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greenyammo

Trouble with customer service regarding Ultimaker 1/Ultimaker 2

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Hello forum,

I bought an Ultimaker a couple of weeks ago, and was shocked when after only an hour of work building they announced the Ultimaker 2! I was still on the first stage and this has put me in the position of building a machine that is already out of date, which as you can imagine is pretty demoralising.

I contacted the Ultimaker customer support over the weekend to see if it was possible to return the product as it had barely been touched. I was within the 7 working day return period, but am aware that only covers an unopened machine. I wanted some guidance. It is now the following Thursday and I have yet to receive a reply.

The only response I did receive is an impersonal email saying that they couldn't answer my request as they were busy promoting the Ultimaker 2. This only rubbed salt in the wound.

The reason I settled on buying an Ultimaker was because I heard that the company had a reputation for excellent customer service and that the product was 'easy' to build.

I am used to building my own PC's but would never describe them as easy to assemble, and I would say that the Ultimaker is much more difficult to build than a PC.

The six hour minimum build estimate is obviously only for people who have built the machine previously, so I consider both these statements (easy to build and good customer service) not to represent the truth in my experience.

I also learned that Ultimaker were exchanging new prebuilt Ultimaker machines for the Ultimaker 2 as a show of good will, but not the kits. This has only made me more upset. I hope to receive a response soon as I would at the very least like to continue building my machine. I don't think this sort of customer service is acceptable.

 

 

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Hello.

Sorry to hear about your experience.

I do know that a lot of people from ultimaker are out of the office this week and last doing big fairs in america and europe.

And in my 2 years that I have known ultimaker, they have really bent backwards to make things right..

I would ask for you to wait until the start of next week, then the head of customer care Sander will be back in the office and will.. im sure contact you and try and organise something..

Best wishes.

Ian :-)

 

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Thanks Ian,

That has laid my mind at rest a bit. I have been conversing with them on Facebook in a limited way but was getting more and more agitated. I had heard of their excellent customer service, so to receive none is quite shocking to me. I'm just eager to resolve the situation. Thanks for you help.

Dominic

 

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I'm sorry that you are displeased with the service you got. What might have been a small issue in the communication was that the people who are doing support are also the people that went to the UM2 release in San Francisco. Which is why all support requests are a bit delayed and they are working as fast as possible to get rid of the backlog. This might make some replies a bit shorter then usual.

Now for the kit you have. The Ultimaker2 will not replace the Ultimaker-Original kit. So you did not bought a discontinued product, the kit will be supported and we will continue sales of the kit. As the kit is still awesome. And there will be a heated-bed kit in the near future.

Note that the changed orders of the Ultimaker-Original assembled version into orders of the Ultimaker2 assembled. This does not mean that people who where shipped an Ultimaker-Original assembled suddenly got shipped an Ultimaker2. As we did not ship any Ultimaker2 yet.

I'm not 100% in the loop of what happened, but I think that they did not ship any assembled machines 1 week before the announcement, and gave everyone who ordered the assembled an option to change their order into an Ultimaker2.

 

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I've said it before and I'll say it again. There is absolutely nothing unfair about the way Ultimaker did what they did with the UM2. (And no, I am not affiliated with UM in any way) It's a different machine, but I wouldn't easily call it better, nor would I call the UM original out of date. If I were buying a new printer now, I would still buy the original one first.

The price difference between the kit you bought and the UM2 is almost double, and exchanging a kit somebody tampered with is something no company in the world would ever do, no matter what their support polices are.

Go tell a car manufacturer you want the newer model of the car you just bought and see what they tell you. It's not a problem of company policy, it's a problem of unreasonable expectations. UM's willingness to even discuss such issues is miles beyond what any other company would do for you, because they actually care.

There's loads of us here who've been dealing with Ultimaker for years and almost all of us love our printers and the company. It's unfair to call their support bad, based on your limited experience with them, heavily influenced by the fact they are really busy at this given moment. It's a small company which is trying their very best to give something to the community and not just sell their product. That is why we all respect them so much.

As for the assembly, I had no prior experience with such machines and assembled mine alone in less than 6 hours. So I don't consider that statement to be false, but it's unreasonable to expect absolutely everybody can do it in that time.

My intention here is not to be harsh about your problems, so please don't take it as such, it's just that if you give them some time, and take some time to learn and understand the nuances of the product you bought, you will come to understand that absolutely no harm has been done to you with the release of UM2, and that you haven't lost anything by buying the original one. And I'm sorry that you perceived it that way. I hope you will come to enjoy your Ultimaker as the beautiful machine it is.

