Parker Metal Working started selling plasma cutters on eBay. When a Pirate4x4 member named SeaBass44 purchased one, the company joined the Pirate4x4 forum under the name DIVTEC and started promoting their china made plasma cutters on the premise of awesome customer service. I chose to order from them because they pride themselves on customer service, and promote themselves this way through Pirate4x4. This is my personal experience with Parker Metal Working:
- Thursday 4/24/08 – I ordered the scratch and dent 200amp pulsed DC-only TIG welder (PT200PSV) from Parker Metal Working on the phone. The salesman told me it would ship either Friday 4/25 or Monday 4/28. This welder is advertised on their website for $699.99, the pirate special is $599.99, and I had purchased the scratch and dent for $499.99 + $95.99 shipping & handling. Before hanging up, I confirmed with the salesman the shipping date (again) of either the next day or the following Monday.Arizona UPS, where the order originated, estimates travel time to be two days or less to Sacramento. Therefore, I should have received the product by Wednesday.
- Wednesday 4/30 –No welder.
- Saturday 5/3/08 –The rest of the week passed and still nothing. I checked my AMEX bill only to find that, yes; they did in fact bill me on Monday 4/28 for $694.99. While I’m no math wiz, I do know that $499.99 + $95.99 S/H and does not total $695. In fact, they appeared to have charged me the pirate special price and not the scratch and dent price. Oops, I better call and find out what happened on my bill…and where the welder is.
- Monday 5/5/08 –I called the company Monday morning and spoke with Jim, the welder/fabricator for Parker Metal Working. Jim told me the welder shipped Thursday 5/1, but he was unsure why I was charged that much. He promised to bring it to the attention of Phil Sr., in charge of customer service and the only one who can make changes, and call me back later that day.
By the afternoon I had not yet heard back so I called them. Jim told me that Phil Sr. was out sick, and that Phil would give me a call after he went through the paperwork that Jim faxed him. Phil called me back and left me a voicemail since I was out. He said he did not understand Jim’s note so we’d work it out when we talked next on the phone.
- Tuesday 5/6/08 –I called Parker Metal Working Tuesday afternoon to speak with Phil Sr. about the overcharge and the missing welder. Phil told me the welder was never offered in scratch and dent. He went on to tell me that the 200amp pulsed TIG at the pirate special of $599 is a great deal, and I should be more than happy to have gotten it for that price. I was taken back by his tone and defensive attitude. I then asked why I should be happy to have been overcharged for the item, and he exploded. He called me names, told me he did not want a customer like me, that I hated his company, and that they were not going to sell the welder to me (although it already shipped). I tried to tell him that if I sounded upset it was because I hadn’t received my item, that I was overcharged, and that his outburst was offensive. His yelling at me was not going to help his company sell units! Continuing to yell, he told me to call back when I had calmed down. Then he hung up on me.
Parker Metal Working Company has been described on Pirate4x4, eBay, and their website as priding themselves on customer service. What was going on here?
- Two minutes later –I called back, and this time I spoke Jim, telling him what happened. (Jim is very levelheaded and calm. I think he would make a better public voice for sales, support, and customer service. Kudos, Jim!). Jim alerted me that Phil is having a “problem,” and he will try to talk it over with him. Jim then asked what they could do to make it right. I told Jim I either want the welder soon for the agreed upon price originally, or I want a refund (In reality I want the unit to see how it works. I had hoped this would be my first TIG welder of many –my stepping-stone into TIG land!) I also let Jim know that Phil’s while appalling attitude has not hurt me, it may hurt their business because I have documented my entire purchase (as I do with every online purchase) and plan to share my Parker Metal Working experience with the world. Jim notified me that he would talk to Phil about it and get back to me tomorrow. I told Jim I looked forward to resolving the whole thing and thanked him for taking the time to listen to me.
- 10 minutes later –I decided I did not want to put any money into Phil’s hands. His business tactic of selling a product based on customer service and then providing none made me too uncomfortable to continue doing business with Parker Metal Working. I asked Jim simply to cancel my order and refund my money. When he heard that, of course, he said he would talk to Phil right away and get back to me soon. When Jim called me back, he told me to refuse the welder upon delivery, and they will refund the money once they get the item back. I agreed to this. As of 5/8/08 I have received my refund on my American Express from Parker Metal Working.
So what have I learned? I have learned that if someone appears to have no real technical knowledge about their product then they probably don’t –stay clear of their company and their product. For example, I have e-mails from Phil stating he is unaware of what consumables the torch on this TIG unit requires and also asking me if I can provide input on what replacement parts they should carry. This was to be my first TIG welder so, of course, I didn’t know –that’s what I rely on customer service agents for! Again, Jim to the rescue –he was able to tell me right away what consumables to purchase when I called. Jim knows his stuff and is very easy to talk to, but shouldn’t the customer service representative be equally knowledgeable? (This was prior to the outburst by Phil Sr.)
I cancelled my order with Parker Metal Working to save myself more hassle, so I cannot review the performance and construction of the 200amp pulsed DC-only TIG welder.
If you have a Parker Metal Working product and wish to write a review, please contact us and we will post your review. Good, bad or somewhere in-between.
Parker Metal Working via Phil Sr. posted on Pirate4x4 that they do have the 200AMP pulsed DC only TIG in stock NEW and S&D… you can see for yourself by the attached screen shot. More proof that he was not telling the truth on the phone about never offering that model in S&D.
SeaBas44 shares his own personal Parker Metal Working Experience
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