DFocus and DMount, Finally! – Unimpressed with jag35.com

First up let me state this is NOT a gear review.
There are many sites you can go to if you want to read advertisments reviews by people who get sent free gear.

No, this is about my experience ordering a follow focus and a mounting plate for it from jag35.com.

Jag35 is one of the cheapest but respected manufacturers of DSLR video gear. Their follow focus for example comes in at $139.99 (US) with no lens gears, this is CHEAP compared to other manufacturers (Zacuto’s follow focus is $1,350 (US) for example).
Their gear is often talked about and recommended by the big boys of the DSLR video scene, and having used their DSLR rigs before I can attest to the high quality of their product.

The reason I’m writing this is to highlight my recent ordering experience with them, which was less than satisfactory.

I emailed them before ordering to check on postage costs to Tokyo from the US and was told in a direct mail it would be $35-40 shipping and that the DFocus was in stock but the DMount was back ordered 3 weeks.

So, 3 weeks….ok, I went ahead and ordered.
When I did turns out shipping costs through their site was actually $55, not a good start!

In a “notification of payment received” email however I was told that DFocus orders were taking 2-4 weeks to process.
When I contacted them about this a curt 1 line email response informed me I could ‘expect to receive my order in about 3 weeks

4 weeks later still no follow focus so I sent them another email asking what was going on.
This time the reply was that they “apologized about the extended wait time, but at the moment we are completely sold out of the DMount and we will not have any for about another week.” and offering me a refund.
I replied that I would wait, but that it would be nice to be informed of the extended wait time without having to email them about it and maybe they’d like to throw in an extra lens gear ($27 worth of serrated plastic) as a goodwill gesture for my extended wait.

The next day I received another email saying they would be happy to throw in an extra lens gear and explaining that they:-

are a very small company, the only reason we are able to offer our products at this price point is because we are way understaffed and still work out of our garage.  This last month our orders and emails have increased so drastically, we haven’t had time to update so many things on our website, including new products we’re working on, and changes to current products.  I’m sorry that our automated email isn’t updated to say exactly how many days it’s gonna take us to ship out an order from the time you place your order.  It’s been tough to say.  Also, it’s been tough to keep everything in stock, lately it seems like, every single piece we build in one day, get’s shipped out that day, so we can’t exactly say our products are in stock, because they still need to be assembled and tested.  Anyway, I just wanted to explain a little bit about the way things are on our end, so that you know why it’s taking us longer than our email says.  We used to be able to ship products in stock within 2 – 3 days, but lately it just haven’t been the case.   I will definitely be changing our automated response, to be more accurate, but for everyone who already placed an order, all we can do Is apologize for the delays.  I hope you understand and hopefully you can be patient with us.

All very interesting, but my question is, why advertise and take money for items that you can’t supply in anything like the time frame you say you are going to?
At best it’s bad business practice and at worst it feels like a con, a way to get cash flowing into your business to pay your suppliers for items you have already sold onto the customer.
Either way, it leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

Finally a full 6 weeks after placing my order (and 2 weeks after their previous email claiming they would be shipping in a week) I received a “your order has been shipped” email with a US Postal service tracking number.
I fired off a quick “about time!” email in response, only to receive, 4 days later,  a carbon copy of the above email making excuses about them being a small company, blah blah blah.

Not even a real email!! just a cut and paste of an email they had already sent me!

If they are such a small, understaffed company working out of their garage I would at least expect an actual email response to me, not some template mail that they obviously have to send out a lot as many of their customers wait for extended periods for products they were told would arrive weeks before.

By this point – seriously unimpressed!

For some reason my package passed through Australia on its way here to me in Tokyo.
(not jag35’s fault but a fairly ridiculous route from The USA to here none the less)
Finally arriving a full 7 weeks and 5 days after the order date!

Oh and without the extra lens gear they promised.
(A small detail that would have made the vastly extended wait time a little less annoying)

The whole experience has left me seriously disappointed with Jag35, which is a shame because I had planned to order several more items from them, which I won’t be doing now.

The follow focus itself?
Great!, but that doesn’t make the whole experience any less unsatisfactory.

I’d be interested to know other people’s ordering experiences with them and also if I’m being unreasonable about this.
(because , lets face it, I have been known to be unreasonable before ;-)


**DISCLAIMER – This is another post that was written before the disaster in Japan on 11/3/11. Things are basically returning to some semblance of normality here in Tokyo (though not for the poor souls in the North), which is why I have decided to post this now despite personal concerns that complaining about anything (jag35) in the wake of the disaster feels a little odd**

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