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debarb
member


Reged: 11/06/12

Orion customer service?
      #5605813 - 01/05/13 12:07 AM

Hello all,
Just trying to get a sense what's the norm for Orion. The situation is this: I bent one of the two bolts/knobs that secures my telescope tube (xt12i) to the mount--so much so that it won't fit through the hole in the arm of the mount. I called Orion a week ago, and spoke to someone who seems only to take messages. No response for two days, so then I wrote an email explaining that I'd like to purchase a replacement knob. A quick automated email acknowledging my note, and then an email from a real person asks me when I purchased my telescope and from whom. I responded immediately and told them that I bought my telescope used, and only need to purchase a knob. Nothing in response so far. Is this standard procedure at Orion, or is it just the holidays? All this for a knob worth about 2.25.


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Pauls72
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 10/28/07

Loc: LaPorte, IN
Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: debarb]
      #5605862 - 01/05/13 12:49 AM

I had good luck with them when I ordered a part for my mount. My only disappointment was the cost of shipping.

McMaster-Carr has pretty much any hardware you can imagine.
http://www.mcmaster.com/#
http://www.mcmaster.com/#machine-component-knobs/=kwcc81

You will also be surprised that many hardware stores have an assortment of threaded knobs. If nothing else, take one with and you can find out what the thread size is and order from McMaster Carr if they don't have what you need. It's probably metric.


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debarb
member


Reged: 11/06/12

Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: Pauls72]
      #5605868 - 01/05/13 12:56 AM

Thanks, Pauls72--that's a good idea.

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okieav8r
I'd rather be flying!
*****

Reged: 03/01/09

Loc: Oklahoma!
Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: debarb]
      #5605876 - 01/05/13 01:00 AM

Good luck if you told them you bought it used. Orion has a policy of selling replacement parts only to original owners. I and many others here have already ridden that merry-go-round with Orion.

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coopman
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 04/23/06

Loc: South Louisiana
Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: okieav8r]
      #5606225 - 01/05/13 10:00 AM

If you're not the original purchaser of the scope, there is a 99.9999% chance that they will not help you.

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debarb
member


Reged: 11/06/12

Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: coopman]
      #5606901 - 01/05/13 04:14 PM

Quote:

If you're not the original purchaser of the scope, there is a 99.9999% chance that they will not help you.




That's astonishing,especially in this day and age. The other companies I've been dealing with for the last 20 years--in flyfishing, cycling, etc...--have without exception (at least I can't think of one off hand) been responsive regardless of whether I bought new or used. I can understand non-transferable warranties, though at least 1/2 the companies I've dealt with even honor warranties to a second owner, so long as time limit hasn't run out. But not to offer replacement parts to second-hand owners? I've really never heard of such a thing. After all, I'm not asking to get it for free.

In any case, it's a brilliant business strategy: penalize someone who buys your product 2nd hand so that they'll be sure to look elsewhere when it comes to buying something new. I'd thought about buying a new xt8 next year, but this pretty much seals the deal. So, does anyone other than Orion make a good Dob w/ and 8-inch aperture?


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BDS316
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 09/16/09

Loc: Sol 3
Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: debarb]
      #5606939 - 01/05/13 04:41 PM

Quote:

Quote:

If you're not the original purchaser of the scope, there is a 99.9999% chance that they will not help you.




That's astonishing,especially in this day and age. The other companies I've been dealing with for the last 20 years--in flyfishing, cycling, etc...--have without exception (at least I can't think of one off hand) been responsive regardless of whether I bought new or used. I can understand non-transferable warranties, though at least 1/2 the companies I've dealt with even honor warranties to a second owner, so long as time limit hasn't run out. But not to offer replacement parts to second-hand owners? I've really never heard of such a thing. After all, I'm not asking to get it for free.

In any case, it's a brilliant business strategy: penalize someone who buys your product 2nd hand so that they'll be sure to look elsewhere when it comes to buying something new. I'd thought about buying a new xt8 next year, but this pretty much seals the deal. So, does anyone other than Orion make a good Dob w/ and 8-inch aperture?




There was a mega thread about this about a year or so ago. Orion doesn't really make anything. They sell stuff made in Asia, mostly Synta, though it used to be GSO, but that's a whole other saga.

The title of the mega thread was "Orion won't sell spare
parts?" dated 12-02-11 IIRC and the op was Dr. Megabyte. It's an interesting read if you have a half an hour or so...

Their policy has had an affect on me. I uesd to look forward to receiving my Orion catalog. I got one in the mail a couple of days ago, saw that they were selling eyepieces that look the same as Astro Tech Paradigms for $20 plus more than everyone else, then threw the catalog away.

In fairness, I will state for the record that my XT8 was purchased new, not used, and that my astronomy club buys 6 inch Dobs and binoculars from them for our Young Astronomer's Program. But then again, no one else is selling 6 inch dobs now as far as I know.

To address your question, the ultimate 8 inch dobs are made by Rob Teeter and Normand Fullum. There are true premium lifetime scopes with superb optics and mechanics not to mention fit and finish. Among the econodobs, the GSO offerings from Astro Tech, Zhumell and Apetura are better deals than Orion.

Welcome to CN, BTW.

Edited by BDS316 (01/06/13 08:20 AM)


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gonzosc1
sage


Reged: 11/08/12

Loc: South Carolina
Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: BDS316]
      #5607083 - 01/05/13 06:11 PM

you could try the orion chat service. I had some questions about a new atlas mount that I got from them. I found the live chat app on there site and was chating with a tech inside of 5 minutes.

as far as bent bolts go, that may not be something that is stocked on the shelf..


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tecmageModerator
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 01/13/10

Loc: Glenview, IL
Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: gonzosc1]
      #5607117 - 01/05/13 06:29 PM

Several posters here have stated Orion's policy on supporting used equipment. Orion ha decided not to sell parts to owners of used Orion branded equipment. Whatever we think of Orion's support policy, Orion chose it and has to live with it.

