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Archive 2012 · F-stop Gear customer service - EDITED: Happy ending!
  
 
malaholic
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · F-stop Gear customer service - EDITED: Happy ending!


I am editing this thread to give an update based on new developments:

After several iterations on this I was finally contacted by a different customer service representative - Emily - who I found to be much more professional and helpful. With her help we were able to come to a satisfactory resolution and complete my order; and therefore I have given her additional business in the form of ordering an extra ICU and some accessories. It made a *world* of difference to me that she actually treated me like a person and a customer, rather than as a thief.

I have received the Loka bags and they are, as others have stated, of high quality and I'm looking forward to trying them out during a trip that we're taking next month.

In the meantime I had also checked out the Clik Elite Contrejour bags, and I can say they are also a nice option - they actually have more capacity than I thought they did. Their harnesses are too big for me - especially the Contrejour 40 - it's *huge*. The F-stop seems to fit me better (still too large, but better than most other one-size unisex bags).

I did like Clik Elite's side-access panel for a body/lens. I wasn't crazy about the flap that sticks out in the back to cover the water-bladder pouch - seems like it could become a pressure point and get uncomfortable after a while. Or maybe it just doesn't sit in the right spot on my back given that the pack is a bit too large for me. And I prefer the swappable ICU gear space solution of the F-Stop bags (of course with multiple ICU's it's also a more costly solution). Bottom line is both seem like good packs.

Anyway to sum up my update, I will modify my F-stop warning. I will no longer recommend that people *not* order from them, as the product is quality and I finally got resolution on my issues. I will just recommend based on my experience and the others I've seen listed below that that if you *do* order from them, you'll want to carefully track your order for mistaken or unauthorized modifications, and you'll need to be prepared for a bunch of followup emails to get those fixed, and if you get a bad customer service rep, try to get in contact with someone else instead.

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Original post follows:
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For anyone doing a search on F-Stop bags, I feel compelled to post a customer warning here. Their bags may in fact be great, but I wouldn't know because their customer service is so awful that I had to cancel my order.

I had somehow gotten onto an f-stop mailing list...probably from earlier emails I sent them with questions on inventory. I was emailed an ad/coupon code which I honestly didn't look at too closely other than to note down the coupon code, which I used to order a pair of Loka bags for myself and my husband. The coupon code was accepted, I provided my credit card information, completed the order, and received an order confirmation including the discount from the coupon code.

8 days later after my order was already confirmed, I was re-invoiced - this time without the discount from my original confirmation - along with an email stating that the discount was only to apply to the Ando bag, not the Loka. (Yet, the discount was applied by their billing systems, and the discount was confirmed in my order confirmation email!)

I expected that they would honor the discount price as the mistake, if any, was on their end. Not only do they refuse to honor the pricing documented in my confirmation email, but their responses have been somewhat rude in tone, implying that I was trying to cheat by using this discount code (which they emailed me and which their website accepted - had the discount been rejected with explanation PRIOR to completing the order instead of 8 days afterward I'd have been OK with paying full price). Instead, I feel like I've been baited, switched, and then insulted to top it all off. My only recourse is to let others know and hopefully save them the hassle that I've been through.

Needless to say I have requested to cancel my order but I wanted to post about my experience in case anyone else is searching for information on F-Stop Gear. I would advise customers to be extremely wary of doing business with this company. Based on the experience I've had with them so far (at least with Dave...Emily has seemed to be much better) I can't say that I'd trust them to honor warranty claims either so on the whole I am glad that I will not be getting one of their bags and won't have to worry about that.

Since I won't be purchasing a Loka now, if any of you have read this far, I'd love to hear suggestions for alternative outdoorsy photo backpacks that also have room for a water bladder, jacket, and other essentials. For capacity reference, my husband was looking to carry the equivalent of a medium ICU's worth of camera gear, and I would have been looking to carry a large ICU's worth of gear. Your suggestions are welcome and appreciated, and thanks for letting me rant a little bit!

Edited on Jan 19, 2013 at 01:46 AM · View previous versions



Dec 30, 2012 at 11:46 PM
PeaktoPeek
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · F-stop Gear customer service - EDITED: Happy ending!


I really like my Clik Elite bag and their customer service was great when I called them at "the shop". I had a question about the fit of their harnesses (I'm 6'6") and they promptly grabbed a bag and measured it for me. I did the same with F-stop and got a very vague answer that was probably off their product description. YMMV, of course.
Paul



Dec 31, 2012 at 12:28 AM
pacman642
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · F-stop Gear customer service - EDITED: Happy ending!


