Dec 1, 2013
Almost four months ago I ordered some Strat pickups from an “up and coming” boutique winder. I scored them at a discount through one of their email newsletter offers, so I was stoked! I was told that the wait time would be about 8 weeks, which seemed reasonable enough for that sort of thing.
Money changed hands via PayPal, I sent through some details, and that was that. Felt like I was winning, cos these pickups kicked ass by all accounts. My Strat was going to transform from a stock standard American Strat into a scooped, squishy, vintage-style TONEZILLA.
Two months later, I hadn’t heard anything. I figured it wasn’t a big deal – my stock Strat pickups were pretty decent for the time being, and the Strat isn’t my main guitar anyway. I chucked the guy a quick email and he sent me back a one liner to the effect of “it’s on my radar, I’ll get them out to you this weekend.”
Three months later, still nothing!! Kind of annoyed by this point. I emailed the guy to ask what the status of the pickups was, and if they weren’t done yet, I’d like to cancel the order and get a refund. I got another one liner back saying “They show on my list as shipped, if they don’t arrive by this week let me know.”
That week passed, nothing arrived (and I didn’t have any tracking information or anything like that), so I emailed back and said I still wanted a refund… I have yet to hear back.
In this day and age, with such fierce competition in almost every aspect of the guitar business, is this really acceptable?
I know there are guys like Alexander Dumble whose products are so deeply shrouded in mystique and legend that people will wait for years to get one of his amps… and wait, and wait, and wait. If you even so much as dare to ask what the status of your order is, he kicks you off the list. I don’t even think you get your deposit refunded!! The Analogman King of Tone overdrive waiting list is at least 9 months long… and all you get for most of that time is an automatic reply telling you that your name is on the list.
Would you put your hard earned money down for a product if you knew that the manufacturer was just going to treat you like dirt?
Sure, I recognize that it takes a little bit of eccentricity, a lot of creativity and perhaps a small tinge of madness to cook up groundbreaking new product designs… and maybe sometimes communication falls off your radar a little. But if you’re trying to make a business of it, you kinda have to factor in treating your customers with a little bit of respect.
Personally, I think that customer service really matters. For me, it makes the difference between importing something from eBay to save $100, and deciding to pay that extra $100 to support your local retailer because they treat you right, and you know they value you as a customer.
What do you guys think? Ever had a similar experience with a manufacturer? Was it all worth it in the end or did the bad customer service sour the experience and ultimately, the product?
Also, here’s a picture of a “FuckYouCaster” that I found on the internet.