A Perhaps Disappointing “Transaction” With Uke Republic

Fair comment, but the poster was sharing experience and folk could see that that experience didn’t include speaking to the proprietor first. Readers can make their own interpretations…

Is it fair to expect a placed order to be effectively and efficiently dealt with? I’d have thought so and particularly if extenuating circumstances are unknown.
A fair point, I suppose, but on the other hand reputations are much more easily destroyed than built; there needs to be a fair balance between supporting a reputation and the inverse. What are reasonable warmings of people not to deal with and just (justifiable) pointers towards ones that folk find reliably good? I bought a uke from a very well regarded dealer here in the UK and, IMHO, got ripped off. The instrument had several small issues which should have been picked up and sorted out by the shop. I spent several hours putting simple things right and really should have returned the instrument instead. Of course I could have been unlucky, and likely was, but these things leave a bitter taste and resentmen.

I‘ve never named the shop that gave me bad service and don’t think that I’d start a thread about their bad service - such things can too easily get out of hand or have unintended consequences. To some extent every purchase involves a degree of luck or rather chance, better dealers minimise the luck needed but even they might have have an off day. Of course sharing experience is good; but, having talked to people in retail, the situation is, shall we say, far from one sided …
Graham, thank you for correcting me. I stand corrected- my comment regarding moderators was harsh and insensitive, and not helpful at all . To the moderators, Please accept my apologies.

However, on the other hand, to
“but on the other hand reputations are much more easily destroyed than built; there needs to be a fair balance between supporting a reputation and the inverse” to quote Graham
In my opinion, when someone posts a gripe like this that threatens to harm the reputation, either intentionally or unintentionally, moderators could at least ask the one making the complaint, “have you contacted the proprietor of said business, first?”

Again, I stand corrected.

 
Tom - what about the previous posts from individuals who had a less than perfect experience with this vendor? Most reviews and comments are extremely positive about Uke Republic. Mine was, say, 2/3 & 1/3. How will that, and a few, remember a few, other less than brilliant reviews or comments ruin a reputation? Any vendor makes mistakes, and the world isn't perfect. The very few "negative" reviews of Uke Republic will probably not hurt the business.
 
Tom, commenting on suppliers adversely is a really difficult balance to manage. Knowing how easily reputations can be damaged I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt but maybe I’m too soft on poor service. When someone comments about poor service or bad events we should listen to them carefully, sadly life is full of many ‘me too’s‘ - folk don’t always speak up when they should. Of course there will be times when silence would be the better course, but if we listen to people carefully then we can thoughtfully decide what our own actions should be.

I can vaguely recall someone on here complaining about a communication failure with a UK based Luthier, the guy concerned has a six month plus waiting list and is really nice (I found him so when I met him) but poor at communicating. Eventually the Luther was reached, I think it was by telephone and the issue resolved … but folk dealing with him do so on his terms and with his limited communication skills / time.

A guy who’s a member here used to have a busy music shop, some of his customers were awful people and some were the opposite. There’s always the other side to the coin, each customer is individual and each supplier is too. In my own community there are some shops that I will not use again because of repeated poor service - I’m not shy of telling local friends about my experiences too - and some that I make a point of using because I want them to stay open. One of the poor shops went out of business, the guy bought a thriving shop and managed to rip-off / abuse enough customers that he ended up with no trade.

Did I mention that it was a difficult balance … ?
 
Last edited:
Having already sent an email, it was helpful for me to read the thread and find out that with this particular vendor it is better to telephone with a concern/problem, than to just email.

I had a delightful conversation with Mike on the phone, and even ordered a uke from him. I believe the charge was in error, and have no misgivings about the received order. I thank those who's posts were informative to me. Also, it is my choice as to which vendors I may select, and there should be no problem with stating that.
I’m glad you got it taken care of

tom
 
To me, it is how the information is presented. Knowing that someone is poor with communication may be an important factor to some people, to others not so much. There are some luthiers with amazing reputations for building, but terrible for communication. That matters a lot to me, but to others, not so much. If facts are presented in non-damning way, but as facts, then reviews and feedback allow us to make decisions based upon what is important to us. Separating facts from evaluative comments is useful in such.

For example, I emailed the luthier 5 times is a fact. Saying "they suck" because of this is an evaluation.

Side note--why is communication important to me? Well, I believe I am more likely to get the type of build and details I want if there is good communication (i.e. very low action or building in such a way that the action can be lowered a good deal, mylar pick guards, a certain neck profile). Great builders with great communication, I believe, are more likely to pull off what I wish for. If I don't get what I want exactly, I would rather spend 70percent (ish) of the new price on a used uke here.

All IMHO.
 
Had already sent an email. Learned via this forum it is best with this vendor to telephone.
In reading your first post here, I saw and still do not see any issue with it. I hope you do not feel any need to further defend yourself and realize that most of the other comments were supportive of you.