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cn register 5
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 12/26/12

Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: tecmage]
      #5607134 - 01/05/13 06:39 PM

You may be better off telling Orion what you think about this than us. They are in a better position than us to do something about it.

After all it's the sort of thing that affects the resale price and so affects the decision to buy from them.

Chris


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aolo
member


Reged: 01/20/12

Loc: Panhandle Florida
Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: cn register 5]
      #5607152 - 01/05/13 06:58 PM

I have purchased several telescopes , mounts, and items from them over the years. There customer service is not what it once was. I can no longer recommend them based on my own experience. They will not service even original equipment owners like they use too (I even had the original receipt and was willing to purchase).

I recently wanted to purchase an item and had questions. It was very difficult to get an answers and got passed along. The person who gave me the final assessment sounded like a juvenal and had no tack.

I don't think they care.


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wolfman_4_ever
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 07/15/11

Loc: El Segundo, Ca, So. Cal
Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: aolo]
      #5607236 - 01/05/13 08:17 PM

Worst customer service on the planet earth. I take their catalog and RTS it and put won't sell parts to second owners and send it back

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FirstSight
Duke of Deneb
*****

Reged: 12/26/05

Loc: Raleigh, NC
Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: debarb]
      #5607633 - 01/06/13 12:41 AM

Quote:

Hello all,
Just trying to get a sense what's the norm for Orion. The situation is this: I bent one of the two bolts/knobs that secures my telescope tube (xt12i) to the mount--so much so that it won't fit through the hole in the arm of the mount.




I also once inadvertently bent one of the knobbed bolts holding the OTA of my 12XTi to the base at the altitude axis. Orion does sell replacements for the knobbed bolts (you get the pair) at a reasonable price with prompt shipment, but OTOH I am an original owner of the scope.

If you bought your scope secondhand from someone nearby, perhaps you could persuade them to place the order for you at Orion. If not, it's worth a try to call Orion; for a minor part like this perhaps they'd bend on their policy, even while they wouldn't on a more major structural, optical, or electronic part such as encoders.

Another thing you could do is garage-engineer a replacement bolt/knob assembly yourself, provided you kept the bent bolt for sizing. Visit a TrueValue hardware store (which keeps a far better variety of miscellaneous mechanical nuts and bolts than the big-box stores do) and see if you can find something which matches the size, length, and threading of the original. You could probably also find a knob that would thread or be epoxy-glued onto the end of it. BTW: if the knob that bent was also the one that had the insta-adjust bearing on it, that can be threaded off the bolt, albeit with some effort involved, and put on the new one.

I could perhaps understand Orion's "original owner" replacement policy with respect to their encoders and COL hardware, but I'm dumbfounded why they don't realize they're shooting themselves in the foot with respect to other components. An increasing number of people are becoming hesitant to become new owners of Orion scopes because as word of mouth spreads about their original-owners-only replacment parts policy, it becomes harder to resell the scope if the owner wants to upgrade someday.


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BDS316
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 09/16/09

Loc: Sol 3
Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: FirstSight]
      #5607858 - 01/06/13 07:55 AM

Quote:


I could perhaps understand Orion's "original owner" replacement policy with respect to their encoders and COL hardware, but I'm dumbfounded why they don't realize they're shooting themselves in the foot with respect to other components. An increasing number of people are becoming hesitant to become new owners of Orion scopes because as word of mouth spreads about their original-owners-only replacment parts policy, it becomes harder to resell the scope if the owner wants to upgrade someday.




This is an interesting point that is worth further discussion.


When newbies are first bitten by the astronomy bug, it is likely that Orion is the first company that they hear about; they become aware about other options after discovering CN, going to local club meetings(if there are any), getting a national magazine,etc, and then they discover that many of the items sold by Orion are available elsewhere, for example:

GSO econodobs with better accessories included

Eyepieces/accessories from Agena/Owl/Astronomics/Scope Stuff at lower prices and free shipping to boot.

etc etc

So maybe Orion (who must review these threads, or at least I would think they would) realizes that they will need to make most of their profit on newbies before they become more seasoned(educated), and this becomes a part of their corporate strategy. An example of this is the "build a Scope" program, which locks the buyer into Orion brand accessories, rather than, say, Televue, even though Orion is a TV dealer.

I've noticed that people are often very surprised when they first learn about Orion's "support and replacement parts for original owners only" policy. I had to hunt around the website for a little while before I found a statement that clarifies that their products are covered by a "limited, non-transferrable warranty". So this, then, is the statement that implies that they won't sell parts to owners of used Orion scopes.

Some of my friends have purchased used Orion scopes, but they were aware of the policy at the time of purchase. None of the sellers from whom they purchased these scopes were aware of the policy and when they were informed, they were pretty unhappy because they knew that they would have to lower their selling prices significantly. They also had to agree to act as a go-between with Orion in case parts purchases for these scopes would be needed in the future.

Caveat Emptor.


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FirstSight
Duke of Deneb
*****

Reged: 12/26/05

Loc: Raleigh, NC
Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: BDS316]
      #5608482 - 01/06/13 02:09 PM

Quote:


So maybe Orion (who must review these threads, or at least I would think they would) realizes that they will need to make most of their profit on newbies before they become more seasoned(educated), and this becomes a part of their corporate strategy. An example of this is the "build a Scope" program, which locks the buyer into Orion brand accessories, rather than, say, Televue, even though Orion is a TV dealer.

I've noticed that people are often very surprised when they first learn about Orion's "support and replacement parts for original owners only" policy. I had to hunt around the website for a little while before I found a statement that clarifies that their products are covered by a "limited, non-transferrable warranty". So this, then, is the statement that implies that they won't sell parts to owners of used Orion scopes.




