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#1 CharlesW

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 08:37 PM

A cautionary tale for beginning buyers of astronomy equipment. Please understand right off the bat that I am not vendor-bashing. I am self-bashing. Nothing in this should indicate that I received anything less than courteous and professional help. I hope you'll get something from my "mistakes."

I began my astronomy adventure in October of 2012. I did some very basic and limited research before I drove up to my “local” astronomy store. I talked to a very helpful sales guy, told him essentially what I wanted to do, and he suggested the Celestron CPC800. That was a fine choice for me and continues to do what I want it to do. But, like all retail stores, they want to move the old stock off the shelves first. So, unknown to me at the time, I didn’t get the latest example of the telescope. Had I done a little more homework before I skipped up there with my $2300, I might have known what to look for.

Example #2 happened in December. I wanted the Orion Starshoot Autoguider and a guide scope. Another very helpful sales guy suggested the Astro Tech AT65Q. Again, had I done my homework or taken a second to pull out my fancy iPhone, I would have known that Astro Tech’s new model, the AT65EDQ, was available for a very similar price.

I know most of you will probably buy your stuff online, but if you have the opportunity to go to a brick and mortar store, know what it is you want to buy. If the sales person suggests something different, dig out your phone, look at the manufacture’s website and see if the model suggested is the current one. If it isn’t, are you getting a deal because it’s not, or is the older one a better product? Take your time while you are there.

The sales guys did absolutely nothing wrong business wise in selling me old stock, but I personally hope that next time, I’ll be a little smarter.

#2 GeneT

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 08:42 PM

Celestron CPC800


What was the later model and what did it have vs. the one you purchased?

#3 psi_chemie

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 08:48 PM

Interesting story Charles, and you have a wonderful attitude considering.

Personally, I suggest that it's OK to feel a little duped by the sales staff. Stores do in fact push product onto uneducated consumers.

A great store that I would go back to for more purchases, would be one whose staff also goes out of the way to educate me and tells me that I could have the new version of the scope or I'll help you get rid of your old stock in return for a discount.

It also seems like it would be OK to call them up and mention your story and report the response here with the store name so others could make informed choices.

Best Regards!
-mike

#4 CharlesW

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 08:53 PM

The newest CPC800 has an updated handset and the latest firmware already installed. It may seem like a small point, but unless I specifically ask for an older model I would like to get the one built yesterday.

#5 mfromb

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 09:19 PM

What you post is one of many examples of a salesperson and/or retailer NOT being "customer focused".

While it is true that they are trying to run a business and make money, it is also true that running a business that adheres to a customer-centric philosophy will garner and maintain a better reputation and a brand they can trade on to a greater degree. The key for that business is to make sure they are running their business in a way that they don't do avoidable harm to themselves, and therefore they should have no motivations/temptations to do reciprocal harm their customers (by pushing older stock without disclosure and/or discounts, among other things). If they find themselves sitting on older stock alongside the newer, they are faced with a choice. What choice they make speaks volumes about where their focus is. Are they focused on the customer? Or, are they focused on themselves?

In this case, as outlined, I'd say it was squarely on themselves. If they were aware of newer models and didn't inform the customer, they took care of themselves and themselves alone, making sure they cleared old stock out when the opportunity presented itself and not disclosing the availability of the newer models to the buyer. Heck, if you want that kind of 'service', you could use the Internet or pick up a telephone... only, I can point to any one of a number of outfits that will readily educate the prospective buyer regarding newer models, caveats of models chosen, etc. Why would they do this? Because they'd like me to walk away with a good feeling, hoping to trade on that feeling in the form of my repeat business and, perhaps more importantly, referred business.

Caveat Emptor is a well-known phrase, but it's a phrase used to warn customers about self-serving sellers... because they exist far too often. However, it's not a phrase that should be used to forgive, condone, or otherwise excuse non-customer centric business practices.

If they knowingly sit on a newer/improved/whatver item and steer you (or allow you to steer yourself) to an older/discontinued item without informing you, they are doing nobody a service but themselves. Plain and simple. If that's what their business revolves around, doing right by themselves, so be it. But, a great business will do right by their customers first and foremost. The rest will take care of itself and, over time, will pay bigger dividends over the life of the customer and the business.

I would also recommend you call them back and call them out on how they handled the pre-sales experience. Be polite and respectful, but let them know about your experience and how it makes you feel. If you gain no satisfaction from that conversation, do your fellow would-be patrons of that establishment a service by posting widely and loudly about your experiences there. Resellerratings.com, for example. Yelp, Facebook, CN, etc. You'll be doing more for their customers than the business itself is likely doing for them. Educating them. :-)

Just my opinion, but I happen to have a pet peeve about customer-focus and its rightful place in business.

Best Regards

#6 CharlesW

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 09:32 PM

You know, I'll still do business with the place, but I'll do it smarter. Frankly, my next large purchase will be well over 10k and I'll have to do it mail order to avoid CA's $1000+ in sales tax. I'll most likely go with Astronomics, but homework first.

