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CLOSDED - Asa Nauka Flora - Group Buy - Limited Run


mehandiratta

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I appreciate the frustration expressed by the more recent posts. I have been awaiting the delivery of two ASA Mist pens ordered from a group buy in October of 2018. Assurances were made early on, but in the last year, the silence has been deafening.

PenBuzz

An order from 2018 that hasn't been delivered yet? This is far from acceptable isn't it? Is it normal for the lead time of a pen be an entire year, yet expects full payment amount up front?

 

I am not one to advocate hounding down the seller for a mere pen during times of crisis, but man I think it is unfair to expect the customer to pay and wait indefinitely, especially before the pandemic came into the picture. Can you dispute the payment through PayPal?

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The lack of replies (to my direct inquiry by email) and updates from Mr Subramaniam for the past six weeks is a worry. At what point do we conclude whether ASA Pens is no longer operational or trading, if nobody here has heard from him, and approach PayPal to help claw back payments already made for outstanding orders that won't be delivered if ASA Pens has quietly gone out of business? Obviously nobody here wants to do so prematurely, but Mr Subramaniam really ought to keep us updated. I can't even see when he has last signed in to FPN, since that piece of information is kept private on his member profile.

I do agree with your sentiment. If it wasn't for the update with the pictures of the completed pens earlier, there is a good chance that I would have disputed the payment, especially with the irresponsiveness.

 

This is only my second Indian handmade pen. My previous experience was with another Indian pen maker with an equally if not larger presence on FPN, and their speedy responses have perhaps set my expectations too high.

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It's really unclear what the situation is in India. The pdf file Hari posted shows 'bookings' can be made for deliveries to the UK but my order from June (with a different Indian company) hasn't been dispatched yet. Meanwhile Ranga's just posted a new group buy and I can't find any information on India Post's website about international deliveries.

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I do agree with your sentiment. If it wasn't for the update with the pictures of the completed pens earlier, there is a good chance that I would have disputed the payment, especially with the irresponsiveness.

 

This is only my second Indian handmade pen. My previous experience was with another Indian pen maker with an equally if not larger presence on FPN, and their speedy responses have perhaps set my expectations too high.

 

 

I have attempted to contact him now, and for my last purchase without avail through email.

 

But I am sure that we will get the our pens someday, and he does a mighty fine job making them, (which is why I am willing to buy one again.)

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I too am anxiously waiting. I received a couple of pens just prior to the lockdown and that took the typical wait time. For me it gets a bit complicated because not only do I have the group buy pen I am somewhat distressed about, but I had placed a separate order through the website for a couple of Wality acrylics and a group of three Click pens. That leaves me six pens on the other side of the planet paid for six months ago. I've purchased several pens from Mr. Subbu and I love his work and I can appreciate his problems there in India. But an email would be nice. That things are backlogged some kind of awful is beyond dispute and I am sure that thousands of family businesses have been destroyed due to these lockdowns. There, I feel a little better-sometimes a little mini rant about things you can't change can help alleviate the stress. At least I've had plenty of time to think about what ink I'll put in it when it shows up.

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I too am anxiously waiting. I received a couple of pens just prior to the lockdown and that took the typical wait time. For me it gets a bit complicated because not only do I have the group buy pen I am somewhat distressed about, but I had placed a separate order through the website for a couple of Wality acrylics and a group of three Click pens. That leaves me six pens on the other side of the planet paid for six months ago. I've purchased several pens from Mr. Subbu and I love his work and I can appreciate his problems there in India. But an email would be nice. That things are backlogged some kind of awful is beyond dispute and I am sure that thousands of family businesses have been destroyed due to these lockdowns. There, I feel a little better-sometimes a little mini rant about things you can't change can help alleviate the stress. At least I've had plenty of time to think about what ink I'll put in it when it shows up.

What is the typical wait time for Asa pens? While I understand that it is not applicable nowadays due to Covid, if I am PenBuzz with an order paid for a year before the pandemic was a thing, I will be annoyed to see the company continuing to take new orders despite not fulfilling the backlogged.

