Feb 4, 2011 at 9:09 pm #1268702
@rp3957Locale: The Sierras
Has anyone else had a problem communicating with this company, or is it just me? I'm starting to get a bit nervous that I may never see the pad, because I PayPal-ed him Jan. 3rd, and am not getting any response back when I e-mailed him a couple of days ago. I appreciate and support cottage industries, but when your card has already been charged and you can't get a hold of the business, I start to get a little leary.Feb 4, 2011 at 10:13 pm #1692691
You are experiencing a very, very, rare occurrence.
Kooka Bay has proven repeatedly to be an accommodating, and responsible business, and BPL.com has many such comments spread amongst the threads supporting that.
I myself purchased a pillow from Bender before the holidays and experienced a snag with Paypal – it would not let me pay due to some technical glitch. Bender was helpful, and I got the product with no delay.
I have high confidence this situation of yours will be resolved.Feb 4, 2011 at 10:23 pm #1692693
@creachenLocale: East Bay
I ordered a pillow this past November and had no problems at all.Feb 4, 2011 at 10:32 pm #1692696
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
He is well-known on BPL, but I think he may be moving his operations to a new factory right now. A traumatic time!
CheersFeb 4, 2011 at 10:47 pm #1692700
@jdemonacoLocale: San Francisco
and let Bender do his magic.
I emailed him early January as well, and it took him awhile to respond, but I totally understand.
His product is in hot demand right now, so he's probably bogged down with orders and such.
I ordered a pad from him a couple weeks ago as well and I have full confidence (via all the great things that have been said about him on the forums here) that my order will be fulfilled in due time :)
I appreciate the work he does and that with cottage industries, turn-around time is necessary.Feb 5, 2011 at 12:55 am #1692719
@davidlutzLocale: Bay Area
Well, for the record……
I sent in $200.00 on Dec 23 and was quoted a three week delivery time.
I'm confident I'll get the pad, but I'm a little discouraged.
I know of at least one BPL member with a similar story.Feb 5, 2011 at 7:10 am #1692751
I'm pretty sure he is swamped with orders. Unless things have changed, he makes every one by hand. If it makes you feel any better, I payed on November 2nd and am waiting patiently at the window looking for the postman. He's a good guy and I have no doubt he is frantically trying to get these out the door. You could go elsewhere with your business, but then you wouldn't get the lightest down filled pads in the world!! :)Feb 5, 2011 at 8:20 am #1692778
@woodenwizardLocale: Greater Mt Tabor
I got a double wide over the holidays. A trip was coming up and I gave him the need-by date (with 3 weeks till the date) and he had it to me.
I think he's just getting hammered with business.
PS: Its worth the weight! Super comfy and came out exactly to specs. 74" X 44" x 3.5"- R6- 47oz.
EDIT – total slip to write "worth the weight"- I meant "wait"Feb 5, 2011 at 8:36 am #1692789
@rp3957Locale: The Sierras
Thanks to everyone who replied on this thread AND by PM's! The thing that shocked me the most was how many PM's I received that were not very encouraging about this company! If this is, as William said in the above post, 'a very rare occurrence', it doesn't look that way to me. I appreciate the heads-up by Roger on the possibility that he may be moving his shop, but that does not excuse his not responding to people. I have ordered from small companies before, ie- Mountain Laurel Designs and Six Moons Designs, and I have NO problem waiting for a quality product. Here are the differences 1- those companies did not charge my credit card until the product shipped, 2- I was able to personally contact the owner or a worker to verify product status, 3- I was told a realistic timeline for delivery, whether it was 2 weeks or 6 weeks, and those times were met. Don't try to placate me with some false timeframe if you have no way of meeting that timeframe, and don't charge my card until you ship, and most importantly don't ignore your customers. I don't think that is being unreasonable. And I now know I am not the only one having problems with this company. I think it is time to get the word out, so others don't get 'burned'.Jan 13, 2012 at 10:07 am #1824259
I'm not a happy camper right now. I sent an email to Bender in early November, worked out details of what I wanted and remitted payment in the middle of November 2011, up front. Bender advised a 4-5 week lead-time. It's the middle of January and, despite numerous emails to both the website and to his email address, I've heard nothing – not even a peep. I feel like I've been "Big Sky"ed as it appears that I've purchased another piece of "vapor wear". Of course I missed the 45 day PayPal dispute window, but Bender gladly accepted my cash.
