A Perhaps Disappointing “Transaction” With Uke Republic

JSatola

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I believe I just had a rather disappointing “transaction” with Uke Republic, regarding a string order. Over two weeks ago, I ordered a set of Kanile’a baritone strings from Uke Republic. Shortly after ordering, I got a “Thank you for your order” message. After nine days of not hearing anything, or getting any “Your order has shipped” message, I sent a polite e-mail asking if the order had shipped. No response. Today, 15 days after placing my order, I sent another message, with “Just following up,” asking “has my order shipped?” Again, no response. Then just now I get two “Your order has been cancelled” messages. No explanation. A first impression of this response is just spite, as if I was somehow “wrong” for asking about my order. If such is the case, that is not exactly the greatest customer service. If it is that they did not have the strings in stock (though the website on the order said they did), a reply e-mail would have served. I doubt I will be back. I ordered the strings from The Ukulele Site, which is always wonderful with respect to customer service.
 
I had that happen with a online eyeglasses store. It's hard to update all the website inventory all the time, when there are issues keeping certain things in stock.

I just called and they said it takes a lot more than two emails in three days emails for them to develop a vendetta. ;) (770) 235-6606
 
I heard a man say recently "Never attribute to malice what can be easily attributed to stupidity," or something to that effect.

I've been thinking it over a lot. Lot of things could also correctly fit into this statement that are less pejorative than "stupidity". Maybe "inefficiency" in this case.
 
Gosh, JWS, sorry to hear that your order kind of "fell into the void." I wonder if there might be some extenuating circumstance going on, as this would be totally out of character with the many experiences I have had with Uke Republic, both with uke orders and with string orders-- which have always been super-prompt.
 
This happened to me with UR but I was using mike’s old store email address. I only found out when I called and left a message and he emailed me from the new one. He hadn’t gotten any of my original emails. Mike@ is wrong. It’s mikem@ now. Or that was at least my issue before.
 
I have had good experiences w/UR, but when I sent questions about my orders (2 times) I did not receive a response. I didn't like that, but the questions weren't deal breakers. I have purchased 4 ukes from them over the years and they've all be great: set up, well packaged, shipped promptly, etc.
 
@JSatola Sorry to hear about your experience. Kinda sucks that it took a while to find out that they didn't have the strings in stock. I have ordered quite a few things from UR including a couple of ukes and got wonderful service from them. Set-up and shipping only took a few days. Hopefully, this was some unusual circumstance.
 
I'd had emails to Mim's fall through the cracks and, while I wasn't too fussed about it, I did wonder. Yup, wrong email address. Next email was quickly replied to.

Sometimes it does take using another method of communication if the question is particularly important to you. Having orders cancelled without notice would get me upset, too, and I'd hope that a call would straighten stuff out.
 
I have had a very bad experience buying from uke republic. Inspite of a lot of glowing reviews on this forum about them mine was the total opposite. In fact it was so bad that since that transaction I don’t bother to look at his website anymore. I purchased a Koaloha from them during the pandemic and in my order I specified how I wanted the setup to be and if it were not possible to let me know beforehand. Before I ordered Mike replied every time I had a question but after that I didn’t hear from them at all and I thought all was good.

The uke shipped 1 day after my order and I was really surprised that he managed to set it up so quickly. When my uke came there was a note inside saying setup request not possible. Which was total nonsense. All I wanted was to have the string height a little lower on the thinner strings side. I have done this on a few of my instruments and have never had issue with it. On closer inspection I doubt he ever did any set up at all even though his webpage says that they setup every instrument. How did I come to this conclusion? Firstly the soundboard under the strings were dusty, very common if you leave the uke out. And when I took the saddle out I could see that the bottom part of the Tusq saddle was not sanded down at all. I usually tinker with my guitars and ukes and so I do know a bit about working on them.

