Shame really they could be onto something good!
I've decided that no matter how good the product ends up being @FSE - that the service post sale is so important, that I'll not make my purchase from them.
Too bad too, as I was planning to buy their "professional" model 60watt, but now have decided to look for a company that values their brand name, and customers by supporting them, not by bullying them.
I'm sorry your experience has been at the cost of post sale support, but again appreciate you saving us from the same despair.
Shame really they could be onto something good!
Despite our low cost, our customer support is one of the best in the industry. You call us at 702-482-8594 and a real person picks up the phone immediately during regular business hours or you get a call back within a few minutes if the support people are already on the phone.
Thanks to a phone call, we have worked out the misunderstandings.The user has made several suggestions which we will put in place to improve our business practices and avoid future misunderstandings.
We offer ALL customers telephone and e-mail support during the warranty period. If any other of our customers needs service/spare parts we are happy to supply them free of charge within the warranty period and sell them outside the warranty period. We have over 20 staff all over the world and invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in R&D. The result of our R&D efforts have resulted in better products such as our upcoming V4 RetinaEngrave upgrade. We offer this upgrade free of charge to customers requiring no hardware changes and a nominal fee to those that do need new electronics, even if they are out of warranty by several years.
Instead of using the forum, customers can directly E-MAIL or PHONE a live person during our regular business hours.
We also offer 30 day money back guarantees on our lower end 40w Deluxe Hobby Lasers. We once had a return and the reason was that the machine worked great but didn’t fit on the desk the customer allocated for the machine. All dimensions are given prior to sale but we still happily returned 100% minus shipping and handling.
Hopefully it clears up support at FSE which we strive to be the best despite our low cost. Please call us if you have any questions or concerns.
Full Spectrum Laser LLC
Last edited by ger21; 07-17-2012 at 12:45 PM.
While I'm not in the market for a laser I do research a product or service before buying. Many of them here. Some of that research comes from word of mouth on forums when available.
I tend to dig deeper or steer clear of an item altogether when that item "seems too good to be true". It's pretty apparent when sifting through material when a company wants to make itself seem better than they might be. I'm not suggesting that's what has happened here, but if the deception starts before buying where does it end??
Ok, so hopefully I have time to post all of this before my afternoon of responsibility starts.
Now since Henry took it upon himself to post here and tell his side, I'm going to do the same, in the interest of openness and not hiding anything. Its why I posted the review in the first place. Only an honest account of what happened.
So on Saturday, I'm out with the wife and I get a call... turns out it's Henry from FSE. At first he sounded a bit apologetic, but as we talked he sounded a bit defensive. Asked if when I made my multiple phone calls to find out the location/status of my beam combiner, if I had to wait on hold or anyone was rude to me. Kinda frustrated, because I could care less if I had to wait on hold or if anyone was rude. I was ticked that my beam combiner was on backorder, no one told me, I had to call, was given a ship date, it passed, I had to call again, to find out the NEW ship date was a week away.
We then discussed the, what I felt to be, bribery. Over and over Henry told me that they dont have to give out free anything, and that if you scratch their back they scratch yours. Over and over I stated that, IN MY OPINION, thats not how a business should run. A business should offer stellar service, and as a direct result, you WILL get the reviews, referrals, and praise.
It seemed to me that he was of the barter mindset - if you give them something first (a review) - then they will pay you back with something nice. Scratch our back, we'll scratch yours.
To me, again, JUST MY OPINION, a business shouldn't operate like that. It feels like buying good reviews. Good reviews should come as the natural product of great customer service.
Now, as far as the forum censorship goes... he told me that I had used foul language on his site and cnczone and said things like **** and... and I cut him off, and said "I've never once said '****' on yours forums" - then he pointed out that I had said "I had a hell of a time getting the focus set" - so, just a heads up, "hell" is a no-no there.
But then he fully explained the point of their forums. Which, to a degree, I get. That being said, a phpBB FORUM being your knowledge base is a HORRIBLE idea. People see forums, and connect to them from your main page, by clicking the button that says FORUM, and oddly enough, they expect them to be, well... FORUMS. I expect that regardless of the clarification they give in the Terms of Service, they'll continue to hit frustration over the fact that they have forums, advertised as forums, running on forum software, that are NOT supposed to be used as forums.