If he'd bothered to make the smallest effort I would have given a chance to make things right (I really just wanted the mattress). Now I want a refund and figure I'm S.O.L.
My warning to anyone who might consider doing business with this guy…"caveat emptor".Jan 13, 2012 at 10:37 am #1824277
@mrmuddyLocale: No Cal
Something is going on
I placed an order reqeust in Dec . ..Followed up in Jan.. Saying " I want to buy a pad !"
Again .. not a peep..
Fortunately , for me, no $ transacted.
In the mentime, I've decided to go with a Stephenson's DAM..Jan 13, 2012 at 10:38 am #1824278
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
I've had nothing but outstanding customer service from Bender! He has an excellent reputation with BPL members–he got his start on this forum.
It has happened before that he has gotten completely swamped with inquiries and orders. KookaBay is a one person operation. Emails can get lost in the ether; it has happened to me more than once. He could email all his customers that he has been swamped, or he could spend the time in actual production to reduce the backlog. Take your pick.
The reason you are charged at the time you order is because that's how Pay Pal operates. Pay Pal is a very convenient service, for both buyer and seller and particularly for one-person firms, because it requires a minimum of paperwork–therefore allowing the business owner to concentrate on production and not have to increase costs by hiring a secretary or bookkeeper. However, charging up front is also one of the big problems with using Pay Pal. That's why I always use my credit card when using Pay Pal even though they try hard to get me to let them charge my bank account directly. That way I can dispute charges directly with my credit card company if a problem comes up after Pay Pal's 45 days. It hasn't happened yet, but it's extra protection.
Please be patient with this guy. He makes marvelous pads and, judging from my dealings with him, he's an outstanding person.Jan 13, 2012 at 2:37 pm #1824410
@glacierramblerLocale: NW Montana
I know that this is not what you want to hear in this situation, but I think patience is key here. I ordered a pad from Bender in the middle of October. After the 3-5 week window that he gave me passed, I started getting impatient, but still waited.
Finally, I did email him (5 weeks after my order) because I was going to be out of town for Thanksgiving, and I didn't want the pad to arrive while I was out and sit on my porch for a week (or, disappear from my porch, as I was worried about). That email never got a response.
I emailed him a second time, 7 1/2 weeks in, and didn't hear anything from that one either. However, a few days later, I got a PayPal notice that he had shipped my pad. All told, 8 weeks before he had it finished and shipped.
I don't say that to complain, because overall I think he made a great pad for me. And I would seriously considering ordering from him again (though, he'd probably have to switch to a 30D fabric rather than the 70D he uses now for me to be intrigued enough). His communication is spotty–sometimes he responds well (he did several times for me in the months before my order) and sometimes he doesn't. He's also in pretty high demand, and being a one-man operation, it sounds like he gets overwhelmed easily.
I wouldn't worry about being scammed, but I'd just tell you to wait it out, as frustrating as that is.Jan 13, 2012 at 7:58 pm #1824526
For as much as people give Bender the benefit of the doubt, it's pretty ridiculous that he can go weeks without responding to people. He runs a business where people give him money in exchange for his services. Part of that service is responsiveness to inquiries about orders.
I don't care if his pad is 1oz, R∞, and feels like sleeping on a mountain of supple boobies, if he can't find 30 seconds in his day to communicate with his paying customers about month-long delays, I'm soured entirely on the idea of ordering from him.
This is why people love companies like Amazon and Apple—sure they make a great product, but the experience of ordering something, using it, and getting help or repairs when needed is just as great.Jan 13, 2012 at 9:02 pm #1824543
Amazon doesn't make anything. And apple makes most of their stuff in Asia I think.Jan 13, 2012 at 9:37 pm #1824554
Amazon doesn't make anything? Kindle? Kindle Fire? Applications for Android, iPhone, Windows, Mac? All of their cloud hosting services? And, the fact remains that customer service is important whether or not a business make the items they sell with their hands or have someone else make it.Jan 14, 2012 at 1:01 am #1824587
@dirk9827Locale: Pacific Northwest
I can understand the criticism in regards to a lack of communication, but surely you'd agree to compare a small gear producer to the behemoths of Amazon/Apple isn't entirely fair. I am not dismissing the basis of your criticism – certainly clear communication helps both the customer and the business – but certainly a more apt comparison could be drawn.Jan 14, 2012 at 6:11 am #1824598
"but certainly a more apt comparison could be drawn."
