Arizona Silhouette - bad service

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Since I'm new to the turning side of things, I've been trying out different vendors trying to find the best price/quality/service. I know, I know...I can only have 2 of the 3! but I still try. I have had Arizona Silhouette recommended by several people so I ordered a few kits and stuff from them right before Christmas. They came in sometime around the 18th-20th but being the holidays, I was busy visiting with family and out of town for a couple of weeks. When I got back I had the itch, so I went out to make my very first cigar. I pulled out the kit and started laying it out and reading the directions...I noticed that the nib was missing. I check the other cigar kit to make sure it didn't get put in that package by mistake but nope, it was just missing.

So I emailed (try to call first with no answer) Arizona Silhouette. I let them know about the situation. This was a few days ago. I got an email back from them today saying that they only have a 5 day "inspection" period and that it was clearly stated on a piece of paper stapled to the receipt so I'm out of luck. WTF??? for something they could probably replace for less than $1 they are going to loose me as a customer all together. That's BS. I won't deal with a company like that. This email was from Bill Baumbeck, which I assume is the owner...but I'm not sure.

Having owned my own business for the last 4 years, I've had to deal with similar situations but our business policies are all in place as a guideline and consider all the circumstances before having to tell a customer I can't help them.

Okay, sorry about the rant, but I can't stand bad customer service...

Mike Moffitt
 
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As a regular buyer from AS, I am very surprised they didn't take care of you - they've been marvelous to me.

I didn't know about the 5 day inspection rule, though. I usually don't bother looking at the kits when I get them since I keep stock on hand and only order when I start to get low. Guess I'll have to start looking.
 

maxwell_smart007

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Bill Baumbeck is indeed the owner. After a long search on his website, I found his return policy here:
http://www.arizonasilhouette.com/Frequently_Asked_Questions.htm#What_is_your_return_policy

It states the five day period for undamaged merchandise, but not for defective merchandise. Since he already told you you're SOL, however, you're not likely to win with that argument.

He is often mentioned on the fora, and some love him, and others hate him. I can't tell you my experience with him, because I have none. He does not ship to anyone outside the US, so I have to take others words for it.

There are a lot of vendors, however, that support the IAP, and give excellent customer service. Why don't you try one of them next time if you're unhappy with the ones you've been using? Many of them have all three of the attributes you're looking for - but customer service and quality products are definitely two of the 'must haves' in my book.
 
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I agree Maxwell. And I usually try to use forum members when possible but like I said, I was looking around and trying different vendors...plus I don't know who all makes what here yet (I'm learning though...just placed an order with JohnnyCNC!).

It really just surprised be because I thought it would be a no-brainer...guess not!

Mike
 

juteck

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I've had good luck with AS. Maybe a phone call will work better than email, but remember the time zone they are in - speak with Bill directly, and explain your holiday timing again. If that gets you nowhere, maybe call Berea directly, since AS is a reseller. I've had equally good luck with Berea, so even though they didn't directly sell you the kit, they might be able to help.
 
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It also states that there are 5 days for inspection and reporting missing parts.

Under pen kit information: A part was missing from a kit I purchased from you. How do I get the missing part replaced?
 

jleiwig

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I'm sorry, but his policy is on his website and was attached to the receipt in the box. You didn't follow the policy, and your upset because you wanted him to honor something 10 days later than what the policy specified?

I don't see how he is the bad guy in this. On your own website you specify a return period of within 30 days of receipt. If I waited until 40 days to return something would you still do it?

I have never dealt with Bill, but a policy is a policy. Why should you expect him to bend over backward when you admit it was you who didn't follow the policy?
 

sdemars

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Contact your . . .

Since I'm new to the turning side of things, I've been trying out different vendors trying to find the best price/quality/service. I know, I know...I can only have 2 of the 3! but I still try. I have had Arizona Silhouette recommended by several people so I ordered a few kits and stuff from them right before Christmas. They came in sometime around the 18th-20th but being the holidays, I was busy visiting with family and out of town for a couple of weeks. When I got back I had the itch, so I went out to make my very first cigar. I pulled out the kit and started laying it out and reading the directions...I noticed that the nib was missing. I check the other cigar kit to make sure it didn't get put in that package by mistake but nope, it was just missing.

