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Boutique Gear Customer Support

 
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kraines
audio school graduate


Joined: 05 Jan 2009
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:33 pm    Post subject: Boutique Gear Customer Support Reply with quote

This is sort of a rant and sort of a plea for advice.

The plea is what the hell does one do for service of a boutique peice of kit when the gear maker becomes hostile and insulting over minor service issues?

I'll save the rant, but in essence the gear maker has decided to take offense that after 13 years of use, there are scratches on the case (rack scratches) and a stripped line in jack.

I've had to endure a series of insulting emails over his strange obsession that I'm a bad customer. I'm paying for service and haven't asked him to do anything for free. Should it matter even if I had been as abusive as he seems to think?

What a drag.
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kslight
dead but not forgotten


Joined: 13 Oct 2009
Posts: 2179

PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 8:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Boutique Gear Customer Support Reply with quote

If you haven't already, make your points clear to the business directly... The funny thing about email and the internet in general, is that sarcasm and humor doesn't always translate unless it is LOLZZZ pasted on top of a picture of a cat. Offering the benefit of the doubt, they could perhaps think they are being clever or funny and not meaning to insult. I'm not saying this is for sure the case, but...it is no secret that a lot of boutique gear makers are a bit eccentric and much better working with electronics than they are people.

To answer your question, no, it really shouldn't matter how you treat the gear, if you are paying them to work on it they should get over it.

I'd get on the phone with them directly, tell them how you feel with your current experience, and if you don't like how they respond, then the only thing you can really do is vote with your dollar and go somewhere else.
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digitaldrummer
deaf.


Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 1972
Location: Austin, Texas

PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2013 8:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Boutique Gear Customer Support Reply with quote

that's bad customer service IMO. If you paid for the gear, and are willing to pay to have it serviced, then they are out of line. Not everyone keeps every piece of gear museum quality. Stuff gets used and 13 years is a long time.

but having said that, if you are only communicating via email or other methods online, I'd encourage picking up the phone and make sure they are not just electronic-communication-impaired. Some people really don't come across well on email.

If they are like that on the phone too then you probably already know not to buy from them again in the future.

I've had really good support from any of the small/boutique vendors I've purchased from. but I do try to call if possible too. it's old school but it can help.

Mike
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kraines
audio school graduate


Joined: 05 Jan 2009
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Boutique Gear Customer Support Reply with quote

I'm concerned about him, to be honest, because I've always gotten really great service from him via phone and email and he seems to be acting in a very unusual and uncharacteristic manner.

After the first difficult email, I decided to take the high road and apologize for what I might have done to upset him. He apologized for a misunderstanding caused by email, but that didn't seem

The first difficult email from him involved him chastising me for an issue over a different piece of gear from 12 years ago. One channel would not work correctly for me and we passed it back a forth a few times before I agreed, reluctantly, to take a refund. His tools scope showed it worked perfectly, my studio couldn't get it to sound any better than transistor radio.

After reciting the entire support log to me, he mentioned he'd just used the same pre with the person he gave it to and it worked perfectly.

It was clear that not only did he mean to imply that I was abusive to my gear, but also incompetent. Aside from this being 12 years ago and having no bearing on this issue, I couldn't understand why he needed to rub my face in what was a very frustrating experience for me which I was able to recreate with every mic and every cable I had and provided him with the audio to show I wasn't being completely stupid about everything.

But that was 12 years ago and since then I've had two small issues which were easily addressed by an exchange of email and my soldering iron. During the last one, he even helped me mod the pad on one channel and called me to follow up that everything went OK.

This time, it was one insult after another. Every email was prefaced by a long rant about "WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO TO THIS GEAR." Eventually, he told me the problem was a cracked resistor--ten cents or less to replace.

Then no word until last week when I got email telling me he'd "had to" replace all the jacks, all the pots, undo the pad mod all of which I had not been informed of prior to the work let alone agreed to. In fact, I told him I didn't want the single fubared input replaced because I could easily do it.

