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My Futaba USA repair experience

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My Futaba USA repair experience

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Old 03-14-2019, 05:00 AM
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Default My Futaba USA repair experience

On 1/4 my 4px radio arrived at Futaba for repair, I was told it would be a 3-4 week turn around.
On 1/30 I inquired about the status of the repair and was told they were performing an inventory and weren't able to do any repairs.
On 2/13 I inquired again, there was no reply.
On 2/19 I inquired again and was told they were catching up on the repairs and that mine was one of the first in line.
On 3/5 I called the repair center and was on hold for 22 minutes before I had to hang up. I left a message with my issue and phone number but no one returned my call.
On 3/7 I inquired again and was told the my technician has been out due to illness and that he would contact the other tech to find out why it has taken so long for the repair.
That was one week ago and I still haven't heard from Futaba.
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Old 03-14-2019, 05:07 AM
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Thats pretty lame, wonder whats going on. They just restructured not to long ago. Their service in the past had been awesome, the last time I had repairs performed was in 2017 on my 4GRS and they turned it around within 3 weeks.

Sorry to hear, I sure hope this is not going to be what the future of their repairs looks like. The least one could expect is that they keep in touch, and perhaps cut you a deal on the repair, given they are not always cheap!

What repair are you having done, screen repair?
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Old 03-15-2019, 06:14 AM
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Thanks for sharing, I have always felt that when you pay a premium for a luxury radio, the expectation is set that you will be taken care of for proper service. I have been bouncing around between several luxury brands over the years.

1) Started with Radiopost TS-401, had a servo replaced for $25 with about a 2 week turnaround, brand eventually changed to HFD and stopped making radios, shrug
2) Moved onto KO Propo EX-1, ran into glitching issues which required each Rx to be calibrated frequently, was a pain, but too many design flaws in system was not worth it for me to send in for service
3) Graupner X-8N, 2 year warranty was a great value, throttle trigger broke at about 14 months into the warranty and they sent me 2 replacement triggers the same day (at no cost), they gave me the option to send radio in to be serviced but was told it would take 2 weeks to get it back. I addressed the design flaw by making a backstop to prevent the trigger from failing again. After the 2 year warranty expired I discovered the importance of "steering speed" but the feature was not working properly so I was told to do a firmware update and that killed the radio. I mailed it in for service and they started working on it within a week, but unfortunately couldn't repair it, they shipped me back the dead radio about 2 weeks later and offered me a 15% discount for a replacement... lesson learned was to only do firmware updates with a system under warranty and to test all features before warranty expires! Since I own 8 Rx's I wanted to stick with Graupner and bought a used X-8E after confirming the steering speed feature works and I have been extremely happy with the system since then, but knowing that it's outside warranty, I have lost confidence that it can be repaired if something goes wrong down the road.

I have been closely watching Futaba and Sanwa (as potential brands to consider if/when my X-8E fails) and it seems both Futaba and Sanwa have hit/miss stories that I've read with a recent "bad" Sanwa thread experience that was quickly deleted by the RCTech admins. I hope this thread can remain respectful and share facts without any personal insults, etc

Folks need to know what level of service they should expect when paying a premium for a luxury radio system. Many people buy through USA distribution channels to ensure they are protected but if that level of service isn't there, then that's when it might be time to consider buying from overseas channels to save money and forgo a level of service that doesn't exist. Many manufacturers will still accept RMA's from overseas, probably with about the same turnaround time as within the USA channel, go figure?

Last edited by billdelong; 03-15-2019 at 06:27 AM.
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Old 03-15-2019, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by outlandr91 View Post
On 1/4 my 4px radio arrived at Futaba for repair, I was told it would be a 3-4 week turn around.
On 1/30 I inquired about the status of the repair and was told they were performing an inventory and weren't able to do any repairs.
On 2/13 I inquired again, there was no reply.
On 2/19 I inquired again and was told they were catching up on the repairs and that mine was one of the first in line.
On 3/5 I called the repair center and was on hold for 22 minutes before I had to hang up. I left a message with my issue and phone number but no one returned my call.
On 3/7 I inquired again and was told the my technician has been out due to illness and that he would contact the other tech to find out why it has taken so long for the repair.
That was one week ago and I still haven't heard from Futaba.
I have been a very big fan of Futaba for 30 years and have always thought of them of the highest quality. Recently I had my 1st experience with a defective receiver and had to send it in for a warranty replacement. This became a HUGE nightmare with lack of communication. To make a long story short about my frustration. I first emailed Futaba Corporate to let them know I am writing a bad review on their Futaba USA Facebook. Then I wrote a very detailed reason why I had a horrible experience on there Facebook page. Only then I finally got a manager call me on the phone. From that point I finally got my NEW receiver with NO charge as long as I deleted the Facebook review. He apologized about the miscommunication and bad experience I had but this for sure made me have concerns about Futaba quality.
Seeing this post made me think maybe they have dropped the ball on customer service.
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Old 03-15-2019, 10:04 AM
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oh man, that's not cool at all, I've also been a huge Futaba supporter from back as far as the early to mid 90's, very disappointing to see/hear this. hope it works out soon
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Old 03-15-2019, 10:16 AM
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I was just about the pull the trigger on a Futaba 7px, but was really hesitant because I had a nightmare of an experience myself last year, trying to get a servo repaired. It took so long, communication was so terrible that I absolutely swore off Futaba for good. And really the only reason I was looking at a new Futaba 7px, was because the release date on the Sanwa M17 kept being pushed back and their release of information wasn't timely.