 

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I'm sorry to have offended you, but it is completely within my right to call customer service bad when they haven't responded to my email within 4 and a half days. They HAVE now responded, which is great, so I am discussing the matter with them. I totally understand their position, but when you get no response after waiting that long I think it is right and fair to go to a public forum to get their attention. A delay in customer service in my experience is never more than a day or two.

I am using the machine to prototype for a client, not as a hobbiest, so I am on the clock and require as a response as possible, so this was the only way top get their attention. A quick response is desirable to me as it affects my business and my relationship with the client. What I have (potentially) lost in buying the Ultimaker 1 is speed and accuracy so you are wrong to say that nothing has been lost, when both of those components are important to me. Since the Ultimaker 2 hasn't been released yet and I presume you don't own one, your comparison seem spurious and over defensive to me.

I understand why you want to defend a product that you feel loyal to, but what you say about replacing a product is untrue. In the UK you can replace any product, tampered with or not, by returning it within 30 days if you are unhappy with that product. Having delt with computer manufacturers for years I am always warned when a newer model is about to come on the market and companies have always been happy to replace components if those products don't meet my needs. I am sorry if this is not your experience.

 

 

 

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I have seen the UM2 and the original UM. I was at Maker Faire in NYC. The bed leveling is better. It's quieter. It's much prettier (although a carpenter was declaring the wood one to be much more beautiful and he wasn't joking).

But I doubt it will print much better or different quality of prints. I looked at the prints it made and they looked good. Didn't go below 100 microns though at the show.

It *might* be more dependable. It may take a year to find out.

You might have to wait quite a while to get one. I know a lot of people ordered them last Friday.

It might be a few months before all the bugs are worked out.

The UM original is available now. It has dual extrusion available (UM2 does not).

Also note that the entire support team for UM was in NYC Friday through Monday and the head (sander) is now in England. It's hard to answer emails when the only time you have is after 11pm after a long hard day and you are in a hotel room with no comfortable table/chair system and that puts the keyboard too high. So you have to work from a bed which you suddenly realize it is now the next day.

 

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(Hihi, FYI, 2 years ago, early days of UM, I waited 2 weeks on a support reply. Which was the average back then. But then again, lead time was also 6 weeks back then)

It is a bit of a problem, as far I as I know they are looking for someone extra for the support tasks. What happened is that from friday till monday all support people where at San Francisco. On Tuesday the first person returned and the rest went on for a show in the UK.

She worked hard to work trough all the emails, but there where a LOT of questions. There was also an issue with the webshop at some point, so some payments had to be verified (and as you can imagine, making sure no money was missing or orders where in the wrong state was important, people do like to know if their 2k did not go "poof"). The phone was also red-hot at this point, lots of questions on the Ultimaker2.

So the issue is/was a understaffed problem at the support desk. I see our lovely community is taking the stance for us, which might tell you something about some trust and credits we earned with them. But that does not remove the fact that we did have a bit of a staff issue on the support task.

 

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If you would rather have a UM2 than the original UM, I recommend building the UM you have and getting it up and running. You'll learn much that is applicable to the UM2 by building the original kit and you'll be far ahead of most UM2 newbies!

Then sell the completed and tested UM (if you still wish to part with it). You'll probably be able to sell it for little or no loss in cash. Then buy the UM2. :)

I've only studied the videos and photos of the UM2 but I agree that it is not necessarily a "better" printer than the UM. Personally, I don't think there will ever be a "turn-key" FDM/FFF 3D printer sold. 3D printing isn't like printing your vacation photos on your disposable inkject printer! However, there is certainly room for improvement, industry-wide, in the ease of use department. I've even speculated that Apple must have considered getting into the FFF printer market, but decided against it, because Apple found the technology to be unsuitable for their market and usability goals. When I was a server signal integrity engineer with Intel, Apple was one of my customers, but that was servers and my notion about the prospects of an Apple 3D printer is just pure speculation on my part, If a turn-key "think different" imbodiment of a FFF printer could be realized, I think it would fit into Apple's product line quite well, however.

 

I contacted the Ultimaker customer support over the weekend to see if it was possible to return the product as it had barely been touched. I was within the 7 working day return period, but am aware that only covers an unopened machine.

