Some regretable gripes (May 15, 2024)

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gabrieli
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Some regretable gripes (May 15, 2024)

Post by gabrieli »

Inspired by some of the recent fine work I’ve seen on this board, I’ve finished setting up 2 mounts out in my yard under protective covers, ready for this year’s solar season.

I thought by now that I would be celebrating 2 arrivals, one a repaired product from SS (an ASO 0.5Å)
rear etalon and the other a new front etalon from Lunt for my 127mm Stellarvue (an LS100FHa).

The SS ASO 0.5Å (first delivered to me in March, 2021) was sent back to SS in Nov 2022 and shipped to SS using the fastest mail service. It arrived at the local post office 3 days later and sat there for 2 weeks and finally picked up after USPS warned that it would be sent back to me if it sat there any longer. Well, then, I waited and waited until May15, 2023 when I sent an email to SS just asking if the problem had been identified
and when I might expect the filter back. There was no reply.
I later sent a second email through the dealer (Alpine) who expressed surprise about the lack of reply and said they would forward the email to SS. Again, there was no reply.

So, I’ve owned this product for more than 3 years and it’s been out of my hands for a year and a half. In the meantime, new SS products were introduced which, of course, may delay repairing my filter even more.

The other product (an LS100FHa from Lunt) was ordered on Oct 3/2022 with a stated lead time of 6 months. I didn’t take that time literally. However, after 8 months, I phoned Lunt Solar and just asked for a progress report. I was told that as soon as the production manager was out of a meeting, an email would be sent to me. The day passed. The week passed. The month, year, and next year passed and here we are in May, 2024 about a year and a half later with no information.

For both these cases, I don’t want a hurried product. I just want information and both companies can’t seem to or don’t don’t want to produce it. Does anyone have any insight on what might be going on here?

Lou


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Re: Some regretable gripes (May 15, 2024)

Post by marktownley »

gabrieli wrote: Thu May 16, 2024 12:24 am I don’t want a hurried product. I just want information and both companies can’t seem to or don’t don’t want to produce it.
I don't think that is an unreasonable expectation Lou.

I hope things get sorted soon. A little communication from companies goes a long way.


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Re: Some regretable gripes (May 15, 2024)

Post by rsfoto »

Hi Lou,

With SS do you mean SolarSpectrum? If yes, hop into a plane, fly to California and ask them personally what is going on (as we say in Germany "Lass die Sau raus") :lol: . Flights should not be that expensive as they are in Mexico.

Huge prices and total lack of communication with the customers...

I had the same trouble with DayStar until my Patience was over and I told them to send me back my mmoney and OK, both of my alleged top quality H-alpha filters were blind... Spent US $ 14,000.00 and got nothiung in return. OK, the money came back... and now it is history... rant over

IMHO...


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Re: Some regretable gripes (May 15, 2024)

Post by Montana »

I feel your pain Lou, I owned a SolarSpectrum since 2021, I used it 6 times in 2021. In 2022 it didn't work at all after the winter break. I spent 6 months sending images about and thinking it was the TZ4 until finally in the autumn I realised it was the SS. It then took till Jan 2023 for the Vendor to send it to Germany. Then Germany sent it to the USA in the March 2023 and SS received it in the July 2023. Since then no word at all. I contacted the vendor in Nov 2023 for an update and not even a reply to my email. I have also messaged SS and nothing either. So radio silence for a year now. I'm wondering if my £6000 is lost forever :(

Alexandra


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Re: Some regretable gripes (May 15, 2024)

Post by gabrieli »

Hi, Rainer

Thank you for describing your experience with Daystar.

Hi, Alexandra

I had a feeling your experience was turning out like mine since you had not yet posted anything about your filter being repaired/returned.

Even when a company has a reputation for quality products, trust in a brand can go downhill pretty fast when an apathetic attitude is displayed to customer service. There was a very quick initial response from Mark at Solar Spectrum showing concern when I sent notification about the problem with my filter. Then, things went downhill from there, starting with the filter being stalled at the destination post office for 2 weeks and then, radio silence.

What’s also concerning is that this “no communication” attitude seems to be present in other brands. With Lunt, I spoke to an actual person
who told me that information about my order would follow (I assumed that same day). I’m still waiting. How long would it take to send an email saying that our production is backed up or we’re having problems sourcing materials or whatever?

Lou


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Re: Some regretable gripes (May 15, 2024)

Post by Dennis »

Guys we have solar maximum. You can wait for SS to reach back to you in 2 years but im just letting you know there is a working Quark on sale ; )


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Re: Some regretable gripes (May 15, 2024)

Post by DavidP »

Lou
Have you tried calling Lunt back?
Ask to talk to Faye. They can occasionally lose track of issues, but a simple check in or a reminder is almost always followed up in my experience.


