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Calling all Masochist Astronomers

astrometry astrophotography beginner Celestron mount
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#1 psugrue

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 01:12 PM

I know you are out there. Why else would you freeze your lens caps off, night after night waiting for the “Seeing” to improve so you can get a glimpse of some distant speck of light. I want to tell you about an incredibly wonderful positive experience. Because at Cloudy Nights we are NOT allowed to talk about negative things, only positive. I want to tell you about a company called OPT. I have been dealing with them now for over 9 weeks and I am waiting for a Celestron CGX mount to arrive. I am so thrilled to have found OPT online. I buy a lot of stuff online. VR gear, Computers, Audio equipment, Cameras etc. But I have never had so much fun as when I deal with OPT. Trying to get them to respond is like trying to get blood out of a stone and when they do respond they lie to you, over and over again. They have told me every week for the last 8 weeks that my CGX mount will be “just 2 more weeks”. Yesterday the Sales director finally told me that they have no clue when they can ship. OPT also told me that the CGX which with tripod weighs 85 lbs is coming from China on a plane! Celestron told me that is not true. OPT just makes stuff up. However, for a Masochist like me it is thrilling to suffer this kind of abuse. Such a wonderful positive experience. Truly excruciating but without the need for any physical trauma. Thank you OPT.


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#2 havasman

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 01:26 PM

Any casual perusal of retailer recommendations from experienced amateurs on this site shortly reveals broad consensus that Astronomics (sponsor of this free forum) and Agena Astro are reliable suppliers well renown for their honesty, fair or more than fair business practices and dedication to the amateur astronomy community.

There are others worth consideration but these two stand apart from a smaller group that seem pretty lost in the world of customer satisfaction.


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#3 wrnchhead

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 02:55 PM

Definitely Astronomics and Agena are great. I have no experience with OPT, though with all the manufacturing and shipping delays, I have to wonder if that doesn't just come down to bad communication of the fact that they don't know. Or different people thinking/saying different things.

 

Ultimately the onus is on them to make your experience as a buyer as good as possible (it's what I try to remember in all my operations at work) And giving you bad news is sometimes best policy when it's the truth, instead of stringing you along.



#4 rhetfield

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 03:06 PM

Happiness is spending one's birthday disassembling a cheap chinese red dot (replaced the even cheaper chinese red dot that came with the scope - only a month old) to figure out how to fix the manufacturing defect that was included as a bonus.


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#5 russell23

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 05:34 PM

Any casual perusal of retailer recommendations from experienced amateurs on this site shortly reveals broad consensus that Astronomics (sponsor of this free forum) and Agena Astro are reliable suppliers well renown for their honesty, fair or more than fair business practices and dedication to the amateur astronomy community.

There are others worth consideration but these two stand apart from a smaller group that seem pretty lost in the world of customer satisfaction.

In alphabetical order I mainly use these vendors and have had no issues:

 

Agena Astro

Astronomics

Eyepiecesetc.com

Orion 

 

I have on occasion used:

 

High Point Scientific

Woodland Hills

 

No problems with them either.

 

In the past I used Opt, but not in quite a few years.  No particular reason.  They carry some things not found at the others so I do check their site once in awhile.



#6 Jarno

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 05:48 PM

Being in Europe I've not had any experience with any of the above companies, I'm just replying to point out that "masochist astronomers" is just as redundant as "wet water".

 

Jarno


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#7 csauer52

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 05:58 PM

I've ordered several times through OPT and have never had an issue. My most recent transaction was a used FSQ106 which I just picked up about a month ago. The transaction was smooth as silk.


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#8 psugrue

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 07:29 PM

I've ordered several times through OPT and have never had an issue. My most recent transaction was a used FSQ106 which I just picked up about a month ago. The transaction was smooth as silk.

I too have had multiple items arrive from OPT. In fact I think I spent around $900 on bits a bobs from OPT over the last few months and it all showed up on time. It's when they don't have an item in stock. That's when it gets interesting. Oh yeah baby!



#9 DeanS

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 07:40 PM

I always had very positive experiences with OPT when Craig still owned it.  Have heard mixed reviews such as this more recently.

 

Astronomics has also been great with the 3 scopes I have bought from them.  High Point and Woodland Hills as well.

 

Dean



#10 ShaulaB

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Posted 03 December 2020 - 07:42 PM

Agree that Astronomics, AgenaAstro, and Orion are reputable vendors, they have never given me problems. B&H Photo has given me great customer service. Highpoint is OK, but the last item I had ordered from them was not packed well.

I have purchased accessories from OPT for over a decade, no problems or issues from them. It is sad that their customer service has become unsatisfactory.

#11 SonnyE

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 03:16 AM

Staying on point here, I recently thought my Guide Camera was giving up on me.

