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Meade's customer service . . . or lack thereof

Discussion in 'General Astronomy Chat' started by jgroub, May 13, 2018.

Meade's customer service . . . or lack thereof

Started by jgroub on May 13, 2018 at 9:56 AM

15 Replies 310 Views 2 Likes

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  1. jgroub

    jgroub Well-Known Member

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    Over at one of the Facebook astronomy groups, someone posted about how they were having a problem with their Meade mount, and is looking to have Meade do repairs under the warranty. Meade told him that he would have to pay for not only the shipping back to Meade, but insurance as well, with the result that it's going to cost him THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS to have Meade fix their own defective mount under Meade's warranty.

    He was not the only one to chime in with this pay-to-play experience from Meade.

    Now, having said that, Celestron's warranty says the same thing, or worse, actually: "The customer shall be responsible for all costs of transportation and insurance, both to and from the factory of Celestron, and shall be required to prepay such costs." So, Celestron's warranty is saying you have to pay BOTH WAYS.

    However, in my experience with Celestron, this wasn't so. Once I contacted them with my mount problem, they emailed me the RMA and a pre-paid label for UPS shipping. Celestron paid shipping both ways, regardless of what their warranty says.

    Has anyone else had these sorts of experiences, good and bad, with Meade and Celestron? Can anyone chime in with whether Celestron has made anyone pay to send their stuff back to them for warranty repairs? Just curious as to everyone's experiences with the customer service from these companies.

    And if you have customer services stories from other vendors (Skywatcher, Orion, Explore Scientific, TeleVue, etc.), I'd love to hear those too. But I'm primarily interested in whether Celestron's ever charged anyone for shipping the way Meade is doing.

    Thanks!
     
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  2. Dave In Vermont

    Dave In Vermont Well-Known Member

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    'Meade' Customer-Abuse Dept, eh? Oh have I got a beauty!!

    I'm off to my errands up here in Podunk, and another tankard of coffee - but do check back soon.....I'll tell you all a tale of what never to do in any to do in dealing with a customer - or any other transactional-psychology relationship with another Human-Being!

    Yikes!

    Dave

    Oh yes - in reference to your ending question: Nope. But there is a way around 'Meade Sings the Blues!'
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2018
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  3. jgroub

    jgroub Well-Known Member

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    C'mon, Dave! The anticipation is killing me! It's keeping me wai-ai-ai-ai-ting!

     
  4. Dave In Vermont

    Dave In Vermont Well-Known Member

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    Oh I will after a bit - namely after I get some sleep. It was beautiful last night! Just headin' for the futon now.

    Do you know this joke? The following is a joke:

    "How do you keep an idiot in suspense?"
     
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  5. Pleiades

    Pleiades Well-Known Member

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    I liked the looks of Meade when I first got started, but the CS reputation (On the WWW) scared me away a bit. This doesn't mean that I would not buy a Meade. I have no experience with them. But it does make me Meade shy.
     
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  6. Nebula

    Nebula Well-Known Member

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    I returned a 5mm Xcel LX to celestron California. I had to pay 20$ to ship the item, they returned a new one with free shipping.

    That is 2 years after the initial purchase.

    But i sent Celestron pictures of the problem first so they already had an idea before they looked at the eyepiece and the exchange was somewhat pre approved. Fortunately the weight of the parcel was 400g only and the total value was 0$
    ============

    With the meade mount it's a real trap.. I know I would attempt to find the problem myself and prove it with pictures. Then there would be a new thread created on a forum using collective minds to find a solution and to study the engineering issue.

    If the problem is found without a doubt, I would send my invoice to Meade has well has the forum link, pictures of the problem and ask to get the replacement parts for free without them looking at the device.

    At some point.. if the problem is obvious... they should send the part simply.

    If they refuse then I would buy try to buy the spare parts and prove the device is fixed by sending the results, then ask for a refund.
     
  7. Dave In Vermont

    Dave In Vermont Well-Known Member

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    Alright, alright.....<yawn>...I can take a hint...

    I had a beautiful and new 12" Meade LX200GPS. The optics were (probably still are - I gave it to a fellow astronomer - long story :) ) exquisite! But it needed an answer as to what to do about a minor problem. So I called Meades' Customer-Abuse Dept.....

    I described my minor problem to the guy who answered the call. "Okay. You need to ship the telescope back to us. Be sure to remove any parts you attached - inside and out - and repack it in the original shipping-container in the styrofoam insert."

    "You will pay the return shipping, yes?"

    "No, sir."

    "But it's under warranty!"

    "Yes."

    "So you'll repair it and ship it back, right?"

    "Maybe. It's probably going to be 6 months to a year to see if it can be repaired. Our loading dock is overflowing. Most of them go to the 'Crusher.' You can just buy another telescope."

