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MEAD > SEC Filings for MEAD > Form 10-Q on 14-Jan

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#51 rcdk

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 10:16 PM

I think any hobby/pastime that requires effort and planning is waning -- one example I am familiar with is RC airplanes.

It is doing a little better because the newer products require a lot less effort and planning.

Television and gaming don't require much effort.
 

#52 Christopher Erickson

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 10:39 PM

Ham radio, scouting, model railroading and hobby machining have all been shrinking too.
 

#53 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 12:59 AM

Christopher - you are also hitting all my interests, lol.

But yes, interest is waning. Some of the complaints - can't see much (light pollution), too much effort with the telescope (though the Meade GOTO is WAY easier than star hopping years ago), need an expensive telescope to see anything cool - other wise they can see everything on the internet. Nothing thrilling there really to see, though when I show them Saturn, Jupiter, et. al. it still gets them excited. Of course after I set up the telescope.

I do let the kids use the LX200 on Scout outings (yes, I supervise) and they have a ball looking up items, using the GOTO function and viewing. Fascinating to watch. Unfortunately this is their minimum level of expectation - not the maximum. I love my little ETX-125, but it does not garner the same interest level. The level of interest by young people is very different (or the lack there of) since when I was a youngin'. Heck, at some astronomy events I feel like the young guy!

Without knowing all the details, Meade is being hit with a perfect whirlwind of a disaster - bad management (my guess), recent QA issues, down/struggling economy, waning interest in Astronomy, the lack of patience, light pollution, etc. Can Meade be re-invented? I think so, but it really will take a new approach on many levels, which is whole other topic.

BTW - model railroading? My kids (and their friends) love when I build fancy sets - they just want the end product; they don't want to build it.

Time to stop rambling, and back to astrophotography and stargazing in the New Mexico high desert. I will even test this new Meade 2x Barlow I just got from Astronomics (trying to help, trying to help!).

-- Andrew
 

#54 astro_baby

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 02:36 PM

There was a report today in the UK that vandalism and graffitti is down as well....takes too much effort and why bother when you can go on twitter and facebook or play angry birds.

Maybe therein lies the problem.
 

#55 wirebender

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 07:33 PM

Interesting.....just got a e-mail from Meade.
Selling some stuff...they are.
Got a couple of those atomic clocks.
This part of their problem, or a reaction to their problem, or...are they selling off stuff...???
 

#56 jgraham

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 10:05 PM

Probably dumping stock. I bought a spotting scope for my daughter and an RGB filter set for me. $29.99 for 4 interference filters is crazy nice!
 

#57 Tophat3

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 01:31 AM

Make scope accessories and spare parts your REAL profit center. That is what all of the automotive and appliance manufacturers do and it seems to work out well for them. I believe selling spare parts would also be a big PR-boon with serious amateurs. Being reluctant to sell spare parts is the single biggest rant I read every day on dozens of Meade forums. Meade needs those people as their extended sales force. Not likely to happen when so many of them are angry at Meade.

Thank You Chris!!! Exactly!! Sell us the freakin parts!!
Enough of the "Only we (MEADE) can fix your scope.)

I know they are not the only company that does this,but if they were to do as you suggest,think of the turn around that could happen with this company.

I own a LX50 and that was the last scope I have purchased from them because my mount went down 1 year and 3 months after purchase and I was unwilling to send it back to them and lose the use of it for a undetermined amout of time.

Break some new ground here fellows and offer REAL custermer service and parts and as far as I am concerned they have me back as well as hundreds of other folks. Thank You again Chris,that struck a chord with me and I think you hit the nail right on the head.
 

#58 Joad

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 01:29 PM

While I personally think that it is too late to save Meade (we began discussing Meade's troubles several years ago on this forum—at the time that Meade's stock price dropped to under 25 cents per share and even a twenty-to-one reverse stock split could not reverse the decline), I also think that the comments here with regard to the offering of spare parts are quite correct. Meade has been badly damaged by a series of sophisticated scopes (beginning with the RCX line) that stopped working and required shipping back to Meade for repair. That is a very onerous process, and given the do-it-yourself proclivities of amateur astronomers, simply providing the parts might have saved Meade a lot of trouble. This would be especially profitable as a market opportunity aimed at owners of out-of-warranty scopes. But as we all know, Meade never adopted such a policy. That is how companies fail.
 

#59 Pak

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 11:08 AM

I feel really bad for whoever bought one of the LX8XX's, returned it under the recall and may never see them again nor their money back. How does one recover from a 5-10,000$ loss?
Is there any remedy for the consumer in that case?
 

