I was a little frustrated early on with the communication on the project. I am coming from a different place than most people, however, as I do product development for a living, and I understand what you can say, what you can’t say, and what you can and can’t do in the time. I would have handled the communication in a different manner, but I also understand why they did what they did, so it was easy to get over that frustration.
As I am not working for GF and am currently looking for work I have the time to answer, and again I hope that you can give the paid support techs the benefit of the doubt. They are currently working very hard to meet the needs of a lot of customers. Their answer was exactly what they needed from you with no additional information. At that point in the conversation, it is probably how I would have handled it also. The apology would have been early on, probably the start of one of the first responses, but that is just the way I do things. I have been yelled at a lot by customers who feel I am alternately a robot, condescending, patronizing, etc. All the while keeping one of the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the company I work with. The point is that the tone isn’t personal. They are trying to do their job for a huge variety of people and the omission of an apology is an oversight and not a slight.
Overseas shipping is really almost a racket. I know that DHL in the EU is much better than in the US. I personally prefer FedEx after five years of working with shipping companies, but even they have their problems. We just have to deal with it.
My statements about manufacturing issues are my own opinion based on having seen the reports of this problem and my own experience with manufacturing. A GF employee will not tell you there is a defect or a problem. What I am seeing may not be exactly right either, it is an educated guess.
The other thing that I like to remind people is that even if everything is inspected and made to the best abilities of the people working on it, there are always undetectable defects. You may have received a cable with an air bubble in the copper wire that lead to a failure, or you may be regularly opening the lid far more than they were anticipating, or maybe there was a kink in part of the cable your machine shipped with. There are so many variables for a failure like this one can’t really assign a root cause until a lot of work is done. That work is in progress, but we may never hear more about the details. One of the things about working with investors is they will and do limit what you can release publicly as Dan has said many times.
The email you copied is extremely polite and courteous in tone per my standards. It is exactly what I would hope to hear at that point in the process. As a customer I would like to see the shipping cost before shipment, but I don’t see any promises set, and it looks like they sent the invoice before taking payment. Most shipping companies will allow an account holder to pay for an incoming shipment, so this may have been an option for you, but it may also have caused extra delays with paperwork.
As far as meeting half-way I don’t think there is much leeway for that. Once you are out of warranty parts orders become a retail sale and unless there are extenuating circumstances most companies like GF won’t be able to afford to cover shipping for retail orders.
Yes, GF got a lot of money and they are making more, but all of that money has to be paid back. It is debt. Until that is paid, their expansion is limited. They also have money tied up in other places, which limits expansion and further investment. Five years isn’t a long time to develop two product lines and a full support infrastructure on an international scale. It will get better, but we have to be patient.
I don’t have an opinion on the credits as I don’t know the details. I hope you can end up using them eventually.
I hope that I have helped out a little. I am guessing that if Support replies they will be providing an apology based on what I have seen in the past.