To cut the long story short, the uke still had a lot of left over dry polish material all over the body, around the edges, fretboard edge and headstock. On the A string on the nut someone messed it up and used super glue to fix the action height. It was cut too low. From that I could surmised that he never did any setup otherwise he would have at least wiped down the uke and spotted the nut issue if it was sent in that condition from the factory. Or it would have been done by him and he kept quiet about it. Either one, what was done wasn’t right. I know what I say here are very damning and my accusations are strong. I just told myself maybe my experience was a one off. Thats why I keep quiet about it. I have an unboxing video still in my phone when it arrived with all the issues and also photos or everything out of the box to prove. I sent him all the evidence and he was very silent. He never offered any means to settle amicably. I got 1 email a day and sometimes it was a one liner. This went on for more than a week. In the end I gave up and contacted Koaloha directly, with all the photos.

After a few emails with Koaloha, Alan Okami called me and we spoke on the phone for a lengthy period and he was so apologetic even though it might not have been Koaloha’s fault. He said calling customers with such issues are so hard to do and I totally understand where he was coming from. I managed to come to a resolution on the matter with Koaloha and not with Uke republic. Customer service from Koaloha was top notch. and their warranty is truly better than the weather. From that experience I told myself to stay away from such retailers. initially I wanted to share it here but I told myself not too because I was very emotionally charged and terribly disappointed. This was the first expensive uke I put money down and the experience was horrid. But it’s been many months since and so I know I have gotten over it. But since someone posted a not so pleasing experience with them I thought I share mine. I have also bought a uke in the past from Terry Carter before all the negative comments on him surfaced here and I can say that at least he communicates and tries to resolve issues. I had nothing from uke republic. I have had issues with ukes from HMS too but each time Andrew, Kalei or Corey were quick to reply and help resolve issues or questions. One of them was a buzzing A string after I got it and on the same day I managed to get Andrew to help me out. Sometimes people make mistakes and that’s all ok with me. what really put me off was a total lack of customer support. The saying ‘Caveat Emptor‘ really holds true when you have no options but to buy online unseen.

sorry for the long post
 
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Huh. I've nothing but great service from UR. Both when I purchased a Ko'Aloha tenor, and the many times I have purchased strings from them.
I have not bought anything from them in the past 6 months or so.
 
This seems out of character for Uke Republic. I’ve bought a number of ukuleles, strings, and other accessories from Mike over the years and have always had a good experience.

Tom
 
Baritone:
Pono RBSH(C)-PC (Cedar/Rosewood)

Tenors:
Kamaka H-38 (Koa)
KoAloha KTM-00 (Koa)
KoAloha KTM-00MG (Mango)
KoAloha KTO-10 (Acacia)
aNueNue AMM3 (Mahogany)

Concerts:
Kanile'a K-1 C (Premium Koa)
KoAloha KCM-25 (Koa)
KoAloha KCM-00MG (Mango)
aNueNue AMM2 (Mahogany)
Ohana CK-450QEL (Eucalyptus)
Ohana CK-35-8 (Mahogany)

Sopranos:
Kamaka H-1 (Koa)
KoAloha KSM-02 (Koa)
KoAloha KSM-00MG (Mango)
Martin Style O (1956) (Mahogany)

Sopranino:
Ohana Pequeno (Mahogany)
You have a bunch of ukuleles.
 
Meaning no disrespect to UR, is there a reason you didn’t order strings from Musicians Friend? I’ve had good experience with MF and shipping is built into the price. I also had a positive experience with Strings By Mail (and really like their throwback sticker) but the shipping expense was steep.
 
I have had a very bad experience buying from uke republic. Inspite of a lot of glowing reviews on this forum about them mine was the total opposite. In fact it was so bad that since that transaction I don’t bother to look at his website anymore. I purchased a Koaloha from them during the pandemic and in my order I specified how I wanted the setup to be and if it were not possible to let me know beforehand. Before I ordered Mike replied every time I had a question but after that I didn’t hear from them at all and I thought all was good.