Perhaps Orion's reasoning for limiting sale of replacement parts to original customers is reluctance to open the door to becoming a de facto ATM parts dealer for homebrewed scopes, viewing that as a low-to-no-profit proposition that might require either maintaining a larger parts inventory or else risk not having critical parts timely on hand to service original owner needs (whether under warranty or post-warranty). If so, the "build-a-scope" option at first seems a curious proposition, but a look at the actual details of this option reveals that there's nothing optional whatever in the "build-a-scope" program regarding the components of the telescope itself (e.g. focuser choice). Rather, the program is nothing more than an expanded accessory bundling deal whose only advantage is giving you more options for your choice among Orion-brand finderscopes and your choice of "included" eyepiece(s), but choosing "none" of either is not an allowed option. So there's virtually *nothing* ATM-ish whatsoever about the "build-a-scope" option; it's nothing more than an attempt to address potential customers who wished they could have a RACI finderscope on models where a straight-through one was stock, or vice-versa, or else get a RDF instead of either, etc, without giving the option to go elsewhere for that part entirely.

I was at first curious about your comment about Orion's build-a-scope program channeling buyers into Orion accessories instead of Televue, since Televue doesn't really make accessories for dobs (other than their eyepieces). However, when when I took a closer look at the Orion build-a-dob required components and realized eyepiece selections were a mandatory part thereof, your point suddenly made sense.

In any case, Orion's policy seems penny-wise and pound-foolish to me. I was for years one of Orion's biggest word-of-mouth fans and enthusiastic recommender of their scopes for folks wanting to get into the hobby, but I've really chilled on that since the implications of their replacement parts policy have become clearer to me. BTW: Televue does in fact lurk in CN forums; Uncle Al knows more than you might suppose about what the CN community thinks about stuff. Orion would be foolish to not similarly keep their ear to the ground here at CN.

I'm fortunate in that it's doubtful I'll ever be selling my 12XTi; I've done way too much custom upgrading (including the optics) to ever realize a worthwhile return on investment on the resale, and if I ever come into enough money to comfortably afford a full-fledged larger-aperture premium scope e.g. Starmaster, I have enough quality non-Orion components (e.g. the Protostar spider w/heated secondary, SV60 finderscope) that I'd eventually use those parts to create a compactly portable truss scope with it. THE PROBLEM HERE for anyone starting down the upgrade path with the existing 12XTi structure is that fairly quickly, you wind up with significantly more investment in attempting to turn it into a more premium-performance scope than you could ever recoup if you someday decided to resell it to invest in a more full-fledged upgrade in quality or aperture. From a pure financial standpoint, upgrades to the existing 12XTi structure don't pay off.

Edited by FirstSight (01/06/13 02:33 PM)


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BDS316
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 09/16/09

Loc: Sol 3
Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: FirstSight]
      #5608781 - 01/06/13 04:38 PM

1st Sight Said:

"I was at first curious about your comment about Orion's build-a-scope program channeling buyers into Orion accessories instead of Televue, since Televue doesn't really make accessories for dobs (other than their eyepieces). However, when when I took a closer look at the Orion build-a-dob required components and realized eyepiece selections were a mandatory part thereof, your point suddenly made sense. "

Yep. I would like to see Orion offer a build-a-scope with the option of NO eyepieces, so those that already own eyepieces with which they are happy don't need to buy more, and with NO finderscope, so customers would have the option of using a Telrad, which Orion doesn't sell.

" In any case, Orion's policy seems penny-wise and pound-foolish to me. I was for years one of Orion's biggest word-of-mouth fans and enthusiastic recommender of their scopes for folks wanting to get into the hobby, but I've really chilled on that since the implications of their replacement parts policy have become clearer to me. BTW: Televue does in fact lurk in CN forums; Uncle Al knows more than you might suppose about what the CN community thinks about stuff. Orion would be foolish to not similarly keep their ear to the ground here at CN. "

This is interesting. On a few occasions some of my club members, when speaking to Orion tech support, asked them if they follow CN and the skyquest yahoo group and they denied doing so.

Our astronomy club has a Young Astronomer's Program which awards anywhere from five to seven 6"Dobs to deserving youngsters every year. We get the scopes from Orion because no one else makes 6 inch Dobs. Buschnell briefly offered a 6 inch Dob and we got one to test it. We liked it but when we tried to buy more of them we found that the product was mysteriously discontinued. We award Orion binoculars to the runner-ups. Last year we bought 6 binoculars and one of them had to be returned because it was misaligned.

If a newbie asks me what to buy, I suggest Teeter STS if they can afford it and an 8-10" GSO econodob if they can't. Orion is the only marketer of 6 inch dobs as far as I know with the demise of the Buschnell 6 incher. Please correct me if this is not true.

" I'm fortunate in that it's doubtful I'll ever be selling my 12XTi; I've done way too much custom upgrading (including the optics) to ever realize a worthwhile return on investment on the resale, and if I ever come into enough money to comfortably afford a full-fledged larger-aperture premium scope e.g. Starmaster, I have enough quality non-Orion components (e.g. the Protostar spider w/heated secondary, SV60 finderscope) that I'd eventually use those parts to create a compactly portable truss scope with it. THE PROBLEM HERE for anyone starting down the upgrade path with the existing 12XTi structure is that fairly quickly, you wind up with significantly more investment in attempting to turn it into a more premium-performance scope than you could ever recoup if you someday decided to resell it to invest in a more full-fledged upgrade in quality or aperture. From a pure financial standpoint, upgrades to the existing 12XTi structure don't pay off. "

I am basically in the same boat with my heavily modified XT8, GoldenEye. It has a custom baltic birch mount and a Moonlite focuser and a Telrad, as well as other upgrades (see sig and picture below.) If I were to sell it, I would never recoup what it is worth unless I were to sell the premium parts individually (or use them for a future scope and put the original focuser and finder back on the XT8)

Last night I saw 6 stars in the Trapezium at only 140x and split some one second double stars at higher magnifications. Excellent views of Jupiter as well. I can track near Dobson's hole at 300x. I'm keeping GoldenEye. It's going to be my post-retirement "geezer scope" because of its elegant simplicity and ease of use in the tradition of the legendary Starmaster Oak Classic, which was the inspiration for all the upgrades.

http://www.astrogoods.com/stone.goldeneye.jpg

Edited by BDS316 (01/06/13 05:40 PM)


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debarb
member


Reged: 11/06/12

Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: Pauls72]
      #5611877 - 01/08/13 12:38 PM

Quote:

I had good luck with them when I ordered a part for my mount. My only disappointment was the cost of shipping.

