At the begining of June, 2011 I ordered a manual machine from Industrial Hobbies. Tommy told me they were backordered but would be in stock in three months. Before giving placing the order I asked if the deposit would be refunded in the event of extended delay. Tommy told me it would, so I gave him a deposit of $1200 and placed the order. After three months passed I contacted Tommy to find out the status of the machines, and again was told they were on the way. Several more months passed with no machine, just missed delivery dates. At six months I inquired again and again was told the machines would be leaving China soon. Tired of the broken promises, I cancelled the order, but now Tommy doesn't seem to want to return my deposit, I received a partial refund ($500) but that's all. And now Tommy is ignoring my communications. I really didn't want to go public like this, but it seems to be the only thing Tommy responds to.
I'm not surprised. In any case, it doesn't matter any more, I just want the rest of my money back.
Go to your state AG. That's how I got the last of my remaining hardware after numerous emails and calls went nowhere.
I still don't have a working Mach3 license, however.
Yeah, I've read your thread. I wish I had seen it before I ordered the machine. I wish you luck getting that licence.
Colorado AG brushed me off, said it was out of their jurasdiction. I am working with the CT AG, they seem helpful, I hope they can do something.
What a mess up. Gene had this company coming along so nicely as well. What a shame.
I placed my order while Gene was still around and I've noticed a shift in how the business works. My written request for a refund was ignored but a complaint here got a phone call in the next 10 minutes from some woman claiming to work for the company.
In the past couple of years I've only had a few conversations with Tommy here and on the phone, but I think there's a need to delegate the easy work to a helper and it isn't happening. A lot of the parts I received had hand-written labels on bags instead of the old printed-out labels and took awhile to sort out. I had to repeatedly ask for instructions or missing parts and you can see from the other thread how it took going to the AG for me to get the final bits of the end-stops. "Where's my frobnitz", "I need labels I can read", or "can I send you a USB drive for a copy of the Mach3 license?" is work that can be done by a part-time helper while the pros do the pro-level work.
At my first IT/Facilities gig my first newly hired person did nothing but answer the phone and email, it gave me a lot more time to actually fix hard problems. The person who can't figure out how to print really doesn't need the head of IT helping them, that task can be safely handled by a fresh graduate. :-)
I drove all the way to CT from TX to pick up my mill back in November of 2008. I met with the whole Spada family, including Geno, and I had a great time. They are great people, but it comes as no surprise to me that Tommy may now be overwhelmed without his father around. They ran a small shop, and they had no employees other than family, and they wanted it that way.
However, I feel confident that Tommy can fill his father's shoes and then some, he just needs to complete the transition to running the shop without Geno around. In fact, I feel confident that given a little time, Tommy can improve upon what his father offered. I have made improvements to my IH mill, and my mill represents the quality that Geno enforced. I believe that things will get better with Tommy at the helm.
I believe that Tommy is an intelligent, hard working individual, and, most importantly, that his heart is in the right place. I look forward to seeing things ironed out regarding any customer issues he may be currently struggling with, and I feel confident that he will do so in time. I really enjoyed talking with Geno, both while visiting IH and on the phone after taking my mill back to Texas, but I also know that Tommy made Geno a proud father. Tommy has my vote of confidence.
Even then, I still had to go to my state's AG to get a handful of final parts delivered and I still don't have a working license for Mach3. Meanwhile, they've delivered multiple working mills and kits to customers who ordered long after I ordered.
As an occasional small-parts and projects guy, I don't see any progress here.
I understand your position. However, my mill was late too. I drove to CT not just because gas was cheap (< $2 at the end of 2008), but also to make sure that I got my mill. My credit card charge back period was about to expire, and I wanted to ensure that I didn't get left without any recourse. No doubt about it, small shops have their struggles.
However, after arriving at the shop, and dealing with the Spada family, I went away with a very good feeling about IH. Not perfect, but acceptable. Geno was good at dealing with customers, and he spent most of his time on the phone and working at the computer: a used car salesman of sorts. Tommy did most of the work in the shop. Consequently, it doesn't surprise me that customer service suffered without Geno around.
I don't pretend to make excuses for Tommy's handling of the issues you mention, but I do believe that Tommy is more concerned with improving what IH offers, from a machine perspective, than Geno was, although I don't doubt that Tommy neglected legitimate concerns like certified mail and the like.
However, I do believe that Tommy isn't out to steal anyone's money, more likely that he was just waiting for the pot to boil... I suspect he should consider getting someone to deal with customer issues as he seemed more the 'hard working shop guy' than the 'front office customer support guy' like his father (who, by the way, seemed to love that role).
Again, I must mention, I hold out hope that not only will IH's handling of customer issues improve, but that IH machine offerings will also improve with Tommy running the show. Admittedly, I could be wrong, but I still feel good about what IH represents (a small, family owned, USA based business), and, given the choice, I would still buy an IH mill over a full on import. But, I would probably do as I did back in 2008, and keep contacting them repeatedly to make sure that my customer needs/rights were being met.
Buying from a small family oriented American business can have disadvantages, but so does buying from large global corporations (albeit often different types of issues...).
I made repeated attempts to contact IH while they shipped "my" parts to people who purchased CNC mills long after I made my purchase and got nothing. While others were receiving complete, working mills I couldn't even get the refund required by law.
Years later I am still missing a working Mach3 license. IH claims the one they sent me works, Mach3's vendor says the one I have is corrupt, and I have nothing even after offering to send blank media or a thumb drive for a non-emailed copy.
Can't IH supply with you with the license file or at least the serial number? I believe that the file is named license.dat but could be mistaken.
So long as you have that file you can probably just download a fresh demo copy of Mach3 and then copy the license file into one of the Mach3 folders. ArtSoft or someone on the Mach3 fora should be able to walk you through that.
Good luck - Mike