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Buyer Beware - Carbon One

Discussion in 'CarbonOne Industries - Buyer Beware' started by stenkb, Jul 25, 2011.

  1. stenkb

    stenkb Roadster 938 Model S 5957

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    After hearing about more people getting the same bad service/product - in some cases no product.......from Carbon One - I am finally going to give my $.02

    Last summer - yes last summer - I had paid for and ordered door sills from John at Carbon One. I spoke with John and everything seemed legit so I made the order. To make this somewhat short - 4 weeks turned into 8 weeks, then 4 months, then 8 months, then a year!

    John would promise he had sent out the door sills - then nothing.... after a few weeks I would try contacting him........
    Would get an excuse of some sort then he would promise again they have been sent out already......
    etc, etc...... each time John would try to keep me hanging on by offering free products to make up for bad service.

    As of today he had promised to get me CF door pulls, CF side air vents, and a CF radio bezel. (of course none of these were ever sent....)

    After a year of frustration I received 2 door sills - 1 defective. sigh....... after many more months of complaints I finally received a replacement.

    I have heard from others that they have had similar treatment - I have also looked on a lotus forum and found the same complaints there.....

    I have also heard from a couple of people who did get their parts as ordered - very late with excuses but delivered.

    I have not said much over the last year - hoping my product would still show up at some point.......

    All I can say forsure is BUYER BEWARE. And I would recommend to anyone to go elsewhere for CF parts.
     
  2. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    Since I posted earlier this morning, asking for any other contact information (phone disconnected, no replies to emails), I've received a number of emails from people in the same situation. I kept my mouth shut, too, not wanting to be written off by John/Carbon One.

    I have the street address off his website, am contacting PayPal for his bank information. The dollars between all of us add up to a very significant amount that can't be ignored.

    I probably won't post publicly (since I'm sure he reads this forum) - so if you'd like to be kept informed of any progress, please send me a private message.

    -sigh-
     
  3. stenkb

    stenkb Roadster 938 Model S 5957

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    Carbon One pending orders thread. - Page 11 - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community

    excerpts from the lotus forum:

    "I have even sent him a UPS shipping label on Monday and there are still excuses on why it can't go out. Really doubt I will ever see it. "
    "How is this guy not in prison? "
    "Order placed November 2010. I can't tell you how many times it's supposed to have shipped."
    "Order placed Oct 2010 Supposed to ship Dec 2010. Still waiting "
    "Order placed Nov 2010. Requested refund March 2011. Still waiting. "
     
  4. mpt

    mpt Electrics are back

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    Please PM me with details; as you know we created an area on the forum for Carbon One. If he's not living up to expectations, I have his contact details and will endeavor to assist as best I can.
     
  5. CarbonOne

    CarbonOne Banned

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    First off for anybody who is in need of my contact information... You can email me at [email protected] and call me at my new number which is 630 544 7675. I believe I wrote my new number down somewhere on these boards a few weeks ago but do correct me if I'm wrong. Regardless I apologize to anybody who does not have my number yet, and there it is.

    Regarding Kevin's order. Yes I took a while sending it out and even longer sending out the replacement. I have yet to send out the other parts I offered free for the delays. I still will send them of course but I have to hold off until I'm back on my feet again. I hope you understand that Kevin. The reason why it took so long to get the replacement is because at first I had many orders taken care of and could not get around to making a replacement door sill. Everybody's door sills look the same and so did Kevin's. I understand there was a small imperfection but at the time I had to hold off. After a while holding off on a replacement to take care of other standing orders turned into being in over my head and not having enough materials and or time to finish the replacement let alone other projects I've been working on. It was a few weeks ago when I sent the original door sill and I hope you like it Kevin. If you have any other problems call me or write me and I'll work with you to resolve them. Again, I apologize that it took so long and I wish I could have had it out sooner. Thank you for your 2 cents :).

    John
     
  6. CarbonOne

    CarbonOne Banned

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    By the way I got several emails this morning and I have replied to them all regarding any standing orders. Thank you everybody who wrote me and I look forward to hearing back from you.

    Lastly, everybody please do keep in mind that everybody who has ever gotten an order accept for this one incident with Kevin up above, has been very happy with their order. I do not ship out sub par quality parts. Part of the reason why it takes so long to ship is because I spend a good amount of time on each piece making it as perfect as possible. There are many steps in making cosmetic carbon fiber parts and each step takes lots of attention to detail, skill, and patience. I don't think most people realize how hard it is, and how long it takes to make these parts. It's even harder and longer when you have a passion for this work.

    I apologize in advanced for writing so much, but in order to explain to everybody all at once why orders are taking so long, I'll have to explain the process, why I use this process, and what has happened over the past months...