So I went shopping for a replacement, and I decided on a ZWO ASI290.

Same price as my SSAG camera I was replacing, but better figures.

 

So once I decided replacement was inevitable, I looked for who had one, and OPT popped up in the cesspool of candidates.

Cesspool? Yes. Because in 2020 the seas of acquisition are tough to sail.

I found OPT had my camera at a close proximity. And I had never ordered from them before.

So I, reluctantly, placed an order with them because they said it was in stock. During the check out, they were throwing in a FREE laser pointer! Oh joy! Oh rapture!

Now, I'm a watcher. I track my packages several times a day. I hate ordering something and waiting for Charlie to get off his butt and do his job.

The website said it would be coming by USPS, and the post office is my preferred method because they always seem to perform well. The exception is from the East Coast area. They suck, they're slow as molasses in January.

Well, nothing was happening with OPT and my new camera. So after waiting for Charlie to get a fire under him, I wrote. And I waited. And finally I got a reply. Seems they were holding my camera while waiting for the FREE lasers to come in. I did not place my order on the condition I get a FREE laser pointer. I placed my order on the condition the camera was in stock.

I wrote that I have lasers coming out my B_B_Backside, and to ship the camera or I would cancel the order. Ahh, that lit the fire!

It went into the USPS later that day, and arrived today, hot dropped on my porch by the special carrier. Not my regular carrier.

I hope if they do send the FREE laser, it is a small one. I'm getting rather sluggish and filled with lasers.

 

I am enjoying the new Guide camera though. It's about twice as sensitive as the SSAG its replacing. My images stars are tiny compared to the old camera.

As for OPT, humm, probably won't order from them again.

But I do not play the waiting game very often. Only if I absolutely, positively have to.



#12 Stelios

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 03:39 AM

I know you are out there. Why else would you freeze your lens caps off, night after night waiting for the “Seeing” to improve so you can get a glimpse of some distant speck of light. I want to tell you about an incredibly wonderful positive experience. Because at Cloudy Nights we are NOT allowed to talk about negative things, only positive. I want to tell you about a company called OPT. I have been dealing with them now for over 9 weeks and I am waiting for a Celestron CGX mount to arrive. I am so thrilled to have found OPT online. I buy a lot of stuff online. VR gear, Computers, Audio equipment, Cameras etc. But I have never had so much fun as when I deal with OPT. Trying to get them to respond is like trying to get blood out of a stone and when they do respond they lie to you, over and over again. They have told me every week for the last 8 weeks that my CGX mount will be “just 2 more weeks”. Yesterday the Sales director finally told me that they have no clue when they can ship. OPT also told me that the CGX which with tripod weighs 85 lbs is coming from China on a plane! Celestron told me that is not true. OPT just makes stuff up. However, for a Masochist like me it is thrilling to suffer this kind of abuse. Such a wonderful positive experience. Truly excruciating but without the need for any physical trauma. Thank you OPT.

I'm not a big fan of OPT (I prefer Astronomics, Agena and HPS)--but the reality is that they are probably being lied to themselves. Products being shipped from China are held at customs pretty randomly--I know because of non-astronomy purchases that stayed at customs varying lenghts of time, from 1 day to *six weeks*. 

 

Perhaps the honest thing for them to say is "you'll get it, but when exactly, we have absolutely no idea." But then, many people would just turn and order from another vendor who simply would give them a less honest answer. 


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#13 alphatripleplus

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 10:41 AM

I agree with the last post regarding inventory availability - Nearly every vendor is dealing with uncertainty about getting regular inventory at this time. I commend any vendor that tells a customer upfront that they really don't know when an item will be available, as that vendor does risk the loss of a potential sale if a customer chooses to order from elsewhere. These are just difficult times for everyone.



#14 DSOGabe

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 11:41 AM

I've only ordered twice from OPT and did not have any issues with the service. I got my used LX850 from them and it was as advertised and very well packed. Second order was for a Pacific Design soft case for it; they shipped it promptly. So my experience with that company is limited and can't truly comment on them.

For top notch service------> High Point Scientific! This is my go to place for gear. I've only had problems with 2 items and they were quickly and positively resolved by them. 


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#15 csrlice12

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 11:49 AM

Your second sentence is what makes you a masochist.....ordering astro gear just makes you a glutton for punishment.



#16 psugrue

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 12:46 PM

Update*******Update*******Update*******Update*******Update*******Update*******Update*******Update*******Update*******Update*******Update*******Update*******Update*******

 

 

So this started in late September 2020 ETA per week starting on day one:  14-28 days, 3weeks, 2weeks, 2weeks, 2weeks, 2weeks, 2weeks, 3 weeks, 2 weeks.

