Customer service hell. My Glowforge Story

#1

I bought my Glowforge in January of 2016 as part of their pre-order campaign. I waited literal years to get my laser cutter. For those not in the know, Glowforge began shipping to the US first, followed by other countries. My country, Canada, had the Basic and Plus models approved for shipping late in 2018. The Pro model that I had paid for was not in the list. They did not explain to the customers why this was the case but we were all left waiting. After having my ‘estimated shipping date’ change from December 2018 to May 31st, 2019 I decided I had enough and contacted the Glowforge customer support to downgrade to a model that would ship ‘now’. This is where the absolute most frustrating customer service experience started.
-January 18th, 2019: I send my first email to the Glowforge support team (they do not have a phone number to call so you are at the mercy of email support for any issues). I tell them I have ordered a Pro and would like information on what my options are for downgrading my laser.
-January 23rd, 2019: I get an email back from their support team with my options for downgrading. That same day, a few hours later, I inform them I would like to downgrade to the basic.
This is where frustration really starts.
-January 28th 2019, I email again, asking for an update. No response.
-January 31st 2019, I email again, 13 days (6 business days) and still no response.
-February 6th, 2019, I email again, begging for help. It has been 19 days since my first email. At this time I also send messages on twitter, their official facebook page, their forums. I FINALLY get a response after that, I assume because I sent them messages using several different platforms and eventually got the ear of their CEO, Dan.

From there I go through the downgrade process (their accounting department was a delight to work with and was quick to respond at all times) and then provide my address for shipping the laser itself.

From there I went and ordered some proofgrade materials from their store. They do not ship outside the US so I had them shipped to a friend who lives in Connecticut. The store was pretty painless. The one issue I had there is that out of my order, one of the items was not in stock. I did not find out on the website while ordering but actually found out via email when they removed it from my order and refunded me the amount. No stock info gets displayed on their site so you just need to hope that the product is in when you order. I believe they just completely remove the listing when they sell out of something. Ordering using my friend’s shipping address I noticed my entire glowforge.com account was changed to his info. I had to change that back. I emailed support on the off chance that my glowforge would accidentally be shipped to him as well on February 11th, 2019. I got a positive response on February 13th, 2019 saying that the materials and the glowforge itself will still be going to the right place.

Until this point I have not had any info on WHEN my Glowforge would actually ship. On February 22nd, 2019, I get a call from Fedex at the border to clear a large package. I do some paperwork and FINALLY get a tracking number when I ask the Fedex employee for one. My Glowforge will be delivered on February 28th, 2019. And it was.

Most folks would think this would be where my journey would end. I’d get to play with a laser that got great reviews and add that extra bit of production power to my small business… that would be where kick in the stomach number two (three? four?) comes in. Glowforge ships two or three packages depending on where you are and what you ordered. The laser itself, A pack of proofgrade materials, the crumb tray and accessories like the power cable and vent hose. I did not receive my crumb tray or vent hose. I got the Glowforge, a power cable and some materials. There were no signs of the rest of the stuff I needed to get started and fedex did not have a record of them. I email support mid day on February 28th, 2019.
Surprisingly enough, I get an email back 5 hours later. That was way better than the multi day waiting game I had to play before. They say they would be in touch with a tracking number for the replacement soon.
-March 4th 2019, I email asking if there is a tracking number.
-March 6th 2019, I get an email back with a tracking number. It had shipped on Monday the 4th but I did not get a message with it until I asked for one.
-March 7th 2019, I check my fedex tracking to find an exception ‘Improper or missing paperwork - Inadequate descriptions - Contact customer service’. I call fedex to see if there is something I need to provide. They say no, that I need to contact the customer support of the seller because they did not provide any documentation at all with the package and it was unable to clear customs as is. That same day I email support and tell them what is up. I email support using the same ticket I had opened previously and let them know. I get a response back same day.
-March 11th 2019, I email asking if there is any update. No response
-March 12th 2019, I email again, saying I am extremely upset and would like the issue escalated. I had just got another delivery exception with the same descriptor as the one on March 7th. I CC CEO Dan on the message and basically begged for someone to help. That same day I get a response back from Dan saying that the team has updated them and that they are doing all they can.
-March 13th 2019, I get a message from fedex saying they are returning the package to sender because they has still not provided information. I email the team back and inform them that has happened.
-March 14th, I get a response back from a new customer service rep. They have relayed the info to their logistics team and will reach out with updates.
-March 15th, I get an email update saying they will be sending out a new package before the ‘return to sender’ one gets back to them. They will reach out with a tracking number when they have one. They ask for my shipping address (which is odd, where that information is on my account). I reply with my address and I get a response thanking me and they will reach out with the tracking info when they have it.
-March 18th 2019, I reach out looking for info on the tracking number
-March 20th 2019, I reach out again, this time begging for any kind of response.

