Ok guys, with all the people waiting on APM2 and all the exciting new alpha and beta releases of APM firmware coming, I think many people are starting to chomp at their bits, a little.  

To that end, I've opened up this discussion for all those with complaints.  As I've joined the Dev Team, and not at a productive stage yet, I'll monitor this discussion, and relay things to the others on the Dev Team.

These could be both hardware or software, or just general rants and raves!

Hope everyone takes advantage of this!  Maybe we'll all learn some things in the process.

Just wanted to add this response from Chris Anderson:

Please just contact sales@3drobotics.com and inquire about the status of your order. They are not necessarily shipped in order. For example, the unsoldered ones are shipped first, because they're faster to put together. Then soldered with GPS, then soldered without GPS (or maybe those two in reverse order, I can't remember). There are approximately 50 going out each day and the team tells me that the backlog should be over by Mon/Tues of next week. 

I agree, please use this discussion for Rants and Raves.  Order issues should be directed to 3DR directly.  I think you will get better response there.

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Mike, Tony: I'm very sorry to hear about your poor experiences, and I appreciate the suggestions on what to improve. As you can tell, we've been a little overwhelmed by APM2 demand, which is accelerating at a pace we've never seen befor, so although we've added a second pick-and-place line we're still dealing with a 2-4 week backlog.

I've brought your comments to the attention of the 3DR operations team, and will work with them to try to improve the situation ASAP.

Carl,

I did order what I wanted. I like soldering and the 1-2 week shipping looked better than the 2-4 for the full kit.  The only reason that I asked about switching was because the order is already a week past the "usually ships in 1-2 weeks."  I also hadn't read about all the media tek GPS problems.  I can add the uBlox GPS at a later date but I thought I'd ask since the delay was of no fault of mine.

I don't expect companies to advertise 1-2 weeks when it's really much longer than that.  As I said, I wouldn't have a problem with this order if the ship times weren't intentionally misleading.  If they really are only shipping 8 per day, 5.5 months will push the limits of my patience.

I'd also feel a little better if they didn't take the money upfront but only took it when the order is shipped.   When they have the money upfront, there is no incentive to process the orders in a timely manner.

Chris,

  Thanks for the read, and reply.. I can certainly understand the frustration (and possibly hands in the air) when you're turning out product as fast as you can, but can't keep up with demand - All I would ask for is a better way to communicate progress/status with customers. As for my shipping charge issue, I would certainly hope someone at some point in the near future would contact me about it.

Thanks again for the reply, and I look forward to hopefully smoother waters in the future :)

Tony,

 As you can see with my post below I've had some issues as well, especially with communication and following process. But in all honesty, while I can completely understand that you want to vent about the situation, I don't think they are intentionally misleading the ship time on the product page, and I don't think you understand order numbers and their time-frames.


The product page does say the board without pins soldered is usually shipped in 1-2 weeks. That is the standard spot in their shopping cart system - If they get a backlog, that's what the "typically" is there for - it gives them a bit more room when the surges hit.

I think it's obvious if you look at these forum threads that 1-2 weeks isn't always the case. If you believe that's false advertising, or whatever, how about the fact that it says the kit version is $199 usd, when it really is less when you put it in the cart and purchase? In all fairness then we should ask to pay more because it says a higher price on the product page.

They aren't advertising 1-2 weeks. They are advertising "usually...1-2 weeks" - We all know that "typically" is there in case of part shortages, assembly issues (pick-and-place machine taking an unscheduled vacation, etc..) but I don't know that it means they are intentionally misleading anyone. I would think that if you speak with them, and they say it's going out in a week and yet they have 8 weeks of backlog to get through.. Gigantic difference there.. But again, I understand venting..

As for order numbers - You're math doesn't add up, as you're not taking one bit of info into account: The order numbers are for ALL orders, not JUST APM 2 boards. I'm sure there are lots of order numbers ahead of ours getting pulled and sent on their happy way due to the fact that they are not waiting on anything to go out the door - If I place an order for an APM 2 right now, then place an order for some deans connectors, they aren't going to hold up the connectors until after they get the APM2 out the door - that would shut them down at some point due to everyone beating down their doors..

