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My experience with DIY Crack maker Bottlehead was not great, how was yours?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Hi All.  Have you ordered from Bottlehead before?  If so, did you have a positive experience?  Or, was it less than positive? 

 

I had an experience with Bottlehead, the vendor that sells the Crack headphone amp DIY kit that I would like to share.  I purchased one from their website during a really enticing sale on 7/14/13.  I supplied my credit card information and paid for my purchase.  Yesterday, 8/27/13, some 44 days after the online purchase was made, I received a request from Bottlehead for $15 additional dollars for shipping.  Per the email, a glitch in their system led to me not being charged for shipping.  They requested my credit card number and or Pay Pal payment.

 

The email was striking due to a few factors:

 

1.  The email address used was a Gmail account, not a Bottlehead account. 

 

2.  No reference to my particular order such as date of order, order number, or items ordered was listed in the email.

 

3.  The tone of the email was rather curt for a request for money due to the company's own internal error. 

 

Given the above, I assumed that this was simply a scam.  I went to the Bottlehead website and forwarded the original message to the company's email address listed there to inform them that I thought somebody was using their company's name in a scam. 

 

The next day, 8/28/13, I received a reply indicating that the email was genuine, reiterating the request for payment (in case you're curious, per the email, the Gmail account was used because the employee was working from home and did not have access to a Bottlehead email).

 

There was no apology for the billing error, no explanation of where I agreed to pay $15 for shipping (it's not in my original invoice or in my order history on the website), and no reference to the 45 day wait for the item to arrive. . .just an apology that the original email seemed like  scam and a second request for shipping money.  

 

I was bothered by this and took the time to write a lengthy second reply agreeing to pay the $15 but also expressing my displeasure with the situation along with what I felt were constructive email suggestions to help prevent this type of situation from happening to other customers.  The only response I received was a Pay Pal invoice.  There was no apology for their original error, no acknowledgement that I was unhappy with the situation, and no response to what I wrote. 

 

I fully acknowledge I may be overreacting to $15.  I admit that.  But, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth by how Bottlehead treated me as a customer.  I'm not suggesting anybody should, or should not, do business with them.  I just wanted to tell my story to provide feedback for others that may be considering using Bottlehead and wonder how that company treats its customers, to see if others had similar experiences or if this is an isolated incident, and partly just to make myself feel better.

 

Thanks for reading.

post #2 of 23

What Bottlehead did was not great customer service, this mistake should have been dealt with right after you placed the order.

For "good" customer service they should honored the "agreed" price at the time of the order.

I would call the credit card company and dispute the charges, as the product was not shipped, even at the agreed price.

Bottlehead might have waited until it's too late for you to dispute the original charge, to inform you of the additional charge.

post #3 of 23

I think you have every right to be angry. Their behaviour is very unprofessional. It is fine to allow employee to use gmail for internal communication, but for external communication especially those dealing with customer company email should be used as a matter of course, how would customer know what to expect otherwise.

Have you actually recieve the item? If you have I would ignore the request. Money been recevied, item been send, and transaction have been completed. Then legally the relationship end, they have very little right to request further money.

They might have a great product, but doing this is very dodgy.

post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 

PurpleAngel and r79ez08,

 

Thank you both for your feedback.  It's nice to know that I'm not being totally crazy.  I received the product on 8/28/13, the same day that I wrote the lengthy reply and same day that I paid the additional amount.  R79ez08 hit the nail on the head.  The behavior was unprofessional and it was this part that I took issue with, more so than the actual cost.  In the end, I determined that fighting this was not worth the time it would potentially take.  Personally, I will not be using this company's services anymore. 

 

It will be interesting to hear how the amp sounds once I get it assembled. 

post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitetriton View Post

PurpleAngel and r79ez08,

 

Thank you both for your feedback.  It's nice to know that I'm not being totally crazy.  I received the product on 8/28/13, the same day that I wrote the lengthy reply and same day that I paid the additional amount.  R79ez08 hit the nail on the head.  The behavior was unprofessional and it was this part that I took issue with, more so than the actual cost.  In the end, I determined that fighting this was not worth the time it would potentially take.  Personally, I will not be using this company's services anymore. 

 

It will be interesting to hear how the amp sounds once I get it assembled. 