    "Let me get this straight. I'm looking at paying to ship you my new LX200. In 6-months to a year, you'll check it to see if it can be repaired. In the meanwhile it will sit on a loading-dock. Is this correct?"

    "Yes, sir."

    "What do you suggest?"

    "Buy a new one! They're excellent telescopes!"

    " Supervisor, please!!"

    And I got THE SUPERVISOR. That did no good either.

    So I stomped about the astro-forums for advice. And member's advice handled this minor matter, and I was up & running in no time! And I learned "The Key" to handling Meade (or, no doubt, Celestron) Customer Service:

    Before you buy a telescope - any telescope - buy only through a dealership that provides after-sale care and protection! If they need to deal with Meade, Celestron, etc. - they will deal with these Chimps' or take a different route.

    It's what they're there for.

    Both Meade and Celestron make excellent optics. Their Mechanical-to-Human interfaces have some problems. And the Declination-Clutch is laughable, and the Focuser, and.....But there are after-market kits to fix these for the Meade LX-line which are quite easy to install. They are described by Pete Peterson who is the fellow who makes them:

    http://www.petersonengineering.com/

    I don't know about what bugs may be found in Celestron, and remedies - anyone?
     
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  8. Dark Site

    Dark Site Member

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    Wow, Dave! Right out of a Stephen King book!
    The only Meade I own is a 826 newt that I purchased back in '79, and after reading your story, it will be my last. Thanks for posting your experience.
    Side note: I own a Skywatcher NEQ-6 mount that I bought a few years back and immediately noticed a problem when I set it up and ran it through it's paces. Long story short, after a quick conversation with someone on the phone they sent me a brand new mount head which arrived within a week and a half. They paid all of the costs. Great customer service! Meade should take a lesson from them. :)
     
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  9. Gabby76

    Gabby76 Well-Known Member

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    Meade and Celestron both had horrid customer disservice for many years but they seem to have improved considerably over the last couple of years.
    The worst in the 1980s was Vixen, if you had an issue you contacted the dealer, the dealer would email Vixen and then wait for a reply. This could take anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months to get the initial reply.
    Then there would need to be discussion of the issue (only dealer/ Vixen) if it was deemed by Vixen to be a warranty issue it would get shipped to them pre-paid.
    No matter how minor or major the repair actually was, if you saw your gear again before 9 months had past you were a lucky customer.
    There would be no communication with Vixen or the dealer and one day a package would arrive for you C.O.D.

    Thankfully when they went to new management mid-2000s their service has become much, much better.
     
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  10. jgroub

    jgroub Well-Known Member

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    Oh, man! I had either that or the 816 at EXACTLY the same time! I think I bought mine in 1980. It was my second scope. Bought it with paper route money. Enjoy yours!
     
  11. Dave In Vermont

    Dave In Vermont Well-Known Member

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    Dark site - don't take Meade off your list of being great scopes. They are! Just buy through a good dealer who will stand-up and deal with the clowns' in CS should the need arise. That was my problem - I attempted the task myself. I should have started with asking the dealer (it wasn't Agena, but it was in the same neighborhood as Agena. Both have excellent after-care I found out, as I did some research to make a 'Whose Who?' - more on this later.....). Uh oh! :eek:! I just had a thought.....

    Off to let it gel.....

    Starry Skies!

    <POIT!>
     
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  12. Dark Site

    Dark Site Member

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    Thanks Jon. The tube has new paint, the mirror and finder scope has been gently cleaned. The mount needs some very minor work and she'll be ready for some photons, which hasn't happened in about 20 years or so. :) Should be fun.
     
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  13. sickfish

    sickfish Well-Known Member

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    Funny, I only own 2 Meade products.
    Meade 12mm illuminated EP and the UWA 5.5mm
    I have been blessed though, never had to deal with customer service for any of my stuff.
     
  14. Dark Site

    Dark Site Member

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    You're absolutely right, Dave. It's who you deal with and not necessarily the product. :) Thanks for the reminder. :)
     
  15. Nebula

    Nebula Well-Known Member

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    I agree too, it's who you deal with.. we don't have the choice all the time to pick the right person..

    But I keep this in mind too, thanks @Dave In Vermont
     
  16. Pleiades

    Pleiades Well-Known Member

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    I have an Orion, which I bought through "Telescope.com" I think they may be affiliated with Orion. I've never had any issues or need to send something back. The one time I called tellescope.com, they were great, on the phone. I don't mind paying a little extra to get better service, by buying through a company like Adorama, or Agena Astro.

    I've never had problems with Agena either, but again on the phone they have always been "Top Shelf".

    Oh.... For those that are not aware, the term top shelf is a wine reference. At a reputable wine dealer, the best wines will be on the top shelf, and the bottom shelf is reserved for the lesser wines. Just a little wine trivia. Nothing like a Merlot in the moon-light. LOL
     

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