He said he would "take it easy on me" and not charge full price for the 8 hours of labor but I don't have a bill. I figure the ten cent resistor is going to cost me $300 to $500

My gear is hostage to him at this point but I just want it back.

Once that happens, I don't know what I'll do for support and I've taken another of his products off the top of my acquisition list.

I feel like there's something else happening here--like a bi-polar thing or something.

It's all so weird.
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Dan Phelps
steve albini likes it


Joined: 04 Apr 2004
Posts: 336
Location: Seattle, WA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 2:55 am    Post subject: Re: Boutique Gear Customer Support Reply with quote

It sounds like you are dealing with a not totally rational individual. For sure, sometimes people get weird, and it's good to remember that there is often something else going on that may have nothing do with you, but is affecting his behavior.

Regardless... I'd concentrate on getting your gear back while making a minimum amount of waves. Depending on the over all value of the gear in question, you might be wise to eat the $300-$500 in order to get it back in your hands without more drama. You'll have to judge the effectiveness of that for yourself!!!

Sorry you are going through this...sounds frustrating!
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ubertar
cryogenically thawing


Joined: 18 Feb 2004
Posts: 3668
Location: Brooklyn, NY

PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 11:18 am    Post subject: Re: Boutique Gear Customer Support Reply with quote

Bear in mind that if it took 8 hours to diagnose the problem, that's what you're paying for, not the resistor. Replacing other parts may have been part of the diagnosis process, so when he says he had to replace them that may be what he meant.

As someone who makes "boutique" gear, I can understand a tendency to be a bit defensive if there's a problem. It's natural to be sensitive about a critique of your own handicraft. It feels personal. That doesn't excuse his behavior, which is unprofessional.

I have the tendency in that kind of situation, from the maker/seller's point of view, to under-charge, because I find it hard to justify charging much when the issue comes down to something like a cracked resistor. Maybe that's good in the long run because it keeps people happy, but it really devalues my time, which isn't fair to me. So I've been trying to get away from that. So on that front, try to see it from his perspective.
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Gregg Juke
ghost haunting audio students


Joined: 12 Jun 2010
Posts: 3341
Location: Buffalo, NY, USA

PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 3:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Boutique Gear Customer Support Reply with quote

And also, don't forget that episode where Jerry's mechanic went crazy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xez2n371MTo

GJ
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LowG
alignin' 24-trk


Joined: 24 Mar 2009
Posts: 71

PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 10:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Boutique Gear Customer Support Reply with quote

I think that some builders don't really think all the way into the future when their stuff may need servicing. The have a great idea for a product, they build it, people buy it, then they want to be done. I know that this is an issue that makes some talented builders just quit selling - they don't want to service products the rest of their life.
Makes me think they should just include a schematic and let the customer have a third party fix the stuff.
And it's also probably the case that a disproportanate number of crazy people are audio geniuses.
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Bro Shark
re-cappin' neve


Joined: 13 Jan 2006
Posts: 653
Location: SF

PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 3:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Boutique Gear Customer Support Reply with quote

This seems to happen often just before a guy falls off the face of the earth, owing various people money/product. Good luck.
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Snarl 12/8
ghost haunting audio students


Joined: 20 Dec 2008
Posts: 3267
Location: Right Cheer

PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 4:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Boutique Gear Customer Support Reply with quote

Think the "get a schematic" is good advice. If you can swing it. It would make it much easier to shop around for a good tech.
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The Scum
resurrected


Joined: 04 Jul 2003
Posts: 2399
Location: Denver, CO

PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 5:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Boutique Gear Customer Support Reply with quote

"Cracked resistor" is an interesting fault analysis.

So what caused the resistor to crack?

Running too hot? Too much vibration?

How likely is it to crack again in the future?
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vvv
zen recordist


Joined: 13 May 2003
Posts: 7977
Location: Chi

PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 8:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Boutique Gear Customer Support Reply with quote

"Cracked Resistor" could be a cool band name ...

Twisted Evil
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