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Faber Castell Basic—A Quick Review Of A Horrible Pen

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56 replies to this topic

#21 ink-syringe

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Posted 10 November 2016 - 16:36

I am not going to dispute the OP. How could I possibly know?

 

but my experiences with F-C after service was absolutely above and beyond. I would urge the OP to try contacting FC folks further up the chain. I know they try really hard to keep customers happy. I brought them 3 pens that I was having some issues with and they did everything short of taking me out to lunch. They listened, inspected the pens, replaced them. One person even took notes when I happen to mentioned a few design issues (I love the nibs but some FC pens have issues with ergonomics). I was stunned. Maybe my situation was a fluke but I had, over the years 3 issues with them and all three were resolved satisfactorily. 

 

Good luck.


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#22 katerchen

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Posted 10 November 2016 - 16:45

Perhaps popping the nibs and feed into another pen may help salvage something from your mishaps.

 

 

Heh, that's exactly why I got mine : to get a replacement nib assembly for my E-Motion. Whose nib I sorta-kinda ruined with what started out as a simple smoothing then sort of escalated from there the wrong direction.

 

-k

 

EDIT: Also compatible -- I think -- with the Ondoro.


Edited by katerchen, 10 November 2016 - 16:49.


#23 Pickwick

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Posted 10 November 2016 - 17:17

 

Well, you're lucky that it has never happened to you.

 

I'm inclined to believe the OP because this has happened to me albeit on a pen from another manufacturer and it was graciously replaced even though the pen was way out of warranty, no questions asked.

 

My point is that, there should be a degree of trust between the manufacturer and the buyer because if someone cares enough to buy their products, manufacturers should at least acknowledge and express concern that the issue happened at all. The response from Fa-Ca sounds like they don't care much ("after reviewing it they might replace the section"). To me, the response should've been,

"it is unfortunate that our product did not meet your expectations. We will gladly replace/repair it for you after you send in the faulty product. We will investigate the matter further to ensure such issues don't happen in future."

I think it is fair to assume that a company that has been around for 250 years is willing to stand by their products and understand that such things can happen. A few bucks of goodwill would keep the customer happy and they are more likely to remain a customer. Of course if just a couple of people are intentionally damaging the pen and asking for replacement every couple of months, then that matter can be handled differently. Here, that doesn't seem to be the case.

 

And the thing about using only their inks, we all know why that is so.

 

I don't believe that being in business for 250 years is an indicator of good customer service or maintaining same level of quality in the fountain pen world. The quality on their high end GvFC pens might be high but we're talking about cheap entry level pens. Take Parker, for example, their Duofolds are great pens but the Vector is a hit or a miss. 

 

Well, they have the right to review the case. In this day age their should be trust and honesty on the part of the customer as well. Unfortunately this is no longer the case. I worked for a company where on occasions customers were {and probably still are}  returning products making outrageous claims for their reasons. Investigations in a high number of cases showed that  customer abuse was the culprit. Individuals making unjustified claims will force manufacturers into a position they would rather avoid.

 

You cannot expect a company arbitrarily replacing any products at their expense unless it is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was due to faulty workmanship.


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Sincerely yours,

Pickwick


#24 Tas

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Posted 10 November 2016 - 17:45

 

Heh, that's exactly why I got mine : to get a replacement nib assembly for my E-Motion. Whose nib I sorta-kinda ruined with what started out as a simple smoothing then sort of escalated from there the wrong direction.

 

-k

 

EDIT: Also compatible -- I think -- with the Ondoro.

 

Happens to the best of us . . . :blush:



#25 Lam1

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Posted 10 November 2016 - 19:09

Regarding their customer service, my experience is as follows.

 

I have a few GvFC, including 2 expensive LE, and dealt with their customer service 2 times in the last year and a half.

 

- Once to fix my Elemento LE, which fell apart in my hands upon arrival. They fixed it without problems and actually even gave me a bottle of ink as a treat for waiting 6 months :yikes:  for the pen to be fixed.