So I emailed (try to call first with no answer) Arizona Silhouette. I let them know about the situation. This was a few days ago. I got an email back from them today saying that they only have a 5 day "inspection" period and that it was clearly stated on a piece of paper stapled to the receipt so I'm out of luck. WTF??? for something they could probably replace for less than $1 they are going to loose me as a customer all together. That's BS. I won't deal with a company like that. This email was from Bill Baumbeck, which I assume is the owner...but I'm not sure.

Having owned my own business for the last 4 years, I've had to deal with similar situations but our business policies are all in place as a guideline and consider all the circumstances before having to tell a customer I can't help them.

Okay, sorry about the rant, but I can't stand bad customer service...

Mike Moffitt
Contact your credit card company . . . contest the charge . . . return the material . .
 

redbulldog

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It sounds like you want to blame A/S for your mistake! That is one of the troubles with our society today, blame someone else for any thing bad that has happened to us. Why not own up to the truth, it was your mistake not A/S!!!!!
 

wolftat

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I have dealt with Bill many times and have come to understand him, he is actually a good guy but you have to go by the rules that he has laid out for his business. The phone call will probably not help you but this may, please send me a PM with the type of finish and your address, if I have one I will be happy to send it out to you.
 
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Justin,
As I stated, I would take into consideration all circumstances before deciding if I would honor it...I have had these situation happen several times. Sometimes it's just someone trying to get one over on you and sometimes it's a legit reason. As I said, for me, policy is a guideline, not an unbreakable law. If I sold someone a $4 trophy and they called me 40 days later and said, "I was just looking at this and it appears the date was wrong on the name plate, could you send me another one?" I would most definitely replace the name plate.
1. It could be my mistake (as the missing part was his)
2. It would be a minimal cost to replace it
3. The customer will be happy and more likely to return

Is that "against policy"? Maybe, but it is the right thing to do. As the owner of my own company, I can make those decisions.

Mike
 

gketell

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Bill is within his rights based on his written policy. But is he right to treat people this way? And how much lost business did that one little part cost him? Lots more than he would have lost by a "Great Service from AZS" post.

*shrug*

Which cigar kit was it? I have some bags of "misc parts" here. Maybe I can help.
 
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Redbulldog,
It's funny! You say to take responsibility and assign blame to me? Was I the one that packaged the part, mailed the part, sold the part, represented certain items included in a part? Granted I didn't call him within the number of days his policy states, bad on me, but the root cause is not my failure to call, it's the missing parts. And the missing parts have nothing to do with me and everything to do with AS.

So i accept the that I didn't call in his timeframe....which is why I didn't contest his charges or send the parts back like others suggested. But the bad customer service and the missing parts is still AS's responsibility to accept...

MIke
 
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Thanks to those that have understood that this was a customer service issue and not a complaint about his policy. I accept the fact that he has a certain policy and that it should be followed when possible. But considering the short time frame (5 days) and other circumstances (holidays seasons), some extra consideration could have been extended. But it is his choice as a business owner to run his business how he chooses. I totally respect that. Just don't agree with his decision...but not my business. As consumer, I have the choice to go somewhere else...that's what I will do. And I'm not talking about loosing $500...I will get the part replaced cheaply...that's not and never was the issue.

For those that have offered, the part was the chrome nib for the "1 x Cigar Pen, Chrome (BHW-091)" If anyone has an extra laying around and wouldn't mind sending it, I'm more than willing to pay for the part and shipping. Just PM me and I'll send PayPal for it.

Thanks again to those that offered.

Mike
 

bgray

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Not Bill's fault, my opinion.

Imagine being in his shoes. If he doesn't have this policy in place, then he will have lots and lots of dishonest people who lost a part, scratched a part, ruined a part, and will call up saying that they never got it, expecting it to be replaced.

And it won't cost him a mere buck. He receives complete kits. If a part is missing, it's his loss of an entire kit, as he will have to break it up.
 

gketell

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Not Bill's fault, my opinion.
He receives complete kits. If a part is missing, it's his loss of an entire kit, as he will have to break it up.
If he receives complete kits then this problem is the manufacturers. They should have sent him full kits, not partials. And since there is a long history of his vendor sending faulty kits, he should be checking them as they come in so he can get his money back from them. Not passing the buck to his customers. IMHO, of course.
 

maxwell_smart007

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Yes, bgray, it's not required for Bill to replace the part...it's not required for anyone to do anything to help a customer...but a customer has the choice to shop wherever he or she wants - and there are a LOT of options.

