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Frustrated about bad service on my Montblanc pens



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AcLondon

I'm new to Montblanc pens.  I've found this forum to be nothing but a joy to be involved in.  I've found everyone I've dealt with in the wider fountain pen to be incredibly helpful, positive and willing.  Until now.

Imagine my delight when one of the leading Montblanc repair specialists in the world agreed to repair three celluloid 1950s pens.  It has turned out to be an unbelievably disappointing experience. 

 

- Pens arrived on a Friday, a promise of a report for the following Tuesday on work needed.  Heard nothing for ten days after that Tuesday until I chased and chased.

- E-mails about repairs not replied to at all.  Though when I e-mailed to say I had a highly desirable transiational 146 that I might be moving on, I got a response in 20 minutes.

- Pens eventually sent back after nearly eight weeks (admittedly I delayed the last two because I was away). 

- Two of my pens were returned with the nibs on the wrong pens.  When I asked about this they told me there wasn't much difference to look at (they are 'F' and 'BB' nibs!).  I'm relatively new to pens and I knew there was a problem within five seconds of looking at nibs.  Just not a plausible excuse.  They did offer to courier the pens back and fix them - I declined on the basis of the length of time they had been away.

- I paid €70 for a part for a different pen. They didn't include it when they returned my pens.

- No service documentation with the work (I paid over €300 for the work - I expect some documentation). When I asked for it, to say they were rude in their reply would be an understatement. 

- (In fairness the work on the pens was very good.)

 

It's known on here that I use Eric Wilson for repairs usually.  He's been nothing but exceptional. This was one-off use of someone else.  Was I just unlucky on this occasion?  Perhaps I got them during a difficult period?  I did not expect a 'giant' of the fountain pen repair world to be so  unprofessional and, if I'm honest, condescending toward me. 

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The work on the pens was very good according to your own description.   Two months turnaround is pretty good.  You turned down the offer to correct the nib mixup.

 

What’s to complain about?

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AcLondon

Thanks for the reply.  I'm just learning - perhaps eight weeks is fine.  It seems to me getting nibs right is a basic bit of detail.  Of course, problems and mistakes are made (I make many).  But when you make a mistake, don't make an excuse. Apologise and go out of your way to fix the situation.  Curt, rude replies to e-mails pointing out the (significant) issues are simply not appropriate.  Unless you see yourself as some untouchable to whom customers must just be grateful to you for deigning to engage with them.

 

It seems your outlook is: if the work is good then a repairer shouldn't be criticised. But the work is only a part of the business interaction, surely?  And maybe I was overly generous to call the work 'very good' given the nibs were on the wrong pens. I meant, otherwise the work was very good:-)

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zeroduke
2 hours ago, AcLondon said:

 Curt, rude replies to e-mails pointing out the (significant) issues are simply not appropriate.  Unless you see yourself as some untouchable to whom customers must just be grateful to you for deigning to engage with them.

 

... if the work is good then a repairer shouldn't be criticised. But the work is only a part of the business interaction, surely?  And maybe I was overly generous to call the work 'very good' given the nibs were on the wrong pens. I meant, otherwise the work was very good:-)

 

 

I absolutely agree with you.

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Paul-in-SF

Keeping in mind we are only getting your side of the story, it seems you do have some legitimate complaints:

  • Communication promises not kept; apparently no apology offered.
  • Paid-for part not sent (if you haven't done so already, I hope you let them know about this). 

 

For the rest of your complaints, I'm not sure your current ire is reasonable:

  • Nibs swapped between pens -- they offered to fix it at their expense.
  • No service documentation -- did they agree to that before the work was done? I'm not aware this is standard in pen repair
  • Pen work was "very good" so no complaint there
  • "Nearly" Eight weeks turnaround -- did they promise a shorter turnaround time, or was there any timetable discussed? This does not seem unreasonable to me, depending on the work done. 

And then there is this:

  • Curt and rude replies -- this is highly subjective and really is a "they said/I said" situation for those of us who don't have access to the entire string of communications. 

Based on your account, I don't feel qualified to answer your final questions about this repair person. All I can suggest is that you follow your inclinations to not use them again in the future. 

 

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19 hours ago, AcLondon said:

perhaps eight weeks is fine.

Eight weeks isn't unreasonable but didn't you say you delayed the last two of those weeks? Therefore the total turnaround time could have been six weeks if you had not caused part of that delay yourself. Six weeks is reasonable.

 

You could have returned the pens with switched nibs at the repairer's expense and they would have been switched back for you.

 

The part you paid for should have been sent and should still be sent. You should tell them you need either the part or a refund of your money paid for it.

 

Did anyone agree that service documentation would be sent? Montblanc sends service documentation but that doesn't mean other repairers do. Did you specifically request it when you originally sent the pens for the work?

 

There is no excuse for delayed, curt or rude replies to emails. That should give you pause whether or not to use them again even though you said the work was very good.

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AcLondon

Thanks for these great replies. Honestly, in the end, I think I would have been happy if the person had communicated more promptly and if they had been less dismissive in their tone and content (especially when I pointed out the missing part and the wrongly reattached nibs). Maybe to get this good at repairing pens, this person sacrificed some of the other elements of human interaction. 

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AcLondon

A whimsical update... the cap that wasn't originally sent with the package arrived.  Now, I paid €70 for this 'cap' for a Montblanc 142.  You can buy full nice condition 142s for about €200-225. Did I expect to get a full cap for my €70?  Yes.  What did I get?  A cap barrel.  No clip. No threads to the barrel (no idea how to get these in). No snowcap.  Now, you might say a cap means a 'cap barrel' in fountain pen land. But the courteous thing to do might be to explain that to someone you know isn't an insider in this world before they pay you.  Sure, the sun is shining:-)

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