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Armando Simoni Club's Service (If Any)

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#1 MalcLee

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Posted 18 March 2019 - 23:39

Hello all,

 

I suspect that I might be flogging a dead horse on ASC's lack of response to any e-mailed queries, but so far - I have not received any response to my 2 e-mails as yet regarding a purchase on their e-shop. Thought I'd check here if purchases from members here were ever fulfilled or not fulfilled. Thought I'd check here before ringing up my bank to initiate a dispute.

 

Thank you.

 

best regards,

 

MalcLee



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#2 Seney724

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Posted 19 March 2019 - 15:51

I believe all the criticism which has been directed towards ASC is fair as it is totally evidence based and very legitimate. However, I always like to look at the positive side of things and I have hoped the criticisms might be used by the Company as an opportunity for improvement. Whereas effecting that change in so far as the poor QC is concerned might take some time, they could change the awful customer service & poor (if not absent) communication elements in a heartbeat.

Your post reflects the same exasperation with ASC which has experienced by countless others. So, at least as of this time, it is apparent that ASC is blowing off our feedback.

And, by the way, the same critiques along with some others could be directed towards the ASC CEO's eBay business of "NOS" pens. It is hard to know which is worse.

All this said, my feeling is that for ANY company or seller who fails to respond as you have reported should have a dispute opened up against them... sooner rather than later. For some, it is quite literally the only way you will ever get any kind of response. For others, it creates the important type of documentation you will need if there needs to be any intervention by eBay, PayPal or your bank.

So, my recommendation is to do it!! And then prepare yourself to receive one or more of ASC's nonsensical excuses for their behavior.

Good luck and please keep us posted.

#3 Mulrich

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Posted 19 March 2019 - 18:21

For a company to succeed they have to offer something valuable to their customers. ASC's primary value to customers comes from their access to Omas' celluloid stock. This is fine for the short term but has obvious long-term limitations. And by not creating customer value in other ways, the company is missing an opportunity to build a sustainable customer base.

If they were smart, they'd leverage the Omas celluloid to build a wide and loyal customer base that will stay with the company indefinitely. Neglecting customer service is a really bad way to build loyalty. If the only reason the company can sell a pen is access to a finite supply of materials, they won't survive. 



#4 Seney724

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Posted 19 March 2019 - 23:26

For a company to succeed they have to offer something valuable to their customers. ASC's primary value to customers comes from their access to Omas' celluloid stock. This is fine for the short term but has obvious long-term limitations. And by not creating customer value in other ways, the company is missing an opportunity to build a sustainable customer base.
If they were smart, they'd leverage the Omas celluloid to build a wide and loyal customer base that will stay with the company indefinitely. Neglecting customer service is a really bad way to build loyalty. If the only reason the company can sell a pen is access to a finite supply of materials, they won't survive.


I completely agree. Right now ASC's most valuable (and, arguably, only) asset is the Omas rods.

The way I see it:

1) The pens ASC is currently producing (or, to be precise, are produced for them) are made with poor quality control standards. Also the finishing of all of the pen's components (there are more components to the pen than just the ones the owner sees) is skimpy. ASCs pens are not an asset.

2) ASC's leadership apparently has no aptitude, skills or desire when it comes to customer / sales service & basic communication. Again, no Company assets here.

So, to me, the most logical way for ASC to go is to create a strategic alliance with a high quality pen maker and have that company take the rods and turn them into beautiful, high quality, enduring pens. The remaining Omas celluloid rods are a huge asset; please let's not waste them.

End game? Everybody wins. ASC gets their money out of the rods. Pen collectors get high quality, collectible pens made with the remaining stock of the world's finest celluloid. A worthy use of the remaining precious rods.... as opposed to what is happening now. ASC, per se, quietly fades away as their leadership focuses their efforts on their current endeavors which conveniently fall under the umbrella of other "name brand" companies. Companies with great track records for quality and customer service.

PS: My prediction?? It will never happen.........

Edited by Seney724, 19 March 2019 - 23:28.


#5 MalcLee

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 04:31

Thank you for your thoughts and I am now left with only negative feelings - and zero goodwill to ASC and its future products. I do not think anyone should be made to jump through hoops pre and post purchase of their products, and in this case - a now lodged dispute via my credit card issuer - just to get a response from ASC. I would be very interested in ASC's response (if they do give my bank a response) because it appeared to me that they had made some changes to their product descriptions of the item I purchased pertaining to the pen's nib width - after sending my first e-mail. If my suspicions are correct - this says to me that they had time for their e-shop, but no time for their customers. Even if the dispute resolution process does lead to fulfilment of my order - I am still asking myself if this may lead to future post-purchase difficulties in trying to resolve QC problems with an ASC product.

 

I will keep this thread updated on the outcome of this dispute resolution process with ASC.


Edited by MalcLee, 20 March 2019 - 04:34.