#60 bicparker

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 12:32 PM

I feel really bad for whoever bought one of the LX8XX's, returned it under the recall and may never see them again nor their money back. How does one recover from a 5-10,000$ loss?
Is there any remedy for the consumer in that case?


It all depends up what happens next with Meade. Right now, nothing has changed. If Meade has any telescopes that are still being fixed, then that is just the normal course of business. Meade is still in business and their current standing is only impaired by the management and financial disclosures in their quarterly filing. There is no legal process underway, nor is there any notification of one at this point.

As a side note, if I was a person is such a situation, I would be taking some pretty strong steps at this point to (quickly) either get my scope back in working condition or get a refund. When management makes the statements they made, that does not fill me with confidence.

If something legally happens with their financial standing (such as a slew of major judgements/liens, calling of a note, filing for bankruptcy, etc.), that is when the landscape changes. Then the telescope owners will have to take steps to ensure that their assets (their telescopes) are not inadvertently included in the Meade's assets under claim. Separately, and this would be for bankruptcy situations in particular, they will have to ensure (through some filing with the court) their warranty claim remains included in any list of claims and liabilities against Meade.

Right now, though, it is the normal course of business.
 

#61 StarTeacher

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 12:01 AM

Their cash position ($ in the bank) at the end of November was $300K, down from $3.9 Million just 9 months earlier. This is very sad, indeed. When Celestron was having its financial difficulty, they were bought by a CHinese concern, and the company seems to be doing OK now. Maybe there's a white knight out there for Meade too. IMHO, competition is good for the industry, and I hope that there will be two major competitors in the market (like Celestron & Meade) for a long time to come.
 

#62 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 09:30 AM

Well there may be some hope still. Meade is NOW shipping the LX850 (I will be getting the 14" model), and they have been shipping other products. I have been ordering weekly from Meade and have received everything I ordered on a very timely basis.

I do think there is significant pent up demand for the LX600 and LX850. Once these are shipping, there will be a significant jolt of cash. Not massive loads, but enough to maybe right this ship. Hopefully, they have a workable business plan for this year and the future.

-- Andrew
 

#63 Starman27

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 04:08 PM

When a company is purchased by another company they no longer exist as an independent company. The brand name exists, but not the company.
 

#64 Christopher Erickson

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 05:42 PM

When a company is purchased by another company they no longer exist as an independent company. The brand name exists, but not the company.


However depending on the new owner, they might go hands-off (like Synta did with Celestron) or full hands-on, like what happened to Bushnell.

Time will tell how this all plays out!
 

#65 Stacy

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 02:29 PM

Well its probably different in the US. Here in the UK we have the 'Sale of Goods Act' basically it says ...

1/ Your contract is with your shop - so the shop you buy from is responsible if things dont work out - they cant opt out by saying 'well the manufacturer let us down etc'

2/ Goods must be of reasonable quality, must work as advertised and must be of reasonable durability.
So if you buy a paper cup the durability test is differnt from if you bought for instance a car.

The bottom line is if you bought a Meade scope from ABC Astro Shop and the scope breaks down the shop carries the responsibility for putting things right. Obviously if the manufacturer has gone bust the only thing the shop can do is hand you back your money. But that means a dealer takes in a scope he cant resell and hands the cash back - its the same situation as if the dealer just ordered up a dead scope and paid money for it.

This kind of law is very common in Europe so if a manufacturer goes down its not entirely unknown that the retail chain selling it goes bust as well.


It's different, but it does exist. All US states have what are known as "Implied Warranty" laws. In a nutshell they say that if a product fails within a "reasonable" time period, the RETAILER is responsible to assist the customer if the customer cannot find relief with the manufacturer. The terms for most are quite broad. For example the time period for most is determined by the item and the price. You have to answer the question "How long would you expect an item that cost x amount to last (in years)? It doesn't matter if the mfg warranty is only 90 days. If you buy a $200 alarm clock, you should have a reasonable expectation that it will last at least three years.

Retailers do NOT advertise these remedies, but they WILL honor them when push comes to shove. Just mention "Implied Warranty" to the manager and they will most likely replace your faulty product or give you credit for another one. If they are unaware of the law or a small business they might need some "legal convincing" so it's up to the consumer to pick their battles.

Keep in mind, these laws kick in only after you become unsatisfied with the manufacturers response (or lack of) to your issue. They are very broad (giving the leverage to the customer) and details differ from state to state.