-March 22nd 2019, Today. still no response

I am a fairly easy going guy but this experience has been absolute garbage. I would hate to see what the process is if something actually broke on my laser instead of just a shipping error. I’d probably be continuing this saga on until the eventual heat death of the universe.

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Discussion of March 2019 Update
#2

That sounds like a terribly frustrating experience, and the timing of when all of this happened was just awful.

I don’t know if it had anything to do with your situation, but Dan did mention that they are in the process of switching out providers in the March update…that would make the situation ripe for misplaced orders and difficulty tracking things down. :frowning:

Shipping Improvements

Some of you let us know a Proofgrade order didn’t arrive on time, or that your email with tracking information didn’t on time. Some of you had the same experience with your Glowforge. Some of you received Proofgrade that wasn’t properly packaged and arrived damaged.

We’re sorry for the trouble. We heard about these challenges, and we have been switching over all of our logistics and fulfillment to a new provider.

You have been extremely patient all along, and I hope they get things sorted out quickly, and that this aggravation soon becomes a very distant memory. :neutral_face:

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#3

I saw the update. I’m not sure if it helps or not, but the root of the issue is how infrequent updates are from support. This whole journey could have been compacted into less than a month if support was quicker to respond. As it is I’m 63 days from first email until now and I am still no closer to having the full Glowforge package. I’d hate to see what happens if I need to do any kind of warranty replacement.

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#4

Their policy has been to not respond until they have something definitive to report. (And they do that with everyone, not just International customers). I think they just don’t have the manpower to keep notifying folks while things are being worked out.

The problem in your situation, and the reason it’s probably taking so long, is that they most likely didn’t have a policy in place for anyone deciding to downgrade their order. You might have been the first. So that takes input from a bunch of different departments, accounting and ordering and switching the manufacturing…lots of delays there.

Anyway, things are going to get sorted out over time. I really am sorry that you had such a rough go of it. :neutral_face:

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#5

I assure you, there are many people that have downgraded and I am not the first. We both read these forums quite a bit and I’ve seen at least a few instances of it just posted here.

Weeks of non-responses are not okay. I know how much information they need to have a crumb tray clear customs because I’ve done a ton of shipping across borders. Waiting on it so long that the mail carrier decides to return it to sender is also not okay, especially when the correct paperwork is just a fax away. All of these issues could have been solved within a week of being reported but they haven’t been. I understand a few day wait for a support rep to pick up a ticket but an extra few days to weeks without info is NOT okay.

I am really trying to remain as civil as possible. I worked support for a major tech company before so I know quite a bit about the process of handling tickets, what crunch time works like and how tickets CAN span into multiple days when information is not available but I have never left a customer begging for updates on something as simple as a tracking number. The process here is broken.

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#6

Really? I thought yours was one of the first that I’d seen about switching over…my bad. :neutral_face:

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#7

Sorry to hear about all of this, I can totally see where you’re coming from. I’ve had a couple of issues where it took far too long for a response, in one case, like yours, took weeks of patience. The “wait until there’s more information to respond” tactic is incredibly frustrating. I’ve seen other posts here on the forum be resolved quickly while mine have had no response from staff, and practically overlooked, but I’m to assume it’s because they are
A) Understaffed, which can’t be the excuse used when other posts are being answered.
B) Working on it behind the scenes, and so will wait until there is more information.

In either case, it’s a disaster. Recently I had ordered a product from a company, that upon arrival, had issues. I tried everything I could think of to get it to work properly, but in the end it wasn’t working out. I emailed the company starting I would like a replacement, and asked what I needed to do to get it taken care of. I got a response that my order was cancelled. I had cancelled my original order, so I wasn’t upset by the response, though, it shouldn’t have been hard to see the second order I placed shortly after that. So I attach the proper order number to the response. They then ask for the serial number, which I give them. Then another rep responds and asks what I would like to do. Again, I give them the benefit of the doubt, and assumed this new person didn’t have records of the original emails. So I state I would like a replacement. Days go by, and so I email again asking for an update. They then tell me that I am emailing the wrong company, and that my order wasn’t through them, and to contact the overall site’s customer service to help.