Honestly, I think customer service in general has taken a crapper as of late. I have no idea how companies can expect us to spend so much money on electronics and be void of communication and their obligations to warranty their products.
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Old 03-15-2019, 10:23 AM
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I'm starting to get frustrated with them as well. I've used Futuba transmitters for over 30 years as well, and almost always run their servos as well. Almost switched when the receivers were so hard to get a year ago but stuck it out.

I damaged the final/output gear on a servo in my carpet buggy. Called about buying the parts, was told they are in stock and I needed to create an account. Did that. The repair tech commented on my case that the part is not in stock but will be ordered. Received an email that the part has arrived, but not I can not get a hold of anyone and they won't respond to the comments on my repair ticket.

I'm really frustrated. Not looking for freebies, I'm happy to pay for the part that I damaged. I would just like to be able to buy it. Maybe I'll try the facebook route...
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Old 03-15-2019, 10:36 AM
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100 dollar item.. or an 80,000 travel trailer... does not matter...
service is lost money to companies anymore.
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Old 03-15-2019, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by fastev View Post
I'm starting to get frustrated with them as well. I've used Futuba transmitters for over 30 years as well, and almost always run their servos as well. Almost switched when the receivers were so hard to get a year ago but stuck it out.

I damaged the final/output gear on a servo in my carpet buggy. Called about buying the parts, was told they are in stock and I needed to create an account. Did that. The repair tech commented on my case that the part is not in stock but will be ordered. Received an email that the part has arrived, but not I can not get a hold of anyone and they won't respond to the comments on my repair ticket.

I'm really frustrated. Not looking for freebies, I'm happy to pay for the part that I damaged. I would just like to be able to buy it. Maybe I'll try the facebook route...
Kind of what happened to me, they kept giving me different stories and then stopped communicating. In the end, I had to email executives at every level just to get some kind of action. They ended up sending me out a new servo just to squash things.
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Old 03-15-2019, 12:14 PM
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Wow I am amazed that this has happen to so many people. The sad thing is before I purchased the receiver and had the issue i just got a new Futaba radio. I am not having any other issues and hope non of it goes bad to having to deal with customer service again.
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Old 03-15-2019, 12:24 PM
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Probably worth mentioning that Futaba was hit the hardest when Hobbico went bankrupt and left Futaba with close $2.3million in unpaid debts (the highest debt of all the companies on the list)

Not really sure what exactly happened with Futaba USA after the restructuring, but I clearly see the Horizon logo on the bottom of the homepage for FutabaRC.com... shrug

IMO, the Futaba USA we see today is clearly not the same company it was before the Hobbico bankruptcy.
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Old 03-15-2019, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by billdelong View Post
Probably worth mentioning that Futaba was hit the hardest when Hobbico went bankrupt and left Futaba with close $2.3million in unpaid debts (the highest debt of all the companies on the list)

Not really sure what exactly happened with Futaba USA after the restructuring, but I clearly see the Horizon logo on the bottom of the homepage for FutabaRC.com... shrug

IMO, the Futaba USA we see today is clearly not the same company it was before the Hobbico bankruptcy.
Thank you for the information. That could explain the bit of chaos. I do hope they work things out and get back on the path of quality with product and service.
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Old 03-15-2019, 02:50 PM
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Well, there is that (Horizon) . I knew that they also took on OS, and as such I am waiting for their CS too, to take a huge downturn for the worse.

I do not like Horizon at all, based on my time running Orion CRF On-Road motors in the US, and also Orion Brushless ESC's & Motors. Their CS was always lost, and could never help me, so I got parts from Europe until I Switched Brands - to OS....

The bad thing is that Horizon gets so big that in the restructure I am sure many persons well versed in the product are let go to streamline operations, and well that's never a good thing.

The Old Futaba (USA) it was easy to get someone on the phone and even talk technical, or get some support for settings etc and such.

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Old 03-15-2019, 06:42 PM
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Not sure if the Horizon issue is the cause of Futaba CS problems. About 4 (maybe 5) years ago I had a problem with one of their servos. I had the same problem as others posted above. Very difficult to even talk to anybody, and no real help when I was able to connect with someone. I emailed many times, called many times,(even had my wife call at different times of day when I couldn't). We were told by one rep to call first thing in the morning on certain days because that was the slowest time- never was able to connect to somebody at that time. It was the single worst CS service in RC I've had and caused me to swear off Futaba. It is a shame because like others, I used Futaba for many years.
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Old 03-17-2019, 12:15 AM
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Originally Posted by mkl View Post
Not sure if the Horizon issue is the cause of Futaba CS problems.
Found this on the Futaba website (https://www.futabarc.com/contact.html). Sounds like they are not involved in the support side of the brand at all in the U.S. The second to last paragraph makes it sound like they aren't even involved in the distribution/sales side at all either, which makes me wonder what exactly they bought. Just existing inventory?


Changes to Futaba Product Support and Service

On April 6, 2018, Horizon Hobby purchased the RC hobby assets of Hobbico through their bankruptcy proceedings. We immediately began to evaluate the backlog of Futaba parts and service requests, completing what could be done with available parts. Unfortunately a number of Futaba requests remain incomplete due to a shortage of parts.

Futaba has made the decision to establish their own service and support operations in the US. As a result of this action we regret that we must return outstanding repairs and cancel any unfilled replacement parts requests. We will no longer be accepting new service requests. Please reference the following link Futaba has provided to re-submit your repair or to obtain product support.

https://futabausa.com/repairs/

Futaba has notified Horizon Hobby that they will be handling their North American Distribution themselves in addition to some small regional distributers. For retail sales of Futaba, please visit your local dealer or Tower Hobbies. All questions regarding Futaba distribution should be directed to Futaba USA.

We apologize for this inconvenience. We hope we will have the opportunity to provide you with great products and outstanding customer service in the future. Thank you,

Horizon Hobby
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