 

- The second time I inquired about exchanging the nib of a Classic Grenadilla, which was on the way to me, in case the OB on it didn't suit me. They replied that they would only exchange if the nib was unused. I replied that it wouldn't be possible for me to know if it suited me unless I tried it out, and that other companies that I dealt with (MB, Pelikan, Waterman and Parker) do allow you to try it out and still exchange in the first 30 days. They just told me that they wouldn't do it in a kind of "take it or leave it" tone.

 

Several times during my communication with them, the following text was included either in the email or in a letter:

 

"**** Please note - It is necessary to use Faber-Castell Fountain Inks exclusively with Faber-Castell Fountain Pens for best performance and to prevent damage to the feed.  Our inks are specially formulated and designed specifically for our pens.  If using unsuitable ink by another manufacturer, the instrument will be adversely affected.  In these cases, replacement part charges and/or repair fees will apply.  For best results and to prevent clogging, use fresh ink when refilling the pen."

 

Yes, they will not know if you used another ink. But I find the threat annoying and less than satisfying customer service.



#26 mhphoto

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Posted 10 November 2016 - 19:21

Lot more replies than I thought there'd be…

To be clear, I haven't contacted FC customer service, though I intend to when I have time.

I got the first pen about a year ago. It was a good pen until the plastic threaded part that holds the section snapped off as I was pulling the cap off. I put the broken pen away after I took the nib out to put in another pen, and didn't think of it again for a while.

The second pen was purchased off eBay.

I don't really intend to pursue a replacement (I have too many pens already and the two pens' excellent nibs are being put to good use on other pens), but I do want to let them know there's a recurring issue with their plastic. And their clips apparently.

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#27 Pickwick

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Posted 10 November 2016 - 19:46

Regarding their customer service, my experience is as follows.

 

I have a few GvFC, including 2 expensive LE, and dealt with their customer service 2 times in the last year and a half.

 

- Once to fix my Elemento LE, which fell apart in my hands upon arrival. They fixed it without problems and actually even gave me a bottle of ink as a treat for waiting 6 months :yikes:  for the pen to be fixed.

 

- The second time I inquired about exchanging the nib of a Classic Grenadilla, which was on the way to me, in case the OB on it didn't suit me. They replied that they would only exchange if the nib was unused. I replied that it wouldn't be possible for me to know if it suited me unless I tried it out, and that other companies that I dealt with (MB, Pelikan, Waterman and Parker) do allow you to try it out and still exchange in the first 30 days. They just told me that they wouldn't do it in a kind of "take it or leave it" tone.

 

Several times during my communication with them, the following text was included either in the email or in a letter:

 

"**** Please note - It is necessary to use Faber-Castell Fountain Inks exclusively with Faber-Castell Fountain Pens for best performance and to prevent damage to the feed.  Our inks are specially formulated and designed specifically for our pens.  If using unsuitable ink by another manufacturer, the instrument will be adversely affected.  In these cases, replacement part charges and/or repair fees will apply.  For best results and to prevent clogging, use fresh ink when refilling the pen."

 

Yes, they will not know if you used another ink. But I find the threat annoying and less than satisfying customer service.

 

Did Faber Castell include in the instructions which came with the pen the recommendation to exclusive use of their inks along with the consequences for not doing so? If that is the case, then a user will be fully aware of the company's policy in the first place. A company has the right to formulate their own policy. If we disagree, then we can return the pen and look to another manufacturer who may have a policy to our liking.

 

It all comes down to "Caveat Emptor", we should all make an informed choice in the first place.