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Re: Some regretable gripes (May 15, 2024)

Post by GeorgeIonas »

I have been waiting since July 2022 for the Solar Spectrum SO-1.5 0.3A H-Alpha Filter and I had paid a 50% deposit.
Emails to Alpine Astronomical came back with, Solar Spectrum had problems with the vacuum pump, then it was the lack of good quality mica etc...

George


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Re: Some regretable gripes (May 15, 2024)

Post by hopskipson »

I’ve never had a problem getting information from Lunt about repairs or when they were going to be shipping out an item when I called. Email usually took longer or I would have to send a follow up but it never got longer than a few days.

Solar Spectrum was a different story. I think he’s a one man company and I’m sure he is inundated with requests from different vendors and customers. I know it’s not a good excuse but I’ve cut him a little slack but if I don’t get a reply I send another request.


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Re: Some regretable gripes (May 15, 2024)

Post by LukeTheNuke »

That sucks, Gabrieli. I find your images really inspiring. And I'm shocked as well to hear how Montana's been treated - if that's the way an astrophotographer of the year gets treated... :shock:

Touch wood, I'm about to get a windfall in the next week or two, so I am considering whether to get a new h-alpha filter. I figured Solar Spectrum was a safer bet than a Quark (perhaps the Baader Sundancer II, with SS filter) , after I experienced a number of issues with the Quark.

I guess I'll look for a book on how to make my own filter... ;)

Anyway, I hope somebody at the company pulls their finger out. This is not good advertising...


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Re: Some regretable gripes (May 15, 2024)

Post by gabrieli »

My main gripe is not really about not having my products, repaired or new, right away, although that would be nice. I know some products take time and there may be unpredictable issues as mentioned in some posts above*, sourcing, staffing, etc. My complaint is due to the lack of updates and keeping people in the dark about their sometimes very expensive orders.

Back in late 2007/early 2008 when I first heard that Lunt had proposed a LS200T, I placed my order in early 2008. I never phoned or asked about the order during the waiting period, mainly because information was updated by Lunt regularly although problems with this scope became insurmountable and a switch was made to an LS152T. I didn’t get the LS152T until March of 2010 (2 years since the initial order}.

I continue to hope that both my items arrive before this solar maximum fades away.

Lou


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Re: Some regretable gripes (May 15, 2024)

Post by Montana »

I quite agree with you Lou, I don't care about problems, lack of parts etc life is life, things break, sourcing problems happen etc. It is the lack of customer care and communication that is the biggest killer to your morale. I am buying a boat which is our entire life savings and the lack of communication is outrageous. It has ruined the whole experience and we are totally and utterly fed up now. Just a short phone call to say sorry it is delayed is absolutely fine, but instead the silence, the constant avoiding you with excuses sucks the life out of you. What has happened to this world :(
I have two very expensive items that the manufacturers won't speak to me, I hope I see the fruits of my hard earned cash sometime, somewhere in the future :)

Alexandra


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Re: Some regretable gripes (May 15, 2024)

Post by gabrieli »

Alexandra

You could not have hit the nail more squarely on the head when you talk about experiences like this being a morale killer. At first, you have all this optimism and then it slowly leaves and drags you down and each time you have an imaging session, you are reminded of what you're missing.

Lou


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Re: Some regretable gripes (May 15, 2024)

Post by rpineau »

I'm in a similar situation with Lunt. I have an issue with a new product (LS50FHa), contacted them multiple time. Zero response besides the automated email(s).
I'm really busy at work so I don't really have time to call them during business hours (because these are also my business hours ... ).
I know they are a small business, things happen, device get shipped that don't work on day one, this is part of life... ignoring customer on the other end is 100% on them.
I'm not sure yet what I'm going to deal with this after months of being ignored but I will probably never recommend Lunt to friends and certainly not buy from them again.

Rodolphe


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Re: Some regretable gripes (May 15, 2024)

Post by Dennis »

rpineau wrote: Fri May 24, 2024 11:23 pm I'm in a similar situation with Lunt. I have an issue with a new product (LS50FHa), contacted them multiple time. Zero response besides the automated email(s).
I'm really busy at work so I don't really have time to call them during business hours (because these are also my business hours ... ).
I know they are a small business, things happen, device get shipped that don't work on day one, this is part of life... ignoring customer on the other end is 100% on them.
I'm not sure yet what I'm going to deal with this after months of being ignored but I will probably never recommend Lunt to friends and certainly not buy from them again.

Rodolphe

I prefer to not buy directly from Lunt, but from dealers that sell Lunt equipment. First of all i never had to wait for something, local dealers here have much more stock then in the u.s. and also seem to get stocked up first, as weird as it sounds. Second: if something is not ok you just return or exchange the item, no waiting.