This is a website similar to Amazon where companies can sell through the platform. I was enraged. They mean to tell me, that a serialized item, with an order number cannot be tracked through their own system? I took screenshots and shared it to the overall site’s CS and was taken care of within a couple of days.

I mention this story because it happened this month, but also to relate. Like I said, I’ve had some bad CS from the GF team, but I’ve also had good, so when they miss, I try to give them some slack, but at the same time, it’s also frustrating to see your problem not being acknowledged, right? This company tends to do right in the end, so I hope you have some resolution that fits you. Also, I get you need to vent, totally get it, so vent away. There are plenty of people who have been burned here, but stick around because it’s been worth it, me included.

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#8

After using every contact method I could think of, including leaving a 1 star review on the Amazon page for the glowforge (still not available to view yet) I finally got a response from Glowforge. I got no actual information out of their email. No status on my order. No tracking number. The Saga continues. I’ll see you guys next week when I revert back to begging for information.

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#9

Well I think if you did not get “more in your email in just a few minutes” you’re right that you got no new information. If they did send you something then you’re somewhat further ahead.

Unfortunately it looks like you’re caught in some kind of Kafkaesque apology loop.

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#10

The only other information is pushing the issue off on their logistics team and the fulfillment switch in the monthly update. No tracking number, nothing but another hollow apology with no forward progress.

Very much an apology loop. I count 10 in the last 64 days and I’m sure I missed an email thread, forum reply and Facebook reply. I have been plagued with issue upon issue and I haven’t even turned the laser on yet.

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#11

For a lot of companies it’s hard to get an apology. Here it seems like that’s all they do (I know it’s not, but the frequency sure makes it seem that way). Maybe their new fulfillment initiative is a result of root cause analysis of problems and it will get better. But it does seem old after 5 years of constant apologies. When they’re on things though they do wonderfully well - doesn’t help you or others right now, but there is some light and reason to hope for better days.

I’d at least do that. Add some kind of spacer (a stack of 1/4" sheets you were waiting to use or a couple of 2-bys) so you can verify it works. Just remember to subtract 1.4" from your total height when you put stuff on to laser to account for the missing bed that you’re using the material stack to make up for.

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#12

I’ve considered doing shims or something but I feel like I shouldn’t have to. The majority of the work I’m planning on doing is with the crumb tray in and I want to at least get through my test cuts without having to rig something. It was supposed to be out of box and cutting in 10 minutes, not out of box, rig up a series of shims and cut after a month of getting no support from the team.

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#13

You shouldn’t. But you could have been cutting 2 months ago. I guess if it’s more important that you have 100% of the machine setup vs getting work done, then waiting makes sense. I’m not that patient even when I’m in the right.

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#14

I’d rather make sure the machine isn’t DOA. Would suck to find out that it doesn’t cut after you’ve received the crumbtray.

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#15

To be fair, it’s only been less than a month with the glowforge. It was delivered on February 28th. At this rate, if I’ve read their latest email right they still have not shipped my replacement crumb tray even though they promised to do so before the ‘return to sender’ package made it back to them.

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#16

That’s a month of your warranty burned up.

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#17

Not good. I am sorry that you are going through this. You have stuck with it for so long and have still contributed well to the forum. I can’t really understand how a support ticket could get neglected like this. I’m hoping you get it resolved quickly and that the setup and use of your Glowforge is flawless. You deserve it. Everyone who pays for one deserves it. When they work, they certainly seem worth it to me, but situations like this and for the returns that have been necessary, definitely have learned a lot about new technologies.

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#18

Feels like they are simply understaffed and use the wrong method for answering complicated issues. They seem to have an open queue approach where anyone can work on anything. That’s great for canned responses that are resolved with the first contact. It’s much slower for issues that require back and forth though as the new person has to catch up each time it comes back around.

They likely need a second layer of support that is dedicated to owning an issue to it’s completion.

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#19

Its really unfortunate but I think we are beyond a quick resolution here. Its super upsetting that I have to resort to a social media blitz, 1 star amazon review and forum post to get a response to a ticket that is coming up on a month old… for the second time.

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#20

Yeah it is unfortunate that you decided to blitz the forum and social media. I’m sure your issue is extraordinary (it really sounds like it sucks), what choice did you have but to try to short circuit their support process? I’m sure that whatever delays and disruption this might cause other support customers as they untangle your campaign is justified.

I hope you get your answers soon. Maybe everyone will learn a bit about the process here.

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