Customer Service?? Whatever happened to just plain manners.

Customer Service?? Whatever happened to just plain manners.

I purchased a sample kit of Filamet Copper Filament and tried it out. This stuff, while tricky to print with (sample coil), printed really nice and polished decently (I have not been able to achieve the same look as some of the pictures of polished examples, posted on their site).

So I decided to purchase a full spool of the copper Filamet, I think it was approx $70 - $80. I’ve gotten really nice looking prints from it, I just needed to make sure the spool was really loose or the filament would break.

Then after many months of querying when the bronze would be available, they had some in stock. I purchased a roll for approx $80. The filament came on a giant heavy wooden spool, very hard to work with. I tried to print with it and man this stuff was brittle, so much so I had to have the spool right next to the extruder coming off in a perfectly straight line just to get a print to finish. So I checked the forums and it seemed that others are also have issues with brittleness. In one post there was a comment to a 6 month shelf life no matter how it is stored???

“The Filamet is reacting to the atmosphere it has a limited shelf life… but after 6 or 7 months your going to have alot of difficulty using it still, our newer stuff is much less senative and we are now shipping on larger reels which helps alot too, not sure how old your reel is but reasonably you want to use a reel in under 6 months for best printing results. What is the lot number on your reel by the way?”
Google+ post

Really, 6 month shelf life, so I sent them a suggestion of maybe stating that somewhere on the site, had I known the 6 month expiration I wouldn’t have spent $80 for a spool of it. Now, weirdly enough, my posts about brittleness were never making it to the forums, odd?

So, I then receive a very long winded email about my ignorance when it comes to PLA and plastics in general, and that 6 months is normal for PLA to break down…really, I have about 40 spools of other PLA and 20-30 sample coils from my Makebox subscription, they seem to do well past 6 months…

So, I figure that maybe metal infused PLA is different. Oh wait, Filamet 2.0 is out and it no longer has a shelf life…really… I thought ALL PLA has a shelf life of 6 months…

So I post to the forums about possibly offering a trade-in to a discount on the new stuff. Once again my post doesn’t show up in the forums, so I submit another post asking the admin why my posts are not show up.

I received this:

“Hello, not sure what you mean by posts not showing up I don’t have nor have I seen any previous posts from you but weirdly the group wont let me reply to your question or aprove your posts so I am not sure what is going on, however the group is not the appropriate place for your question on this you need to email the help link on virtual foundry website so your question gets to the appropriate person thanks and have a great day”

So, he says he doesn’t understand what I mean by my posts not showing up, and immediately follows with a statement that he cannot approve my posts…ok?
So I responded to the email, and told him that my previous post questioned about the brittleness of the filament and suggested they post about the 6 month expiration.

The response I received was another lecture about PLA and was less than polite:

“There is no longer an expiration but no filament at all is good forever pls is biodegradable, all plastics break down over time pls breaks down faster, car seats and helmets only have a life span of 2 years, questions are absolutely welcome in the group but asking if you can trade in old filamet for new is not an appropriate question for the Google group, as that is first not what the group is for it is for questions about working with Filamet and be not something I have any say over, an participation in the group is always appreciated, and if you have question about printing polishing or firing feel absolutely free to ask in the group or me directly and I thank you for anything like that in advance, but also there is something definitely bugged out for you as it would not let me reply to you at all had to copy and paste your email adress”

I guess he thought about it for a while and then remembered me at which point he needed to send another email:

“i think I remember now explaining this to you before, it seems like your not understanding what i am telling you so I am not sure where the disconnect is and I apologize for not explaining this clearly enough, you can google the things I am telling you if you need to confirm it, but no plastic in the world is good forever, as soon as you make something with it the clock is ticking, as I have stated car seats and bike helmets are only considered safe for 2 to 3 years at that point there is enough structural degradation that they can break instead of keeping an individual safe. This is why old toys can become brittle and break easily, I have a PLA for another company I bought a year ago and that Filament is brittle now, PLA is made from corn and is biodegradable so it has less of a life span even than ABS plastic no Filament anywhere on the market is meant to sit on someones shelf for endless months, you should only be purchasing what you intend to use in a reasonable amount of time. No one anywhere in the plastics industry puts an expiration date on any items, 6 month to a year is a very reasonable amount of time to consume any product, you can google everything I am telling you it is all facts. I just want to bridge the informational gap that we seem to be having so that you can be a more educated consumer. I hope I have been informative and helpful as that is all I am trying to be.I directed you to our help email as things have been departmentalized and streamlined to better serve our customers and I am not involved in shipping anything, I have been informed by higher ups that we are not taking old product in exchange for discounts on new product but you are most welcome to make your inquiry, and issues of that nature will be best responded to through our help email on our website, if you are having trouble finding it, I will happily send you the email link. I will try to sort out your status in the google group and see if I can find why it is not allowing me to reply to you directly but messages all need to be approved for the safety of the group and off topic question will be referred to our help email and not published to the group, I answered you from my phone earlier and just wanted to send another message that I could take more time on so as to better communicate with you. If you have any questions on printing, polishing, or firing I would love to receive them and your participation will be fantastically appreciated. I hope you have an absolutely wonderful week and if you have any question I can answer feel free to message me directly.”