So yes, once again, the retailer is left holding the bag when the mfg goes bad. And yes, the customer is ALWAYS right.
 

#66 cn register 5

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 05:09 PM

The difference seems to be that in the UK the manufacturer isn't involved at all. The customer's contract is with the seller and it's up to them to deal with the manufacturer.

Chris
 

#67 Stacy

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 09:50 PM

The difference seems to be that in the UK the manufacturer isn't involved at all. The customer's contract is with the seller and it's up to them to deal with the manufacturer.

Chris


A better way to go IMHO.
 

#68 Bob Griffiths

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 10:32 AM

The difference seems to be that in the UK the manufacturer isn't involved at all. The customer's contract is with the seller and it's up to them to deal with the manufacturer.

Chris


A better way to go IMHO.


AS A retired RETAILER....If the manufacturer does not back up "MY CLAIM" for a product I replaced for a customer I simply no longer sell his product...

I have a funny Feeling any retailer in the UK does the same... NO retailer is going (or can even afford) to eat a defective product period.

In practice the US system works pretty well as the Retailer knows he always has recourse back to the manufacturer so his objective is to keep his customer happy so he will walk in the door tomorrow or next week...(believe me keeping a customer happy is not easy all the time)

BUT for the manufacturer keeping his suppliers happy is just as important..

The Manufacturer either keeps his supplier happy or the manufacturer ends up with one less account.. You can also believe me that word spreads thru the suppliers grape vine faster then lightning..

Bob G.
 

#69 astro_baby

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 02:43 PM

In the UK the sale of goods act only governs sales to end users. If you walk into ABC telescope shop and buy a telescope the contract is bewteen you and the retailer and if the scope breaks down its the retailer who takes the hit UNLESS the manufacturer will back him up.

In a business to business transaction in the UK, ie between a retailer and distributor/manufacturer whateveris in the contract is what you get UNLESS you can demonstrateits an unfair contract ( we have unfair contract rules in the UK as well ) Years ago I had a biff up in a B2B case where a manufacturer had a clause in their contract that said 'its up to us if we supply the goods you ordered but your liable whether we supply or not' i went to court over it when they took the cash but failed to supply and, predictably, the judge ruled the contract unfair and made them pay the money back plus damages and costs. Just goes to show though how it works.

In reality a dealer who got no support from a manufacturer would probably ditch the manufacturer quite quick. Where it gets sticky is if the manufacturer has been good but suddenly goes bust leaving warranty issues behind, the retailer then had to take the hit as theres no manufacturer to back him up. This HAS happened at times and whole businesses can be wiped out by it.

Dealers in the UK on almost any products wont deal with unreliable kit suppliers because they are in the front line when the pooh hits the fan. The sale of goods act in the Uk has cleaned up a lot of shoddy retailers and suppliers. Back in the day every transaction was a case by case court deal. I femember as a child my dad buying a new car which constantly broke down...the dealer wouldnt or couldnt help and the manufacturer didnt care. It took months in court for dad to getthe cash back and even then not all of it because the court ruled he had had the use of the car, even though it had spent most of the time off the road broken down. As an aside another angry customer of the same manufacturer bought a house next to their factory and painted a massive monologue on his fence about the poor service he had received and put thecar on a plinth in his front garden with notice boards around the place telling people what a lemon it was. The manufacturer tried all sorts of stuff go get it moved, planning laws etc but after about gwo years they gave up and offered him his money back. The guy said no....not interested now I just want you to suffer the loss of sales and have some of ghe hurt back. He was quite a celeb and of course itmade it go all the papers.These days in the UK the dealerwould fix it sharpish by handing back the cash or swapping the car because they would know they will have to, if they wont they are in breach and if it goes legal they could take worse hit because judges in the UK dont tend to like court time being used for this stuff and generally back a consumer againts a corporation......retailers who mess about know this and know that if it does make it to court the judge can whack on charges, damages etc and the cost can run a lot higher. I went through the process a few years ago after a PC died and the dealer wouldnt budge. Went to court, took 30 minutes and the judge ordered them to hand the cash back plus 3k of costs and damages. Pretty expensive over a sub 1k PC. Manufacturers know as well thats the game these days so product reliability has improved and the days of shoddy retailers selling shoddy goods its pretty much over.

Its good for the consumer and ultimately its been good for businesses as well as its forced them to up their game. There was a time in the UKwhere a lot of UK made stuff was frankly embarrasing and if you bought anything you could almost expect problems. Its totally different these days and problems are more of an exception and almost any store would take the goods back with no arguments.