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Re: Some regretable gripes (May 15, 2024)

Post by LukeTheNuke »

Yes, I can understand it affecting your morale. I was so gutted over my Quark problems. I felt deflated. I'm sure it's a big part of why I sold my cameras and went light on stargazing for years. Well, that and getting into a new hobby.

My windfall ship has very nearly come in, touch wood. I've crossed a solar filter off my shopping wish list. A nice idea, part of me would love to get back to solar imaging, but I don't want to risk more heartache.

I was thinking about getting a camera anyway and perhaps doing lunar and white light. But I might try one of those fancy pants smart telescopes instead. The ZWO SeeStar is less than half the price of the Quark, and nearly one sixth the cost of the Baader SunDancer II H-alpha Filter, and it looks like it could be fun. That part of the hobby looks like it could develop massively in the coming years, it might be fun to hop on that wave. And I do like bang for buck.

I hope you can all take your mind off things with some kind of cool distraction. I wish I hadn't let my Quark blues get me down, but it definitely did for a while.


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Re: Some regretable gripes (May 15, 2024)

Post by LostInSpace »

Developing a feeling most things related to solar hardware requires sometimes too much patience. Understand the long backorders due to limited production capacity. The slow or apparently no communication is a bit irritating. Actually the no response to emails regarding a product issue is more than unacceptable. Experiencing the same issue with an European electric motor manufacture that use to have great customer service. No service, not all the parts needed are available. No more a customer. Replacement is their largest Chinese competitor.

Had an issue with the DS module for the Lunt 50. Not a functional issue. There was what looked like a glob of adhesive and a trailing thin tail on the inside of the etalon. Didn't even notice it until I decided to clean the dust off the exterior. Email sent Lunt. Sent them confirmation images that it was inside. They sent me a RMA#. ~Month process. Shipped back to Lunt. Within a week or so it was cleaned, calibrated, and returned. Normal slow email response. Happy they corrected the issue within a reasonable time frame.


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Re: Some regretable gripes (May 15, 2024)

Post by rpineau »

In took the day off and called... That's the only way it works and now I have proper support.
I think it's better to call as they tend to be inundated by emails. Once you call and tell them you emailed multiple time, they look it up and things stat moving.
I feel a lot better about my chance to get this etalon fixed (decontacted).


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Re: Some regretable gripes (May 15, 2024)

Post by Montana »

An update from me, we saw our boat builder at the weekend at a show so they couldn't run away. I had a long chat with the boat builder's wife and she was very apologetic and asked me to send everything to her. Wow! this past week we have had more service in one week than in the past 9 months. Now, does anyone know whether Mark W has a wife and her contact details? :lol: :girl: :lol:

Alexandra


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Re: Some regretable gripes (May 15, 2024)

Post by mdwmark »

OK, what is wrong with this site. I posted Yesterday about your frustration were legitimate and explained the reasons why I was behind. But it is not here. I noted that none of the other companies would have even responded to your complaints. But I would and did.
Alexandra, I have tried to contact you through you Facebook account more then once ( because I follow you) and I never got an answer back.
So someone didn't want my post posted as far I can tell.
So, the bottom line from my post was I have had problems but now they seem under control now and we are trying to get caught up.
Also the new K-line has nothing to do with making Ha filter and does not take priority over working on the Ha products.
Maybe this post will be posted.
Mark W.


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Re: Some regretable gripes (May 15, 2024)

Post by marktownley »

Not sure why your 'yesterday' post didn't post Mark, I can't see anything behind the scenes where (or why) it didn't appear.

I hope all lines of communication have now been restored between all parties.


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Re: Some regretable gripes (May 15, 2024)

Post by gabrieli »

I would certainly like to read Mark's response for personal reassurance regarding concerns expressed by me and others on this thread.

Lou


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Re: Some regretable gripes (May 15, 2024)

Post by Montana »

Dear Mark,

I am so glad you have responded, this in itself gives me so much more reassurance. Unfortunately I have nothing on Facebook messenger or any private messages on this forum either. I am not sure why any of these messaging services are not working. Sometimes I wonder whether the modern world messaging is causing more communication problems between customers and sellers because each one never knows whether messages are delivered or not. At least in the old world you could have registered post. I'll private message you with my email address. On the forum you can see whether someone has read the post or not. If it stays in your outbox as a (1) then the person hasn't read it, when this (1) disappears it has been delivered and read. This can help track the sender know when it has been picked up. I'll try this Mark. If you don't get a PM from me let me know in this chat and we will look into it further.
I'm so happy that you are there :)

Alexandra


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Re: Some regretable gripes (May 15, 2024)

Post by GeorgeIonas »

Hi Mark,

Good to hear that you have your problems now under control. It's been (in a few weeks time) two years since I place a 50% deposit at Alpine Astronomical for a Solar Spectrum SO-1.5 0.3A H-Alpha Filter. Hope that the production of your excellent filters goes well.

George


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