Malaholic,

I can sympathize with you about the CS at F-stop. I place an order for a loka in April only to find out it wasn't available until November. I called to cancel my order and they tried to up-sell to the next bigger bag(can't remember name) it was far to big for my needs at the time. It actually got a bit irritating. Anyways, I've owned and still own some Clik Elite bags and have been happy with the quality and comfort.



Dec 31, 2012 at 01:23 AM
killersnowman
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · F-stop Gear customer service - EDITED: Happy ending!


what was the code?



Dec 31, 2012 at 01:36 AM
Todd Warnke
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · F-stop Gear customer service - EDITED: Happy ending!


My experience with the CS at F-Stop has been nothing but wonderful. I have two bags and four ICUs. I've ordered from them three times and while their stock has not always been what I wanted, their service has been polite, fast and pro-active.

Sorry to hear your experience was not the same.

Peace,

Todd



Dec 31, 2012 at 02:14 AM
3iron
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · F-stop Gear customer service - EDITED: Happy ending!


Sorry to hear about you experience and appreciate you sharing. I am also looking ofr a backpack and that will certainly make a difference in here I look. I have read a few other "not so good" things aobut fstops customor support and if they want to be successful in this environment they need to step up.
Their product really looks good and I have read much good with almost no bad reports on the priduct itself.
Lets hope they read you report and get back to you.



Dec 31, 2012 at 03:45 PM
neilvan
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · F-stop Gear customer service - EDITED: Happy ending!


I received the same email and it clearly stated that it was for their Ando series only. I tried the code the for 'shits and giggles' to see if it would work with Loka/Medium shallow ICU I was looking at ordering. I noticed it worked and considered trying it but figured that wasn't the right thing to do... I don't know why you think its bad customer service on their part because you also made a mistake. In this case, the customer isn't always right. ;-)

I have only had one experience with their customer support in the past, they were prompt,courteous and professional. I had a bag on order (that was in stock) for a little over a week and it hadn't shipped. I ended up cancelling the order as I needed something promptly.

All that said, I ended up buying a really nice Arc'teryx backpack (a Quintic 28) instead and it has fit my needs perfectly (small system for hiking and my tripod straps to it perfectly) and it fits like a charm. I am lucky to have the Arc'teryx head office factory store local to me...



Dec 31, 2012 at 10:42 PM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



sjms
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · F-stop Gear customer service - EDITED: Happy ending!


Oh well.


Dec 31, 2012 at 11:39 PM
Doug C
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · F-stop Gear customer service - EDITED: Happy ending!


I've had a bad experience with F Stop CS in a totally different manner. I ordered a backpack from FStop in January of 2011. I'm a bigger guy, with a 44" waist, and the straps were too short to fit me properly. I emailed and got a RMA and shipped the bag back. Now, I had read on here that refunds from F Stop sometimes were slow in coming (see link below), so I wasn't surprised when several weeks went by with no refund. Well, life happened, and I forgot about the refund. My fault on that, however, I have a bad taste in my mouth from doing business with a company that takes advantage of its customers, and puts the burden on the customer to keep the company honest.

I have the dates from my saved emails, which I'll give shortly. I have forgotten which credit card I purchased the bag with, and I don't want to go back into my email to find out. But, long story short, I purchased the bag via PayPal that had a credit card linked to my account. I was paying off that card, and while going thru several months bills it dawned on me that I had a $306 purchase which I could attribute to the bag, but the refund had never been posted. I went into my PayPal to transfer the refund back to my card, but there was no money there either; there never had been. So, I fire off an email, asking just what the heck happened to my $. Weeks pass, no $, so I fire off another email. Finally, my refund comes in the form of a check, not a post to my PayPal. So, in summary...

Bag ordered (1/10/11)...requested RMA (1/13/11)...email seeking resolution of refund (8/10/11).....another, much more forcefull email (9/12/11).

So, it took me 8 months to get my frigging refund, which I'm convinced never would have happened if I hadn't forced them to fork over the money. As it was, they darn near got to keep my money. I wonder how much interest I paid on that purchase?? Oh, and here's the link to a 2010 FM thread about another long awaited refund I spoke of earlier:
http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/921995/1?keyword=F,stop,refund#8710442

Another thing that pissed me off about this is that they have a warehouse in St Louis. I live an hour east of there, and am in StL once or twice a month. Yet, they would not work with me so that I could try on a bag to see if it would fit me properly. It's not like I wanted to work out something with a company 1000 miles away, I may very well have driven right by their place before. Heck, if nothing else, is it too much to ask that local shops have a small inventory available to look at?

Just so I don't look like a total hater, I do own two F Stop ICUs. The company makes good stuff, that's why I was interested in their backpacks to begin with.



Jan 01, 2013 at 06:38 AM
Bifurcator
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · F-stop Gear customer service - EDITED: Happy ending!