Now, I have been completely polite in all of my emails and posts to this company and have spent close to $200 on their products, I do not think I deserve the responses I received.

Or the long winded lectures about PLA, especially when they come out with a new version that doesn’t have the same “brittleness problems” as the previous one.

I did get some descent results with the copper filament…
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missing/deleted image from Google+

I apologize in advance for such a long winded post, I was just really shocked at the responses this company gave to a
(paying) customer.

It sounds like they were likely freaked out by their first batch as well and were trying to ensure that it didn’t get out of hand. As far as where you were posting to, was it a Google group? I’ve found that some members of a Google Group I moderate weren’t having their messages show up either and it was due to a spammer having hijacked their account at some point in the past. It took them nearly 6 months to get it sorted out and their Google/GMail account to be fixed so that they weren’t immediately being dumped into spam folders. Even after manually approving their account and everything, their posts didn’t show up - so this might not be the administrators fault.

From reading, it looks like the guy was trying to be as polite as possible. Unfortunately there’s nothing you can do for “trade-in” on experimental materials such as this. It’s not like they can remelt and use it again as they likely aren’t even doing their own extrusion but rather having a third party shop do it for them.

This whole “PLA is degradable” stuff is bullshit. PLA is degradable at VERY high temperatures, under very specific conditions…there’s a guy who left a slug trap out in his garden for 2 years and the only thing that happened to it was discoloration of the pigmentation used in the plastic. PLA is not a ticking timebomb as described.

Note, we have had a form of PLA which printed great, but showed the same shelve life problem. after about 6 months it would get so brittle it would just “explode” on the spool.
So on that area, their story sort of holds, that you can make PLA that acts like this.
There are tons and tons of things you can do with chemical composition of materials. The wrong choice and you end up with this.
Also note that raw PLA without any additives is also extremely brittle, so what every you think of as PLA is already something with additives.

@ThantiK I took his over politeness as backhanded, and he lectured me on how ALL PLA has a shelf life, but, then version 2.0 comes out with no shelf life…so maybe not ALL PLA. My posts were more about the brittleness of the filament using it days after I received it, which were never addressed by him. I understand that there is trial and error, but accept responsibility , and treat customers with some degree of professionalism and respect. All I said was that they should add the shelf life information on the product info page, so that buys could take that into consideration when buying the product. There was no need to lecture me, twice, and he could have politely said no. I wasnt looking for a freebie, I asked for a discount on the inproved formula, if I traded in the old stuff. Actually, some companies give a discount just for being a previos buyer.

@Daid_Braam I agree, I have some spools of hatchbox that were so easy to work with, but now 2+ years later (sealed box with dessicant ) it is extremely brittle. I just felt that if you tell people in a post that your product has a 6’month shelf life, you should put that information on the sale page to inform buyers, not tell your customers they should have known because all pla goes bad in 6months to 1 year. But, then, release a PLA with no shelf life, completely contradicting your first and second lengthy emails.

I wanted to stress the point that I am not bashing the product, I really like the results using it, it just needs a little more care when printing with it.

This was all brought about because I want to purchase the new formula (yes I am a gluten for punishment), and asked about a possible discount.

I only brought up the older emails because none of mine were getting posted, and I wanted to give him a point of reference to my previous posts, I was not complaining about the shelf life again, nor was I bashing the product.

I do find it ironic that he is using the issues with the old formula, to promote the new formula. (no shelf life and 5x stronger)

15 month old Hatchbox PLA, left open on shelf over winter, was so brittle it broke almost just from touching it, dehydrated it a bit and though still very brittle it printed OK and I got the makerbot TRex out of the very last of the roll.

the so called support person you talked to has zero clue about printing with a variety of PLA or is masking any knowledge behind what the manufacturer wants them to say. Either way it is of little help and leaves a gap in trust.

they could have just said ‘we can’t give you a discount we are a startup committing all resources to development, sorry hope you understand’ or anything other than a total lie about other manufacturers products. casually saying everyone else is just as bad or worse, sounds like con artists. it seems pretty ‘iffy’ to me to shop with people that behave like that. i just don’t it only leads to trouble.

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