 

And then in the last 3 days: 2weeks, (And then, Per Jason Leon, Director of Sales) We don't know and just today, 4 weeks!

 

I told you they were good!


Edited by psugrue, 04 December 2020 - 12:52 PM.


#17 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 12:54 PM

OP,

Why don't you cancel and get a refund?  In reality, your card should not have been charged.  Most vendors don't charge until the item is boxed, labelled, and ready to be picked up by the shipper.



#18 psugrue

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 02:15 PM

OP,

Why don't you cancel and get a refund?  In reality, your card should not have been charged.  Most vendors don't charge until the item is boxed, labelled, and ready to be picked up by the shipper.

Great question! Well for one thing they have already sent me the OTA as part of a bundle which I have unpacked and used by attaching a 2 inch diagonal and 55mm EP (which I also got from OPT) and looking out the window while the OTA is laying on my bed so as to verify that everything works, which it does. So first of all I hate the idea of packing and shipping something so heavy and fragile. And second I hate sending back good product that will now have to be sold as open box because I pride myself on being a good customer. I am a customer that anyone should be very happy to have. And just because OPT is abusing me to a point where it now seems vindictive, does not mean I will sink to their level.

 

Regards,

 

Patrick 


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#19 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 02:26 PM

If they charged you the full amount, but only shipped part, that is unethical, IMO.  Hopefully, they have only charged for what they shipped.


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#20 psugrue

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 02:52 PM

I'm not a big fan of OPT (I prefer Astronomics, Agena and HPS)--but the reality is that they are probably being lied to themselves. Products being shipped from China are held at customs pretty randomly--I know because of non-astronomy purchases that stayed at customs varying lenghts of time, from 1 day to *six weeks*. 

 

Perhaps the honest thing for them to say is "you'll get it, but when exactly, we have absolutely no idea." But then, many people would just turn and order from another vendor who simply would give them a less honest answer. 

There is a lot of truth in what you say but I doubt that they were lied to about the product coming by PLANE from China and I suspect the reason OPT told me that is that it takes 30-40 days on a ship so if they are quoting me 2 weeks, the boat has to be half way here and then at least you have tracking so unless the ships are sinking it's hard to explain. (side note my wife got a Mini Cooper, custom order and we could see where the ship was everyday on a google earth map.) Now "Customs" very good point but you know what almost guarantees 1-2 days in customs rather than 6 weeks? A customs broker! He sits there on site and he is buddy buddy with all the officials and you pay him $200-$300 per shipment and everything magically comes through like a rocket. It's a great little scam but it works. Most serious importers use one. Oh and also for the record Celestron have been great! They are responsive and have offered to try to fix it but they asked me to get the Purchase Order number from OPT but OPT wont give it to me.   



#21 psugrue

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 03:43 PM

Agree that Astronomics, AgenaAstro, and Orion are reputable vendors, they have never given me problems. B&H Photo has given me great customer service. Highpoint is OK, but the last item I had ordered from them was not packed well.

I have purchased accessories from OPT for over a decade, no problems or issues from them. It is sad that their customer service has become unsatisfactory.

+1 for B&H. Always great customer service. Except on Saturday.smile.gif



#22 psugrue

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 05:49 PM

If they charged you the full amount, but only shipped part, that is unethical, IMO.  Hopefully, they have only charged for what they shipped.

Oh absolutely not. They charged me the full amount of $3299 on October 7th. More than 6 weeks prior to even the OTA being delivered on the 21st of November. OPT has now just said "Late December" For the balance, which is the CGX goto mount, without which the OTA is worthless.  That will be 3 months total. Will they honor that end of Dec date? Well they wont give me the Purchase Order Number that Celestron has requested in order to initiate tracking. So who knows? 



#23 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 05:56 PM

Maybe you should dispute the charge, less the value of the OTA, on your credit card, for non delivery of goods.


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#24 Szumi

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 06:43 PM

Those of us living where there is weather put up with a lot.  I'm in the northern part of michigan surrounded by the great lakes system.

 

Suppliers, I like.

 

Agena Astro

Astronomics

High Point Scientific

B&H Photo

 

No particular order, they are all good.



#25 psugrue

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Posted 04 December 2020 - 07:26 PM

Maybe you should dispute the charge, less the value of the OTA, on your credit card, for non delivery of goods.

Sure I could but I am trying to be a good customer to OPT so they will help me. I have done all communication with OPT over chat and email and I have all the transcripts. I have always been civil but I will admit honest to the point of being blunt. For example I did ask OPT why they told me that the item is coming from China on a plane but Celestron says it's coming via ship in a huge container? OPT did not answer me. They often just ignore me. 


Edited by psugrue, 04 December 2020 - 07:28 PM.



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