    Right now there are probably some teenagers in China, (I have nothing against China) making larger carbon fiber parts much quicker than I because to them its just a job. The way they make their parts, they spray a gel coat into the mold, lay up some carbon fiber, lay up some fiberglass, than bag and infuse it. They trim it, sand the edges nicely and box it up. That offers very fast production with very little post work. That also is a process that almost 100% of the time will result in the degeneration of a product. A product that often goes on an exotic car.

    The way I make my parts... I prep the mold, lay in the carbon fiber (with out a gel coat and with out fiberglass) bag it, infuse it, and then demold it after curing. I then trim the parts, and sand the edges with an assortment of sanding paper. I then scuff the surface, (keep in mind I'm scuffing pure carbon fiber since there is no gel coat over the top). I do this because it levels out the pure carbon fiber very nicely. That's a trick I do (but never told anybody before) to make the carbon fiber have an even shimmer when you rotate the part in the sun or walk across it under fluorescent lighting. After its scuffed I wash it to check for un-scuffed areas. I then wet sand it with an assortment of fine sanding papers, then give it an acetone bath. I then wash it again, dry it, and then I spray on several layers of gel coat. After I sand that, I spray more on, I then sand, clear coat, sand clear, sand clear, sand with an assortment of wet sanding paper, and then polish it. All that is necessary to make an unbelievably great looking product.

    Because of the way other companies make their parts, and the way I make my parts... Other companies will not give you a life time guarantee, I will. Other companies parts will not look great under all lighting conditions, mine will. Most companies are unable to keep a straight, excellent weave, I can. Just compare my door sills to my competitors door sills on ebay and look at the weave. Compare my parts to other parts on google. Yes there are a few other companies out there that offer the same look but at a much higher price. Before I didnt understand why a company has to charge $5000 for a carbon fiber hood. Because of the circumstances I'm in right now, I'm beginning to realize why other carbon fiber companies charge so much even for the smallest things.

    Door sills for the Roadster from Tesla run $1500 - $1800 I believe, (correct me if I'm wrong)... Our carbon fiber hood for the Roadster is $2500 and I believe that's 50% less than Tesla's. My hood even comes with the bottom piece in carbon fiber... I've herd from many people tell me that Tesla often confuses my carbon fiber parts for their own until they A, have somebody tell them its not done by Tesla, and or B, they realize they don't offer that part in carbon fiber.

    I understand the quality of my work is not being questioned but I need everybody to know that its my stride for perfection is part of the reason that is putting myself in the position where I have to make customers wait for their orders. Months and months ago I got in way over my head with mountains of Lotus parts. People loved that I was able to offer products that other companies couldn't or wouldn't. At first I charged a premium price because its what I needed to charge. After I saw how many people wanted the product at a better price I started lowering all my prices. Everybody started ordering and then after I stepped back and looked at how much work I have and how little money there is, I knew I had to work hard at what I had and take more orders. All of that lead to me getting in way over my head but left me with out the option of turning back.

    I hope everybody here can lend me a little bit more patience while I finish up the rest of the orders. I know that I have what it takes to offer amazing products to everybody here at a decent price. I look forward to one day soon being back in the position where everything is squared off and at zero. Hopefully by the end of summer.

    If anybody has any questions please feel free to post them or PM them to me. Again my phone number is up above, feel free to call :).

    John
     
  7. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    Thanks for the response. I haven't ordered anything yet but may some day. When do you charge the credit card for the item. When it is ordered or when the part is shipped? I learned a valuable lesson with ordering something that didn't ship for months after my card had been charged so would like to not repeat that. Thanks.
     
  8. stenkb

    stenkb Roadster 938 Model S 5957

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    That sounds all fine and dandy...but after a year for parts that should have been 4 weeks, and excuse after excuse - I am unconvinced.

    I just wanted to make sure others are aware of the risks - that's all.
     
  9. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    There's some basic economics at work here. I hate to say this, but as much as we all appreciate high quality and low prices, it sounds like you lowered your prices too much. I have a few reasons for saying that:

    1. Economists will tell you there's an optimum price, where the demand for the product times the amount you net from each one is maximized. Price it either higher or lower you make less money. Of course if you price it lower then it's a lot more work to make the same money than if you price it higher! So from your perspective it's better to err on the high side.

    2. It sounds like you're a one-man shop. That means you can only process so many orders. Unless you're willing to hire and train, you're not scalable. So there's no point in lowering your prices to the point where you can't sustain it. You'll end up pissing off your customers, either by not filling their orders or by lowering your quality so you can pump them out.

    3. You do have to worry about competition, but lowering prices isn't the only way to compete. I'm always surprised by business people who think they can only compete on price. Quality can be a major competitive edge. There's a reason the people here bought a Tesla instead of a Yugo.
     
  10. S-2000 Roadster

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    I'm someone else who has never ordered from Carbon One, but the discussion here is confusing.

