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Customer Service - Does it exist or do they just hate me?


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#1 Mike Zapalowski Jr

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 10:12 AM

I really don't like doing this but I really need to know if I am the only one being treated this way by Meade .

My story begins nearly a year ago when I first sent my ETX105 UHTC in for repair less than a month after owning it due to a slipping dec drive. After almost a month, they finally tell me it will ship out second day. 2 days go by and still no scope. I call and for whatever reason, it hasn't shipped. This goes on for nearly 2 weeks before they "remember" to ship it overnight to 2 separate addresses.

Since I received the unit back, I have been plagued with a motor unit fault which I was given a list of things to try to fix it before they would do anything (4/28). (I had put it off for a while becuase of frustration and lack of support from Meade) I ran through the list and sent my findings in via email and submitted through the tech support page(5/1). No one contacted and after a couple of weeks, I called in (5/15). At that time, I was told that a new Autostar would be shipped 2nd day - I doubted this seriously because of prior events. On this forum, I was told to make sure the new cable shipped with the unit as well, which I did and found that it still hadn't shipped anyway(5/10) but would ship that day overnight. Needless to say, Friday (5/11) came and Saturday (5/12)went by as well as Monday (5/14) and still no handheld.

Anyone have a better experience than I? My expectations aren't that high - if you say you are doing something, then do it. If something happens and you can't do it - tell me.

**Edit : I had listed Friday as 5/10 and Sat. as 5/11**
M. Zapalowski
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#2 ncradar

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 04:45 PM

I have been waiting since February 2007 for a technician to call me back within 24 hours for a problem I am having with Autostar.

#3 Mike Zapalowski Jr

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Posted 15 May 2007 - 05:56 PM

Out of curiosity, what type of scope do you have?

By the way, the rooster is in the hen house, that is, I received an overnight package today from Meade. It contained a new Autostar and a cable. The cable however did not have a molded' connection but the same hand made cable. (photos later) Upon first plug-in, it was running 40e - motor unit fault after 15 min. Cable didn't want to come out of the handheld (yes I know what I am doing) I couldn't tell if a pin was bent but it didn't feel that way when I plugged it in but looks that way. Plugged it back in and did same thing and the third try it came right out. Plugged it back in the scope and did another reset. walked through and it has been up for about 2 hours so far tracking fine. I am going to switch objects and bring to work and let it track all day. If I succeed, then I would say this is all the cable. I will have one of my techs at work make a real cable  the way I want it and start selling them to Meade.
M. Zapalowski
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#4 Mike Zapalowski Jr

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 05:32 PM

Ok - I had a decent conversation with someone from customer service today.

Some key points:

I was told that customer service has no control after a ticket is passed to shipping

I was told that opening my telescope would void my 1 year wrranty from purchase however if I opened it after I receive Sky Assurance, it will not void that warranty and could be sent in for repairs as long as the scope was reassembled

There staff is split shift now from the sound of it.

And I am still having motor fault. This time it was recommended to send the scope in for repair and possible replacement. However, I should wait until my Sky Assurance Certificate arrives so that this issue will lean towards the lemon clause.

Oh my. All of this to gaze at the heavens...but I have faith that one day, I may see a little further than with my naked eye.
M. Zapalowski
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#5 MistrBadgr

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 10:30 AM

It is funny how some of those kinds of things work.  I have personally had superlative customer service with Meade and totally nonexistent service with another company.  I have noticed a few things about using customer serivice that may help.

I have a tendency to be rather wordy when I seeking help from them.  If have found it better to keep any messages simple and only talk about one thing in a particular message.  Combinations or multiple questions in emails run a greater risk of hitting snags.

My best response with Meade has been through telephone calls, even though I generallly have to wait a while to actually talk to someone.  I enjoy the music, so that helps.  To put this into perspective, with another company, I did not end up on hold at all.  I was simply transferred to voice mail, which was never returned.....ever.

I also think it is a good idea to keep notes, including the time, day, subject, and who you talked to.  If you get a return authorization number, do not do like I did and loose it after you ship the item off.  Keep the number in your notes.

I have also found that once a series of emails starts with one person, it is best to try to return emails to that particular person with all the preceding correspondence included.

These kinds of ideas may be simple and straight forward to you,  but most of the time they are not for me.  Therefore, I thought it would be a good idea to post them to potentially help someone else like me.

If someone from Meade reads this, I have a couple suggestions.  Put the processes that such troubles go through on the website.  ie: who to send to for what problem, who the ticket goes to in the next step, etc.  Also, who is the contact in the various steps. 

It would also be good to know as many of the definitions of the various internal terms that Meade people use with the processes so that people like me can talk to the company in an intellegent way.  I suspect that some people may do the wrong thing, that slows down or stops a process, just because they are ignorant of the order of things and maybe the right words to use.

Hope this helps.

