To be clear – this rant is not intended to be a personal attack on Roy. Everyone says he is a great guy, and his products at Panucatt Devices are fanstastic – e.g “Roy Cortes is probably one of the nicest guys I have run into in the 3D Printing community”
But I think things have gotten to the point where the poor customer experience really needs to be addressed. With that out the way, and onto the rant…
So, rather excitingly, I’m in the process of putting together a new 3D printer – one printer to rule them all™. In this quest, I have been scouring
middle earth the globe for the most reliable parts I can find. In particular, I want to buy an ARM-based motherboard, that has replaceable stepper drivers. Unfortunately this narrows down my options to – one board, the Azteeg X3 mini.
This product, along with many other very well engineered products, is made by Panucatt Devices. I’ve ordered from them twice now, and both times, the products have been well engineered.
The problems begin…
Unfortunately, in my last order, one of the stepper drivers appeared to be misbehaving and prints were having strange erratic layer shifts. I managed to diagnose the problem, which turned out to be poor soldering on not one, but two of the header pins of the stepper driver in question. One had a dry solder joint that came loose, and one was not actually soldered down at all! Just a blob of solder on the end of the pin.
I sent Panucatt an email to their support address, informing of the issue, and expecting some kind of apology or acknowledgement of the issue, but to date, have not had a response. I let it go, and moved on. Fortunately, this problem is something that is within my soldering ability (or lack therof) to fix – and its a good thing I was able to diagnose the problem on my own!
Now, Panucatt is not known for having excellent stock management… at this point in writing, most of the store is out of stock. Last month (September) I needed to buy more stepper drivers, and the page proudly “Currently in Production. In-stock by end of September”, and so I waited. October is now well underway, and so a few days ago I sent an email to their info address to ask for a stock/status update. To date, no reply.
I tried again, using the contact form on the website, again, no reply.
I tried asking on the facebook page, again, no reply.
Now, I understand that people get busy. From what I can tell, Panucatt is a one-man-band run by Roy Cortes. The issue is one that I learned while working at the Apple store: to make a customer happy, you always under promise, and then try to over deliver. There is no point to have a contact form, and two separate email addresses on your website, and a help desk system, if you don’t answer any of them. There is no point having a social media profile, if you’re not interested in being social – it just makes people frustrated and less likely to want to buy from you.
In my frustration, I did a search for “panucatt reply” in the google. Here’s a selection of quotes – there’s many more out there:
- ” I contacted panucatt to see if i made a mistake or my endstops created the issue, a reply i have received zero response to. I emailed panucatt, with zero reply, over 2 weeks ago. I am focusing my displeasure across multiple facebook forums, an opinion i can alter if panucatt ever replies to me.”
- “I can’t get any responses from the company via help desk tickets or company email. I can’t contact the company via phone. I’m not a happy customer.”
- “sorry my request. I do not get news from more than ten days. […] His promise was to deliver by the end of March
but now it does not respond to email questions.Have been something to worry about?”
- “I had to send him a total of 5 emails as a reminder and finally got a response from him while he was in China. The panel arrived last week, 4 month late. I don’t know what it is with Roy. He designs brilliant products, but his customer relation skills are zilch. If you are in business, it does not help to ignore your customers, especially if the write in on the email@example.com email.”
- “Panucatt Devices has never answered polite mails”
- “I’ve submitted a ticket via their contact form, posted a ticket via their online support portal, mailed their support E-mail and even mailed Roy directly, with no response. From what I see on here and various other places this is rather typical.”
- “I have tried numerous ways to contact Panucatt over the past two weeks, all in vain”
- “Seems like he is a **** for not supporting his own things”
- “I think Panucatt Devices make great hardware that noone else is making right now, but their quality control is pretty poor and they are very slow in responding”
- “It would be nice if Roy (Panucatt) or Lincomatic would get back to me […] no response to emails sent last week.”
- ” have emailed Roy from Panucatt but he completely sidestepped my request for help.”
- Panucatt make great stuff but there customer service is shocking. Roy needs to do something about this.
- ” I know Roy’s busy, but this is starting to piss me off”
- “I initially sent an email to roy asking why it hasn’t arrived yet and he said it was supposed to arrive by friday (about 2 weeks ago). I have sent him three emails since then from different email addresses thinking it might have gone to his spam box. He hasn’t responded to any. […] His support is horrible.”
- **** you Roy Cortes from Panucatt, as you so gladly sell the Viki 2.0 but provide absolutely zero support. (I realise it’s rather mean to say this, but I have tried numerous ways to contact Panucatt over the past two weeks, all in vain)
I’m not the only one who is noticing:
- “Seems like the word around the inter web is that Panucatt has terrible customer service/support”
And even vendors are shying away:
- “I was going to start using them in my kits but the vendor is a bit spotty on communication so I decided to switch back to RAMPS because I use them in kits and community support is better for RAMPS.”
- “Just came back from a business trip in Asia. I didnt get to read all my emails because of slow internet and reply was almost impossible unless Im at the Hotel. Im getting everything sorted out now.”
- “I try to keep every buyer happy but sometimes things just fall off the radar and gets dragged on.”
Right now, I don’t know what to do. I’ve exhausted every avenue of communication and have achieved nothing. I sent one final email to roy@panucatt (7th Oct 16) – apparently he checked that one more often. I’ll update this post if I hear anything.
Edit (10/10/16): Roy replied – I’d suggest that those having trouble reaching Roy email him at Roy@panucatt, rather than using the other addresses on the website. His response “Sorry for the late reply” does not really address the issue that contacting him was an absolute pain. I’m hesitant to order from him again for this reason, as it doesnt seem like he sees the importance of good communication.
We don’t expect lighting responses. We don’t expect perfect devices. But – your communication really needs improvement! People get anxious, worried, stressed, and frustrated when there is no reply. You make GREAT products, but a great product, deserves great support.
My suggestion would be to pick ONE way which channels you want people to be able to contact you on, and then setup a ticket system with auto-reply, so that people know that you are busy, but also know that you care and will get back to them.
I would like to wish you every success with your innovative and quality products, and I hope that things will improve.
I see that Roy has started a kickstarter. I certainly won’t be backing it until he addresses this issue.
Nothing has changed…
“After 3 months without any reply from Panucatt to my e-mails I resigned. Im not brave enough/don’t have enough money to invest in device that will or will not have a support. In the end I will order DUET WI-FI (I think).” (Aug 2017)
Roy Cortes 2018 Update
It looks like there are quite a few unsatisfied customers for the Kickstarter, with no reply from Roy in sight…