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Old Apr 24, 2012, 12:09 PM
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SK Ornithopters - Great Product (maybe), Lousy Business (definitely)

Hello All,

I'm brand new to RC Groups and my very first post is unfortunately not a happy one. On April 6th, 2012 I ordered a Lazy Hawk from SK Ornithopters (i.e. Sean Kinkade). I specifically chose that model because his website www.flappingflight.com indicated that he had stock inventory. Upon ordering, Sean informed me that my bird would ship "sometime next week". To clarify, we're talking the week of April 9-13. A bit odd for something that's supposed to be "in stock" but nevertheless I patiently waited.

By Monday April 16th, my bird had still not arrived so I sent Sean an inquiry. He said that they were working on it and that it would ship that week. To clarify again, we're now talking the week of April 16-20.

By Friday April 20th I had not received any notification of shipment or communication of any sort from Sean. I again inquired. First email was ignored....second email answered. Sean said "I'm finishing it up now. Please don't worry. I will ship it as soon as I finish it and get it boxed. very likely tomorrow." So now we're into Saturday the 21st. I receive no communication from him. Saturday evening I send him an email to provide proof of shipment or a full refund by Monday April 23rd. On Monday, Sean responds "I'm sorry if I misled you about delivery time but I do have lots of people ahead of you. I will try to get your bird built and shipped today........".

Of course this makes me think...."Didn't he just tell me on Friday that he was finishing mine up and would ship it probably Saturday? Why now are there 'people in front of me' that weren't on Friday?".

So again I patiently wait out Monday to see if any action occurs (shipment or refund). NOTHING! So.....at midnight Tuesday April 24th I submit a dispute to PayPal pretty much summarizing everything I've said here. Have I heard a peep out of Sean today (Tuesday)? Do I really have to answer that?

So my gripe with Sean is this.........If he's snowed under with orders and knows it's going to take 2 weeks, 3 weeks, even a month to ship he should tell me that when I place the order. Chances are I'd still place the order but I'd know not to expect it anytime soon. Instead, he strings me along with "next week" and "tomorrow" and then doesn't follow through.

In addition, it's now painfully obvious that his website is inaccurate and not maintained. What kind of business does that in this day and age? One could make the argument that it borders on false advertising!

Now I realize after reading a few of the posts on RC Groups that some of you can't say enough good things about Sean's product. On the other hand, I've seen posts similar to mine as well. I have no reason to doubt the quality of his product (based strictly on the posts I've seen here) but as far as Sean's business practices, I'll be surprised if he lasts another year operating the way he does.

So in summary:
  1. Don't purchase an SK Ornithopter if you expect it delivered anytime soon
  2. Don't trust any information presented on the website www.flappingflight.com
  3. Don't expect that he or his business will be around "for the long haul"
  4. Try to extract a realistic ETA from Sean before purchasing (good luck)
  5. Read other sources and posts on the internet regarding Sean, his business and his product and make a cautious well-informed decision about purchasing from him

OK, enough ranting. Go fly something!
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Old Apr 24, 2012, 12:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwayneholt View Post
but as far as Sean's business practices, I'll be surprised if he lasts another year operating the way he does.
To be honest this joker's business practices are very well known on rcgroups and he's been doing it to people for many many years and I'm sure he will successfully continue to do so for very many years to come while people continue to support him and send him money. You've been waiting a fews weeks, some have waited for years!.
I just wish someone with a few more business and moral scruples would take up the mantle and build these things instead.
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Old Apr 25, 2012, 07:53 AM
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UPDATE TO MY PREVIOUS POST: Received an email from Sean late last night that said he has shipped my bird. Gave me a tracking number too! . I'll post again when it shows up and give ya'll my first impressions.
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Old Apr 25, 2012, 01:42 PM
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Another one of these threads? AGAIN?
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Old Apr 27, 2012, 11:02 AM
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Wayne,

You got your tracking number. Howabout dropping your PayPal dispute and editing your rant?
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Old Apr 28, 2012, 04:35 PM
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I'd suggest he should wait till it arrives first.

Just sayin'.
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Old Apr 28, 2012, 04:54 PM
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Oh really? Why? Now you think i'm going to mail out a sack of bricks or something? When are you people gonna get it?
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Old May 02, 2012, 06:19 AM
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Why?
8 years of watching the complaints threads on here, that's why.

Some people get their birds, some end up waiting months, years even despite constant failed promises. Some have even never received their goods.