    John, if the problem is that you don't have enough time to manufacture everything, and your situation is causing delays, then why tell a paying customer that something has been shipped when it has not been shipped? You have total control over this. You can tell your customer that parts are backlogged and that there will be a delay before theirs is ready. You can even try to predict when you are done, even if that means you might get it wrong. But it is totally unacceptable to tell a customer that their product has shipped several times when it has never shipped. Regardless of all the reasons why your manufacturing process might be slower than other carbon fiber products, there is no good reason to lie to customers and then give excuses.

    When the excuses do not explain why a 'shipped' product has not arrived, you lose credibility fast. It's possible to successfully run a small production, even with delays and mistakes, but you must be honest at all times.

    (note that I read several accounts from customers who claim that they talked to you and were told that their order has shipped, only to find that it wasn't - I'm assuming that they're not all lying)
     
  11. benji4

    benji4 Roadster 2.5 #0476

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    #11 benji4, Jul 26, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2011
    Kevin, I think if you are going to be critical of someone to such an extent you should at least be a bit more fair and accurate in your analysis of the situation. Let's clarify a few things:

    1) Calling one of the door sills you received 'defective' is going way too far. You sent me a picture of it on Feb. 27 which I'm attaching below. There is a very slight rise of the inner piece on one of the sills that most people would ever notice or consider to be a defect. My sills are exactly like yours (made from the same mold even at the same time), and I got nothing but praise from even the Tesla people about their quality and their design. I thought the slight rise was just part of the design actually... The word "defective" goes way too far in describing something most people would never even notice.

    2) Didn't you receive everything you paid for? -- the other parts John promised I believe were to be done for you for free as a penalty on being late on the door sills? It was a huge mistake for him to promise you those extra parts for free when he was clearly having production problems even with parts people had paid for and you should not have accepted it. In any case, it's very unfair to take something that somebody said they would do for you for 'free' and use that against them as you did. It's very misleading for people who don't know the situation.

    3) You make it seem like you waited for a year for your parts, but I think it was more like 6 months? You ordered in Aug or Sept (?) last year and got them in mid or late Feb I believe? Yeah, it's late, and it is a problem for sure. But you are making things seem much, much worse than they really were.

    Anyway, at the end of the day you received some beautiful carbon fiber door sills which are currently enhancing the look and feel of your Roadster, and you got them at a great price. My honest feeling is that you have been way, way to hard on John and that you owe him an apology.

    Now, all of this said, it's clear that CarbonOne has some things to get sorted out and improved, but I don't think we need to bash his head in here because of that.

    *****************************************
    The defect Kevin talks about is the insert portion of the door sill rising a few millimeters about the main body of the sill. The sill on the other side is closer to flat. My sills are exactly like his, and I didn't even notice it when they arrived! I did notice it looking carefully at them after Kevin told me about it and sent me this pic, but you barely notice it even with the sill in your hand, and it is completely unnoticable once the sill is in place on the car. I've received nothing but comments on my sills from even Tesla people who say they like the CarbonOne design much better than Tesla's own.
    doorSill.png
     
  12. stenkb

    stenkb Roadster 938 Model S 5957

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    Hi Benji - I guess this is the reason I didn't comment publicly on all the problems I have had with John at Carbon One. Some ppl on this forum get all defensive and raise their backs.

    The fact is I didn't get the product I was expecting, John said he agreed it was defective and would send a replacement.

    I was repeatedly lied to by John over the course of a year.

    I have exchanged information with many other people on this forum and the lotus forum who have had the same bad experience.

    My point for making this public was to let ppl know the risks and make their own decision.

    If you had a better experience - great.
     
  13. speedy99

    speedy99 2.5 Roadster

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    I believe it is illegal to charge full price before a product is shipped. (That is what deposits are for...)
     
  14. S-2000 Roadster

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    Strange that you would say that here. Tesla Motors charged full price for Roadster 1.5 and later models before they were even built! 50% deposits were taken first, but 100% needed to be paid before the approximately three-month long assembly. To be sure, there are many products and services which are billed in full before delivery, otherwise the manufacturer might lose their shirts shipping finished goods to customers who have not paid in full.
     
  15. slcasner

    slcasner Member

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    For the first 100 cars (Signature 100 series), we had to pay the full price at the time of reservation. Of course, the $100,000 price turned out later to be a good deal since the price increased, but the first 100 were an important step in getting the ball rolling.
     
  16. S-2000 Roadster

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    #16 S-2000 Roadster, Sep 2, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2011
    off-topic answers and new question moved to a Tesla Roadster thread.
     
  17. dpeilow

    dpeilow Moderator

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    OK let's keep this one on-topic please guys.
     
  18. stenkb

    stenkb Roadster 938 Model S 5957

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    CarbonOne Website is gone - I guess that speaks for itself.

    carbononeindustries.com

    Sorry, the site you requested has been disabled
     
  19. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    Wow. I came very close to ordering the door-sills but ending up deciding to wait. I really hope this is just temporary and that the people with pending orders get what they paid for.
     
  20. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    I especially hope that's true ...
     

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