Everyone has a shit-list and there are many philosophies for recognizing and dealing with it:
http://bytebrothers.org/shitlist.htm



Jan 01, 2013 at 04:45 PM
malaholic
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · F-stop Gear customer service - EDITED: Happy ending!


neilvan wrote:
I received the same email and it clearly stated that it was for their Ando series only. I tried the code the for 'shits and giggles' to see if it would work with Loka/Medium shallow ICU I was looking at ordering. I noticed it worked and considered trying it but figured that wasn't the right thing to do... I don't know why you think its bad customer service on their part because you also made a mistake. In this case, the customer isn't always right. ;-)


I hadn't noticed it was only for the Ando and I would fully expect their website to reject it were that the case, just as I would expect their website to reject it if I were to mistype the characters in the code. In a recent similar purchase, I was ordering an item from campsaver.com where their homepage listed a code for 20% off a single item. I input the code and was then given a "sorry" message with a popup where I was able to see that the code excluded certain brands including Montbell (the brand I was purchasing). So I happily paid full price. The difference is that in the campsaver.com case, I was told this BEFORE I completed the order, gave my credit card, and got a confirmation of the order and pricing.

Additionally even were they not going to honor the price, I'd expect polite notification and a choice of what to do... something along the lines of "we're very sorry but there was an error in our systems...X would be the new order total...would you prefer to keep the order at the new price or cancel?" Instead, what I got was essentially "you cheated. Here's what you owe us now". They increased the price, after acceptance of my offer, without my assent. Not cool at all.

neilvan wrote:
All that said, I ended up buying a really nice Arc'teryx backpack (a Quintic 28) instead and it has fit my needs perfectly (small system for hiking and my tripod straps to it perfectly) and it fits like a charm. I am lucky to have the Arc'teryx head office factory store local to me...


Thanks for the suggestion, I will look into the Arcteryx packs. I have several Arcteryx clothing articles and am happy with their quality but I have not yet tried their packs. Do they have easy access for your photo gear? What do you use for internal padding/containment?



Jan 02, 2013 at 05:01 AM
malaholic
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · F-stop Gear customer service - EDITED: Happy ending!


Bifurcator wrote:
Everyone has a shit-list and there are many philosophies for recognizing and dealing with it:
http://bytebrothers.org/shitlist.htm


Love this! Thanks for the laugh.



Jan 02, 2013 at 05:02 AM
malaholic
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · F-stop Gear customer service - EDITED: Happy ending!


PeakToPeek and Pacman - thanks for the suggestion on Clik Elite - looks like those may be a good alternative also. Looks like they may be carried locally to me at Kenmore Camera so I will go see if they have any stock I can check out.


Jan 02, 2013 at 05:07 AM
neilvan
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · F-stop Gear customer service - EDITED: Happy ending!


malaholic wrote:
I hadn't noticed it was only for the Ando and I would fully expect their website to reject it were that the case, just as I would expect their website to reject it if I were to mistype the characters in the code. In a recent similar purchase, I was ordering an item from campsaver.com where their homepage listed a code for 20% off a single item. I input the code and was then given a "sorry" message with a popup where I was able to see that the code excluded certain brands including Montbell (the brand I was purchasing).
...Show more

I agree, their customer service/sales policies are strange to say the least. Hopefully they can improve on this, they seem to make a good product.

The Arcteryx Quintic packs to have a side access pocket on the right side and two good size pockets up top and well as the main compartment, there are other pockets as well. I use the neoprene LensCoat body bags, lens pouches, filter wallets etc to protect everything in the bag while hiking. I normally just have my body/lens mounted on my tripod and over my shoulder while hiking. I also have a Pelican 1150 that fits nicely in the bottom when I know I will be going into more 'sketchy' areas, it will at least protect a couple of lenses or my Sigma DP2M in these situations...

Their backpacks are just like their clothing, extremely well made with a lot of attention to detail. It literally fits like a glove, I rarely need to use the hip belt and sternum strap. The straps on the back of the Quintic series are meant for carrying ski/boards/poles etc so they are highly configurable and make carrying my tripod (Gitzo GT3532LS) a breeze. The carrying handle up top is also well suited to hang from a tripod. I bought the Quintic 28L in the 'Blue Ray' colour. It's bright but it stands out much better than black/kahki when I am hiking where people are hunting...

I will continue to use these style of packs in the future, I have always found camera-specific backpacks to bulky and cumbersome but that's just my opinion.

Lots of info and a video here: http://www.arcteryx.com/Product.aspx?EN/Mens/Packs/Quintic-28#



Jan 02, 2013 at 05:32 AM





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