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Gerard's Blog

Gadgets, Photography, Marmite on Toast

You may or may not be aware of a product called the SwissPen.  You also may or may not have heard of the 3Doodler, a successful Kickstarter-funded device that’s essentially a hot glue gun designed to extrude plastic like a 3D printer allowing you to draw in 3D.  After 3Doodler was announced, a start-up in Switzerland called swiss-3dprint started marketing the SwissPen on the basis that it was a similar product to the 3Doodler but would get to market first.  For the price of around 95 Swiss Francs (plus quite a lot of postage) you could pre-order one during the summer of 2013 and it would arrive at your door before the end of October.  Seems like a reasonable deal?  I thought so and ordered one on 25 August 2013 (and paid the same day through PayPal).

As October drew to a close I started having reservations about this product.  My order was still sat at “processing”, the stock checker on their site hadn’t moved from 10% in 2 months and there was none of the exhaustive social media marketing you might expect from a product like this.

A couple of days before October was out the company announced through UK retailer John Lewis that they would be selling retail, also before the end of October.  Having seen this I wrote the following email to swiss-3dprint:

Hi,

As there are now only 2 days left in October and I recently read an article that the UK retailer John Lewis will be stocking the SwissPen before the end of the month I was wondering whether delivery of on-line orders is likely to occur before the device becomes available in store.  If not then I would like to cancel my on-line order and received a refund and instead purchase a SwissPen in my local branch of John Lewis.
Regards,
Gerard Krupa
The same day I received a reply from no less than the CEO of swiss-3dprint, Jean-Charles Monnin:

Hello,

We had a small delay into the production but your order will be shipped within 10 days, we will send you the tracking asap. About our UK distributor,
they planned to stock the swissPen for the end of this month but they delay
their process so they will not have anything before one month.

Regards

Jean-Charles Monnin

Odd that such a short time after announcing their retail deal that they would have a delay in getting the product onto the shelves. Fine I think to myself I’ll just wait it out since it sounds like delivery is coming sooner.

So I allow for the 10 days and then 4 more.  There’s no sign of the promised tracking and no product has arrived at my door.  We’re into the middle of November at this point but their site still promises delivery before the end of October and that stock checker is still at 10%.  I poke a bit more around the site and find that half of it is still under construction.  Out goes my next email on 14 November, this time direct to Mr Monnin:

HI,

10 days have passed with no dispatch and no notification (failure to notify customers that you are unable to satisfy the original contract is a breach of the European Distance Selling Regulations to which Switzerland is subject – your online shop still promises dispatch in October by the way).  Are you able to provide an updated estimate for delivery?
Regards,
Gerard Krupa

This time it takes 4 days to get a reply but it seems to be worth it because apparently my order has shipped:

Hello,

Your order has been shipped so I will check and send you details.

Regards

Swiss 3Dprint team

Not signed by Mr Monnin this time, but it’s from his personal e-mail address.  Looks at this point like it’s on the way though the site still says my order is processing.  Nothing happens after 4 days (22 November) so I get back to them as politely as possible despite the fact that I’m now suspicious they were lying about the dispatch:

Hi,

This is good news but I haven’t yet received a follow-up from you with details/tracking information.
Regards,
Gerard

Another 3 days produces the following which again, suggests that the dispatch has occurred:

Hello,

I’m waiting the tracking and I will update you

Regards

JC

Nice and friendly from my pal, “JC”.  Nothing continues to happen but I give them the benefit of plenty of time and doubt.  Now we’re well into December (the 8th to be precise), sufficient time that we can assume it’s not coming whether it’s lost in the post or some other reason. I’m getting a bit less friendly at this point because I can’t find any evidence that anyone has received one of these (I mean 10 minutes after delivery there’s going to be an unboxing video on YouTube, right?) and they’ve still failed to provide a tracking number to prove it was ever dispatched.  So given that Switzerland implements the European Distance Selling Regulations I decide it’s time for an ultimatum:

Hi,

It’s now been 3 weeks since you informed me that my order was dispatched and while you have failed to provide the promised delivery tracking information it is quite clear at this point that the item is not going to be delivered.  Since sufficient time has passed for you to make a claim against the courier, please either dispatch replacement goods or a full refund of 126.45 CHF via PayPal at your earliest convenience but within a maximum of 30 calendar days (as required by the European Directive on Distance Selling 97/7/EC prior to 7 days after completion of the contract – which has not yet been completed due to non-delivery).
Regards,
Gerard Krupa

Firm but still polite and not accusing them of lying which I’m now 100% certain they did.  At this point they’ve actually now updated the web site.  That stock meter is still 10% and my order is still processing but now delivery on new orders is estimated before Christmas.  I’ve given them until after Christmas so that seems fair.  Next day another promise comes back from them:

Hello,

We will send you the tracking until end of the week, you will receive the package next week. I know that you must receive it urgently, we are doing asap

Regards

Swiss 3dprint

Sounds good but unfortunately I’m going away for Christmas so I’m not going to be able to receive the product until I get back.  Still, I’m going to get a tracking number before the end of the week (ha ha).

Christmas comes and goes (3 weeks in sunny Bradford) and I return home on the 2nd January ready to pick up that Royal Mail failed delivery card and scoot off down to the sorting office.  I’ve received no tracking number still so I’m sure you can guess how likely that scenario is.  What was lying on my doormat?  You guessed it: diddly-squat.  Quick check of the web site again and now they’re up to 95% imaginary stock and delivery time is the nicely vague “4 weeks” (4 weeks from when?).  Over Christmas I’ve made a few blog comments and G+ posts about this and heard from others who have received nothing, some who found their e-mails going into a black hole.  Enough is enough now and, still on 2nd Jan, I send my latest (though probably not final) mail to Mr Monnin:

Despite yet another empty promise, have still received neither a tracking number nor the product I ordered.  Please cancel my order #xyz and provide me with a full refund of 126.45 CHF including all tax and delivery charges into the PayPal account I used when ordering the SwissPen as soon as possible.

That’s right, no salutations or regards.  I’m now into mildly impolite which is the last point I’ll get to before contacting the relevant Swiss authorities.  It’s now the 4th January; I wouldn’t have expected any replies over the weekend but who knows what excuse or complete blank I’ll be receiving this time…

TO BE CONTINUED.

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January 5th, 2014

Posted In: Gadgets, Problems

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  • Donny

    http://airsmokeandmirrors.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-swisspen-swiss-3dprintcom-seems-to.html

    I have the same feeling that I’ll never see that money again….

  • Donny O’Smokem
    • http://www.krupa.me.uk/ Gerard Krupa

      Have you used it yet? Hopefully it’s not just a plastic tube with a cable.

  • Peter Fuchs

    My friend has ordered 10 pens in November and never received anything. For some time now, the company doesn’t even bother to reply to her emails anymore. Paypal customer help ends after 45 days. so no hope. Gerard, did you get any refund or pens by now??
    Peter

    • http://www.krupa.me.uk/ Gerard Krupa

      No refund, no pen and no update from the authorities in Switzerland since 19 February. Apart from Donny O’Smokem’s comment I’ve seen no evidence that anyone else has either (I periodically search for unboxing videos on YouTube and Tweets).

      • Peter Fuchs

        I’m also in contact with a swiss partner to see what can be done through official chanels. If there is any progress I’ll post it here.


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