#6 Mulrich

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 16:38

I know ASC did partner with Visconti on a pen (https://ascpens.com/...tan-arco-bronze) and it sold out almost immediately (and yes, Visconti's QC reputation is also less than stellar).

 

QC issues are such a huge downer when the material is so rare. I've looked at getting an ASC Arco pen but the ones available don't have aligning patterns between the cap, barrel, and piston knob. This is such a shame and could have been easily avoided with better manufacturing controls. 



#7 Seney724

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 19:38

I have heard the same about Visconti's QC issues but, I must say, I have never had any issues.
I do think that providing the rods to Visconti was a step in the right direction. But, will it continue???

What I'd love to see is for the rods to end up in the hands of a Company like Pelikan or Montblanc. There is a very well known pen seller from the UK who has a large collection of "bespoke," private edition pens he commissioned them to make using Arco rods he had in his possession. They are really gorgeous and, I'm sure, carry the imprimatur of those Companies in terms of standing behind their worksmanship. Morastylos also has done a really great job of utilizing the Arco rods to make a truly superior pen both from a worksmanship and an aesthetic vantage point.

IMO, the final, remaining rods really should go to the masters of the trade in order to be made into heirloom quality pens. Instead, they are being totally dishonored by the current arrangement and are doomed to a life of worthlessness. At best, they will serve as future examples of how wrong a good idea can go. Kind of like the Edsel.

I've not mentioned SCRIBO because I'm not sure where they're going. For sure they have the experienced (prior Omas) workforce to turn the rods into heirloom quality possessions. But, I'm not sure where they are going given some of the pens they are currently producing...... This is a moot point, anyway, as certain "egos" would never allow SCRIBO to get a hold of any of those rods. And, in fact, the same ego forces would probably never allow them to fall into the hands of Pelikan or MB either.

#8 zaddick

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 23:34

I have heard the same about Visconti's QC issues but, I must say, I have never had any issues.
I do think that providing the rods to Visconti was a step in the right direction. But, will it continue???

What I'd love to see is for the rods to end up in the hands of a Company like Pelikan or Montblanc. There is a very well known pen seller from the UK who has a large collection of "bespoke," private edition pens he commissioned them to make using Arco rods he had in his possession. They are really gorgeous and, I'm sure, carry the imprimatur of those Companies in terms of standing behind their worksmanship. Morastylos also has done a really great job of utilizing the Arco rods to make a truly superior pen both from a worksmanship and an aesthetic vantage point.

IMO, the final, remaining rods really should go to the masters of the trade in order to be made into heirloom quality pens. Instead, they are being totally dishonored by the current arrangement and are doomed to a life of worthlessness. At best, they will serve as future examples of how wrong a good idea can go. Kind of like the Edsel.

I've not mentioned SCRIBO because I'm not sure where they're going. For sure they have the experienced (prior Omas) workforce to turn the rods into heirloom quality possessions. But, I'm not sure where they are going given some of the pens they are currently producing...... This is a moot point, anyway, as certain "egos" would never allow SCRIBO to get a hold of any of those rods. And, in fact, the same ego forces would probably never allow them to fall into the hands of Pelikan or MB either.


Those bespoke MB 139 and Pelikan pens (and other makes I have seen like Aurora) are either handmade pens or reskined pens. None are made, endorsed, or supported by big name pen manufacturers.

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#9 Seney724

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Posted 20 March 2019 - 23:41

Those bespoke MB 139 and Pelikan pens (and other makes I have seen like Aurora) are either handmade pens or reskined pens. None are made, endorsed, or supported by big name pen manufacturers.


Yes, you are correct. (Not "officially," anyway.)
But, imagine if they were!!

#10 mongrelnomad

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Posted 21 March 2019 - 21:29

I think you're talking about Tom's reskinned 139s. Absolutely epic pens, but they do require a donor pen and it just seems wrong to vintage Montblancs from the world.

 

I would be very wary of ASC pens as there is the possibility the final rods were not fully cured. I managed to procure a rod of Omas celluloid after the collapse of the company and had a very well respected company produce from it a pen. Over the years the material has shrunk repeatedly and though the company have repaired it (repeatedly) and the celluloid has finally settled, there are serious question marks hanging over the longevity of the rods and any pens produced.

 

Short of handing them back to people who know what they're doing (Scribo, lookin' at you), I'd give them a wide berth.  


Edited by mongrelnomad, 21 March 2019 - 21:30.

Too many pens; too little writing.

#11 gregamckinney

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Posted 22 March 2019 - 14:10

It seems like ASC pens are to be purchased and admired only.

 

greg


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#12 CeeElle

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Posted 23 March 2019 - 00:59

I would be very wary of ASC pens as there is the possibility the final rods were not fully cured. I managed to procure a rod of Omas celluloid after the collapse of the company and had a very well respected company produce from it a pen. Over the years the material has shrunk repeatedly and though the company have repaired it (repeatedly) and the celluloid has finally settled, there are serious question marks hanging over the longevity of the rods and any pens produced.