#7 csrlice12

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 10:34 AM

I had just the opposite happen, when I bought my 10XTi, the older version with the straight thru finder was the floor display. The one they gave me was the newer version with the RACI and updated teflon bearings/wafers. So, I really was in the same place as the OP, I just got lucky (well, probably not lucky, just got good customer service).....and my wallet keeps going back there.......

#8 GOLGO13

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 11:38 AM

Your first situation doesn't sound like a situation where you were duped. Quite possible the sales person wouldn't know about a newer one since it's still called a CPC800. I know the CPC800 has been out quite some time, so I'm sure there have been a lot of production runs of that puppy. That is a great looking scope.

However, I totally agree with pulling out the phone to check prices and versions. The good news for you is that you can get help at a local store with your scopes. I think the closest real astronomy store to me is Astronomics...and that's about 9 hours away from me.

Local stores are certainly behind a bit in most cases unless they are really moving stock. Then again, most of these scopes retain the same name for a very long time.

Now, one real good example similar to your experience is the ETX90. There is a new version of it coming out, but it's still called the ETX90. ETX90s have been out since 1999...but this new one is supposed to have some upgrades. Then again, I'm not sure how much I trust Meade nowadays.

Again...the good news is you have some nice scopes there!

#9 csrlice12

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 11:49 AM

I think our local scope shop just celebrated their 40th anniversary. The owners aren't spring chickens anymore, but keep the place going. They don't do mail orders per se, (if you ask, they'll order, they don't do internet sales, their site is not set up for it). AND, they have the best customer service going......and THAT'S why I keep going back. I know when I bought both scopes (different times), they put the scope together, collimated it, aligned the finderscope, showed me how to use it, then boxed it all back up (i.e. the OTA, the base set in my passenger seat). They did all this for about $25 more then the cheapest online price of the scope (actually cheaper then some online stores). Which begs the question, do scope stores get their stuff from a different assembly line? I know they change scope models a lot, but I've seen identical scopes, but they have a different "model no."...and, maybe I just got lucky, but the optics in mine seemed more then just slightly better then theirs did (could also have been due to I collimate my scope whenever I go viewing, not certain how well collimated the other's scope was.)

#10 precaud

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 02:14 PM

Similarly to your experience, I started buying equipment for my new hobby in November. Fully HALF of everything I have bought new from reputable vendors has been defective, out of tolerance, or didn't work properly. Everything that I have bought used has been fine.

Trust, but verify.

#11 GOLGO13

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 02:26 PM

I've had more trouble on the used front. When I first started it took the third ETX70 to get one that worked. That was from a Discovery store...so maybe they just kept repackaging it when it got returned :question:

In general though, I've had much more luck on the new front than used. But, I also have got a lot of OK used stuff. Most of my used problems have been people not explaining every issue...

I'd say the safest used products are eyepieces.

#12 geekgroupie

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 02:33 PM

A cautionary tale for beginning buyers of astronomy equipment. Please understand right off the bat that I am not vendor-bashing. I am self-bashing. Nothing in this should indicate that I received anything less than courteous and professional help. I hope you'll get something from my "mistakes."

I began my astronomy adventure in October of 2012. I did some very basic and limited research before I drove up to my “local” astronomy store. I talked to a very helpful sales guy, told him essentially what I wanted to do, and he suggested the Celestron CPC800. That was a fine choice for me and continues to do what I want it to do. But, like all retail stores, they want to move the old stock off the shelves first. So, unknown to me at the time, I didn’t get the latest example of the telescope. Had I done a little more homework before I skipped up there with my $2300, I might have known what to look for.

Example #2 happened in December. I wanted the Orion Starshoot Autoguider and a guide scope. Another very helpful sales guy suggested the Astro Tech AT65Q. Again, had I done my homework or taken a second to pull out my fancy iPhone, I would have known that Astro Tech’s new model, the AT65EDQ, was available for a very similar price.

I know most of you will probably buy your stuff online, but if you have the opportunity to go to a brick and mortar store, know what it is you want to buy. If the sales person suggests something different, dig out your phone, look at the manufacture’s website and see if the model suggested is the current one. If it isn’t, are you getting a deal because it’s not, or is the older one a better product? Take your time while you are there.

The sales guys did absolutely nothing wrong business wise in selling me old stock, but I personally hope that next time, I’ll be a little smarter.


I worked as a medical sales rep once. I found out how much they lie. It was very competitive to be THE #1 sales rep; being #2 was being first loser.

My first scope was picked out by an astrophysicist rockstar. I had no desire to go shopping and browsing... I save that for the mall when I'm buying shoes.

#13 GeneT

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 04:39 PM

I've had much more luck on the new front than used.


I have never had a problem when buying new.

#14 KWB

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 08:13 PM

You know, I'll still do business with the place, but I'll do it smarter. Frankly, my next large purchase will be well over 10k and I'll have to do it mail order to avoid CA's $1000+ in sales tax. I'll most likely go with Astronomics, but homework first.