They came as a boon, and a blessing to men,
The Pickwick, the Owl and the Waverley pen

Sincerely yours,

Pickwick


#28 rwilsonedn

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Posted 10 November 2016 - 20:13

I suspect that the language about only using the vendor's ink may be part of the company heritage. In the 1920s and 1930s, when there were all kinds of companies making all kinds of inks, some never intended for fountain pens, a warning like that probably made a lot of sense. Manufacturers probably became quite tired of cleaning India ink out of pens and of replacing parts that had been eaten by highly reactive inks. Now the language is less appropriate, perhaps. But there are still some respected pen repair folks who recommend using pen manufacturer's ink--just not necessarily ink sold by the particular manufacturer of your pen.

ron



#29 dapprman

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Posted 10 November 2016 - 20:38

I just want to check something.  Was the customer service actually FC or was it a third party importer.  I've noticed a certain consistency on this forum that European pens in the USA are sold through 3rd party importers (under licence I assume) and tend to suffer from poor customer service, where as those of us in Europe do well.  I was wondering if the problem is with the importer/retailer/authorised repairer instead ?



#30 Pickwick

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Posted 10 November 2016 - 21:00

I just want to check something.  Was the customer service actually FC or was it a third party importer.  I've noticed a certain consistency on this forum that European pens in the USA are sold through 3rd party importers (under licence I assume) and tend to suffer from poor customer service, where as those of us in Europe do well.  I was wondering if the problem is with the importer/retailer/authorised repairer instead ?

 

Looking on the internet FC has a repair facility in Cleveland, Ohio.


They came as a boon, and a blessing to men,
The Pickwick, the Owl and the Waverley pen

Sincerely yours,

Pickwick


#31 dapprman

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Posted 10 November 2016 - 21:20

 

Looking on the internet FC has a repair facility in Cleveland, Ohio.

I would strongly suspect that is a 3rd party considering FC/GvFC's size.



#32 Pickwick

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Posted 10 November 2016 - 21:40

I would strongly suspect that is a 3rd party considering FC/GvFC's size.

 

Well, given the size of the USA with its huge sales potential, FC would not need a 3rd party. The site gives no indication of this whatsoever. In any case if FC were to offer a franchise then whoever ran it would still have to comply with FC Policies.


Edited by Pickwick, 10 November 2016 - 21:41.

They came as a boon, and a blessing to men,
The Pickwick, the Owl and the Waverley pen

Sincerely yours,

Pickwick


#33 s_t_e_v_e

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Posted 11 November 2016 - 07:34

 

Did Faber Castell include in the instructions which came with the pen the recommendation to exclusive use of their inks along with the consequences for not doing so? If that is the case, then a user will be fully aware of the company's policy in the first place. A company has the right to formulate their own policy. If we disagree, then we can return the pen and look to another manufacturer who may have a policy to our liking.

 

It all comes down to "Caveat Emptor", we should all make an informed choice in the first place.

 

Absolutely! Now we're all aware of their policies and can look towards more forgiving pen manufacturers.

This discussions in this thread is leading me to avoid buying from Fa-Ca. I had a doubt about them when I heard that they were selling a $400 pencil!! The price isn't even the worst part; They are calling it the perfect pencil!! As far as price is concerned, it's nowhere near perfect, in my book. Makes me wonder how skewed things might be in their heads.

I've heard only good things about their nibs so far. It's a shame that they're losing customers from an already tiny base of FP customers because of their unfriendly and seemingly archaic policies.



#34 Pickwick

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Posted 11 November 2016 - 11:43

 

Absolutely! Now we're all aware of their policies and can look towards more forgiving pen manufacturers.

This discussions in this thread is leading me to avoid buying from Fa-Ca. I had a doubt about them when I heard that they were selling a $400 pencil!! The price isn't even the worst part; They are calling it the perfect pencil!! As far as price is concerned, it's nowhere near perfect, in my book. Makes me wonder how skewed things might be in their heads.

I've heard only good things about their nibs so far. It's a shame that they're losing customers from an already tiny base of FP customers because of their unfriendly and seemingly archaic policies.

 

Well, just from a matter of interest I pulled up 5 FC reviews from FPN members rating various marques of these fountain pens from 2010-2016 and all have given these pens first class reviews. Browsing other reviews on the web I haven't found one bad review.

 

FC may well have a valid policy recommending their own formulated inks given the high quality of the pens they make. We should never judge or condemn a manufacturer's product on just one member claiming that their FC pen had "fallen apart" without qualifying as to how it happened.