In reading the critical post, I suspect that the aggressive comments toward you were committed, in kind, by that member. Did he contact you (or the moderators) before going into attack mode? But I excuse the post because he apparently knows the proprietor enough to inform us of the unfortunate recent circumstances that can affect the business.

Small shops like these (and not just music shops) have not adjusted completely to this new business environment. They likely did not start (or anticipate) the shift to internet sales and to the use of email (much less text and instagram and ...). Before they could have put a sign on their window that they would be closed for a few days and left a message on the message machine. Now they may get 50 emails a day on top of everything else and they have not adapted completely.

But that does not really excuse them. If they list an email in contacts, they should respond. If they list a phone number, they should answer it or return calls. Otherwise, they will get a whole bunch of Yelp and other reviews giving instant negative feedback.
 
But that does not really excuse them. If they list an email in contacts, they should respond. If they list a phone number, they should answer it or return calls. Otherwise, they will get a whole bunch of Yelp and other reviews giving instant negative feedback.

That's the thing for me. If you list an email address at the same level of importance as your phone number, it's your job to answer them both promptly. If you prefer to receive contact only by phone, either say so, or maybe don't list an email address at all.

That said, I don't think Tom is wrong to observe that it's incumbent on any of us who's not hearing from a vendor in a timely manner, whether we're posting about it or not, to get on the phone. I find email getting less reliable by the minute, and at the end of the day, when you dial phone number, you know whether or not someone is at the other end of the conversation.

There's no single right way to balance these concerns every time, so it's always worth talking about. I'm glad that Tom brought up the reminder to try calling, and told him so.

It's also true that, just as we're trying to cut vendors a little slack and giving them some room to be human, that we can do that for posters here too. I've had bad days posting just like everyone else, but I think that on the whole, we do remarkably well with this for a community of our size and unique passions. 🙂

I try to clearly differentiate between my posts as a member and my posts as a mod, but this one's definitely both. That generally generous spirit is what drew me here as a latecomer to ukulele three years ago, and what led me to volunteer to apply my experience to try to make the experience here a little smoother for everyone.

This is a little more Kum-by-ah than I am in real life 🤣 but hey, I really love it here, and delight in us all getting most things right most of the time.

(Edited later because my phone's version of this post made while I was in the garden made me sound even more psychotic than I actually am.) :ROFLMAO:
 
Last edited:
A couple of times, I've sent product inquiry emails to an esteemed, well loved dealer (who is a member here), to their published email address. and never gotten replies. I just write it off as poor communications and poor management. I didn't get too upset about it. I just moved on, so it was their loss. If it was that important to me, I would have called, or PM'd them through UU, but I guess it wasn't. Apparently, not that important to them either. I vote with my feet. Life goes on.
 
That said, I don't think Tom is wrong to observe that it's incumbent on any of us who's not hearing from a vendor in a timely manner, whether we're paying about it or not, to get on the phone. I find email getting less reliable by the minute, and at the end of the day, when you dial phone number, you know whether or not someone is at the other end of the conversation.
You can say this is A solution, but it is incumbent on businesses to respond to the ways they publicize their contact info. Actual example: Koaloha will not respond to a question I have about one of their instruments that I own. Multiple calls and multiple emails later, they still won't respond. So I am entirely justified in complaining about this. (I am not actually complaining.) I made the phone calls and the multiple emails. Is it incumbent on me to go to Oahu?

Edit: Last week, when I found a different email address for them somewhere on the internet, they helped me out right away!
 
Last edited:
You can say this is A solution, but it is incumbent on businesses to respond to the ways they publicize their contact info.

That was my very first point, so of course I agree with you. :) If you have an email address on your web page, the expectation is that you'll deal with it promptly. I have no patience whatsoever for companies who passively aggressively ignore your emails until you get frustrated enough to call, which is what they wanted all along. I really hate that.
 
I prefer not to call because what is SAID is gone the moment you finish saying it, especially when it involves a variety of information. I want transactions, services, important actions to be done in writing. To me email and texting are very valuable tools. I own an apartment building and have to bring in various vendors, but for a good while now, if they won't email or text, I find someone who will. It's made things much more controlled. The trouble is, many people only want to talk on the phone and it's extremely difficult to get them to write.

I work with a guy who is like that. He uses his car as a phone booth, will make all his important calls while driving. I've now resorted to telling him I will not answer his calls, to leave me a voice mail, which gladly is converted to text. For the times that the conversion is off, I text him to clarify in writing. So far it's working, but he still calls all the time, and I don't answer.
 