I've watched this going on for years and years and it's always the same. So don't complain about my comments I just say it as I see it.

It's a shame is all because by all accounts you produce good stuff if the customer is lucky enough to receive their goods.

When is Sean going to get it I wonder?
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Old May 02, 2012, 11:39 AM
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Received my bird on Monday, April 30th. All looks good; however, I was a bit disappointed in the packaging. The bird was packaged in a folded piece of cardboard. The fuselage was bubble wrapped and taped to the cardboard but the whole thing looked a bit susceptible to shipping damage. There was none but I would have expected it to be packed in a proper box with polystyrene (either peanuts or formed).

Initial inspection looks good. All the parts seem to be well designed and of sufficient quality. I would have also expected that some assembly instructions be packaged with the product as well but alas there was none. I'm aware that Sean has some instructions on his website but 1) given that his website isn't maintained, are the online instructions neglected as well? and 2) it's just good business practice to include instructions with the product.

I haven't started assembly yet but plan to shortly.

In response to previous posts......I thought seriously about telling Sean that I'd close my PayPal dispute "sometime next week" which seems to be his standard response but in the end I decided I didn't want to bring myself to his level so I closed the dispute last Friday (yes......before I received the bird). I guess I'm just too conscientious and honest.......something I hope will influence Sean in the future.

As for editing my initial rant.......why? I figure it's the only way Sean will ever think about changing the way he does business. Enough bad press will eventually have one of two effects. Either Sean will have to improve his customer service or somebody will see a huge untapped market out there and start building these birds to compete with him. I strongly suspect that it will be the latter and not the former. That's the funny thing about monopolies and a free market.......eventually someone comes along with a better, cheaper widget.
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Old May 02, 2012, 12:14 PM
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I suggested many years ago ship the products by rolling the wing and insert all in a tube to ship. The problem is the wing has carbon inserts and can not be rolled properly. Don't expect Sean to have some custom build boxes for delivery since those special size boxes will cost a lot from paper box manufacturers and they accept minimum quantity for each custom size box order. Figured it out, Flappingflight is a two person operations out of Cody, WY foothill.

Now a day, I guess China is the only place you can get cheaper price and adequate packaging, but, guess what, not enough quantity to attract them into this market...........yeah, eventually someone comes along with a better, cheaper widget........who will be that, you ?
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Old Aug 17, 2012, 12:00 PM
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I'm currently going thru the same delivery problems with my purchase of a Lazy Hawk. Verbal promise from Sean on delivery never met, I suppose it could be coming by Mule train and I hadn't given enough time for delivery. Also just would you have to do to get spare parts. I guess its time to file a claim with Paypal.
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Old Aug 17, 2012, 09:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WH724765 View Post
I'm currently going thru the same delivery problems with my purchase of a Lazy Hawk. Verbal promise from Sean on delivery never met, I suppose it could be coming by Mule train and I hadn't given enough time for delivery. Also just would you have to do to get spare parts. I guess its time to file a claim with Paypal.

Yeah....file that PayPal claim quickly. That seemed to help spur Sean along in my case. Hopefully it'll help with yours as well. Sorry you're having to tolerate his lousy customer service too. Good luck.

Oh.....and next time.....give serious consideration to the ornithopters coming out of Singapore. Specifically, SGDrones.com. Search RCGroups for "Protoseni's Bird" and you'll find good information about it. Good reviews so far.

W
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Old Aug 30, 2012, 04:39 AM
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For those who received their birds, how are you going to get replacement parts ? I filed a claim with Paypal. I have been told I will be getting a refund in the next couple of days. What I don't understand is why paypal allows SK to use their services.
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Old Aug 30, 2012, 05:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WH724765 View Post
For those who received their birds, how are you going to get replacement parts ? I filed a claim with Paypal. I have been told I will be getting a refund in the next couple of days. What I don't understand is why paypal allows SK to use their services.
There's always other options for replacement parts. Personally, I'll just make my own and utilize 3rd party suppliers for things I can't make. There's a thread in this forum that specifically mentions 3rd party parts such as gears, etc.

Wayne
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Old Sep 13, 2012, 08:04 PM
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Poor business practice? Felony Larceny is criminal activity and the guy is nothing more than thief. Yet, somehow his website manages to stay up and running. Ain't free-enterprise grand?

If I owned one of his birds are burn it on principle. Well, technically, I do own one. If it ever arrives, I'll post the cremation video.
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