They came as a boon, and a blessing to men,
The Pickwick, the Owl and the Waverley pen

Sincerely yours,

Pickwick


#35 jar

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Posted 11 November 2016 - 12:51

 

Absolutely! Now we're all aware of their policies and can look towards more forgiving pen manufacturers.

This discussions in this thread is leading me to avoid buying from Fa-Ca. I had a doubt about them when I heard that they were selling a $400 pencil!! The price isn't even the worst part; They are calling it the perfect pencil!! As far as price is concerned, it's nowhere near perfect, in my book. Makes me wonder how skewed things might be in their heads.

I've heard only good things about their nibs so far. It's a shame that they're losing customers from an already tiny base of FP customers because of their unfriendly and seemingly archaic policies.

And the Perfect Pencil is grossly underpriced.


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#36 Pickwick

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Posted 11 November 2016 - 14:31

 

Absolutely! Now we're all aware of their policies and can look towards more forgiving pen manufacturers.

This discussions in this thread is leading me to avoid buying from Fa-Ca. I had a doubt about them when I heard that they were selling a $400 pencil!! The price isn't even the worst part; They are calling it the perfect pencil!! As far as price is concerned, it's nowhere near perfect, in my book. Makes me wonder how skewed things might be in their heads.

I've heard only good things about their nibs so far. It's a shame that they're losing customers from an already tiny base of FP customers because of their unfriendly and seemingly archaic policies.

 

It appears that FC does have a valid reason recommending exclusive use of their inks. Richard Binder has an interesting discussion about the care that does need to be taken with choice of ink in fountain pens. If anyone cares to take a look http://richardpens.com/care/inks Therefore Faber Castell's policy may not be so archaic after all, but for the long term benefits for their customers. investment.


Edited by Pickwick, 11 November 2016 - 14:32.

They came as a boon, and a blessing to men,
The Pickwick, the Owl and the Waverley pen

Sincerely yours,

Pickwick


#37 s_t_e_v_e

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 01:49

 

Well, just from a matter of interest I pulled up 5 FC reviews from FPN members rating various marques of these fountain pens from 2010-2016 and all have given these pens first class reviews. Browsing other reviews on the web I haven't found one bad review.

 

FC may well have a valid policy recommending their own formulated inks given the high quality of the pens they make. We should never judge or condemn a manufacturer's product on just one member claiming that their FC pen had "fallen apart" without qualifying as to how it happened.

 

 

 

It appears that FC does have a valid reason recommending exclusive use of their inks. Richard Binder has an interesting discussion about the care that does need to be taken with choice of ink in fountain pens. If anyone cares to take a look http://richardpens.com/care/inks Therefore Faber Castell's policy may not be so archaic after all, but for the long term benefits for their customers. investment.

 

 

I agree that Fa-Ca's pens are indeed pretty good, what I don't like so much is their policy and approach towards customer support, which is not very friendly and assuring. More than one person in this thread has corroborated this. If good customer service was not important, then by all means, I am willing to buy their pens because I've also heard only good things about their nibs.

 

Fa-Ca's concern about using "unsuitable inks" is valid in reference to damage to the pen's feed. Tying this policy to repairs not related to the nib and feed seems illogical to me. 

 

Turns out their nib exchange policy is also unreasonable, as Lam1 points out. Retailers usually allow buyers to dip test pens before buying. In Lam1's case he/she already bought the pen and wanted to exchange the nib if it didn't suit their writing style. Very valid request, I think, but Fa-Ca wasn't willing to accommodate the request. Nibs vary across manufacturers and someone used to Japanese nib widths may not be ok with a nib of the same grade from a German manufacturer. A customer may not be aware of this and may want to exchange the nib for a more suitable nib width after trying it, but Fa-Ca's policy might prevent him/her from do so.

 

Their pens might be great but customer service is also important to some of us. 


Edited by s_t_e_v_e, 12 November 2016 - 01:51.


