Some Dealers Do Get Them
by Claude Voarino
The recent deplorable attempt to slander
A.E.C. has prompted me to write this brief article. First of
all, I would like to make it clear that the great majority of
customers we have dealt with in the past twenty years have been
great, and we thank them all! Unfortunately, over the years we have
had the misfortune to do business with certain despicable
individuals, who have caused us grief and loss of money. (It is
these individuals I am referring to as ďthemĒ in the title of this
article.) Of course, some other dealers are very likely to have had
similar unpleasant experiences at one time or another.
In order to counteract the lies and innuendos of those who
have nothing better to do than slander A.E.C., I will analyse in
some detail each of the various issues and facts which are pertinent
to our long Takahashi Sole Dealership.
There are many
reasons why we are proud of being Australiaís and New Zealandís
Takahashi dealers as Takahashi has not only been producing
professional-standard astronomical equipment for the past forty-four
years, but it has
very high ethics and doesnít take ages to manufacture and deliver
its products. Also, Takahashiís after-sale customer service and
assistance has become legendary. Furthermore, all queries sent to
Takahashi, whether by us or our customers are answered immediately!
Takahashi is not a very large Company, but a very well
organised and adequately staffed one! This means, that despite the
fact they make most of their telescopes, mounts, tripods, and
accessories by hand, their average delivery time is only about 2-3
weeks. Of course, occasionally (mainly due to material shortage or
other production problems) a given delivery can be delayed by a
couple of weeks or so! In fact, Takahashi often deliver our orders
earlier than stated! In view of the fact that some other suppliersí
delivery time can be up to many months or even years, our customers
have nothing to complain about! Strange how some people remain
silent when they have to wait ages in order to get their telescope
set-ups from the US, for example, but jump up and down whenever
a delivery from Takahashi
is delayed by a couple of weeks!
In any case, we
always warn customers in plenty of time when delivery is likely to
be deferred by the delayed production of certain Takahashi items.
For example, the slanderer, who recently claimed (after having
waited about two years to do so)
that he had to wait more than eight weeks to receive his
EM-400 mount, was warned there would be a longer than usual delivery
time. In fact, he got this mount in less than seven weeks. Takahashi
are without any doubt the best manufacturers we have ever dealt
with; however, even they - as efficient and reliable as they may be
- have not, as yet,
managed to achieve perfection!
Has A.E.C. been doing its best to speed-up
Here is a
short descriptive summary of the measures we adopted since we became
placement of all customersí orders.
Up-front payment of all
Shipments by Air
Freight, not by Sea Freight.
4. Prompt despatch
of all received orders to our customers.
The above four steps are a clear indication that we do our best to
ensure the fastest delivery possible! For example, in order to save
money, we could have all large orders shipped by Sea Freight,
instead of Air Freight; but this would mean a much longer delivery
Regarding the prompt placement of our customersí orders (to
speed-up delivery), we have had some problems. For example, some
people placed an order over the phone and then didnít send us
the required deposit
- in other words,
they cancelled their orders. This unethical behaviour prompted us to
wait until we receive the deposit, before placing an order with
Takahashi or other suppliers. However, this rule applies only to
Are we in the habit of waiting for multiple
customersí orders before placing an order with Takahashi?
This is what one of
our slanderers has claimed we usually do. Of course this isnít
normally the case. However, for example, if the delivery time of an
optical assembly is two weeks, but the mount to go with it isnít
going to be ready to leave the factory for another two weeks, we
will have the two shipped to us together as soon as the said mount
is completed. Other times, when customers order relatively heavy
items, such as counterweights, we have them sent together as part of
a larger order. This stands to reason, as a 5kg counterweight, for
example, would cost too much in freight, if sent separately. The
same applies to items, which cost only a few dollars. In any case,
we always ask our customersí opinion first before making a decision.
Delivery delays caused by the Customs,
couriers, and/or the Postal Service
Shipments from Takahashi (which are always sent to us by EMS, or Air
Freight, depending on their sizes and weight) generally arrive in
within three to four days. Delivery delays are always occurring in
the period between a shipmentís arrival in this country and when it
is delivered to the customerís residence by a door-to-door courier,
or collected at the local Post Office.
There was a time when all parcels from Japan and other countries were cleared by our
nearest Customs office: namely,
Adelaide. However, for the past five years or
so, almost all parcels of a value of $1000 or more have had to go
through the Melbourne Customs. By the time we receive a Customs
Notification in the mail, do the clearance, and finally receive the
parcel by normal airmail, at least eight to ten days have gone by!
In other words, an express parcel, which takes about four days to
arrive in Australia from Japan, can take two weeks or more to
finally reach our customer! This despite the fact that we normally
post parcels the same day we receive them.