A replacement nib worth fifty cents isn't worth losing a customer, in my mind...but if you want to run a business, you can operate any way you choose...just don't expect people to choose you if you don't provide them with service that they LOVE.

There are too many choices out there to put up with a place that treats you poorly...shop around until you find a vendor you like.
 

chrisk

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It's really amazing! I'll retain the lesson learned from this mishap. A policy to protect someone from... his mistakes!!!
Who is accountable for the missing nib? The customer? Or the vendor? Apparently the customer. Even if he was away for Christmas... You see... THE POLICY carries for this kind of... protection!!!
Good night gentlemen!!!

PS: apologies for my English...
 
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Greg,
Thanks for looking. I had also ordered the black chrome and that's what I ended up using that day since the chrome was missing. I like the look of the black chrome, so I'll probably make some more of those.

Again, thanks for checking, I appreciate it.

Mike
 

hilltopper46

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I had an experience similar to this just recently. A good supplier that many of us deal with sent me a kit with the refill and spring missing. But, today I was looking under my workbench for another, different, part that I had dropped, and I'll be darned - that refill and spring were under the workbench!!
 

babyblues

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Bill is within his rights based on his written policy. But is he right to treat people this way? And how much lost business did that one little part cost him? Lots more than he would have lost by a "Great Service from AZS" post.

*shrug*

Which cigar kit was it? I have some bags of "misc parts" here. Maybe I can help.
I would say any business he loses because of this thread wasn't his doing. I don't think thread is called for at all. Just because some people are so childish they expect every vendor to treat them with kid gloves, that's no reason to publicly hamstring the guy. If it were me, I wouldn't cry about anyone willing to take their business elsewhere because of something stupid like this. Who needs that kind of stress.
 

JimMc7

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Sorry to hear about your experience. I have purchased a lot of items from Bill @ AS and he always ships the same day I order. He also has a wide selection of stabilized wood blanks that I haven't found anywhere else. I haven't had any missing or bad parts with any of his kits but I didn't notice the 5 day inspection policy either so thanks for posting this. That said, my personal experience has been good so I'll continue to order from Bill.

You might try Ernie at Bear Tooth Woods as another supplier of Berea kits. I did have a problem with the fit of a Sierra nib ordered from Ernie that I discovered a couple of weeks after I ordered. Ernie was quick to send a replacement with no hassle at all. Ernie also provides same day shipping in my experience. FYI, Ernie is located in Colorado Springs, too.

Bottom line is I'm happy with both suppliers and will use both in the future. Ernie excelled in customer service given the opportunity -- Bill hasn't had the opportunity in my case (other than fair prices/fast shipping which I've been happy with).

PS I avoid buying from Berea directly unless no other option (e.g., Black Ti Sierra Elegant Beauty kits) because of a similar "tough, can't help you" experience (Berea was in the right, by the way, but I don't have to spend money there!).
 

hunter-27

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Justin,
As I stated, I would take into consideration all circumstances before deciding if I would honor it...I have had these situation happen several times. Sometimes it's just someone trying to get one over on you and sometimes it's a legit reason. As I said, for me, policy is a guideline, not an unbreakable law. If I sold someone a $4 trophy and they called me 40 days later and said, "I was just looking at this and it appears the date was wrong on the name plate, could you send me another one?" I would most definitely replace the name plate.
1. It could be my mistake (as the missing part was his)
2. It would be a minimal cost to replace it
3. The customer will be happy and more likely to return

Is that "against policy"? Maybe, but it is the right thing to do. As the owner of my own company, I can make those decisions.

Mike
Pretty sure that Bill has the same right to make those decisions for HIS comany as well, he chooses to stick to his policy. What gives you the right to say he is a bad vendor?
 

sdemars

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Hey, I like your answer . . .

I would say any business he loses because of this thread wasn't his doing. I don't think thread is called for at all. Just because some people are so childish they expect every vendor to treat them with kid gloves, that's no reason to publicly hamstring the guy. If it were me, I wouldn't cry about anyone willing to take their business elsewhere because of something stupid like this. Who needs that kind of stress.

This is exactly what happened to the mom & pop retailers across America. The inability to communicate with it's customers when a problem arose. They just set set up a bunch of IRON CLAD RULES & stuck by them till hell freezes over . . .