People come to forums, pretty much for one reason: To discuss. Its why it's called a FORUM. And the whole 'use it as a knowledgebase' thing is a bit of a misnomer. There are threads with people showing off what they made (promotion), an unanswered thread titled 'When will FSE release a photo engraving program?' (question), and people saying 'Yay I just got my laser!'
Things like 'Yay I just got my laser' are not knowledge base posts. They are forum posts. You post it, yay me, and people respond: 'Congrats!' 'Welcome to the community!' and 'I'm jealous!'
Thats why I maintain that it's not a knowledge base. If it were, 'I just got my laser!' would not be allowed there. Thats a discussion.
If you're going to have forums, have FORUMS. Feel free to prune duplicate posts and the like, but let them be forums. Or, better yet: Have forums, and any good, informative posts, MOVE to the Knowledgebase section of the forum. That way you have the best of both worlds.
Over and over Henry said that they are the only laser company to offer forums. But - they arent forums, it's a knowledgebase. And, honestly, no offense to anyone, whup de do. Anyone can set up and moderate a forum. And if you cant USE it like a forum, then, no, you don't have a forum.
So, anyway, we get off the phone and honestly I felt like what I said made little headway. I didnt feel like I broke through the 'scratch your back' wall - he seemed ok with offering payment for good reviews. I felt he was defensive. The whole call almost felt like he was calling to defend everything and, well, try and convince me? I wasnt sure.
So later that night I get an email. In summary:
Apologized for problems with customer support and thanked me for my time on the phone call.
(Some of this is cut/pasted.)
As for part 3 - that was my original issue. All I wanted was to not have to chase THEM down and ask why, and where, over and over.In order to improve the customer experience, I have implemented
several of your recommendations:
1) We have updated our forum post disclaimer to clearly show terms of
We have also lifted the ban on your username. [My interjection: He never did explain WHY I was banned]
2) We will review company policy on offering free/discounted upgrades
/ parts to ensure there is no miscommunication of intent.
3) We will review and update backorder status to inform customers when
parts are not shipped with the order. We apologize for the
miscommunication that the expedite fee was for your laser machine and
not for the accessories (which were out of stock).
They had mentioned that they were a growing company, they thanked me for my suggestions. They had previously spent all time and money on R&D but going forward would investigate how to better improve customer service.
He then went into some other things we discussed, and as a consideration for the issues I've experienced, offered some parts and services to me, thanked me for my purchase and business and hopes I continue to be a customer.
So - between the phone call and email, I've no idea what happened. But that email is exactly what I should have gotten in the first place, instead of the forum runaround, banning, and IN MY OPINION defensive phone call.
If they are sincere, and I hope they are, it's a great product that company can go far if they do it right, then maybe they are turning some things around. I cant say. I've my reservations. I am, by default, a cynic. I've been lied to too many times to get that email and think "Aaw see! Thats asweome!" - My initial thought is "Do what he said we should do just to shut him up, jesus christ!" but again, I'm a cynical *******. But I have an open mind.
No, FSE didn't buy me off. Thats pretty much impossible to do. I was ready to craigslist this laser and look for something else if I was completely cut off from support and upgrades from them (I actually asked him on the phone if they'd still take my money for the v4 upgrade - I'm $3000 invested in this laser, and v4 does things I need it to, I was kinda stuck with them. $75 is a small price to pay to get this working completely, even if the company pissed me off). So, no, I was not bought off. What I was, however, was tentatively hopeful about an honest change in the way they handle things. Could it all be smoke up my ass? Maybe. Only way to know is to watch and see how they do business in the future.
Buy a laser, leave a mediocre review, and see if you're offered stuff to change it. (Well, not intentionally - that's wrong)
Me? If it were my company and I saw a mediocre review? I email or call the customer, ask what we did wrong, apologize, ask how we can make it right. Hopefully, my effort in doing that gets my review updated. If not, well, I try harder next time with my next customer. I sell on ebay, I get negative feedback sometimes. You just try harder next time, and enough good feedback helps outweigh the negative.