 

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I got a reply to my email today asking about why I was told certain things that have proven to be obviously false.

I'm trying very hard to avoid saying I was lied to.

But I did ask if this was the latest and greatest version, as well as inquiring about the option of an assembled version with the dual extruders. (I was told that was not an option and continually reminded how easy the kit is to assemble.)

So, feeling I had the best product and best information available, I paid for mine on August 26.

One paragraph from the official email I got today is pretty upsetting...

I understand what you mean, but at the time you ordered we weren't allowed to communicate anything about the new Ultimaker 2, as we wanted it to make a surprising release.

 

Beyond that, I was told I have a wonderful product, updates will continue to be released...and since I bought a kit, they won't take it back. (Which I hadn't asked to do)

In my reply, I asked the gentleman two questions: Is an Ultimaker 2 available for a deep discount for situations like mine? And, quite honestly, I asked him how HE would feel if HE were the CUSTOMER in this situation.

I understand the defenders of the Ultimaker original. Its a good product and from the reading I have done here, you have had your printers for months or even years. You've learned a lot and share that knowledge with the rest of us

But for customers like myself, having a product that appears better in many ways suddenly released....while we were told no such new product existed.... its upsetting.

 

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I totally understand your frustration. Why not try to sell it somewhere between the DIY price and the U1 fully assembled price? Then you can use that money to purchase the U2. Maybe you can even arrange it so there's a short gap between departing with U1 and getting the U2, so it doesn't affect your client work.

Product roadmaps are highly sensitive information, so I can also understand Ultimaker's dilemma here. There are whole websites dedicated to predicting when new Macbooks and iPhones will be released.

As for easy to assemble.. "easy" is fairly relative. There are folks at Maker Faire who could assemble Ultimakers like IKEA furniture. Then there's me. My LED shield soldering looks like something Jackson Pollock would do.

I would see if selling your assembled U1 would work out. It'll probably be a lot more than whatever discount you get on the U2.

 

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If "latest and greatest version is defined as a model with dual extruders" then, yes, the Ultimaker is still the latest and greatest version. You can buy the optional dual extrusion kit for it. I don't think you'll see dual extrusion on the Ultimaker 2 for a while. (I'm sure UM, Ltd. isn't saying how long.).

 

But I did ask if this was the latest and greatest version, as well as inquiring about the option of an assembled version with the dual extruders. (I was told that was not an option and continually reminded how easy the kit is to assemble.)

 

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If "latest and greatest version is defined as a model with dual extruders" then, yes, the Ultimaker is still the latest and greatest version. You can buy the optional dual extrusion kit for it. I don't think you'll see dual extrusion on the Ultimaker 2 for a while. (I'm sure UM, Ltd. isn't saying how long.).

 

We see the UM2 and the UM-Original with Dual-kit as two very different targets. Dual-extrusion isn't perfect yet, it requires quite a bit of tinkering and tweaking. We are planning to release the UM2-Dual when we have a full grip on it.

The UM2 will be upgradable with dual extrusion in the future. Which is why there is already room for the 2nd feeder, and the 2nd nozzle. The electronics are also prepared for this.

(I've also overheard people talking about an "upgrade service" where you can send in your printer and have us install the upgrades. Just the idea phase here, nothing final I can tell on this. But the UM2-Dual won't be released in 2013, I'm sure of that)

 

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LePaul... FOR EVERY PRODUCT that gets upgraded. Whether it be a car, an iphone, operating system, whatever, there is a date. There is a date that before that date no one knows what or when the next version will be and after that date people at the company have decided to build something. Or the date is when they have named the next product and decided it's features. Or the date is that they have a working prototype. Or they are confident when they can start recieving production copies. Or when they can start shipping. But there is always a date when they make the announcement.

Whether a company artificially moves that date when the public knows about it or not, there is a cutoff date. No matter when that date occurs, people are going to be annoyed.

I know you are asking to see it from your perspective, but see it from UM perspective. It makes sense to delay that date a little bit but they still probably announced it early. When they did the release they didn't exactly have UM2's ready to ship (there was still one part they were waiting for - I think the motor cover in the back corners of the machine). Some people may be annoyed that they announced the UM2 too early!

There is always going to be a date and some people will always be buying the day before the date and will be annoyed but what can one do?

Anyway you can sell your UM for about $1500 on ebay and effectively get most of your money back and apply that to the UM2. But you will have to wait a while because you will probably find that you can't get one in less than about 30 days.