McMaster-Carr has pretty much any hardware you can imagine.
http://www.mcmaster.com/#



http://www.mcmaster.com/#machine-component-knobs/=kwcc81

You will also be surprised that many hardware stores have an assortment of threaded knobs. If nothing else, take one with and you can find out what the thread size is and order from McMaster Carr if they don't have what you need. It's probably metric.






I've got an order from McMaster-Carr on the way: knobs very similar to the originals for less than a dollar each. Thanks again for the link: I hadn't known about McMaster-Carr, which seems to sell everything--including the kitchen sink.

Edited by debarb (01/08/13 12:40 PM)


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CJK
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/05/12

Loc: Northeast TN
Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: debarb]
      #5612006 - 01/08/13 02:02 PM

McMaster-Carr is the bomb. They have any hardware item you could possibly think of, and many that you would never think of!

-- Chris


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mmclure
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 12/30/10

Loc: Sacramento, CA USA
Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: CJK]
      #5612259 - 01/08/13 04:25 PM

When Orion wouldn't sell me a replacement XT10i vertical stop, McMaster-Carr saved my bacon. They sell knobs covered with very firm rubber which I think are better suited to the task than the original vertical stop! They're listed in their catalog as "Black Comfort-Grip Polypropylene with Steel Stud". If I ever need to replace the OTA support knobs on my scope, I'll probably use those as well - the rubbery coating should work really nicely to ensure a good grip with gloves.

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Scott in NC
Mad Hatter
*****

Reged: 03/05/05

Loc: NC
Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: mmclure]
      #5612830 - 01/08/13 10:25 PM

Thanks for the heads-up on that, Manuel! I'll keep them in mind if I ever need a part like that for my XT12i.

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bobmarleyou812
sage
*****

Reged: 01/18/08

Loc: CA
Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: Scott in NC]
      #5616289 - 01/10/13 09:20 PM

My experience differs from others posted here.
I bought a new case that had some loose threads on the inside of it. Not a month later the bag started to fall apart so I left a negative review on Orions website. They contacted me and offered a replacement. I did have to pay for shipping the bag back to them, but they made an attempt to make it right, and initiated the contact none the less. The new bag has the same flaws as the old one, but I still use it. I give them kudos for initiating contact with me and trying to make it right. The QC of this one product stinks, but everything else I have that has the Orion name on it (Mak, Sirius, Atlas) is top notch for China import IMO. That was about 5 years ago. No experience with customer service since, haven't needed it.


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debarb
member


Reged: 11/06/12

Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: bobmarleyou812]
      #5616598 - 01/11/13 02:01 AM

Quote:

My experience differs from others posted here.
I bought a new case that had some loose threads on the inside of it. Not a month later the bag started to fall apart so I left a negative review on Orions website. They contacted me and offered a replacement. I did have to pay for shipping the bag back to them, but they made an attempt to make it right, and initiated the contact none the less. The new bag has the same flaws as the old one, but I still use it. I give them kudos for initiating contact with me and trying to make it right. The QC of this one product stinks, but everything else I have that has the Orion name on it (Mak, Sirius, Atlas) is top notch for China import IMO. That was about 5 years ago. No experience with customer service since, haven't needed it.




They send you a badly made bag,require you to pay the postage to send it back to them, and then they send another one that's just as poorly made? With due respect,that qualifies as bad customer service in my book.

On the other hand, McMaster-Carr is, as others have said, da bomb. I order knobs on Monday, in my hands on Wednesday, and the price for two knobs including 2-day shipping: $6.59. If McMaster-Carr only made telescopes!


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bobmarleyou812
sage
*****

Reged: 01/18/08

Loc: CA
Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: debarb]
      #5617219 - 01/11/13 12:46 PM

Quote:

Quote:

My experience differs from others posted here.
I bought a new case that had some loose threads on the inside of it. Not a month later the bag started to fall apart so I left a negative review on Orions website. They contacted me and offered a replacement. I did have to pay for shipping the bag back to them, but they made an attempt to make it right, and initiated the contact none the less. The new bag has the same flaws as the old one, but I still use it. I give them kudos for initiating contact with me and trying to make it right. The QC of this one product stinks, but everything else I have that has the Orion name on it (Mak, Sirius, Atlas) is top notch for China import IMO. That was about 5 years ago. No experience with customer service since, haven't needed it.




They send you a badly made bag,require you to pay the postage to send it back to them, and then they send another one that's just as poorly made? With due respect,that qualifies as bad customer service in my book.

On the other hand, McMaster-Carr is, as others have said, da bomb. I order knobs on Monday, in my hands on Wednesday, and the price for two knobs including 2-day shipping: $6.59. If McMaster-Carr only made telescopes!





Well like I said - I think it is more of a Quality Control issue and I only experienced bad Quality Control from Orion on that one single item out of many products purchased them.

I guess I just appreciated the fact that Customer Service CONTACTED ME and offered a replacement. Interpret it how you wish though.


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Jim Rosenstock
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 07/14/05

Loc: MD, south of the DC Nebula
Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: bobmarleyou812]
      #5617380 - 01/11/13 02:38 PM

Orion doesn't necessarily continue to support their products to original purchasers, either. Their product line changes over time, and, as others have noted, Orion doesn't manufacture anything, nor do they keep large quantities of spare parts on hand indefinitely. So, original purchaser or not, you'll likely be in "fix it yourself" mode with many Orion products no longer in their catalog.

Fortunately, many if not most of us in the amateur astronomy community have gotten pretty good at "fix it yourself"....

Orion's huge "plus" is that it provides "one-stop shopping" for somebody wanting an initial setup to do astronomy. I used them, ....then moved on from there. Most of us do....

Two big Orion "minuses" are the lack of ongoing product support, and their regularly excessive shipping fees.

It is what it is....and they're good for....what they're good for, and that's about it.