I'm not saying that this is going on when it comes to lack of response to email queries, but I think it's worth considering. I have a website devoted to antique clocks made by the 19th American clock maker, Chauncey Jerome. If you Google "Chauncey Jerome", you'd be hard-pressed to miss my site. My website encourages people to contact me if they have questions about their clocks. The queries come from a form that they fill out on the website that is then forwarded to my private email address, without that address being visible to them. Although I don't have my spam filter set to reject anything with even the slightest hint of being spam (I have pretty loose rules for accepting unknown emails), my email service provider seems to randomly shunt some of these queries to a spam folder that I can only view using webmail (in other words, the emails don't download directly to my computer). For years, I was not aware this was happening. I receive hundreds of queries every year but have no idea how many queries I never saw and, therefore, never responded to. To be clear, I am not running my website to make money, so people are not paying for a service. That makes my situation a little different from people who are in business and accepting queries via email. Nevertheless, I was horrified to learn that I was "ignoring" (what else would people think) their queries. I now routinely check my spam filter. But I also deal with the flip side of this problem. When I respond to the queries, the responses come from my personal email address, which is not in the recipient's contact list. Sometimes, my emails seem to go into a black hole. No acknowledgment that my response was received. Do I want to believe they're ignoring me, or is it less stressful (though still frustrating) to simply believe that their spam protocols are blocking my emails, because I am not recognized as a contact? As was suggested above, emails may not be the most reliable form of communication. Yet, all of us depend on them heavily and likely assume that, once sent, they're received.
Mike
 
When you consider that an International retail business can receive over a hundred emails a day it's no wonder that they can fall behind answering them all. With a phone line they're dealing with one call at a time.
 
Having already sent an email, it was helpful for me to read the thread and find out that with this particular vendor it is better to telephone with a concern/problem, than to just email.

I had a delightful conversation with Mike on the phone, and even ordered a uke from him. I believe the charge was in error, and have no misgivings about the received order. I thank those who's posts were informative to me. Also, it is my choice as to which vendors I may select, and there should be no problem with stating that.
So, based on this email, do you regret posting criticism on the forum without first contacting Mike?
 
I have had less than great experiences, too. A few years ago I ordered strings and about a week later with no word from them, I followed up and they had "lost" my order/forgot to send it. And recently, I've sent a couple e-mails asking about one of the hard cases I'd like to purchase, but have not had a response.

If you list your e-mail as a contact, answer it.
 
So, based on this email, do you regret posting criticism on the forum without first contacting Mike?
What's to regret? By posting on the forum, they learned that there may be mitigating circumstances that require a bit more patience and follow up. If a business doesn't want customers to expect a response from them via email within a reasonable business time frame (say a few days to a week on the outside), then just post a phone number with a "we'll get back to you when we can" kind of message on their site.

Again, in this scenario, we now know that mitigating circumstances are affecting this business' customer service. Wouldn't know that without this post. If you don't live in the area and don't necessarily have a reasonable long distance plan (that does actually still happen) and if there's no toll free, then email is a surefire method of communication: proof of time sent, full record of message content, can be sent any time of day. Another thing about calling is what if you work a job that doesn't give you an opportunity to make the call during that business' hours (or there's time zone issues)? Email may be your best choice.

Anyway, my point (as well as many others on this thread) is that email is a valid method of communication and a business standard at this time. It is not unreasonable to be less than satisfied with customer service (or perceived lack thereof) when emails go unanswered. It is a good idea to follow up with a call if you're really concerned, but it's also ok to comment that you found the service less than satisfactory. No one was flaming the business here, so I don't see how this warrants any "regrets".

(Said with mod hat off)
 
Hi, Donna from UKE Republic here. You don't ever hear from me on here at all, but the word got out. I don't like posting personal circumstances we are going through that might affect our business but I feel like I need to defend our reputation.
One, we are a small business. It's Mike, me, and our oldest son working here. Occasionally we have a seasonal worker to help out.

Long story short, Mike's mom was hospitalized in December, and then put under hospice care in her home since January. My mom had a pacemaker put in under emergency circumstances in the middle of May, within two weeks we had to pull life support. She died on June 4th. Mike's mom died on July 5th. We both lost our moms and our boys lost two grandmothers in a month's time. We had to plan and put on TWO funerals as well.
Our business is our bread and butter for our family and my son and his wife. So, that's what has been going on all the while trying to run a business and take care of our customers. I did post that we were dealing with a family emergency.

So all I ask is that you be kind as you never know what someone is going through.
Our apologies if your order was incorrect, your order was canceled, or your email got put in the spam file. I think we all win the slipped-through-the-cracks lottery from time to time. We don't have a call center, Mike individually answers phone calls and sometimes can be on the phone with a customer for quite some time. I'll be glad to hear some feedback as to how we can do better and then we will do our best, as humanly possible.
 

Attachments

  • GoogleReviewJuly2023.jpg
    GoogleReviewJuly2023.jpg
    107.4 KB · Views: 18
Last edited:
Top Bottom