#38 Pickwick

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 05:18

 

 

 

 

I agree that Fa-Ca's pens are indeed pretty good, what I don't like so much is their policy and approach towards customer support, which is not very friendly and assuring. More than one person in this thread has corroborated this. If good customer service was not important, then by all means, I am willing to buy their pens because I've also heard only good things about their nibs.

 

Fa-Ca's concern about using "unsuitable inks" is valid in reference to damage to the pen's feed. Tying this policy to repairs not related to the nib and feed seems illogical to me. 

 

Turns out their nib exchange policy is also unreasonable, as Lam1 points out. Retailers usually allow buyers to dip test pens before buying. In Lam1's case he/she already bought the pen and wanted to exchange the nib if it didn't suit their writing style. Very valid request, I think, but Fa-Ca wasn't willing to accommodate the request. Nibs vary across manufacturers and someone used to Japanese nib widths may not be ok with a nib of the same grade from a German manufacturer. A customer may not be aware of this and may want to exchange the nib for a more suitable nib width after trying it, but Fa-Ca's policy might prevent him/her from do so.

 

Their pens might be great but customer service is also important to some of us. 

 

Well, before we decide to invest in one of Faber Castell's products then it is important to find out their policy with regard to all aspects of their customer service, and how far they would be willing to cater to our preferences, not after the fact. The company does have their policy outlined, and offer a question and answer service to clarify any details. If it is not to our satisfaction then we can freely pursue other pen makers who would be willing to cater to them.

 

We only have ourselves to blame if we fail to do so.


Edited by Pickwick, 12 November 2016 - 05:23.

They came as a boon, and a blessing to men,
The Pickwick, the Owl and the Waverley pen

Sincerely yours,

Pickwick


#39 s_t_e_v_e

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 08:12

 

Well, before we decide to invest in one of Faber Castell's products then it is important to find out their policy with regard to all aspects of their customer service, and how far they would be willing to cater to our preferences, not after the fact. The company does have their policy outlined, and offer a question and answer service to clarify any details. If it is not to our satisfaction then we can freely pursue other pen makers who would be willing to cater to them.

 

We only have ourselves to blame if we fail to do so.

 

 

Hence, I am glad I got to know about their policies via this thread and will not be buying their pens unless I am absolutely willing to forgo any expectation of pleasant customer service or none at all. Hopefully this thread helps others too.



#40 Lam1

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 08:14

I went to check what GvFC says in the documentation they send with their pens. Here is what they say under "Hints on care:", and I quote (a photography can be provided, if necessary):

 

"For maximum convenience we suggest you use only water-based inks such as Graf von Faber-Castell ink." (emphasis added by me)

 

 As one can see, much less threatening than the language used in their correspondence. In fact, there is no mention of voiding the warranty and it is only a suggestion. In fact, they don't say you can use only GvFC inks, but suggest that any water-based one is good enough. 

 

I do like GvFC pens, particularly the wood/metal ones. That does not mean that I have to consider their customer service top notch. In my opinion, it is not. GvFC pens are very expensive: a Classic Anello costs about as much as a M800 or a 146 here in the US, but my experience is that their customer service is not on par with the customer service provided by those companies (not that theirs is perfect either) -- and you can make your own mind about which is the better pen (for me, it is not the GvFC)

 

I fully believe that Mr. Binder is correct that some inks can damage the feeds. But feeds are inexpensive and the same is true for every other brand, yet they do not make such threats and offer other services, such as nib exchange. 

 

Finally, the GvFC pens are good and have good design (IMO). But in my experience there are other pens that, for the same price, are better.

My experience with their pens is the following: my wife and I have 4 GvFC (a Classic Grenadilla, an Intuition Terracota, a Snakewood LE and an Elemento LE), all of them have good, smooth, but not particularly remarkable nibs. But all of them are also very fussy about the ink they take and have a tendency to dry out in the middle of writing with a converter full of ink, and that is even using GvFC ink (which I happen to like very much).

 

All that said, I'm still in the market for an Intuition Wood Pernambuco or Ebony, and I keep a close eye on their LE pens for something that catches my fancy. Why? Well, I'm a sucker!  :D







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