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| Warning on 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.
Original post follows:
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!