My concern was in the case where MEADE go bust a lot lf dealers cluldbe left in the lurch. At the moment with what seems a lot of jnreliable hardware out there dealers might be very vulnerable if MEADE took a dive.

I am hoping they wont but in truth hoping someone buys them and fixes the quality issues because one day I would truly like to own a MEaDE scope
Ike an LX200.i have the cash now, could buy but I wont because of the unreliability issues that seem go pervade the company.
 

#70 Stacy

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 02:44 PM

It would be nice if it still worked like that Bob. But I liken it to the "tail wagging the dog" these days. Many MFG's make the rules for the retailer now. Telling them what (and how much) they can buy, what they HAVE to buy and how much they can charge. A good example is the Gibson guitar company. They barely batted an eye when we dropped their product from our chain of music stores because we were fed up with all the restrictions and lack of margin. It made the trade news, and many independant retailers agreed with our move and supported our position. However very few follwed suit. Afraid to anger the mighty giants and loose their dealerships.

This model reduces the availability of the product and in the end, the customer is the one who looses out. Traveling farther to find the product and getting less support for it.

Walmart is on the other end of the spectrum. They tell their suppliers what to make, how much it will cost and when to make it. If you don't play along, you're not in Walmart.

I'm not sure what kind of agreements Meade and Celestron make with their dealers. But you can be sure, it's got several pages of requirements and rules.
 

#71 astro_baby

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 03:32 PM

Wow thats sooooo weird. Arent there restrictions in the US on that sort of stiff. In the UK and most of Europe its illegal to control the price of a product. I mean you can set an RRP and obviously you charge what you want but you arent allowed to restrict or control. Its ro prevent cartels and monpolies and a few suppliers have been defenestrated around Europe in recent years by the legal system.

Sorry...gone a bitp off topic. my fault.
 

#72 Stacy

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 05:53 PM

Wow thats sooooo weird. Arent there restrictions in the US on that sort of stiff.


It's called MAP (minimum advertised price) and most mfgs. (including Meade and Celestron) require that their dealers adhere to it. So you are correct, the dealer can SELL their stock for whatever they want to, however they cannot ADVERTISE it for less than MAP. This includes any kind of special discount or free add-on items or anything that can be perceived as getting something for less than MAP. It also means you cannot PUBLISH the prices for lower than MAP in any form. Tricks like "add to cart to see price" are also being covered in new MAP policies. They also prohibit stating things like "too low to advertise" and a slew of others.

That's why when you Google a certain scope, they're all the same price everywhere. If there is one that's lower, they are either not an authorized dealer or they are violating MAP.

I notice there is a big price break this week on Meade telescopes. Probably because they need to boost sales in light of their current problems. In this case, MAP will be temporarily lowered, and all authorized dealers can advertise the lower price.

Still wouldn't buy such an expensive and technical item from a company who's future is so uncertain.

Stacy
 

#73 Stacy

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 05:57 PM

I should add; once an item gets dropped from the current mfg. lineup, then there is no longer a MAP for that item and dealers are free to advertise and sell it for whatever they want. Used and "scratch & dent" are also usually exempt from MAP.
 

#74 Spacetravelerx

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 07:00 PM

Stacy, I know what you mean about purchasing expensive/technical items when the company's future is in doubt.

On the other hand, I have decided to take some chances. I have been making purchases on their "deal of the week" - and I did receive the items very promptly. For example, their deal for the 24mm UWA, 2" diagonal and SCT extender/adapter was just too good to pass up. Filters were dirt cheap too.

And yes, I did put my name in for the LX850 14". People are getting their refurbished LX800-new LX850 back and so far things are looking very good for the unit. Rumor has it all the other past LX850 orders are being filled. My guess is mine will come in around May, which is good. If their are more problems I can back out. If the company goes through bankruptcy - I can back out. Still, rumor has it there is a large backlog for the LX850 and if they can fill it all they will easily cover the high interest loan and have positive cash flow.

As for the LX600 - I don't see that coming out until this summer after they get the LX850 pipeline going.

Oh, I will be buying the Coronado PST next week. That deal is too good to pass up too.

Trying to do my part to bail Meade out.

-- Andrew
 

#75 Stacy

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 08:46 PM

Trying to do my part to bail Meade out.



Well, you're doing better than I am. Thanks!

I'd love to acquire that 8" LS ACF! I like the idea of that. :)
 






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