Bill Steen
Bill Steen, Sky Hunters' Haven Observatory, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

#6 Mike Zapalowski Jr

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 11:42 AM

Good points for anyone to follow when dealing with any company. After running a customer service center for a midsized company for about 3 years now - I guess I can't fathom how little companies utilize the technology and organizational tools at their fingertips. On top of that, if you are traded company, shouldn't your clients be kept happy? After all, if they don't buy, your profit goes down, your profit goes down, people sell your stock and you lose your shareholders money.

I remember when I started managing the department. It was a disaster much like Meade's system. There was no communication between departments, no follow up or follow through on anything. Now, we have complete visibility of packages, we call the client when we see a purchase or replacement product is signed for - "Everything ok? Need any help?" Issues are resolved in a 10 hour avg which is down from the initial 64 hour avg and the list goes on.

Really it is just frustrating because of my background.

--- I wish I had the resources a publicly traded company had for customer service---
M. Zapalowski
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#7 leshiggins

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Posted 26 May 2007 - 05:05 PM

I've got my fingers crossed that I fare better than (most) of those who have written here. I am waiting for my LXD75 to be repaired and sent back to me (in a few days, if Meade UK is to be believed).

There is a point I'd like to make for anyone from Meade who reads this - (does anyone from Meade read these forums??). The Meade web-site is full of product information but it's a devil of a job to find any customer support information - especially here in the UK. I only got a contact into Meade because I badgered my retailer so much.

I also have experience in the area of customer service and the first rule of customer service is this - Customer Service (the department, section and people) needs to be contactable by, and talk to customers! It's surprising (NOT!) how infrequently this simple rule is followed.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not in a position to criticise Meade ... yet ... and I sincerely hope I shall not have cause to gripe, but some of the stuff I've read and heard about Meade's service and products is definitely making me twitchy.

#8 Mike Zapalowski Jr

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Posted 28 May 2007 - 12:03 PM

Good luck and definitely fill us in on when you get it back, condition etc. Hopefully their turn around time for this service is quick.
M. Zapalowski
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#9 leshiggins

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 04:30 PM

Well, I got my LXD75 back after a couple of weeks at Meade UK. The good news is that the motors work! According to Meade, it was a bad batch of motors. The bad news is that, as a GOTO scope, it don't seem to be worth a damn!

Three hours with the scope produced almost no observing time - but mega amounts of re-aligning in the vain hope that the scope might actually function as a GOTO. I wasn't looking for anything complicated. Alignment was on Arcturus and Dubhe. The closest it got was one time it GOTO-ed within about five degrees of it's target, Vega. Basically, that means I could actually see Vega at the edge of my finder's field!

Also, the mount now has a couple of degrees of wobble in the RA axis. I gather from the forums that this is not uncommon and can generally be cured by fiddling with the motor drive assembly. Trouble is that, here in the UK, fiddling is regarded as a good excuse to void a warranty. My best guess is that I'm going to have to get Meade UK to sort it. Damn! That means I've had just five nights use in the last two months! Not good really, is it?

Any advice from anyone?

#10 Guest_rtanton_*

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 08:43 PM

Also, the mount now has a couple of degrees of wobble in the RA axis. I gather from the forums that this is not uncommon and can generally be cured by fiddling with the motor drive assembly. Trouble is that, here in the UK, fiddling is regarded as a good excuse to void a warranty. My best guess is that I'm going to have to get Meade UK to sort it. Damn! That means I've had just five nights use in the last two months! Not good really, is it?

Any advice from anyone?


Hi Les,

A couple of degrees wobble means that go to is not going to be worth anything.  I suspect that the RA gears are not meshed or one or more are loose.  You can see this by popping off the key hole inspection port.  If this is the cause, remove the RA hosing and motor (large allen screw just under polar scope) and adjust and tighten  the set screws (very small metric allen - think about 1.5mm)on the gears.  This is pretty easy...and would not be detectable as fiddling.


Well, I got my LXD75 back after a couple of weeks at Meade UK. The good news is that the motors work! According to Meade, it was a bad batch of motors. The bad news is that, as a GOTO scope, it don't seem to be worth a damn!

Three hours with the scope produced almost no observing time - but mega amounts of re-aligning in the vain hope that the scope might actually function as a GOTO. I wasn't looking for anything complicated. Alignment was on Arcturus and Dubhe. The closest it got was one time it GOTO-ed within about five degrees of it's target, Vega. Basically, that means I could actually see Vega at the edge of my finder's field!

Any advice from anyone?