WALMART IS SO THANKFUL FOR THIS INDEPENDENT VENDOR MENTALITY . . .

Isn't it amazing, WALMART'S Policy is you can return anything for any reason . . .

It sure has hurt them . . .

Steve with a different prospective . . .
 

Russianwolf

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I've ordered from Bill on numerous occasions, nothing but good to say about the experiences.

Bill's policies are in place because of his past experiences.

I've had experiences in my business (both professional and private) and I have set policies because of those experience. Most of those policies are written in stone and I won't budge (I've often been described as "not very diplomatic").
 
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Hunter,
I believe I said in several parts of this thread that a respect his decision to run his business however he chooses...he owns it, not me. I also believe that I never said he was a "bad vendor", rather I said he has bad customer service. And what gives me the "right to say he is a bad vendor" is my right to free speech...simple as that. No one has to agree with me, but I can say it if I believe it.

And to set the record straight, I don't believe AS is a bad vendor! I haven't had enough experience with him to say that. But I can say that I had bad customer service in this one instance. If other have had good experiences with him (and I know they have), they should stay with him. I'm not trying to get anyone to leave his business, just to let other newbies like me know that it could be an issue...

That's the purpose of message boards like this...information and the sharing of experiences.

Thanks for your feedback.

Mike

Pretty sure that Bill has the same right to make those decisions for HIS comany as well, he chooses to stick to his policy. What gives you the right to say he is a bad vendor?
 

bobleibo

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"THE $52,000 TOMATOE" - true story
Martha had been shopping in the local grocery store for about 10 years. One day she got home with her groceries and found one of the tomatoes was rotten. Having never had a problem, she called the manager to explain, thinking he would simply replace it the next time she was in as a gesture of goodwill. Instead, he said "Sorry, you picked it, not us, we cannot accept returned foods". Martha never went back. She had been shopping there for 10 years. Assuming she would shop there another 10 years and spent about $100 per week, if you do the math, that tomatoe cost the store $52,000 in sales over the course of the next 10 years.

This is a true story that I did a term paper on in grad school and resulted in an hour long discussion by the entire class.

What would you do?
Cheers
Bob
 

skiprat

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If I was absolutely positive that the part wasn't in the kit to begin with, then I'd just order another complete kit and contact the vendor within the 5 day period and say there was a part missing from that kit ( the new one ):rolleyes:
If he honoured it and sent a part then he would continue to get my business.

I once ordered some pens from CSUSA and they sent pencils instead. As they were more than willing to ship replacements and told me to keep the pencils, I reciprocated and told them just to send them with my next order. They said OK and thanks for saving them the shipping.
But I forgot about them for over six months and the next time I ordered stuff the pens were in the package!!!!:eek::biggrin:

I also wonder if the first person to openly complain about Steebar got it in the ear from his fellow turners:confused:
 

bobleibo

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I also have to give a thumbs up to CSUSA...
I live close enough to them to visit their store in person (very dangerous for my wallet). I royaly screwed up a Jr Statesmen pen kit when I was assembling it. The next time I was down there, I showed them the part and asked if they happened to have one I could buy, if not I would just buy a new kit and use the part I needed. They walked over and took the part out of the package of one of the kits hanging on their display wall and gave it to me and would not let me pay for it.
I never forgot that......
Cheers
Bob
 

gketell

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When I was a teenager I worked at Jack in the Box. The manager's took each new employee and talked to them about customer satisfaction being the most important thing served at the restaurant.

The way they explained it is that for "good service" you neither gain nor lose customers. For GREAT service your customer may tell five friends and you might gain 5 customers. But for BAD service, well the world likes bad news, you tell your same five friends and they will possibly each tell 5 of their friends and you end up losing 26 customers.

With the internet instead of 5 friends it becomes 500. One $0.50 part can cost you hundreds or thousands of customers.

And on this forum I see way more "great service from" posts than I've seen anywhere else on the net or in person. Just think the difference in this thread if it had started out "I finally opened my kit and found missing parts. Even though I was wayy past the allowed time frame I called AZS and Bill took care of me!".

GK
 

jedgerton

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I've had a similar situation with two other vendors but their responses were more in line with what I would expect:

1. Craft Supply - missing piece in a pen kit. I called them, explained what was missing and a replacement part was shipped the next day. No questions about which order, how many days or otherwise. I think I even told them the kit may have been part of a group purchase.

