Furious with Fender Custom Shop Customer Service

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Stratburst, Jun 6, 2017.

  1. Stratburst

    Stratburst Friend of Leo's

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    Apologies in advance for the rant: I am furious with the so-called customer service I have received from Fender Custom Shop on what should have been a straightforward order.

    Last September, I ordered a Fender 5-string Jazz Bass Custom Classic (Journeyman finish, engraved pickguard and neckplate, push-pull pot for series-parallel switching) through my local Long & McQuade Custom Shop Showcase Dealer. It was meant for a 10th anniversary present for my wife (yes, she plays bass).

    After explaining the specs to the salesman, a senior L&McQ employee I've known for years, he estimated the FCS could deliver in 4 months as a Team Build. Just to be safe, I gave them five months, paid my deposit and waited.

    The first problem: Fender contacted me and said they couldn't do a push-pull pot on the bass. No suggestions for possible alternatives. I wrote them back, suggesting they use an S-1 switch to get the series-parallel switching. Six weeks go by, then I get a response: nope, can't do that either. No suggestions for a possible alternative. At that point, I said, fine - no series-parallel switching.

    I wait. And wait. It's getting close to the five month deadline: I contact my L&McQ rep to ask if the bass is ready yet. He, knowing what it's for, gets in touch with FCS. No response.

    My 10-year anniversary date comes and goes without me hearing from FCS. My sales rep apologizes up and down, says he's received no word from the Custom Shop as to whether it's ready, or when it will be built. Luckily, I found another present for my wife as a stop-gap, and I figure I'll re-purpose the bass as a birthday present. They should be able to build a Team-Built bass in a year, right? Right?

    My sales rep is completely in my corner. His words: "You amaze me with the patience you possess."

    Fast forward to May, four months after the deadline. FCS contacts me with a complaint about the pickguard engraving: I wanted her initials in a script logo across the pickguard: "SvR." FCS says they can't do it, it's too similar to the "SRV" script on their Strat. Once again, no suggestions for an alternative. I suggest another font that looks different. I also expressed my displeasure at the delay and the flimsy basis for nixing my requests. I even pasted a passage from the Custom Shop's website: "...a veteran band of builders, each a specialist dedicated to their own area of expertise—working together to build your ideal Fender to your exact specifications..." to remind them of how they're supposed to behave.

    Yesterday, the Custom Shop responds: still no apology for the delay, just "understands your frustration with the build." The second proposed font is also unacceptable. Apparently, it's a decision from Fender's legal and marketing team. No proposed alternatives.

    I have just about had it with Fender Custom Shop. I've received nothing but obstruction and delay, and now this bass is 4 months overdue. I'm seriously tempted to demand my money back and go to G&L or some other custom builder that understands the notion of customer service.

    Your thoughts?
     
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  2. GeorgiaHonk

    GeorgiaHonk Tele-Holic

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    Dude, "with the patience you possess" your middle name must be Job. I would immediately do what you suggested: demand a refund and find someone that gives a damn. Ain't a soul gonna fault you for that.
     
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  3. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Sorry for your bad experience.
    Perhaps you might have better luck with an independent luthier (next time)?
     
  4. The Guy

    The Guy Tele-Holic

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    Well... That really sucks. The CS probably lost the mystic they once had.

    I say F'em and find a good independent builder to make an awesome bass for your lady that's not going to screw you up.

    They almost screwed your 10th anniversary, that speaks really bad from the CS. Too bad, they used to be an awesome bunch of people. F'em.

    Edit: you should not only demand your money back, you should also demand for a compensation.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2017
  5. noah330

    noah330 Friend of Leo's

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    When you get the bass chances are it will be so nice you'll forget about this.

    The Custom Shop ain't what it used to be. Years ago they only did custom builds and they boasted if you could dream it, we can build it. Even mentioning they could do a fur covered body with zebra tuners!

    At that time there were about 6 people working there. Now, they're mainly just production models with relic jobs and/or different finishes.

    The only models that I would even consider buying from FMIC are the Artist models or the USA reissues.

    Last time I got a Masterbuilt guitar it was awesome but it did take a long time.
     
  6. Bones

    Bones Telefied Ad Free Member

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    i would cancel the order and build a bass with my own hands from scratch or quality sourced parts. Would be easier, cheaper and quicker with a better more meaningful result.
     
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  7. Bones

    Bones Telefied Ad Free Member

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    that seems unlikely.
     
  8. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Friend of Leo's

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    As they say in Mexico, "Que lastima, lo siento..."

    For the amount of money this is undoubtedly costing, I'd have already pulled my money and told them to buzz off.
     
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  9. mgreene

    mgreene Tele-Holic

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    I would cancel at will! These guys dont care - they are exploiting brand loyalty. Like someone said above - get a custom pickguard made and slap it on high-end aftermarket parts - get the best available local setup for fret dressing and nut and tell them custom shop geezers to JAM IT!:D In fact get it engraved with your font and send them a picture! I dont see how Fender think they can copyright three letters from the alphabet - especially if it is someone's name.

    You can even get a custom head decal with something meaningful to her written on it.
     
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  10. bsman

    bsman Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm really sorry to hear that. It's pretty sad when a wonderful gesture like you were trying to make is ruined by an indifferent attitude like that. It's too bad Ron Kirn doesn't do basses...
     
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  11. teleamp

    teleamp Poster Extraordinaire

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    Dump Fender, go with G n L, or MJT.
     
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  12. burntfrijoles

    burntfrijoles Poster Extraordinaire

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    That's terrible. I'm surprised they said 4 months to begin with. I haven't custom ordered anything since 2011 but I was told 6 to 8 months at that time.
    I think FMC is a little dishonest about what you can get out of them beyond what is on their custom order spec sheets.
    I also think the L&M should use whatever clout they have to get you some extra bling from the Custom Shop for the delay and not being able to fulfill your requests.
     
  13. rburd2

    rburd2 Tele-Afflicted

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    For the "Custom Shop" to be unable to do what I think any decent tech at your local music shop could pull off (switching, etc) and just balking at putting your wife's initials on the bass AND taking this long to NOT make your wife's bass....it makes me wonder what "custom" means to them.
     
  14. TimothyC

    TimothyC Tele-Afflicted

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    For the prices they charge, I'm sure there's alot of boutique builders that could exceed their quality and service.
     
  15. The Guy

    The Guy Tele-Holic

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    Last edited: Jun 6, 2017
  16. brogh

    brogh Assistant Admin Staff Member

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    wow Stratburst :(

    sad story... if I was walking in your shoes after all this time and no delivery i would simply ask my money back and get a custom bass elsewhere, I'm really suprised that fender is not able to deliver in all this due time, the lack of communication and all the things they cannot do ... so where's the " exact specification " ?

    Move on to something else ;)

    Cheers
     
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  17. william tele

    william tele Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Exactly. I'm a lifetime Fender guy but calling yourself a Custom Shop deserves a definition. ANY business that took as long as they did just to tell you "No...we can't..." is unacceptable and the term "Custom Shop" is bordering on a fraudulent claim...
     
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  18. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    I guess Custom Shop means "Custom Shop that only customizes certain things". Bummer.
     
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  19. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity

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    Get your Money back, go somewhere else.
    Sadly, it is the only remedy they understand.
     
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  20. xafinity

    xafinity Friend of Leo's

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    I wonder if Fender has too many employees in the Scottsdale Ivory Tower and not enough in Corona. People in the 'Custom Shop' would no doubt love to live up to their name but may be hampered by corporate edicts and redtape.

    KILL THE ORDER, so many nice alternatives.
     
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