 

The lack of a clear lead time given was also concerning, but I bit the bullet because I thought a group buy would be a safe bet. However judging from PenBuzz's account I see that's not true. Not giving a concrete delivery date does make it hard to dispute and the buyer is at a disadvantage here; if that's Asa's normal way to do business I'm afraid this is the last time I'll deal with them.

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Prior to Covid, I would go through his website directly and then have access to what was available or, at least, what he was making at the time. There he would list an estimate of how long it would be before he could get the pen made, sometimes 4 weeks or longer. He would send an email when he shipped with a tracking number for India's postal system which I never got to work. After that, it could be two weeks or a bit longer. So being patient was the way to go and it worked that way for years. Then came the pandemic and all bets are off. Since I am already invested for six pens, waiting is about all I can do. I am finding it hard to keep hanging on because how can a country as big and vibrant as India cut itself off from the international community for this long without there being super severe repercussions?

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I think we all understand the current situation and obstacles. We have been very patient and understanding. I think we do deserve a formal update on our group buy orders. Just so we could be informed.

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I think we all understand the current situation and obstacles. We have been very patient and understanding. I think we do deserve a formal update on our group buy orders. Just so we could be informed.

 

With all due respect, I don't think I, we, or anyone else 'deserve' a formal update. I prefer to see it as, if ASA Pens doesn't do what it takes to placate and reassure the existing customers (who have already paid for their purchases) and prospective customers for future group buys, then it deserves whatever impact that has on its company reputation and credibility in the community by 'our' airing our concerns and grievances in a hobbyist community forum; never mind which of us are going to start taking matters into our own hand. The goodwill has evaporated, and now it's a case of securing and/or playing for our respective desired outcomes.

 

By early September, it'll have been six months since I made payment through PayPal. I'm going to ask PayPal whether there's a time limit on clawing back payments made for orders not fulfilled. I want to give ASA Pens and Mr Subramaniam as much leeway as I can, without sacrificing or closing the door on my avenues of recourse; and, in the absence of any replies and updates, I wouldn't say any party in this equation deserves more.

 

Edit:

 

While I'm waiting for a response from PayPal in chat, the information published on its website states,

 

To qualify for PayPal Buyer Protection:

  • Use PayPal to complete your payment.
  • Pay for the item with one payment. Items purchased with multiple payments aren't eligible.
  • Let the seller know there's a problem with the transaction by opening a dispute in the Resolution Centre within 180 days of making your payment. Then, escalate the dispute to a claim within 20 days of the date you opened the dispute.

 

so I can't wait for much longer before taking action independently, in the absence of any communication or "proof of life" from ASA Pens.

Edited by A Smug Dill

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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@A Smug Dill, in other words you agree with me just in a long winded way, correct? I too have thought about reaching out through Paypal to offically protect my purchase, but I know the international shipping in ASA pens territory still hasn't commenced. Let us know how your Paypal inquiry turns out. Cheers!

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@A Smug Dill, in other words you agree with me just in a long winded way, correct?

 

Sorry, but no.

 

In my personal opinion, we (customers of ASA Pens who have paid for orders not yet fulfilled) do not 'deserve' a formal update in the name of 'respect' or legal obligation, any more than the company 'deserves' our 'patient understanding' so as to stay our hand from taking action that may adversely affect the business.

 

In the absence of proactive communication, reaffirmed commitment and reassurance in writing (that we don't inherently 'deserve'), some of us may just go ahead and take action to protect ourselves and put the merchant's position and viability lower in our hierarchy of considerations. The time for carefully fostered goodwill and a willingness (of both customer and seller) to look out for each other as fellow members of the fountain pen hobbyist community has almost expired.

 

I'm not one of those community-minded hobbyists who believe it's better for me to personally risk losing $100 with no legal and procedural recourse available, than to add to the burden of a pen manufacturer whose business may be (or may not be; we don't know) already struggling under the circumstances. If I'm forced to fly blind through this episode, then protecting my already committed spend is the only bearing I have at the end of the day; and it isn't about who 'deserves' what, because the latter is just sentiment and not about enforceable rules.