Take a deep breath - again I understand the frustration, but it isn't going to take 5 months to get your board - They put out spurts of hundreds at a time (look at the posts from a week and a half ago)

Take care,

Mike

Chris,
I posted a question on your "2.6.1 preview" post asking about the order modification I mentioned above. You replied: "Tony: I don't think so, but I don't run the store. Email sales@3drobotics.com and ask." Now you're saying that you brought the comments to operations. Do you run the store or not? If you can take comments to operations you're not just an uninterested party. You also say "we're still dealing with a 2-4 week backlog." Wouldn't the “we're” in that statement mean that you are part of the store? The Chris in sales evidently didn't know of the 2-4 week backlog which you talk about or he didn't care to share it with customers. He just sent out boilerplate letters with no real information shared in those letters. So you seem to know more about the operation of the store than the Chris in sales. If the information is accurate, it is pretty good knowledge for a guy who doesn't "run the store."

If the web store would have said ships in five to six weeks, I would not be frustrated because I would have known what to expect. Having bogus in-stock quantities in the web store is deceitful. Having them there at all when you know there is a 2-4 week backlog is just bad business. If there are in stock units then there is no reason not to ship them in the time promised. I realize the store avoids a promise by using the word “usually” which makes the whole ship time ambiguous and mostly useless. I paid for two day shipping based on being informed that ship time was 1-2 weeks. If the 2-4 week backlog is accurate than I can expect the APM 2.0 in another 3 weeks (I won't hold my breath). Nowhere near the 9 to 16 days (including the 2 day shipping) that I was lead to believe from the web store. I don't know what the price difference is between FedEx ground and FedEx two day shipping is but I would think that a store credit for that difference would be in order.

Because I believe the hardware and software are of excellent quality and are the best available for the use, I will wait a while longer for delivery. Those at 3DR should not perceive this as an acceptance of lousy customer service nor should they see this as an invitation to abuse my patience in the future.

Finally, I would like someone to take responsibility and provide me an firm ship date? "May be shipped within the week" or "will ship within the week" don't cut it.

Tony, Mike,


I apologize for the issues you had with the store (waiting times and lost package).  We were slowed down a bit while setting up a new production plant to help alleviate the backlog of orders.  As of today the plant is operational and is working with us to help clear the backlog and ship out the late items.  


By the end of this week (or Monday at most) we should be caught up with our orders and lead times.  It's our goal to have the boards available within days instead of weeks.


I apologize again to the both of you and any other customers who have had any other issues.  I know an apology won't really solve the issues you've had, but please know that we are working hard to improve these and other items on our current setup.

And Tony, your order is shipping tomorrow along with others as well.

Feel free to contact me for any issues or comments related to the store (service, checkout, refunds, etc).

Thanks!

Lorenzo thanks for updating everyone.

Tony/Mike - just to let you know I ordered on 2nd of June and it shipped 16th July (US time) - I am in Melbourne, and looking at tracking the Fedex package is only just down the road somewhere and I expect they'll walk in today.  so that is 6 weeks end to end, and it looks like I ordered right at the peek time.

The only problem I had all up was I did make a second order (for ardustation) and as was specified I put in "Ship with order xxxxx" and set the shipping to bill to my Fedex...etc.

However when the First order shipped early this week they didn't ship the second order, a quick email to Chris (sales@) by the time the US woke up I had an email saying whoops sorry it didn't ship, and they immediately shipped it, but I haven't been charged for extra shipping...Now I'm just tracking two shipments - 1st one is just down the road, and the second is currently in Honalulu!

Overall I'm very happy with the service considering the Extreme popularity that's abounded with these products.  Not to mention Arduino itself...I challenge you to look at any number of devices or applications these days where an ATMEGA128, 168, 2560, 328, 8, etc. isn't integrated in for either Firmware updating, Serial interfacing or the actual MCPU itself.

Here's something else, I work in retail where we are about to develop our own version of a machine we currently have in-store (I can't go into details.) - but needless to say we're on the phone with a high-level IT Strategy company the other day and the guy (originally from Boston) says "well we can help in developing something, and we'll probably use Arduino..."

 

Keep up the good work all and Sundry.

Mike,

If they know that they have a two to four week backlog then they know they can't deliver in one to two weeks for the unassembled kit or two to four weeks for the assembled system. Knowing of the backlog and leaving the one to two and two to four weeks as the “usually ships in” times is being intentionally misleading. I do understand order numbers and time frames. Some orders have more or less or different products than others. Some of those products have different availability and ship times so you can't expect all orders to be filled sequentially. If the quantity available for a product is always 30 to 100 then I can expect my order to be shipped within the time frame advertised. If they don't have enough product to fill all current orders then the quantity available should state zero, out of stock, or back-ordered and then give an accurate availability date. I realize they may not have accurate information from their suppliers but in that case then they should just say back-ordered.