Maybe post your Bottlehead experience at ResellerRatings.

post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks PureAngel.  I'll check out ResellerRatings.

post #7 of 23

Jeez.    You are getting bent out of shape b/c you got asked to pay $15 in shipping due to a mistake, and that they didnt grovel enough - and for that, you are going to mark them down?   I was using Bottlehead stuff in the mid-90s and they are good guys, selling really high-value stuff at really nice prices.     I can understand being a little miffed about the dry and businesslike tone of their emails - but whatever.   They are there to sell me great stuff at great prices, not to be my best friend or stroke my feelings.    

 

I think you are over-reacting.   You've sent them an email telling them that you didnt appreciate there tone, leave it at that.   There is no reason to mark them down on resellerratings over something like this.     They arent being dishonest, they arent ripping you off, they arent failing to stand behind their product.    

 

As for the guy who suggested opening a credit card dispute - wow.   For real?     If there was systems glitch and someone forgot to charge me for shipping, I'd pay up cos it's the right freaking thing to do (and not hide behind "oh, it is a contract.   You screwed up and now i am not going to pay you").   To me, that's just unethical - and all that, for $15?   Yeesh.

 

ETA:   To clarify:   if you think that charging $15 for shipping this late is a problem, fair enough (personally, I wouldnt let it bother me - a small business makes a honest mistake, I am cool with making it right for them;  but still, you have a right and if you want to exercise that right, I can atleast see where you are coming from).    I dont get the bit about getting upset over the tone of their communication - which seems to be your main issue.  I can understand that given the circumstances, a more nicely-worded email would be a good thing, but ultimately, sweet words or not do not really change anything:  they made a mistake & they are asking for the additional amount.   How they said it isnt a reason to tar them in public (although it should certainly affect whether or not you choose to deal with them in future).


Edited by vkalia - 8/31/13 at 5:31am
post #8 of 23

Sorry that you had the $15 invoicing error and poor administrative experience with Bottlehead. 

 

I purchased some of their amps and thought the gear was very well designed and inexpensive. I needed some additional parts and had a few technical questions which I addressed by phone and found the customer service to be excellent. 

 

Remember you purchased on discount so the value proposition even with the $15 add is good.

 

At this point there is nothing else to do put this experience behind you, assemble the amp and enjoy. They do make nice sounding gear so don't let this experience spoil your fun.

post #9 of 23

44 days is way too long and the request on top adds insult to injury. The glitch is not the customers fault and it should be written off as goodwill.

 

I import stuff all the time and 44 days would lead to a cancellation and a chargeback from me, not an apology from the seller unless advised beforehand.

 

Anyone saying that its reasonable should give their own timeframe and expectations considering it barely takes 10 days to get stuff from literally anywhere in the world.

post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 

vkalia, Skooter, and gikigill, thank you for your comments. 

 

Vkalia, while I agree that people may disagree over what they feel is the appropriate response to my experience with Bottlehead's customer service, I would like to think that I have tried to keep things civil, report the facts (at least as I understand them), and open a discussion to ask others if they have had similar or different experiences with Bottlehead. . .not "tar them in public." 

 

It's nice to know that both Vkalia and Skooter, had a positive experience with them. 

 

In the end, I paid the additional $15 the day after the original request and likely wouldn't have bought anything from Bottlehead in the future as there is nothing else that they sell, that I know of, that I am interested in owning. So, Bottlhead is likely not out any future sale from me.  I picked up the Crack/Speedball due to the great sale price to try with my HD650.  Hopefully, the weather will cool down a little bit and I'll have some time to start assembling the Crack this weekend and find out if it's as good as many have claimed.

 

Happy Labor Day weekend to those in US. 

post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitetriton View Post

Vkalia, while I agree that people may disagree over what they feel is the appropriate response to my experience with Bottlehead's customer service, I would like to think that I have tried to keep things civil, report the facts (at least as I understand them), and open a discussion to ask others if they have had similar or different experiences with Bottlehead. . .not "tar them in public." 

 

Fair enough.   Actually, I dont disagree with a lot of what you said:  if someone emailed me 44 days later and just demanded money, I'd expect them to be a little more tactful about it.  I run a small business and personally, I wouldnt bother over $15.  I've sent people quotes over email, realized that as soon as I hit send and have chosen to suck it up and absorb the loss.

 

But stuff like this, *IMO* mind, isnt something that I personally would discuss in a public forum unless the behavior was abusive or extremely rude.   What one person considers curt could just be another person quickly typing out an email while rushed for time.     To me, the nature of the interaction - as long as it is within the bounds of acceptability - is a personal thing:  if i didnt like it, i wouldnt give them my business again, but i wouldnt necessarily rate them poorly on Resellerratings.com or something.