Jim


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CJK
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/05/12

Loc: Northeast TN
Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: Jim Rosenstock]
      #5617411 - 01/11/13 02:57 PM

I think you've pretty much summed it up, Jim.

I'm very pleased with what I've purchased from Orion, but most of my subsequent shopping has been from places like Astronomics, OPT, and Agena Astro.

-- Chris


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starrancher
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Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: Jim Rosenstock]
      #5617440 - 01/11/13 03:11 PM

Never really did care for Orion much and glad I didn't start there . They have typically always been a less bang for the buck company . Then the cool truss Dobs with intellescope and go to came out . Wow ! Who else does this ? And at a price that really can't be beat . This being quite opposite to the basic pricing of the other stuff in their line . So , as a twelve inch Dob would be my next choice in adding to my equipment lineup , I seriously thought the truss style go to with tracking would be the bomb for me .
Unfortunately , Orion's blantent refusal to customer service or even sales of parts to anyone owning a second hand unit really makes me want to rethink the making of a purchase from them at all .


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FebStars
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Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: starrancher]
      #5621533 - 01/13/13 07:57 PM

I would like to point out that we as a consumer group are small compared to other markets, and in order to keep their doors open, they have to have policies in place that will foster that notion. I have owned several ( 8 or more) Orion scopes over the years, as well as their EQ-G Mount. Sometimes I had issues. They took care of every one of them. Quite frankly, I would not expect them to sell me parts for a used piece of EQ. They should save the parts, which I am sure are limited, for Original owners, and customers should be aware that many businesses even outside the realm of Astro EQ do the same.

I also find this thread verging on Vendor bashing without substance and am wondering why the moderator has not shut it down.

Respectfully,
Tom H

I have no personal interest in Orion other than being a very satisfied customer who is grateful they are still open.


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okieav8r
I'd rather be flying!
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Loc: Oklahoma!
Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: FebStars]
      #5621711 - 01/13/13 09:20 PM

Quote:

I would like to point out that we as a consumer group are small compared to other markets, and in order to keep their doors open, they have to have policies in place that will foster that notion. I have owned several ( 8 or more) Orion scopes over the years, as well as their EQ-G Mount. Sometimes I had issues. They took care of every one of them. Quite frankly, I would not expect them to sell me parts for a used piece of EQ. They should save the parts, which I am sure are limited, for Original owners, and customers should be aware that many businesses even outside the realm of Astro EQ do the same.

I also find this thread verging on Vendor bashing without substance and am wondering why the moderator has not shut it down.

Respectfully,
Tom H

I have no personal interest in Orion other than being a very satisfied customer who is grateful they are still open.




I haven't seen any vendor bashing. Pretty much just folks recounting their experiences and stating their opinions in a civil manner as you have just done.


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mfromb
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Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: debarb]
      #5621783 - 01/13/13 09:55 PM

Unlike the experiences some others are relating, I am an owner of an XT8i that was purchased used and I did received great support from Orion (when sourcing a missing part).

I got on Orion's website chat on a Friday evening, after discovering I was missing the nylon 'braking' washer (unsure if original owner omitted in the build or it was lost somewhere along the way, but irrelevant). In the chat session I was very clear about the situation (purchased a used XT8i), and my main hope was to find a replacement part to purchase OR get the specs (type of material, dimensions of the disc, etc.) so I could manufacture one or find something similar at a hardware store.

They were very accomodating, and connected me (via chat) to a tech who talked me thru making sure I and he were referencing the same part. They shipped to me (and they paid the shipping).

Again, I was clear about this being a used scope I had just purchased, only to find the missing part.

So, my experience was that they were very supportive. This may not be 'the norm'. If it's not, then I would suggest Orion has some problems in the area of customer support. Whether or not they provide help to used-scope purchasers, or not, they should at least be consistent!

At any rate, I would recommend taking the website chat route and see if they can assist you. It's 'free', except for your time/effort, and I'm not the only one they've helped in this manner.

Best regards


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FebStars
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Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: mfromb]
      #5621804 - 01/13/13 10:14 PM

@ Rex...True. I may have overstated things with my ending comments...my apologies.

Tom


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Scott in NC
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Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: mfromb]
      #5621813 - 01/13/13 10:18 PM

Quote:

Unlike the experiences some others are relating, I am an owner of an XT8i that was purchased used and I did received great support from Orion (when sourcing a missing part).




That's good to hear. Do you happen to recall how long ago that happened? The reason that I ask is that I had a similar experience when I contacted them 4 or 5 years ago about getting a replacement primary mirror collimation screw for a 4.5" Starblast that I had purchased used. I offered to pay for the part, but they kindly mailed it to me free of charge. I wonder if they changed their policy somewhere in the interim.


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tecmageModerator
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Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: FebStars]
      #5621832 - 01/13/13 10:27 PM

Quote:

I also find this thread verging on Vendor bashing without substance and am wondering why the moderator has not shut it down.





Don't worry, we're watching.


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BDS316
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Reged: 09/16/09

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Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: okieav8r]
      #5621971 - 01/14/13 12:19 AM

Quote:

Quote:

I would like to point out that we as a consumer group are small compared to other markets, and in order to keep their doors open, they have to have policies in place that will foster that notion. I have owned several ( 8 or more) Orion scopes over the years, as well as their EQ-G Mount. Sometimes I had issues. They took care of every one of them. Quite frankly, I would not expect them to sell me parts for a used piece of EQ. They should save the parts, which I am sure are limited, for Original owners, and customers should be aware that many businesses even outside the realm of Astro EQ do the same.

I also find this thread verging on Vendor bashing without substance and am wondering why the moderator has not shut it down.

Respectfully,
Tom H

I have no personal interest in Orion other than being a very satisfied customer who is grateful they are still open.




I haven't seen any vendor bashing. Pretty much just folks recounting their experiences and stating their opinions in a civil manner as you have just done.




