship daily via FedEx and the United States Postal Service. If you place an order on our web site and pay with Paypal or credit cards, then the order is generally packed and shipped within three business days, if not sooner.
During the off-peak season we ship FedEx packages thrice a week, and we ship daily via the United States Postal Service. The off-peak season is when we travel to market and attend trade shows, so either one or both of us may be on the road. As soon as we return, we process the paperwork, pack your order, and ship it out. Even while traveling we try to monitor our e-mail messages as closely as possible.
Q: Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink. I live outside the United States and have to pay duties on the items I buy from you. Can you just mark the customs form as “Gift,” rather than “Merchandise,” so I can save all those tariffs? I won’t tell a soul!
A: Sorry, we can’t do that because it’s illegal. We love you and we want your business, but we won’t go to jail for you. Then, our other customers would lose their favorite, reliable, low-cost source for great Lemax merchandise.
Q: I live outside the United States and would like you to ship to a forwarding company. Will you ship my order to such a company?
A: No, we no longer ship to forwarding companies because of bad experiences in the past.
Q: Do I owe sales tax?
A: For those of you living in Louisiana your sales tax will be calculated during the checkout process. We do not collect sales tax for orders purchased outside of Louisiana .
Q: How long have you been in business?
A: We’ve been in business overall off and on since 1966. We started selling on eBay in 1998, using the eBay handles “schielc” and “schielm.” We’ve operated as Schiel’s Deals since 2000. We’ve been selling Lemax products since 2001 under the name Lemax Village Collectibles, or Lemax Villages, for short. On March 20, 2017, we changed the name of our business to Villages of Fun so that we may offer you a wide variety of merchandise, possibly from other manufacturers, that will coordinate with your villages.
Q: How do I contact you?
A: You can send your e-mail messages to VillagesOfFun@gmail.com, or you can call us at 405-741-1614 Monday thru Saturday from 10am - 6pm central time. We will return your call or respond to your e-mail message promptly.
Q: If I create an account, will I receive a whole bunch of unwanted e-mails?
A: No. We generally send e-mail messages every month or two to notify you of important events or special deals. We will send you a message every year when our new merchandise has arrived and the annual 10-percent-off sale has begun. We will not clog your inbox with spam.
Q: How do I know you’re trustworthy?
A: You can call Lemax corporate headquarters at 781-821-4555 and ask them about us.
We value your business and your trust! Thank you for reading these questions and answers.
Martin & Carol Schiel