We're adding a warranty


#1

One of our most common requests from customers is that they would like us to add a standard warranty. OK! We’re going to do it. While this isn’t the full legal warranty (coming soon, from our friendly neighborhood lawyer), this is the basics of what we plan to cover with it:

The short version is that there’s a 6 month warranty on basic and a 12 month warranty on Pro.

And some details:

  • If your machine is defective when you receive it, we’ll make it right immediately.
  • For US custmers, if it develops a problem later that’s our fault, we’ll either (at our option) ship you the parts that need to be replaced along with detailed instructions, or ship it back to us for repair or replacement – in either case, for free, including shipping.
  • For international customers, parts and repairs are free, but shipping is not included.
  • The warranty covers everything except the air filter cartridges.
  • Unfortunately, if you modify your firmware, we can’t cover your Glowforge under warranty (because it’s easy to break your Glowforge by modifying your firmware!)

We just got back from doing more than 100 prints on a single Glowforge at Makerfaire – by far the biggest workout we’ve given a Glowforge in a single day! It went beautifully. We really believe in these machines and are excited to be able to support them like this.


Could the GF run without the tray installed?
Could the GF run without the tray installed?
#2

Bunch of thoughts!

First, shipping is super expensive and until they’re in the field you won’t know exactly what will go wrong, so you’re facing unknown costs, but also asking users with the regular model to hope that six months is long enough to cover a break-in period of any stuff that’s going to break soon. I know y’all know the curve for most hardware, especially with moving parts, is that most of it breaks soon or much later. That’s good for both users (because problems crop up soon) and warranty costs.

I want to suggest something you can crib from Select Comfort (the Sleep Number bed people): it’s a way to keep people happy with a product, likely to upgrade over time or buy new or additional models, and for word of mouth.

Select Comfort has a 20-year warranty. After an initial unlimited manufacture defect period, they essentially amortize everything. If something breaks in year 2, you pay something like 10% of the cost (typically plus shipping). I just had the inflatable mattress go on one side of a queen after 10 years (!!), and they discounted it about 40% off list—and the part wasn’t that expensive.

So I picture myself at seven months with a busted part that has to go back to the factory for repair and facing ~$350 for shipping plus $300 to $500 for a part. It seems like if this phased in over time, so it wasn’t 100% coverage down to 0%, it would provide more confidence for new buyers without full exposure to you for stuff happening forever.


#3

Wow. I’m totally going to read up on Select Comfort now.


#4

I definitely agree with this. The idea has me sold and my gf (a designer) has so many ideas for this item, once we recieve it. The biggest concern for me would be the warranty and level of service attached as a warranty. I’m paranoid that if something breaks I will simply have to continue to pour more and more money into it to get it fixed or working again. Which is a major turn off, and I am pretty sure is one of the major concerns on many people’s minds right now.
“We created this really cool item that enables creative individuals”
“We are sure you are going to love this product make really cool things for friends, family or your business”
"But we will only put a warranty on it for 6 month"
This sends a poor customer message. That you guys are only confidant with your product for up to 6 months. Ideally the product should not break within a ‘reasonable’ time frame, but that reasonable time frame is being communicated as 6 months.

As an aside the major differences highlighted between the Pro and Basic models are in feed through capability and more powerful laser, yes it has the longer warranty. This actually confuses me as a customer as I am now thinking that more ‘effort and time’ is spent on ensuring the Pro version does not break sooner.

I hope you take this into consideration as this will help expedite the growth of the community around this device. The community in which you will find future customers for your design catalog, future software upgrades, etc…


#5

I agree with the previous post. A six month warranty tells me you don’t have a lot of confidence in the basic models durability.


#6

I have made the order and would think the general 1 year / 12 months warranty should be the minimal for any gadgets/kickstart/innovation that the entrepreneur/company sells.

To have invested in your company to experience your way of 3D Laser Printing with Innovation Ideas, we have put in the confidence that your solution works!

It would not cut it for a 6 months warranty for a basic Glowforge buy. WE are the early adopters and we would have special privileges, which some other innovation companies that kickstart their products, have even thrown in free upgrades, free gen2 products shipment.

What you need now is the reviews, the after sales services, the products improvement survey, to help you build a better newer products for your business. All these can only be achieved by us early adopters to provide.

Therefore, would you even want to scrimp on your warranty coverage?

The best that you should do is to give us a 12 months warranty (parts, shipping) + 3 months parts (shipping excluded) warranty for both the basic and pro.