2. PSI - order shipped with one pen kit missing entirely. I called immediately and they shipped the missing pen kit that day. They trusted my word that the pen kit was missing. The only info they wanted was the initials of the person who packed the order.

If your question is, can people take advantage of suppliers with these policies, the answer is absolutely. Will people continue to do business with suppliers who treat people like the two examples above, that answer is absolutely yes as well.

Vote with your $$$. If a supplier doesn't trust you, don't trust them. In my not so humble opinion.

John
 

Chasper

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Mike,
I'm in full agreement with your assessment of the issue, I believe your post is warranted and appropriate. I've had good results with AS, but I've stopped using them because of the one sided and narrowly worded policies.

G
 

jimjonespa48

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I have no experience with AZ, so I can't say anything about them. However, I have had similar issues with Woodnwhimsies and they immediately sent new parts to me with no questions asked. I would recommend dealing with them to anyone.
 

stolicky

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I would say any business he loses because of this thread wasn't his doing. I don't think thread is called for at all. Just because some people are so childish they expect every vendor to treat them with kid gloves, that's no reason to publicly hamstring the guy. If it were me, I wouldn't cry about anyone willing to take their business elsewhere because of something stupid like this. Who needs that kind of stress.
I think you pretty much said it. The question I have - if he didn't actually speak to Bill, and after seeing the way the original post is written, I wonder what the attitude in the original email communication to Bill looked like?

Skiprat may be on to something....?

I have personally had good service, above and beyond, from Bill. Actually talking to him helps, too. He can come across a little rough, but he has historically more than taken care of his customers. Like someone said above, just do a quick search and see.

I think this thread is the perfect example of why the idea of a 'vendor discussion forum' was shot down a couple of weeks ago.

I'm sorry you had this happen.
 

skywizzard

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I have purchased from Bill at AS probably a dozen times. Once I received a defective rattlesnake blank. This wasn't discovered until AFTER I turned the blank. I emailed Bill and received a replacement by Priority mail in 2 days. I did report within the 5 day period. I have never had anything but excellent service from Bill. He has rules, like all vendors/sellers/business's. If you want to do business with him just follow his rules, otherwise deal with someone else. Simple....
 

jimbob91577

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I've ordered from AZS only once, and I didn't have a problem with my order at all. I've read positive and negative reviews on this site of AZS over the last year or two, and to be honest, I'll likely order again from them when/if I need to.

I personally order from Ernie at Bear Tooth Woods because the first time I made an order with his company, I ended up screwing up the online checkout form. I called and immediately got Ernie. We ended up talking for about 30 minutes about various kits, how to turn acrylic, what would make his website easier to navigate, etc. - I was impressed, and my wife was as well when I told her the story.

My wife loves Ernie too - and she doesn't turn pens. She called him to order me a $50 gift certificate for Christmas. Ernie took down her information and processed the order, twice, resulting in a $100 charge on our checking account. We contacted Ernie on Christmas day, via e-mail, and he apologized left and right. He offered us a refund and the like, but we elected to keep the additional $50 gift certificate.

Because of his service he retains a customer and gets even more kudos' on this web forum from me. (POKE: the only thing that would make me love BTW even more is if they had an even larger selection of kits)

I had a good experience from Penn State too. I ordered two Sceptre kits for a customer, royally screwed up the assembly and mangled some of the parts. I contacted PSI and asked if I could purchase the separate parts that I needed - they sent me replacements for free, but the communication gap between the person on the phone and myself caused the wrong parts to be sent, so again I contacted them and they sent me out the correct replacement parts again for free.
 

Jacko

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Not that anyone cares but word of mouth can make or break your business.

Based on what little I have read I would not send money to A/S

And I would dispute payment on my CC.

But that is me and my right and my policy.
 
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bitshird

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I've ordered a few times from Bill, BUT having heard of and read his return/replacement policy, I check each kit as soon as I get the box.
It might have been said several times on this forum, but he is a rather difficult guy to deal with unless you do it his way. Personality doesn't appear to be one of his strong points, from all indications he would rather not deal with the public in any manner other than through his website. There are quite a few business out there like that, ones that have seemed to remove any human element from their trade.
I have always got what I ordered and normally in a very timely fashion, and with a bonus item of some kind thrown in gratis.
I don't expect to see Bill running on the Charm and Charisma platform for any public office, but as a vendor, he's OK.
 
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