Then when you *do* get one you will be annoyed to find out that the rumored "usa distributor" is now shipping them for half the shipping cost. No matter what happens there will be cutoff dates and there will be annoyed people but there isn't much UM can do about it.

I guess when you asked they might have hinted. "There might be something coming out soon but we can't promise and we can't say when and we can't say what".

 

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I guess when you asked they might have hinted. "There might be something coming out soon but we can't promise and we can't say when and we can't say what".

 

I'd like to chime in here because I am in a similar situation as LePaul. I bought my kit roughly 6 weeks before the release. I too asked specifically if they are about to release the Ultimaker 2 soon. Answer was vague but far from indicating that there was something coming. I wouldn't be upset if I hadn't asked, but I did and this annoys me.

Seeing it from UM's perspective, when a potential customer asks you if you have something new in store and would wait and buy the next (and more expensive model) rather then the actual one - what is the sensible thing to answer? Secure an "easy purchase" and tell the customer that the actual model is great (knowing full well that he will be annoyed after the impending release) or tell him to wait a little and turn him into a loyal customer and evangelist for their brand?

I am a busness man too and I do have to make similar decision from time to time so I can tell you that I know how I would have answered.

LePaul contacted me and I too suggested him to try to sell his machine. I tried to do the same, but up until now without success. I don't know about eBay in the US but here in Germany, there is almost nothing related to 3d printers on it. So it might be hard to sell the printer.

And one more thing. I am happy to see that most people defend their UM1. Because this is a great sign for a great product when its owners are still happy after owning it for a long time. But the UM2 is nonetheless a superior machine and improved in almost every regard. Even from the scarce infos about the UM2 and after building the UM1 (and going through so much pain to tune this thing), I can tell that there was much room for improvement. So my point (and LePaul's) still stands - if we had the slightest hint about a new model before the purchase, we would have waited, paid more, owned a better printer and be happier.

I can't see why that's a problem for Ultimaker.

 

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Thank you, Nic

That's precisely the problem.

I asked. Two weeks later, brand new printer released.

Many of you are taking Ultimaker's "side" that, hey, new stuff comes out all the time, that happens, too bad, so sad.

And if months had gone by, I would agree.

But when the sales team admits they weren't forthcoming because they were told not to?

I've shared my experience with several colleagues in IT and they are amazed that a company would do that. We're also amazed at the responses here that say "Oh bother, just sell yours and buy a new one"

 

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I also think its just a fact of life that new products come out... and I don't think UM can be blamed for not tipping their hand early. With the best will in the world, they have the right to keep their plans a secret until they are ready to announce it. And when a random 'potential customer' is sniffing around asking questions, they don't have any way to know who you are, or what you would do with any information that they might share with you. It's disingenuous to find some evil intent in the sales team being told to keep quiet. That's simply standard, professional business practice.

I had something similar happen to me once - I bought an Apple Laptop, and then a week later they unexpectedly announced a revised machine, much higher spec at the same price. Apple did allow me to return the laptop within their 14-day standard window, pay a 15% restocking fee on it, and then re-buy the new model. That cost me a little bit, but I felt like it was a fair solution; perhaps something like that might work here.

There's one other key difference here about the UM1 situation, however. And that is that it's still a current product, and still the same price. They brought out an even higher spec machine, at a much higher cost, but you still got exactly the product that you thought you were paying for, at exactly the same price, and the performance and value of that machine hasn't been diminished in any way by the arrival of the even higher spec model. Furthermore, it sounds like most of the important innovations of the new model will be back-ported to the old model before too long anyway.

I understand the disappointment at not having the latest-greatest. But you still have exactly what you paid for, and it'll do a great job for you if you give it a chance.

 

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Hi Paul, Nic and all other participators.

Thank you for all your input in this discussion.

It is an interesting one to read because it shines light on 2 very different perspectives.

I totally understand that Paul feels frustrated about the release of Ultimaker2, but just as GR5 explains, there is always a date. And just before that date, there is going to be people who just missed a release.

In contrary to much other releases, the Ultimaker 2 will not out date its previous model. The Ultimaker Original is still a very powerful machine, and will receive continues support and upgrades.

I have looked back through the communication history and it was myself who spoke with you prior to your purchase.

You did ask me if there was an update coming, and i literally said i would recommend to wait a little bit because a new upgrade would not be very long ahead.