If you are categorising the Basic + Pro version in such a way, it seems like the basic users are the 2nd class citizens, (which I think would actually be most of where your business revenue will generate from…)

Please take our suggestions with deeper thought…


#8

Agreed with marilyn. A 6 month warranty is insufficient for any laser cutter and it makes zero sense to penalize the Standard users when the parts most likely to fail or need replacement before 1 year of significant use (laser PSU, mirrors, focus lens, belts, etc…) are shared between the Standard and Pro. The 40W / 45W tube difference shouldn’t matter in terms of tube life, unless there is something you aren’t telling us, or if you expect the cooling in the Standard to be insufficient for heavy use. Tube life decreases rapidly at higher use temperatures and it will be difficult to stay in the sub 25°C range without active water cooling using 3+ gallons of water and it doesn’t look like there is much room for coolant inside the case.


#9

Here are my 10cents:

First off I am from the UK so ofcourse shipping is expensive. I was one of the first to place an order so I can see the potential of your current and future products. But I do feel some/most users are being penalize in a few ways. I understand Warranty is a hard thing for you to cover yourself as you are a start up. In the EU atleast you have to offer a 2 year warranty and even apple offers it(and you know how they are with fixing things! or charging you for applecare). I think in 1-years time you will have to change you policy for new purchases and offer a limited warranty for 2+years and thus us early adopters will be penalized for buying it early. The standard and pro warranty length differences is ridiculous, see other peoples comments above. If cost is not the main or only reason for not offering a longer warranty one of 2 things have to happen, if it is due to your laser being the likely culprit you need to be open with the price for replacing it and or give us the option of ordering a spare when it ships! If not a paid extension to warranty would be nice but how much would it be for and for how long?

On another note, I was originally going to order the air filter aswell but the price of postage doubled(I know it needs to be packaged but it is 7inches higher so shouldn’t sky rocket). I would be interested in knowing if the glowforge can be safely used on standard materials inside a gazebo(or similar, I expect you were in one at maker faire) without the air filter.

Final note I personally would like to know what your laser’s life is rated to(laser+optics) and ideally the moving parts. If I am going to have to order the parts remotely after 6months I am not going to be happy if it is 7months and paying expensive postage.

And finally, an international question. In the UK we have VAT(20% tax) and things shipped from abroad usually have import tax. Is this included in the delivery charge or will this have to be arrange/paid afterwards. A word of warning if it has been overlooked, I have seen many kickstarters etc. have issues with not paying the VAT in advance and the customer being charged a varying but often large charge(both the original tax and a handelling fee due to not declaring and paying in advance).

I look forward to using it at home and in a school.


#10

@jacktaylor_co_uk: Unfortunately all taxes, fees, and tarrifs - except Washington state sales tax - are the responsibility of the buyer.

The tube is rated by the manufacturer for 2 years lifespan; we’re testing to see how this holds up in practice.

Using it without filtration depends entirely on the materials and your tolerance for the smell. : ) Lasering hardwoods is quite pleasant; leather is… not!


#12

With respect, Dan, a six month warranty on a complex technical product with a minimum starting price of AUD$4000.00 (that’s what it costs to land a ‘basic’ in Australia) really isn’t good enough. It’s a lot of money and a really big financial commitment for a private individual. The details of the warranty seem quite fair, but the timeframe is just too short. Please re-think that. Thanks. Geoff


#13

@jacktaylor_co_uk: Unfortunately all taxes, fees, and tarrifs - except Washington state sales tax - are the responsibility of the buyer.

If you’ll pardon the intrusion into the conversation, I think you really need to sit down with someone that understands EU law before you make statements like this. EU VAT law is very specific in that you are responsible for collecting VAT based on the destination country. It’s a total ballache for anyone selling online, but it’s the law. Import tax and duty is something that many of us will have to reluctantly and begrudgingly swallow, but until I can be sure what that is I’m seriously evaluating whether or not to cancel my order, and to be honest I can’t help feel that everyone is outside of the US is being treated as an afterthought, we’re already getting massively stung on postage, it’s not fair to land us with a ton of as yet uncovered tax and duty liabilities as well without anything more than a cursory thought.

It seems you have everything you need for US orders sorted, but you really need to sit down with someone who understands what your legal obligations are when it comes to the EU, you can’t just make it up as you go along, people will get stung, as will you down the line.


#14

I don’t speak for the GF team but

I am from the UK so will have to pay all the taxes listed and from my research it will total just under £500(basic to UK). Which is a lot on top of the postage but I didn’t order the pro nor filter which bumps the postage and tax double. I did plenty of research and even spoke to @dan your laws may be different to mine but for me tax does not have to be paid before customs(preferred, then not delayed and saves a handling fee). I have ordered many things where the posting company was not used to shipping international and didn’t handle vat for me. Dan has stated many times they don’t have the resources to cater to each countries’ needs nor can they do custom shipping. So unfortunately if you can’t have them not offering vat/import tax before shipping you will have to wait until they have localised distributors and retailers.(shipping will be cheap but the unit will be more with no needed tax, but this won’t be for say 6months+)


#15

Sorry Jack, I was quoting the quote, not referencing you directly, my bad.