+1


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debarb
member


Reged: 11/06/12

Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: BDS316]
      #5622035 - 01/14/13 01:22 AM

For the record, until a couple of weeks ago, I had no reason not to appreciate Orion. I drove three hundred miles round trip back in November to pick up a very nice 2nd hand xt12i; since then, my 11-yr-old daughter and I (and half the neighborhood) have had a great time on those few cloudless nights we've had, thanks to our Orion scope. So I wasn't looking for trouble when I asked them, in one phone call and two emails, if I could purchase a replacement knob. The communication stopped, it seemed, the minute they found out I'd bought my scope 2nd hand.

Of course, they're welcome to institute any policy they wish. But they should, at the very least, make it clear to prospective buyers of new equipment that scopes bought 2nd hand will not be supplied with parts if the need arises. When and if I decide to sell my scope, I will certainly have to convey that information to any prospective buyer. It would be dishonest not to, since it's reasonable to assume that a company still in business will sell you parts for their equipment, regardless of whether you bought new or used.

But even when I asked Orion point blank in my second email whether it was true they wouldn't sell parts to owners of 2nd hand equipment, I got no response: no parts, and no explanation. Evidently they consider instituting the policy good for business, but publicizing--or even copping to-- the policy bad for business.


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CJK
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Reged: 12/05/12

Loc: Northeast TN
Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: debarb]
      #5622131 - 01/14/13 05:06 AM

Since many (most?) of Orion's offerings are sold under other labels as well, has anyone tried obtaining a needed part from Celestron or SkyWatcher (for example) instead?

-- Chris


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GeneT
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Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: FirstSight]
      #5623510 - 01/14/13 10:00 PM

Quote:

Perhaps Orion's reasoning for limiting sale of replacement parts to original customers is reluctance to open the door to becoming a de facto ATM parts dealer for homebrewed scopes, viewing that as a low-to-no-profit proposition that might require either maintaining a larger parts inventory or else risk not having critical parts timely on hand to service original owner needs (whether under warranty or post-warranty).




Never thought of this possibility. However, I don't believe Orion has handled this issue very well from a public relations perspective. If they sell a telescope, it is arbitrary to service a first owner, but not a second owner. Orion does not need to service other brands. However, they should service their own brand regardless of how many owners it passed through.


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Paul G
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Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: debarb]
      #5624070 - 01/15/13 09:41 AM

I suspect it's strictly business. If it were profitable to carry enough spare parts to offer them to anyone with an Orion product they would be doing it. Keep in mind Orion occupies the value niche where buyers are very price conscious. Carrying extra parts is expensive and since they are strictly an importer and buyers can often get the same product under another brand name elsewhere it might not make sense to incur the extra cost.

Orion supports those who do business with them, they don't support those who don't buy from them. Lots of companies do that. If one wants better service for a product they buy from Orion they can always buy some of the Orion products from a high service dealer like Company 7, but like Orion they only support those who purchased from them.

You don't get what you don't pay for.


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FirstSight
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Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: Paul G]
      #5624144 - 01/15/13 10:33 AM

Quote:

I suspect it's strictly business. If it were profitable to carry enough spare parts to offer them to anyone with an Orion product they would be doing it. Keep in mind Orion occupies the value niche where buyers are very price conscious. Carrying extra parts is expensive and since they are strictly an importer and buyers can often get the same product under another brand name elsewhere it might not make sense to incur the extra cost.




Orion could mitigate this inventory-cost issue by acting mainly as a parts agent for second owners, rather than servicing them out of stock-on-hand. They might only need to limit sales from stock-in-hand to critical parts that are too expensive to keep sufficient numbers readily on-hand to service both original and secondary owners in timely fashion.

The bottom line is that Orion needs to realize that although their parts sales policy may make sense from a bean-counter business perspective, it risks becoming deeply counterproductive from a product marketing perspective as more and more people within the astronomy community become hesitant to recommend their products to prospective newbies. Orion had, for a time, the kind of glowing word-of-mouth reputation for products and service most companies could only wish for in their fondest hopes. That reputation is suffering serious damage, and threads like this are part of the pathology of decline.

Good luck Orion ever getting my recommendation again without adding some deep qualifications that may give pause to any prospective buyers.


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EFT
Vendor - Deep Space Products
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Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: FirstSight]
      #5625866 - 01/16/13 09:37 AM

.

Edited by tecmage (01/16/13 11:09 PM)


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spongebob@55
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 12/26/11

Loc: Bergen Co. New Jersey
Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: EFT]
      #5626059 - 01/16/13 11:50 AM

I've had 95% good responses from new owner issues, and the one I didn't was myself early Alzheimer's. But they tried and tried to help and came up empty. But it was not their fault.
I am now trying to get a replacement GPS unit accessory 07949 under warranty from them for my Atlas. It downloads position, but the time and date are incorrect, or in one case, it seemed to have worked well, but pointed below the horizon. So I called, got a shipping notice on it that it was rec'd, but never a shipping notice with tracking. Yesterday I called about it, and this morning I got a string of e mails saying, 'sorry', its discontinued and we don't have any'. Then another, 30 minutes later, saying, 'we understand this is a warranty issue, so we've found a few in our retail locations, and will ship NEXT DAY to you so you get it by Friday (which is tomorrow). Looks like the ending could be a good one......
But, why could they be ending this GPS unit without a reference to a new one, or with a reason that the order takers could reference on their screens?
This unit worked perfectly the 1st time, but then just didn't work (it was colder that night, like 25*). So I'm happy as a original buyer for their CS. A little annoyed at their non transferable 2nd owner policy though.
On the other side, I bought a used ED APO refractor second hand for Ex. Scientific. It was register in warranty for 1 year and still barely within that time. I cracked the edge of the objective. I explained to them the issue, and asked how much to fix. They said, they would change the warranty coverage to me up to their 5 year warranty, and then it would b covered under warranty!!!! Wow. 2nd owner chips the lens , admits it, and its still covered???? WOW!! Well ok. I ship it to them and they ship back the scope, with a new objective, at their cost. Holy Moly! Since then, I've traded in that one for a 127ED Triplet and bought about 4-5 EPs from them. I also regularly look at ES products that I see whats coming out and follow anything that has ES in the headline. Thats CS!
BTW, does anyone have the email that the Pres/CFO of Orion sent us all thanking us and 'wanting to hear any input'. I you would, could you send it to me please? thanks


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wolfman_4_ever
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Reged: 07/15/11

Loc: El Segundo, Ca, So. Cal
Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: wolfman_4_ever]
      #5626503 - 01/16/13 04:16 PM

Quote:

Worst customer service on the planet earth. I take their catalog and RTS it and put won't sell parts to second owners and send it back




Well I just had the most pleasant chat with a rep at Orion. I have an All Sky Cam Gen 1 It has the menu controls on a switch on the outside of the camera housing. Well 1/7/13 was the final day of my 1 year warranty. Late in Dec., we had a bunch of rain which caused this switch to malfunction.