So, we'll see. I'm tentatively hopeful. I'm out of my support period, and have exchanged a few emails with Henry regarding a problem I'm having engraving with the laser. Never once did he seem annoyed by the emails. Offered my advice on the issue, not sure if he'll listen to an amateur like me, but, who knows. Truly - I dont know lasers. But I do know computers, and programming, and mechanics, and a laser isnt that far off from those.
Would I continue to buy from them? At this point - tentatively - yes. We'll see how things go. Like I said 100x over, its a GREAT laser. It has issues - one of which I'll post here later and see if anyone smarter than me has input. It was just the company policies that I took issue with. If they are truly changing those policies, well, then maybe both the laser AND the company will turn out awesome.
So, you have my review, my ordeal, and now where I stand now. I've been as honest as I can be, giving all sides of this, and it's your call...
Thanks for the review and comments. This forum post along with others here on CNCZone have been enough for me to decide against FSE. I was on the fence with building my own system or buying their deluxe hobby system and I've decided to go my own way.
First post for me on this Forum.
I bought a 40W deluxe Hobby Laser from Full Spectrum Engineering in early September this year. From the start the laser was not functioning as it should. Frequent disconnects had me emailing FSE several times a day to try and find out why it wasn't working.
After an email asking me to remove the motor control card and USB RetinaEngrave card to take a photo of them for Henry Liu and the guys to look at, saw the machine not work again. It was many frustrating weeks of fiddling and trial and error by me with emailed instructions by FSE, before I did my block at them, six weeks after I received my laser.
Nothing they had suggested and I had done had worked in making the machine work. It wouldn't "Jog" or "Home", any job in RetinaEngrave would give a "Not Responding" screen and then shutdown.
Henry and the guys were really helpful throughout the whole time that my laser wasn't working, I made a few phone calls, they sent me many emails (64 of them), and quite a few photos giving step by step instructions to test various parts of the machine to see what was at fault. At one stage they remote accessed my computer to test what may be at fault on my own computer - a somewhat freaky thing to watch! One of the problems of living on the other side of the world from where you buy a product is that when something goes wrong, there is no one near to help. There was a "FSE Representative" in Australia, unfortunately that person lives on the other side of the continent, 4600Km away from me!
Eventually, I gave up and gave them a piece of my mind. I'm a Clinical Nurse in a big Trauma Ward, I have a Masters Degree, but I'm no Electrical Engineer. What they were asking of me really was out of my comfort level and beyond what I think a customer should be doing to a $4000 machine (with postage and Customs Duty). They replaced the machine without a seconds pause and I received the new one a week later. The only complaint I have with the new machine was that the laser pointer/splitter mirror wasn't in there (I took it from the old one, so that's OK) and that once again, it came with European and US electrical plugs, when I had paid extra to have the machine converted to 240V Australian. Is it such a hard thing to ask that it come out of the box with plugs that work, without having to buy new ones or adapters? As to service, well it was exceptional, except when one of the guys complained to me that it was after working hours, and could he call me back in the morning? OK for him, but the next morning for him, was 2am for me!
The new machine has been working perfectly, with only my inability to get the mirrors perfectly aligned, being the only hitch (fingers crossed!).
I cannot say I enjoyed the whole process, it has somewhat taken away the enthusiasm I had for the machine and what I had hoped to do with it. I cannot fault the service I received from Henry, Stephen and the guys at FSE, I just wish it hadn't taken seven weeks to get a working machine from the time my first one landed in Australia.
The new machine is working as it should, and I am producing some wonderfully detailed models and some stupidly cheap letterboards for stroke/brain injured people at work.
Would I buy another machine from FSE? Yes. But I'll wait until they have people a little closer to where I live (Australian East Coast would be wonderful), before I buy again.
Top marks for FSE.
Thanks for posting the info Bec.
CNC is only limited by our imagination.
Bec Weir's must've been the one returned Laser that didn't fit on the desk.