The uke shipped 1 day after my order and I was really surprised that he managed to set it up so quickly. When my uke came there was a note inside saying setup request not possible. Which was total nonsense. All I wanted was to have the string height a little lower on the thinner strings side. I have done this on a few of my instruments and have never had issue with it. On closer inspection I doubt he ever did any set up at all even though his webpage says that they setup every instrument. How did I come to this conclusion? Firstly the soundboard under the strings were dusty, very common if you leave the uke out. And when I took the saddle out I could see that the bottom part of the Tusq saddle was not sanded down at all. I usually tinker with my guitars and ukes and so I do know a bit about working on them.

To cut the long story short, the uke still had a lot of left over dry polish material all over the body, around the edges, fretboard edge and headstock. On the A string on the nut someone messed it up and used super glue to fix the action height. It was cut too low. From that I could surmised that he never did any setup otherwise he would have at least wiped down the uke and spotted the nut issue if it was sent in that condition from the factory. Or it would have been done by him and he kept quiet about it. Either one, what was done wasn’t right. I know what I say here are very damning and my accusations are strong. I just told myself maybe my experience was a one off. Thats why I keep quiet about it. I have an unboxing video still in my phone when it arrived with all the issues and also photos or everything out of the box to prove. I sent him all the evidence and he was very silent. He never offered any means to settle amicably. I got 1 email a day and sometimes it was a one liner. This went on for more than a week. In the end I gave up and contacted Koaloha directly, with all the photos.

After a few emails with Koaloha, Alan Okami called me and we spoke on the phone for a lengthy period and he was so apologetic even though it might not have been Koaloha’s fault. He said calling customers with such issues are so hard to do and I totally understand where he was coming from. I managed to come to a resolution on the matter with Koaloha and not with Uke republic. Customer service from Koaloha was top notch. and their warranty is truly better than the weather. From that experience I told myself to stay away from such retailers. initially I wanted to share it here but I told myself not too because I was very emotionally charged and terribly disappointed. This was the first expensive uke I put money down and the experience was horrid. But it’s been many months since and so I know I have gotten over it. But since someone posted a not so pleasing experience with them I thought I share mine. I have also bought a uke in the past from Terry Carter before all the negative comments on him surfaced here and I can say that at least he communicates and tries to resolve issues. I had nothing from uke republic. I have had issues with ukes from HMS too but each time Andrew, Kalei or Corey were quick to reply and help resolve issues or questions. One of them was a buzzing A string after I got it and on the same day I managed to get Andrew to help me out. Sometimes people make mistakes and that’s all ok with me. what really put me off was a total lack of customer support. The saying ‘Caveat Emptor‘ really holds true when you have no options but to buy online unseen.

sorry for the long post

My situation is kinda similar. I've alluded to poor service with a very popular shop in the past; it was this one. I haven't shared details because it's a very popular shop and perhaps my experience was an isolated one. Short story is the uke I bought (low-mid priced at about $300) had an issue with the fretboard. Email replies were very slow post-sale, unlike before the purchase, similar to what you got. Ultimately the remedy provided was to take care of it myself. On a flyer I contacted the mfger and they took care of the problem, replaced the uke under warranty, even covered shipping IIRC. This was years ago, and to paraphrase what someone once said, the bitterness of bad service lingers a lot longer than the sweetness of a good deal.
 
Meaning no disrespect to UR, is there a reason you didn’t order strings from Musicians Friend? I’ve had good experience with MF and shipping is built into the price. I also had a positive experience with Strings By Mail (and really like their throwback sticker) but the shipping expense was steep.
Strings by mail has a flat $4 shipping for strings in the US - did you mail internationally or to Alaska/Hawaii perhaps?
 
Meaning no disrespect to UR, is there a reason you didn’t order strings from Musicians Friend? I’ve had good experience with MF and shipping is built into the price. I also had a positive experience with Strings By Mail (and really like their throwback sticker) but the shipping expense was steep.
I ordered from the results of a search for “Kanile’a Baritone Strings.” Actually, as they are a new product, not many places carry them (yet). As I had not ordered anything from Uke Republic, but they always seem to have a large array of instruments, I figured I’d give them a try.
 
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