At the time we were speaking about a heated bed, (which in fact just like i said is released not long after your purchase).

Unfortunately we were instructed to not mention an Ultimaker2, therefor the suggestion to wait (for the heated bed.)

Which you solely chose to ignore.

As part of our customer service we offer people who bought an Ultimaker Assembled up to 3 months (!) ago the possibility to upgrade their Ultimaker Assembled to an Ultimaker 2. Personally i consider this very forthcoming.

I hope you understand we can not take back any Ultimaker DIY Kit's as it takes to much time to check how it has been build, ignoring the percentage of machines that can not be used anymore. We can only guarantee the quality of the models we build. Just like with the release date, there has to be a line.

(If anybody has bought an Ultimaker Assembled last 3 months and needs more information about this offer, please contact our team. Our response time is not as fast as usual, but we will reply to everyone. Thank you for your patience.)

The fact that the community suggests to try and sell your Ultimaker Original and use that money to buy an Ultimaker2 is only proof that they are willing to think with you for alternatives. It is totally up to you if you want to proceed on this or not.

Hopefully my reply was able to shine some extra light on the case and puts everything in perspective.

Unfortunately we can not take back an Ultimaker DIY Kit, but like i already said. It is, and will remain to be a very powerful machine. It will continue to get support from both the community and Ultimaker, and it will continue to receive upgrades. With a heated bed as one of the firsts in line.

Thank you for understanding, and if you have any further questions, I am looking forward to hear them and answer them for you.

 

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I have looked back through the communication history and it was myself who spoke with you prior to your purchase.

You did ask me if there was an update coming, and i literally said i would recommend to wait a little bit because a new upgrade would not be very long ahead.

At the time we were speaking about a heated bed, (which in fact just like i said is released not long after your purchase).

Unfortunately we were instructed to not mention an Ultimaker2, therefor the suggestion to wait (for the heated bed.)

Which you solely chose to ignore.

 

Who do you mean? Paul or me? If I remember correctly I did speak with Marrit before the purchase.

I didn't knew about the three month time frame for assembled Ultimakers - that's indeed very generous. And don't get me wrong, I still like Ultimaker. I've swallowed the bitter pill and now I am happily churning out great prints (and still fighting the stupid z-stage). I will sell the UM somehow and buy the UM2 - and that's definitelly not bad for Ultimaker :)

 

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Who do you mean? Paul or me? If I remember correctly I did speak with Marrit before the purchase.

I didn't knew about the three month time frame for assembled Ultimakers - that's indeed very generous. And don't get me wrong, I still like Ultimaker. I've swallowed the bitter pill and now I am happily churning out great prints (and still fighting the stupid z-stage). I will sell the UM somehow and buy the UM2 - and that's definitelly not bad for Ultimaker :)

 

Hi Nic, in this part i am talking about my communication with Paul. I am sorry of that was confusing.

If you need any support in regard of the Z-stage so you feel more comfortable selling it please let me know so i can help you. Good to have you on the community :)

 

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Right--my point was the original offers "bleeding edge" features that are not yet available in the UM2. So the original is still the "latest and greatest!" :)

 

We see the UM2 and the UM-Original with Dual-kit as two very different targets. Dual-extrusion isn't perfect yet, it requires quite a bit of tinkering and tweaking. We are planning to release the UM2-Dual when we have a full grip on it.

The UM2 will be upgradable with dual extrusion in the future. Which is why there is already room for the 2nd feeder, and the 2nd nozzle. The electronics are also prepared for this.

(I've also overheard people talking about an "upgrade service" where you can send in your printer and have us install the upgrades. Just the idea phase here, nothing final I can tell on this. But the UM2-Dual won't be released in 2013, I'm sure of that)

 

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I chose to ignore nothing...there were no "hints" or "clues"

An assembled dual extruder wasn't available and you kept assuring me the kit version wasn't terribly hard to do.

So, I made the purchase.

That being said, apparently customer service is different for different people and areas of the world. I'd never do that to someone. I'd be forthcoming. "We have a new printer out in 2 weeks that will be a significant upgrade to this"

Its a frustrating experience. And I'm tired of feeling duped.

 

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Its a frustrating experience. And I'm tired of feeling duped.

 

Then my advice would be to stop feeling duped. You got exactly what you paid for. And it's one of the best 3D printers that there is. And it hasn't lost any value as a result of what has happened. So stop torturing yourself, and enjoy using a great printer. :-)

 

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