 

Six months is long enough wait for a couple of pens in my book, six weeks is enough time for someone to respond to a direct query, and six days hence is when I must pull the trigger and get PayPal and/or my credit card company to intervene, if I want their support and cooperation.

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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Dear All,

 

I hope and wish all of you are safe.

 

Internatioal shipments from India, vide Regitered Airmail, is not started yet. In August, shipping within India has started, and I am hopeful it will start in Septemeber sometimes for International customers. I will update here and ship at earliest opportunity.
I request each of you to please understand the situation, I am also unable to respond to individual emails, as we have just started production of pens after 4 months of lockdown and running against time.
We are not a big organisation, with huge support but rather a small family business. I am here in FPN since 2012 and I have done many group buys here.
Any one off case, I will ensure services is delivered too.
Thanks and regards
Subramaniam
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Also, wish to add an update here about Courier service from India to rest of world.

 

I ship my pens by India Post, Regsitered Airmail services. This is an economy service and costs us around 5-6 USD max per pen. This is the reason we are able to offer you pens at a value for money price. Also, this is the reason we offer free shipping.

 

At present India Post, has not started above service.

 

However, private couriers like DHL and TNT are operating. Their charges are very high and durng these days, they have included Covid related charges and clauses. Their cost for same pkg is around 40 USD now.

 

In case some of you are keen I can send pen by DHL or TNT. You will pay the extra amount in deducting 5 USD.

 

You can write to me at asapens.in@gmail.com.

 

Request understanding from all of you.

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Sorry, but no.

 

In my personal opinion, we (customers of ASA Pens who have paid for orders not yet fulfilled) do not 'deserve' a formal update in the name of 'respect' or legal obligation, any more than the company 'deserves' our 'patient understanding' so as to stay our hand from taking action that may adversely affect the business.

 

In the absence of proactive communication, reaffirmed commitment and reassurance in writing (that we don't inherently 'deserve'), some of us may just go ahead and take action to protect ourselves and put the merchant's position and viability lower in our hierarchy of considerations. The time for carefully fostered goodwill and a willingness (of both customer and seller) to look out for each other as fellow members of the fountain pen hobbyist community has almost expired.

 

I'm not one of those community-minded hobbyists who believe it's better for me to personally risk losing $100 with no legal and procedural recourse available, than to add to the burden of a pen manufacturer whose business may be (or may not be; we don't know) already struggling under the circumstances. If I'm forced to fly blind through this episode, then protecting my already committed spend is the only bearing I have at the end of the day; and it isn't about who 'deserves' what, because the latter is just sentiment and not about enforceable rules.

 

Six months is long enough wait for a couple of pens in my book, six weeks is enough time for someone to respond to a direct query, and six days hence is when I must pull the trigger and get PayPal and/or my credit card company to intervene, if I want their support and cooperation.

 

Hi Smug Dill,

 

Its becoming very tough for me to reply individual emails, on above subject. As we are a small team, and we are under pressure because, we have just started production after 4 months of lockdow.

 

I am giving standard updates here. Thats what I will do, in future.

 

as far as my update to you goes, I have made the special request pen for you and also showed you a picture of same.

 

I can ship it immediately if you are okay to accept DHL courier charges.

 

I will ship your pen within 24 Hrs. Otherwise, request time till our Govt opens up International Shipments.

 

Let me know.

 

Best regards

Subramaniam

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Noting that Mr Subramaniam has already chosen to attend to this in here personally above, while I was out...

Let us know how your Paypal inquiry turns out. Cheers!


PayPal put me on hold waiting for an agent, but didn't respond before the session timed out (with no record I could see of the question pending an answer). Next thing I know, while I was out, I received automatic notification from PayPal that I have raised a dispute. Mr Subramaniam responded to that in under 15 minutes. Thus, I must conclude:

  • Mr Subramaniam is still alive and well.
  • ASA Pens is still operating.
  • He could have replied to my email inquiry, or simply updated everyone on here in this thread by 'broadcast', but has chosen not to until PayPal prompted him officially.