A few months ago Orion came out with a Gen 2 all sky cam which adds PC control (got rid of this switch) and beefed up with Dew controller.

I sent the all sky cam back on 1/2/13. Just made it for warranty. Or did I? The Gen 1 dew controller worked worth pie. I had to drill a hole in the side of the all sky housing and add two 2" dew strips with separate power and just run them all day to remove dew. (so cal beach.. 10 months out of the year the dew is everywhere). I was afraid this modification would void my warranty. To my surprise, I received a call from Orion stating they upgraded my all sky cam gen 1 to a gen 2 version. All I had to pay was $50 for the new housing.. Jumped all over that!

Orion has jumped up the board when it comes to customer service this time around. Is this because the All Sky Cam is their product? Will they do the same for a product they re-brand as their own? Is the cost of the item also a factor? Time will tell.

Thanks Orion!


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Paul G
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Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: spongebob@55]
      #5626535 - 01/16/13 04:31 PM

You bring up a good point, spare parts from China just may not exist. I was talking with a Dell XPS tech support guy and he told me when a new model is produced they have enough spare parts manufactured to barely meet their projected need for their 3 year warranty. Usually they guess close enough, occasionally like in my case they guess low and run out for in warranty machines in which case they ship a new machine.

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spongebob@55
scholastic sledgehammer
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Reged: 12/26/11

Loc: Bergen Co. New Jersey
Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: Paul G]
      #5816473 - 04/22/13 10:21 PM

Well, my recent experiences certainly show decreasing levels of service and knowledge. Standard answers w/o really listening, switching to 'technical' and still no detailed answer or any motivation to get an answer, and on line help which takes 4-5 minutes for a response. Very poor imo for what is in effect an online sales company. And once again, no NEAF presence.

Edited by spongebob@55 (04/22/13 10:22 PM)


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DaveJ
Carpal Tunnel
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Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: spongebob@55]
      #5816538 - 04/22/13 11:08 PM

Quote:

Well, my recent experiences certainly show decreasing levels of service and knowledge. Standard answers w/o really listening, switching to 'technical' and still no detailed answer or any motivation to get an answer, and on line help which takes 4-5 minutes for a response. Very poor imo for what is in effect an online sales company. And once again, no NEAF presence.




I've been attending NEAF for the past ten years and Orion only had a presence one time - and that was the year they advertised huge Dobs at ridiculously high prices. I think they realized they were way out-classed at NEAF.


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terry59
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Reged: 07/18/11

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Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: spongebob@55]
      #5817247 - 04/23/13 11:26 AM

Quote:

Well, my recent experiences certainly show decreasing levels of service and knowledge. Standard answers w/o really listening, switching to 'technical' and still no detailed answer or any motivation to get an answer, and on line help which takes 4-5 minutes for a response. Very poor imo for what is in effect an online sales company. And once again, no NEAF presence.




I find their customer service to be ok, their "tech support" to be very poor and their policy of not supporting subsequent owners bad so I choose to vote with my wallet. Although I own some of their gear, I will not purchase any in the future.


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KD58
sage
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Reged: 11/23/12

Loc: West Texas
Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: terry59]
      #5817353 - 04/23/13 12:27 PM

I bought my initial gear from them and they have been okay. Their live chat function is helpful and basic problems can easily be addressed through it. I have had problems with my Synscan on the Atlas and have sent it back to them for evaluation. They found it to be working and then I sent the cable back to them. When they found it to be functional, I wrote to them and they suggested sending the mount head back. They have been responsive but sometimes take a while to do so. I must confess that telephone technical support is not always satisfactory.

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BDS316
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Reged: 09/16/09

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Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: terry59]
      #5819412 - 04/24/13 10:03 AM

Quote:

Quote:

Well, my recent experiences certainly show decreasing levels of service and knowledge. Standard answers w/o really listening, switching to 'technical' and still no detailed answer or any motivation to get an answer, and on line help which takes 4-5 minutes for a response. Very poor imo for what is in effect an online sales company. And once again, no NEAF presence.




I find their customer service to be ok, their "tech support" to be very poor and their policy of not supporting subsequent owners bad so I choose to vote with my wallet. Although I own some of their gear, I will not purchase any in the future.




That pretty much sums it up for me, too.

Something to add is that I no longer trust their product ratings. Seems they don't post ratings that they receive that are less than positive. I submitted a rating on the XT8 that I purchased (yes I am the original owner) and I commented that the GSO 8 inch dobs were a better deal all-around. Guess what? They didn't post my review.


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csrlice12
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Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: BDS316]
      #5819598 - 04/24/13 11:46 AM

Mostly (and it's not just scopes), I find that once it's out the door, you're on you're own....Quality Control and Customer Service went the way of the dinosaur after "maximizing profits" became the business model.

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Jarrod
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Reged: 01/20/13

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Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5819667 - 04/24/13 12:22 PM

For me it's been a mixed bag. I've had some really great experiences with people on the phone and in the online chat and also some pretty bad ones where all they did was take a message and then not return my call for several days. When I needed them most, right after buying my scope that arrived with some defective parts, they dropped the ball. I ended up getting impatient and fixing what I could myself. They did eventually make it right and send me the rest of the parts that I needed. But I had to call and email several times, which was and is inexcusable.