 

Anyway, on a different note, good on you for paying them the shipping.  It was a little cheap of them to ask for it after so long, but you took the high ethical road instead of relying on legal rights or whatever.  For that, respect.   They may or may not have acted in a way that did them credit, but you did.

post #12 of 23
One expects rudness from corporate companies where all you are is just an account number.

Professionalism is the key for a tiny little business this day in age, there are way too many choices out there for the consumer to have to put up with unprofessional business communications.
If your that hungry that you have to chase customers down 45 days later for $15 then you need to pack it in and find another thing to do.

Just because your web guy is stupid shouldn't result in rude emails from someone who can't wait to communicate from a proper email address.

I had an issue with FiiO quite a while back and they were Top Shelf in the customer service department, emails were very prompt and courteous and half of them barely speak let alone write in English. My issue was resolved at zero cost to myself through one of their Canadian dealers.

So yeah, there is no excuse not to step up your customer service game these days.
post #13 of 23

On the whole, I'd say yours is an outlier when it comes to dealing with Bottlehead.  In my experience with them and other companies both large and small, they have had some of the best customer service and community support out of everyone.  My experience has been shared by many others.  They are family run, with very small operations that have to deal with very high popularity.  On occasion, they might have a hiccup like you have had, and I think your response was appropriate - pay the shipping and let them know that you didn't like the service.  Airing your grievances publicly after the situation is already resolved, looking for some sort of confirmation from strangers, expecting them to grovel, or thinking of ways to punish them however, all seems a little entitled and petty. 


Edited by FraGGleR - 8/31/13 at 10:12am
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by vkalia View Post

Jeez.    You are getting bent out of shape b/c you got asked to pay $15 in shipping due to a mistake, and that they didn't grovel enough - and for that, you are going to mark them down?   I was using Bottlehead stuff in the mid-90s and they are good guys, selling really high-value stuff at really nice prices.     I can understand being a little miffed about the dry and businesslike tone of their emails - but whatever.   They are there to sell me great stuff at great prices, not to be my best friend or stroke my feelings.    

 

I think you are over-reacting.   You've sent them an email telling them that you didn't appreciate there tone, leave it at that.   There is no reason to mark them down on resellerratings over something like this.     They aren't being dishonest, they aren't ripping you off, they aren't failing to stand behind their product.    

 

As for the guy who suggested opening a credit card dispute - wow.   For real?     If there was systems glitch and someone forgot to charge me for shipping, I'd pay up cos it's the right freaking thing to do (and not hide behind "oh, it is a contract.   You screwed up and now i am not going to pay you").   To me, that's just unethical - and all that, for $15?   Yeesh.

 

ETA:   To clarify:   if you think that charging $15 for shipping this late is a problem, fair enough (personally, I wouldn't let it bother me - a small business makes a honest mistake, I am cool with making it right for them;  but still, you have a right and if you want to exercise that right, I can at least see where you are coming from).    I don't get the bit about getting upset over the tone of their communication - which seems to be your main issue.  I can understand that given the circumstances, a more nicely-worded email would be a good thing, but ultimately, sweet words or not do not really change anything:  they made a mistake & they are asking for the additional amount.   How they said it isn't a reason to tar them in public (although it should certainly affect whether or not you choose to deal with them in future).

You would think with all the places a person can order a headphone amplifier or headphone amplifier kit from, Bottlehead would be more responsible with dealing with customers. Why does it take Bottlehead 44 days to realize they undercharged a customer? (Maybe the people are Bottlehead are so buzy filling orders that one fell thru the cracks).

99% of the other headphone amplifier suppliers would have shipped their products out way earlier and would not hit up a customer for an extra $15.

For something that was Bottlehead's mistake, not the customers.

In my business I've let way more then $15 slide when dealing with my customers.

post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thank you TrollDragon and FraGGleR for your comments. 

 

FraGGleR, at this time, I do not anticipate taking my issues any further than this thread, but I'm not sure how the situation was "resolved."  The purchase was completed since I paid the $15 and received the items, yes, but I contacted the company via email and they responded by simply sending a Pay Pal invoice.  I would like to think that there was some middle ground between them not acknowledging/discussing my issues and me "expecting them to grovel" (and I do not mean monetary compensation).  The feedback here from those that have used Bottlehead (other than myself) has been entirely positive.  So, this may be an isolated "hiccup" as you suggest.   But, I think hiccups should be addressed.  If that makes me petty or entitled, I will have to accept that characterization. 

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