I also understand the ambiguity of and the reasons for “usually ships.” However, usually should be based on past performance of what is usual for the current situation. If there is a surge then usual goes out the window and they should again state the backlog and do away with the usually ships wording. They shouldn't continue to use the word “usually” when they know full well that there is no way they can do “usually.”

I'm not sure where you are getting the kit version being less money? The page advertised the $199.99 price and my order was $199.99 so I won't ask to pay more. I would ask why the assembled kit is $199.95 and the unassembled kit, requiring less effort on their part, costs be 4 cents more at $199.99? If some are getting a reduced price for the kit then maybe someone from the store can comment on why that is not the case for all.

I realize my math didn't add up, check out sarcasm in the dictionary. I was just using exaggeration to vent.

I did take a deep breath a week ago. They told me that my order may ship within the week. I was fine with that and hoped they meant it even though they used the ambiguous word “may.” However, I won't put up with poor customer service from any company anymore. When I made my inquiry today and was again presented with the same boilerplate letter again state that my order would ship within the week I couldn't keep quite anymore. If customers continue to allow lousy customer service from businesses then the customer service will remain lousy or even get worse. As customers, it is our duty to see that we get the service that is required for our continued patronage.

Lorenzo sent out a very nice explanation and apology. Imagine if he or someone else had sent this message out to all inquiries instead of the boilerplate letter stating that “you place your order x number of days ago so it may ship within the week” and also advertising other products for you to go look at? I know my frustration level would have been cut way down. I'm not sure what Lorenzo's title is at 3DR but his explanation of the process likely has kept me as a customer. I say likely because I want to hold off to make sure I have an email stating my product has been shipped and that I also have a tracking number by tomorrow COB. As far as customer service, there is a huge difference between Lorenzo and the Chris that answered by emails to sales@3drobotics.com.

Thanks,
Tony

Lorenzo,

As I stated above, you likely saved 3DR a customer.

Thanks,
Tony

Tony: I'm just trying to help. I'm an investor in 3D Robotics, but I don't work there. (I'm the editor of Wired Magazine, which is my day job). I live in San Francisco. 3DR is in San Diego.

The in-stock quantity is the number of boards for which 3DR has components on hand. They need to be assembled and tested, which can take a week or more. It is an accurate number, but apperently it wasn't clear to you what it meant.

If you felt misled by the wording on the product listing and feel that you overpaid for the shipping, please PM me the amount you feel you are due with your email address and I will Paypal you that amount personally.

Chris,

It seemed that 3DR communication to customers was lacking and thus my limits of frustration were reached today. I realize you are trying to help and if you had Lorenzo email me and post his message then you did help.

After checking, the difference between FedEx ground and FedEx 2day is minimal. Even if the difference was large, I'd never ask a person to personally pay for the behavior of others.

For me, this rants and raves forum has served a purpose. I learned more about my order in one post here than I learned in three emails to sales@3drobotics. Accurate information is all I sought and I believe that I now have it.

Having run a business for a long time, in-stock quanties are very clear to me. An in-stock quantity is the quantity of a product left in-stock after ALL current orders for that product are subtracted. In other words, it is the number of units available to fill future orders. It is not the number of products that the company has on hand without first filling previous orders. Let's say I have orders for 1000 widgets but I only have 750 widgets in stock. My in-stock quantity should either read -250 or zero. Let's further say I have 500 widgets on order from my supplier and they have told me I will have them in a week. I could advertise that I expect new stock in a week. When my order comes in I would fill the remaining 250 orders and the in-stock quantity would be 250. The in-stock quantiy should never reflect units that have already been sold. To further belabor the point, if I'm a customer and I see a quantity of 30 units and I then add one to my cart and then fully check-out, assuming no other sales, the new in-stock quantiy should read 29 and my order should be picked and shipped at once.

I do have another question. Mike R. posted a reply to one of my comments above stating that the cost of the APM 2.0 was lower when added to the cart than it was advertised on the description page. I did not experience this reduction in the price of the APM 2.0 when I placed my order. Can you have someone follow up with me on this?

Quote from Mike R's post above: "how about the fact that it says the kit version is $199 usd, when it really is less when you put it in the cart and purchase? In all fairness then we should ask to pay more because it says a higher price on the product page."

If Lorenzo's post and email are accurate, I have no reason to believe otherwise, I consider all problems with this order resolved. Further, if I had the power, I'd promote Lorenzo and I'd fire the Chris that answers emails to sales@3drobotics.com

On a side note, the UAV article in Wired was a good read.

The price of APM 2 does not change when you put it in the cart. Maybe Mike R selected the option with no GPS (-$15)?

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