 

Precisely why I have not indulged in these creations. Credit where it is due in that it has put a beautiful material in a lot more peoples hands, however, I find the oversized replica of the Paragon Extra (sans facets) to be a little tasteless. The apparent lack of service described above is icing on the cake.


Edited by CeeElle, 23 March 2019 - 00:59.

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#13 raging.dragon

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Posted 27 March 2019 - 05:05

Yes, you are correct. (Not "officially," anyway.)
But, imagine if they were!!

 

It's easy to imagine what would happen if the rods went to MB, Pelikan, and Aurora.

 

They'd have some QC issues (all non-custom pen makers do). And people who have had negative experiences with those brands and/or dislike the specific models those brands choose to make would be complaining about it.



#14 MalcLee

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Posted 27 March 2019 - 05:30

 

It's easy to imagine what would happen if the rods went to MB, Pelikan, and Aurora.

 

They'd have some QC issues (all non-custom pen makers do). And people who have had negative experiences with those brands and/or dislike the specific models those brands choose to make would be complaining about it.

 

 

But at least with these bigger producers, there would be some form of remediation or customer support for any QC issue. It's been 3 weeks now and ASC had chosen to not respond to my purchase enquiries from their online site.

As the dispute resolution now lies between my bank and the Armando Simoni Club - I hope no one would have to go through what I've been through, although my suspicions are that I am not the only one to have been treated this way as a customer where a simple enquiry must come from a third party.



#15 mongrelnomad

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Posted 27 March 2019 - 12:58

 
 
But at least with these bigger producers, there would be some form of remediation or customer support for any QC issue. It's been 3 weeks now and ASC had chosen to not respond to my purchase enquiries from their online site.
As the dispute resolution now lies between my bank and the Armando Simoni Club - I hope no one would have to go through what I've been through, although my suspicions are that I am not the only one to have been treated this way as a customer where a simple enquiry must come from a third party.


I wonder how many pens the company has produced, and how many are happy or unhappy with their purchase. I ask as every pen show seems awash with ASC (and affiliated) pens. Either theyre making truck-loads, or nobodys holding on to them...
Too many pens; too little writing.

#16 cunim

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Posted 27 March 2019 - 16:21

There is a company that makes a well-regarded line of budget audiophile turntables called MMF.  These turntables developed a good reputation and there was a mist of audio fairy dust decorating their image.  Audiophiles wondered what the letters MMF stood for and, in an unguarded moment, the company owner is reported to have blurted out "Make Money Fast".  Egad!

 

Think of the ASC pens as the MMF Bologna, Pavarotti and so forth.  Nothing wrong with the desire to MMF, but fairy dust is fragile.


Edited by cunim, 27 March 2019 - 16:22.


#17 Storch

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Posted 27 March 2019 - 22:21

I wonder how many pens the company has produced, and how many are happy or unhappy with their purchase. I ask as every pen show seems awash with ASC (and affiliated) pens. Either theyre making truck-loads, or nobodys holding on to them...

 

Granted I've only been to a couple shows but it seemed like there were a couple of the Bologna Extra for sale and usually one of the Three Kings set somewhere.  Given the price and how those models are more for looking at arco material and less for writing with (unless you have giant hands) then seeing a few around isn't that surprising.  Also, don't forget that a lot of the ones for sale are probably being flipped by people who managed to pick them up at MSRP and are now reaping the windfall of the inflated prices.



#18 MalcLee

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Posted 28 March 2019 - 04:07

Just a quick update on the dispute resolution via my credit card issuer - a reversal of the charge (for an online purchase of a Visconti Arco pen on the ASC e-shop) was successful today - but no reasons were given as to why the chargeback was successful from the vendor's end. In short - I got my money back. I suspect that product was oversold, but it would be nice if ASC had actually bothered to write to their customers to explain why their purchase(s) were unfulfilled. They're not getting a cent from me ever again.



#19 raging.dragon

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Posted 28 March 2019 - 04:19

Just a quick update on the dispute resolution via my credit card issuer - a reversal of the charge (for an online purchase of a Visconti Arco pen on the ASC e-shop) was successful today - but no reasons were given as to why the chargeback was successful from the vendor's end. In short - I got my money back. I suspect that product was oversold, but it would be nice if ASC had actually bothered to write to their customers to explain why their purchase(s) were unfulfilled. They're not getting a cent from me ever again.

 

Oversold would be my guess too. Probably a bug in how their website validated stock levels with multiple people buying simultaneously.

 

The lack of communication was unimpressive.



#20 raging.dragon

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Posted 28 March 2019 - 04:25

[...] Nothing wrong with the desire to MMF, but fairy dust is fragile.

 

Hopefully arco celluloid is more durable.

Actually, of the OMAS celluloids, the only I've seen/heard/read of degrading are the Arlecchino, Royal Blue, and the Blue Lucens (I suspect the blue chunks are the same as the Royal Blue celluloid).







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