Agreed. MLD, Zpacks, Black Rock, or pretty much any other cottage mfg'er has better communication than this. I can get a response back from them in HOURS, not weeks. The "one man show" excuse only goes so far. I emailed Bender about a year ago for pricing on two pads and never heard anything back. Not only is that poor service, but terrible business. Instead, Cascade Designs gets my business.
RyanJan 14, 2012 at 6:25 am #1824600
Lab126. Quanta. Google them. Amazon sells stuff. An app isn't a product you make to order. You make it once. Maybe some updates. Apples to oranges.
Benders problems are well known. It is like when I go to the DPS office to renew my liscense. I know it will be a long wait.Jan 14, 2012 at 6:33 am #1824602
Jolly Green GiantParticipant
I'm in the same boat and frustrated by Bender. Communication is poor. I completely understand a one man shop, being overwhelmed, and the holidays. But honestly, all he needs to say, and not even to me but with a simple message posted to his website, is customers should experience a delay of "X" weeks or whatever even if timeframes are wildly inflated. The complete lack of response is just not acceptable. I've been waiting on a pad since the end of October. I had it briefly, but it had a bad valve, so I returned it and have been waiting since then end of November for repairs. Frustrating.
I just put in an order from Zpacks and he said "three weeks". So be it – NO PROBLEM and if it goes beyond that, I'm sure he'll let me know. Even if Joe said 2 months I'd be fine with it because I know he is building me custom gear and it is worth the wait. With Bender, it's a black hole which he could mitigate without much effort at all with basic ommunication even not on a personal level.Jan 14, 2012 at 10:59 am #1824688
Regardless how PayPal works, it's poor form to take your money and go underground, even with the best intentions. If you need a fair comparison (and the Amazon comparison *is* fair–the foundation of its success is customer service), look at LightHeart Gear. It's a two-person operation, with one person (Judy) apparently handling all of the production, with an occasionally long line of orders. I ordered a custom tent from her last winter, and instead of charging me up front, Judy waited until she was ready to make mine before she sent the PayPal request. She got some money, I got a tent shortly after payment, and nobody got bent, even though the process took several weeks from order to delivery. I'd recommend her to anybody. Any other way is completely mystifying. It's so obvious.
Also: hello, everybody.Jan 14, 2012 at 12:33 pm #1824696
Under the PayPal terms of service, as a seller, you have to ship goods within 10 days of payment receipt or PayPal can cancel your account and freeze your funds for 90-180 days. You have to provide proof to PayPal that the items shipped. PayPal isn't a bank and plays by their own set of rules. While its convenient, PayPal has the worst custer service in the business should you need help.Jan 14, 2012 at 4:33 pm #1824768
@glacierramblerLocale: NW Montana
Not to take this thread drift too far, the best customer service experience (excluding REI–can't beat their 100% guarantee), was with PayPal. No need for details here other than being treated well and like a real human being.
If you feel really strongly, send Bender a few emails to get a phone call and explain your frustrations with his business model. It's a lot better than initiating a PayPal dispute.Jan 14, 2012 at 4:47 pm #1824775
To everyone arguing that Bender produces a product and therefore should not be responsible for timely communication with his paying customers—you're insane. These threads pop up about Kookabay every couple months and it's frustrating to see. I wouldn't recommend his pads to anyone solely based on the way he treats people.
And yes, this is him intentionally treating his customers poorly. Even the busiest people on earth can send 20 emails a day. These threads are a result of him choosing not to respond to emails.Jan 14, 2012 at 5:55 pm #1824802
Reading comprehension. Bender/=amazon. Amazon is a stupid comparison
As you mention, these threads pop up every few months. So you easily knew what you were getting into. So please don't act surprised and complain kooka Bay isn't as good as Amazon.
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