If the wobble is fixed, then we can work on the go to.  One of the problems with the 497 and the LXD75 is the number of significant digits it can handle.  The result is that very close to polar aligned but not right on actually provides poorer go to results than being off significantly.  I have found that to get polar alignment spot on an iterative alignment works very well.  This is done using a relatively widefield eyepiece.  While viewing through the eyepiece center a star and rock the ota about the RA axis - adjust the dec with the handbox until the star scribes a circle.  Having now set the dec move the scope so that Polaris is positioned correctly for date and time (it should not be centered).  Using the one star alignment center the alignment star with the handbox.  Next select Polaris as object and go to - it will be off.  Adjust the scope mechanically to bring Polaris 1/2 back to center.  Select your alignment star as an object and go back to it again - adjust 1/2 way back to center with the handbox.  Repeat this procedure until both are centered.  Normally it takes two to three iterations and you have a good polar alignment.

After this you can run a three star or two star alignment and you find it should put everything almost dead center.

This sounds more difficult than it really is - I have walked dozens through this procedure by telephone at night here in the US and had great results.

Russ


#11 ncradar

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Posted 10 June 2007 - 04:09 PM

On your LXD75...Have you done a polar alignment?I was having trouble with the 2 star alignment even after I did the polar alignment and realized after looking closely at my star chart that I was using the wrong star to do my polar alignment.

#12 leshiggins

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Posted 14 June 2007 - 01:46 PM

I solved the wobble by tightening the Allen screws that hold the entire motor/gearbox housing on. When I opened the keyhole, I could see that the whole gear assembly was moving laterally.

Since then, things have gone from bad to worse. I was still getting spurious loss of alignment. Either the mount would move slightly all of its own accord, or it would judder as it slewed through or near the zenith, losing alignment on the way.

My supplier sent me another mount to try but this was even worse. ALL it did was move autonomously. The only way I could get it to stop slewing was to turn off the power.

And then it got worse ... Now my Autostar controller will not power up!

I have informed my supplier that I either want tested, working equipment ASAP or a total refund. The equipment is clearly not fit for purpose.

To say that I am disappointed with my Meade experience is to understate the case.

#13 Sandy_Gazer

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 05:27 PM

Back to the original question in the title of your post.
I have heard it exists, but it must be the absolute worst ever.
I have had an open case since January.
I am starting to think about just giving up completely,
which is exactly what Meade is wanting me to do.

They break a promise, then just never answer any of my email asking for an update. I get angry, go away, and they win by not fulfilling anything.

They will just ignore me until I go away, and I wasn't the one who made the promise, a Meade consumer solutions employee was.

Despicable. >:(

#14 Guest_ejknight_*

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 08:45 AM

Back to the original question in the title of your post.
I have heard it exists, but it must be the absolute worst ever.
I have had an open case since January.
I am starting to think about just giving up completely,
which is exactly what Meade is wanting me to do.

They break a promise, then just never answer any of my email asking for an update. I get angry, go away, and they win by not fulfilling anything.

They will just ignore me until I go away, and I wasn't the one who made the promise, a Meade consumer solutions employee was.

Despicable. :(



I found the trick. If you call Meade Corporation and fo for the Meade 4M people to help you. Tell them how long you have been ignored and they Will have some one get with you. Worked for me and I got a human on the phone in 10 minutes after talking to the 4M rep.
You are right though Meade  support need vast ammounts of assistance in Customer Service.

#15 leshiggins

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Posted 30 July 2007 - 08:33 AM

Just to round out the saga with my LXD75 SN8, after another couple of weeks with Meade the scope has been returned and now seems to be in proper working order. I've only had a couple of nights to test it (the weather in England has been terrible - I mean much, much worse than usual) but it seems to be behaving pretty well. Now, at last, I can start getting to grips with using my DSI II Pro.

#16 Guest_rtanton_*

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Posted 30 July 2007 - 09:03 AM

Hi Les,

Glad to hear that you are back in business - how do you align a scope from the ark?

Russ

#17 Sandy_Gazer

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Posted 30 July 2007 - 07:29 PM

Yay! Another lucky Meade sweepstakes winner!

#18 MistrBadgr

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Posted 31 July 2007 - 11:47 AM

Congradulations!!!!

Just curious, what scope did you get?

I hope you know that if you need any help with this one, you can at least get sympathy here, and might actually get some help also.

Best Regards,

Bill Steen
Bill Steen, Sky Hunters' Haven Observatory, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

#19 Sandy_Gazer

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Posted 31 July 2007 - 05:00 PM

Did you mean me? I still haven't received or heard a thing.
I meant that post above, where the guy actually received something he was promised.
I'm still a colossal loser.

Congradulations!!!!

Just curious, what scope did you get?

I hope you know that if you need any help with this one, you can at least get sympathy here, and might actually get some help also.

Best Regards,

Bill Steen



#20 MistrBadgr

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Posted 31 July 2007 - 07:04 PM

Darn!!!

Yes, Sandy, I meant you.  I was keeping my mental fingers crossed for you and will keep them that way.

Time, tenacity, etc., makes winners.

Best Regards,

Bill Steen
Bill Steen, Sky Hunters' Haven Observatory, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma




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