Hello Charles

Sounds like a very good plan dealing with Astronomics! :waytogo:

Just like any other facet in life,it's good to get ones ducks all in a row before make a major purchase,and for that matter,even a relatively minor one. I always try to use the 6 "P" system,as in Prior-Planning-Prevents-Pretty-Poor-Performance.

It generally never fails me. :ubetcha: Good luck with your future purchases. :fingerscrossed: :jump:

#15 Jarrod

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 08:54 PM

Quite possible the sales person wouldn't know about a newer one since it's still called a CPC800.


It's their job to know, and the customer is going there (very likely to pay a higher price) to get this person's professional assistance/advice. They should know - it's literally their business to know. If they don't, then they are in the wrong business.

#16 Paco_Grande

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 10:00 PM

..

I worked as a medical sales rep once. I found out how much they lie.


News flash! People lie. :lol:

EVERYBODY lies. Some just worst than others.

I've had pretty good luck over the years. If you do your homework, you're bound to cut far more better deals than lousy ones. Can't expect a sales rep to cover one's unwillingness to do the work to understand what you're buying. Pharmaceutical sales might be the most corrupt of all. It's a hard world out there, no doubt. Sharks are everywhere.

In general, people are pretty decent. I trust in that and listen to my BS detector.

It's hard when one's a noob in any hobby. We kinda have to rely on others more than usual, so the chances are higher we'll get duped or misunderstand.

Such is this life.

#17 GOLGO13

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 10:03 PM

Is there really a huge difference between CPC800's? I guess I don't really get that. And if they are a company trying to sell telescopes are they going to say there is a slightly newer model that's pretty much the sames scope?

That's almost like saying; well, we have a 31mm nagler here, but there is a newer run of them online. Either way it's a 31mm Nagler...and unless televue changes who makes those I wouldn't think that would be a big deal.

Now, if we were talking someone had a Nexstar 5i for $799 and you could get a Nexstar 5SE for the same price, now we are talking. Of course, I may go for the Nexstar 5i since it was made in the USA.

#18 CharlesW

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 11:23 AM

You don't really know anything about cars so you go to Toyota and tell the sales guy you need a car. You would expect for your money you would get this years model. But, the sales guy has a 2011 sitting in the back with "most" of the features of the '13, but same price as the '13. You are inexperienced, he needs to move that car, and you pay the full boat but don't get the new handset or the ED optics. I'm suggesting that if you are like I was, take a breath while you are in the store and look it up.

#19 csrlice12

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 12:39 PM

Sometimes its best to do your homework before you go shopping.....

#20 psi_chemie

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 10:06 PM

You can even do your homework *while* your shopping with your phone. But still..if people don't expect more of salesman, at least more than what the OP experienced, the next thing they are taking advantage even more..

#21 OneGear

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 12:29 PM

Quite possible the sales person wouldn't know about a newer one since it's still called a CPC800.


It's their job to know, and the customer is going there (very likely to pay a higher price) to get this person's professional assistance/advice. They should know - it's literally their business to know. If they don't, then they are in the wrong business.


This is naïve. They are in the business of selling things, whether it be soap or telescopes. They are not a tutor paid to educate you in the different models and features, or changes in products over time.

You want to pay someone money and get an education? Go to a school. You want to buy a telescope/car/soap? Talk to the sales clerk.

It is the rare salesperson who has a clue about the products they are shoveling. Those that do get my money, and those that don't sometimes still get it because there's often no other option.

#22 Jarrod

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 02:45 PM

It is the rare salesperson who has a clue about the products they are shoveling.


Ask Circuit City how that model worked for them.

Those that do get my money, and those that don't sometimes still get it because there's often no other option.


http://www.amazon.com

QED

#23 geekgroupie

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 03:01 PM

Quite possible the sales person wouldn't know about a newer one since it's still called a CPC800.


It's their job to know, and the customer is going there (very likely to pay a higher price) to get this person's professional assistance/advice. They should know - it's literally their business to know. If they don't, then they are in the wrong business.


This is naïve. They are in the business of selling things, whether it be soap or telescopes. They are not a tutor paid to educate you in the different models and features, or changes in products over time.

You want to pay someone money and get an education? Go to a school. You want to buy a telescope/car/soap? Talk to the sales clerk.

It is the rare salesperson who has a clue about the products they are shoveling. Those that do get my money, and those that don't sometimes still get it because there's often no other option.


Exactly. That's why I'm not driving 4 hours to Dallas and get a motel room all to pay $400 to a dealer for a lesson. For that price of lesson and exenditures, I could get another scope

#24 Widespread

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 03:33 PM

Can't expect a sales rep to cover one's unwillingness to do the work to understand what you're buying.


That's exactly what I expect a good store to do.

#25 Footbag

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 09:48 AM

I find it very important to research nearly every detail of my astro purchases. Specifically for imaging, you can spend a lot of money and get a lot of unusable equipment if you don't do your homework.

If possible, I like to find a few people already using what I'm considering purchasing. I'd also like to see images they took with the setup.






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