While we have no reason to complain about the international shipping
service in general, we have had our fair share of problems with the
national couriers. That is, during our long time as dealers of
astronomical, as well as second hand photographic equipment, various
couriers have lost quite a few of our parcels; others were sent to
the wrong address, and some of them were finally returned to us
after many weeks and even months! We cannot understand why this
could have happened, since we take great care that all our outgoing
parcels are correctly addressed. Of course, no fair-minded person
would blame us for that, but fairness (just like truth) isnít one of
most peopleís salient trait.
Before the partial privatization of the Australian Postal Service,
letters and parcels reached their destination quicker than they do
now. Also, the number of parcels lost or delivered to the wrong
address is higher now than, say, ten years ago. This is why we worry
every time we forget to register a parcel or other item. In the last
decade quite a few of our parcels have been lost in the mail; this
despite the fact that we write both our address and the receiverís
in large capital letters! Again, we are not to be blamed for this
situation, but some people out there seem to think we are!
Communication between A.E.C. and its
prospective and existing customers
Because of some unclear
reason, lately we have had problems with our e-mail. That is,
although our e-mail replies appeared in the
Sent Items folder, most of
them didnít reach the customers. This situation lasted for nearly
three weeks, during which only two customers contacted us by
telephone to find out what was going on.
In fact, a few others
preferred to join the chorus of slanderers in
IceInSpace. One of them
claimed he had not heard from us for seven weeks, this despite the
fact that, before our e-mail problem (which started on 02/11), we
sent him six e-mails. Also, two e-mails were also sent to him after
this date, and it certainly isnít certainly our fault if he didnít
The bottom line is that we have never deliberately left a
customerís e-mail unanswered.
The only e-mails we didnít answer are those we never
unfortunately, we didnít always receive a reply to our e-mails. In
fact, there have been quite a few times when I personally spent up
to one hour answering a very long message, sent it to the customer,
but received no reply! In conclusion, it shouldnít be too hard for
any normal person to pick up the phone and ring to find out the
reason/s why he/she didnít get a prompt e-mail reply from us!
like to talk on the phone to both our prospective and existent
customers, as; in many cases it is a better, more personal, and
faster way of communication than by normal letter, fax, or e-mail.
(The trouble is that often I go on talking for too long!)
The truth is that we have never failed to return a customerís
call, or make a call whenever the situation required it! In fact, we
like those sensible customers who always put their phone number at
the bottom of their e-mail messages. Also, in order to save our
customers some money, we often suggest we could call them back!
Time wasters and 'shit-stirrers
I suppose other dealers do get them too. Here, by the objective pronoun
ďthemĒ I mean time wasters and shit-stirrers. Yes, we too do get our
fair share of these individuals. Of course, it isnít realistic for a
dealer to expect to get a sale from every enquiring e-mail or phone
call. But what annoys me, in particular, are those who not only have
no intention of buying anything, but deliberately ring A.E.C. for
the sole purpose of stirring me up. For example, some clown from
Tasmania once rang us up to say (in a rather colourful way) that,
apochromatic refractors made in ......... by ........ shit on the
ensued and I hung up on him, but not before using another colourful
expression that is not fit to be repeated here!
There is a saying, which translated from the Italian, reads:
Do not lend money to
your friend, as you may lose both!
We didnít lend money to our
friends, but, on various occasions we were foolish enough to send
telescopes, mounts, and/or accessories to customers before they
finished paying for them! Personally, I have always been a very
trusty person, and therefore an easy prey for unscrupulous and
dishonest individuals! Some of these scumbags deliberately set-out
to defraud A.E.C. by first befriending us until we sent them goods
prior to receiving payment! Our misplaced trust cost us thousands of
dollars! Of course, we did try to get our money back legally, but,
unfortunately, the Law has been of little or no help to us! (There
is no doubt that some of the ďfriendsĒ, who defrauded us, will
sooner or later join the slandererís chorus!) Things are quite
different in certain European countries, for example, where if you
donít fully pay for an item - be it a telescope, television, or car
- it will be confiscated from you. I admit that it is unwise and
quite foolish for a dealer to send an item to a customer before
he/she has paid for it. However, laws should be made to punish
dishonest people, not the foolish ones!
A few final words
already stated above, the vast majority of our customers have been
great, and we have only praise for them! But, unfortunately, during
our long time as astronomical equipment dealers, we have also had
the misfortune to do business with some individuals who can best be
described as a
Here, I am not trying to imply that we are faultless. One thing is
certain, however: we
have almost always got on very well with the better kind of
customers, and have had problems only with the worst of them!
Some dealers do get
them - and A.E.C. certainly gets its fair share!