I don't see what the fuss is about them not supporting secondhand scopes. It doesn't seem like a very profitable business (very time intensive versus the revenue it would generate) and not in their best interest. It's in the best interests of people who may never have been Orion customers, so I don't blame them for this policy.


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my_universe
member


Reged: 01/07/10

Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: BDS316]
      #5819686 - 04/24/13 12:30 PM

I'm sure different companies have different rules for what passes as an aceptable review. No doubt for some, mentioning a competing brand in the review ("get Brand X instead") is a sure-fire cause for their rejecting the review.

Quote:



Something to add is that I no longer trust their product ratings. Seems they don't post ratings that they receive that are less than positive. I submitted a rating on the XT8 that I purchased (yes I am the original owner) and I commented that the GSO 8 inch dobs were a better deal all-around. Guess what? They didn't post my review.




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terry59
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Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: Jarrod]
      #5819735 - 04/24/13 12:52 PM

Quote:



I don't see what the fuss is about them not supporting secondhand scopes. It doesn't seem like a very profitable business (very time intensive versus the revenue it would generate) and not in their best interest. It's in the best interests of people who may never have been Orion customers, so I don't blame them for this policy.




Since I said that I guess I'll respond. Take a look at the policy of higher quality gear; Losmandy, Paramount, SBIG, Atik, ad nauseum. They are the ones that will get my business in the future.

If/when I sell my Orion stuff I won't expect to recoup much because if anything were to happen to it, the next owner is on their own.

Edited by terry59 (04/24/13 12:55 PM)


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BDS316
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 09/16/09

Loc: Sol 3
Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: terry59]
      #5819869 - 04/24/13 02:00 PM

Quote:

Quote:



I don't see what the fuss is about them not supporting secondhand scopes. It doesn't seem like a very profitable business (very time intensive versus the revenue it would generate) and not in their best interest. It's in the best interests of people who may never have been Orion customers, so I don't blame them for this policy.




Since I said that I guess I'll respond. Take a look at the policy of higher quality gear; Losmandy, Paramount, SBIG, Atik, ad nauseum. They are the ones that will get my business in the future.

If/when I sell my Orion stuff I won't expect to recoup much because if anything were to happen to it, the next owner is on their own.




+1


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jrcrillyAdministrator
Refractor wienie no more
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Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: terry59]
      #5819887 - 04/24/13 02:10 PM

Quote:

Take a look at the policy of higher quality gear; Losmandy, Paramount, SBIG, Atik, ad nauseum.




To be fair, those folks MAKE the product. Of course they have all the parts lying around; they use them themselves. A reseller like Orion is in a very different situation. The only parts they will have on hand are those they purchase and import to support their warranty.


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terry59
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Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: jrcrilly]
      #5819995 - 04/24/13 03:06 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Take a look at the policy of higher quality gear; Losmandy, Paramount, SBIG, Atik, ad nauseum.




To be fair, those folks MAKE the product. Of course they have all the parts lying around; they use them themselves. A reseller like Orion is in a very different situation. The only parts they will have on hand are those they purchase and import to support their warranty.




John - I understand completely but was not aware of their policy (they don't exactly advertise the fact) when I bought the gear. Also, my observation is that most people reselling Orion gear don't advise a buyer of that or price it appropriately to compensate for the risk. Would you buy a used car with that policy?


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csrlice12
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Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: terry59]
      #5820097 - 04/24/13 03:51 PM

"Would you buy a used car with that policy?"

Most all used cars sold in America today, DON'T come with a warranty....obtaining parts is another story however....


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terry59
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Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5820105 - 04/24/13 03:54 PM

Quote:

....obtaining parts is another story however....




And my point exactly


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Paul G
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Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: jrcrilly]
      #5820300 - 04/24/13 05:22 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Take a look at the policy of higher quality gear; Losmandy, Paramount, SBIG, Atik, ad nauseum.




To be fair, those folks MAKE the product. Of course they have all the parts lying around; they use them themselves. A reseller like Orion is in a very different situation. The only parts they will have on hand are those they purchase and import to support their warranty.




In addition, those are mid to high end products, not value based imports like Orion. Again, you don't get what you don't pay for.


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Jarrod
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Reged: 01/20/13

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Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: terry59]
      #5820339 - 04/24/13 05:43 PM

Cars are high-volume items and have many expensive parts that wear out. Telescopes aren't, and don't. If I had to feed my family by supporting used cars, or used telescopes, I know which one I would choose.

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aorion314
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Reged: 11/15/08

Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: Jarrod]
      #5821134 - 04/25/13 12:20 AM

aorion314 here,used to buy from the cupertino store on regular basis, but about 2 yrs ago there was a change over in staff and a quantum leap backwards in tech knowledge orion offers lots of products of which they have a very minimal knowledge about, usually equal to product insert only. Product ratings are patently false, and critical reviews which are factually accurate are rejected e.g. motorized 2 inch filter wheel with internet pleas for solutions to get interface connections to work several listings going back 3+ years, item now listed as a clearance product for sale. Sadly one must now be wary of product offerings by Orion, though their help videos are of some value.

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Jon Isaacs
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: Orion customer service? new [Re: Jarrod]
      #5821400 - 04/25/13 07:27 AM

Quote:



I don't see what the fuss is about them not supporting secondhand scopes. It doesn't seem like a very profitable business (very time intensive versus the revenue it would generate) and not in their best interest. It's in the best interests of people who may never have been Orion customers, so I don't blame them for this policy.




I have been an Orion customer in the past, I have purchased Orion equipment both new and used. If I have purchased something new from them and want to sell it, the fact that the buyer may not be able to repair is of concern and it also lowers the resale value. As a buyer of used equipment, it definitely makes anything with proprietary electonics or mechanical undesirable, I don't even consider it anymore.

In my view, supporting your product line is just part of doing business and it should not matter who purchased it first, Orion's policy is thinking small, probably a sign of corporate ownership. I choose who I recommend, whom I buy from. It's been a while since I considered Orion as someone I would buy from.

Jon


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