I’m also UK-based, the EU changes in VAT directives are supposed mean that VAT charges are picked up at the point of purchase by the vendor based on the destination country. You’re right to say that in the UK tax doesn’t have to be paid before customs, but it should be. This isn’t hard to do, it’s a small piece of code on an order form, or an email at the point where delivery is supposed to be arranged for someone to go to the site and pay the tax or cancel their order.

I ordered the basic and filter, I’m expecting to be out somewhere around £1000. I don’t like it but I’ll begrudgingly take it. What I won’t take is being a complete afterthought because of geography. We’re getting stung for taxes, stung for delivery, stung for customs, there’s no EC conformance certificate, we’re being generously given a warranty that would be laughed at in the EU, we’re being told that we would have to cover shipping for items broken in transit. The list goes on and on and it will only get worse if GF don’t spend some of the millions in order money on getting an EU-based solicitor to tell them what they need to do to comply with EU law.

This doesn’t need to be massively expensive for them especially considering the orders they have, and if they don’t do this then people are going to get really unhappy when things ship, and you’d think that having a bunch of angry Europeans, all vocal in their own languages, some of whom will take GF to court in their own countries if needed would be something worth avoiding for the sake of an upfront cost.


#16

You poor poor Brits. Sorry, that this is costing you so much.
Jokingly, let me suggest that the simple solution is to convince your government to become the the 51st state of the United States of America. Then you’d have no VAT and so on.
In all seriousness, VAT is 20%?! That and delivery is quite a big chunk.
So, must a company hire a specialist to get the forms and fees all in order to cross the pond without much penalty fee-happy bureaucracy slowing things down? Or is there a simple stack of forms to fill out and a few fees to pay online? I am not a USA exporter (yet), but hope to do business across the pond someday. Thanks to all in advance.


#17

As a small business here in the US that has sold items to many different countries over the years, I can tell you with great certainty that as a seller in the US, I am only responsible for collecting sales tax for purchases made by customers who reside within my own state. Our Sales Tax varies from state to state, and the law here is such that buyers are supposed to report purchases made online across state lines on their annual taxes, and pay their state/local sales tax at that time for the bulk of those purchases. But I am only responsible for the laws within my own country. We are not required to collect tax for any other country including EU VAT. That is apparently calculated at the time of passage through Customs/Port of Entry by whatever country receives it, and a bill may either be sent to the buyer or the item may be held at Customs until the buyer pays the amount due.

Within countries of the EU, of course, my understanding is that the seller would have to collect VAT at the time or purchase and forward those funds quarterly, semi-annually or annually to the government. If the seller is outside the EU, none of the EU customs laws apply to that seller, because the seller is only subject to the laws of their own country.


#18

Like most, I don’t agree with the short 6-month (“180 day”) warranty, especially since it’s not a solid-state device.
But what are the possibility of offering an extended add-on warranty?


#19

I wonder if a 3rd party company like SquareTrade can offer a warranty?

@dan - I am not sure how these work, but do these third party warranty places act on their own, or work with manufacturers to repair stuff?


#20

OK 1 year is a must have, and about the standard with niche electronics. I own a Brother DTG (direct to garment) 361 printer, cost $25,000.00 and yep’ only came with a 1 year warranty but unlimited phone support. a Mutoh 52" outdoor printer cost $12000.00 and yep’ again 1 year warranty. Makerbot 6 month warranty and I purchased extended bringing it up to 1 year. Im not crazy about it but I do know a little about this industry, these machines are NOT built for $100 and sold for thousands the markup is about 18-25% and really when you think about the extremely low quantities sold in comparison to lets say a dvd player… its not easy nor economically profitable to cover these type of products for multiple years (and yes, these are built im sure with a love for the product, but profit is a huge goal). I would at least like an option of an additional year for $250-$350 and maybe a 2 year for 600 to $800 for a total of three years. So yes 1 yr on both units either way I ordered one. by the way my sign supply company I use has a 30w co2 laser engraver with a 12x18 bed (but printable can be 5" deep) is $15,000.00 and you guessed it 1 year warranty. so all in all Glowforge is a deal.


#21

Well, if they ever try to supply from within EU - everyone will gain 2 year warranty rights. Until then though, it’s based on what they want to give.

See European Directive 1999/44/EC http://www.acc.com/legalresources/quickcounsel/socgaagiteu.cfm

Apple tried to fight it and lost.


#22

Many credit cards offer extended warranty coverage. For example, the AmEx we used to purchase extends the stated manufacturer warranty by 2 years automatically. If your card doesn’t offer coverage, perhaps GF will let you switch the charge to one that does.