He has graciously offered to refund my order in full, in spite of the two pens being customised in shape. Given that my PayPal Purchase Protection will lapse early in September, and the suspension of international postal services from India has been extended time and again with no end in sight, I think I'll accept the offer, knowing full well that will most likely mean we will never deal with each other commercially again. I don't buy from CONID because it has a reputation for not communicating with customers who have paid for their orders, and there hasn't been any opportunity in the past for a CONID product to wow me into making concessions for whatever may be in the way of it delivering. I guess this is just another one of those other things that "didn't work out" because of a communication breakdown, more so than a product quality issue.

Edited by A Smug Dill

I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present, when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable; and link to third-party content where I can, when I make a claim or refute a statement of fact in a thread. If there is something you can verify for yourself, I entreat you to do so, and judge for yourself what is right, correct for valid. I may be wrong, and my position or say-so is no more authoritative and carries no more weight than anyone else's here.

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Noting that Mr Subramaniam has already chosen to attend to this in here personally above, while I was out...

 

 

PayPal put me on hold waiting for an agent, but didn't respond before the session timed out (with no record I could see of the question pending an answer). Next thing I know, while I was out, I received automatic notification from PayPal that I have raised a dispute. Mr Subramaniam responded to that in under 15 minutes. Thus, I must conclude:

  • Mr Subramaniam is still alive and well.
  • ASA Pens is still operating.
  • He could have replied to my email inquiry, or simply updated everyone on here in this thread by 'broadcast', but has chosen not to until PayPal prompted him officially.

He can graciously offered to refund my order in full, in spite of the two pens being customised in shape. Given that my PayPal Purchase Protection will lapse early in September, and the suspension of international postal services from India has been extended time and again with no end in sight, I think I'll accept the offer, knowing full well that will most likely mean we will never deal with each other commercially again.

 

Dear Smug Dill,

 

I will refund the amount sir.

 

I will keep the beautiful pens i made for you aside till a month, after shipping begins.

 

If you may wish, it can be yours. You are always welcome to transact always. I see every order individually.

 

I have nothing personal against you nor against anyone. Only that Covid has incraesed our worksloads and we are unable to communicate efficiently.

 

You can take a call, when I start shipping again. For now I will process refund for you.

 

Regards

Subramaniam

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Dear All,

 

I hope and wish all of you are safe.

 

Internatioal shipments from India, vide Regitered Airmail, is not started yet. In August, shipping within India has started, and I am hopeful it will start in Septemeber sometimes for International customers. I will update here and ship at earliest opportunity.
I request each of you to please understand the situation, I am also unable to respond to individual emails, as we have just started production of pens after 4 months of lockdown and running against time.
We are not a big organisation, with huge support but rather a small family business. I am here in FPN since 2012 and I have done many group buys here.
Any one off case, I will ensure services is delivered too.
Thanks and regards
Subramaniam

 

 

It is good to here from you Sir.

 

I hope everything for you and the family goes as smoothly as possible.

 

Take Care and Stay Safe!

 

- AL01.

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I was unaware of the latest development of this issue since I was last on the forum, and realized that PayPal's protection only lasts for 180 days. Tried to file a dispute anyway, and as expected the case was judged against me due to the protection period having expired. Really should have just filed for a refund regardless of the pandemic; the current state of affairs leaves me completely vulnerable as a consumer.

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It is good to here from you Sir.

 

I hope everything for you and the family goes as smoothly as possible.

 

Take Care and Stay Safe!

 

- AL01.

 

Thank you sir.

 

Yes, we are all safe .

 

Wish you and family best of health and safety.

 

Regards

Subramaniam

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Hi all...

 

In India shipping has resumed but it's only to few selected shipping destinations...

Also kindly note that... The shipping method that he generally is used by the seller which is registered post is not available anymore during covid period...

 

also the only shipping available method is EMS which is ten times more costlier than the registered post shipping method..

vaibhav mehandiratta

architect & fountain pen connoisseur

 

blog | instagram | twitter

 

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