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Bad Business Experience with Banana Hobby and Their F/A18

Old 07-07-2009, 11:44 PM
  #1  
mkranitz
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Default Bad Business Experience with Banana Hobby and Their F/A18

Gents, I have to share this experience I had with Banana Hobby. I was stunned.

So about 5 months back I bought the Diamond Viper F/A 18. I build (if that's what you call it) the plane and go to connect the battery to the ESC. Remember, now, that it comes pre-wired so all you do is connect the battery lead to the ESC lead. KERPLOOF! A flame shoots out, burns my finger and I quickly disconnect the battery and test it ten minutes later. Balances fine, has the right voltage and doesn't puff.

The ESC is screwed, however. So I call Banana and they agree to send me a new ESC. Ryan helped me and he was very nice.

The new ESC comes and I get the plane set up. On my first takeoff, the right gear folds. The runway nicely sands part of the outboard missile but that was it. I adjust things and get the plane in the air. During flight, the EDF breaks loose from the tiny little screws mounting it and nearly flies out of the aircraft. I deadstick to a gentle landing and recover the foam hatch after it floats down.

I go back to the shop and fix everything. I take it out to the field the next day and the right gear folds again. Now, the servo arm won't even respond to the transmitter. The servo is burnt. So, rather than risk anything, I take it back home and replace both gear servos with Hitec servos. I go back to the field. I'm flying the plane and go to pull into a loop and the right wing ZIPPERS OFF! NOT where it was glued either!

Now I'm out of patience and I call Banana Hobby. Ryan takes my call and is very courteous. I tell him that I'm an experienced pilot and usually don't care about incidents that happen, but that this plane is cursed and has too much wrong with it for me to let the $600 bucks go up in smoke. He gets Pete on the phone after he learns that I'm CEO of RCU. (it's nice sometimes to be that guy [] ).

Pete is very courteous and goes on to explain to me AND GET THIS that the manufacturer didn't follow Pete's specs the first time around and that Version 2 addresses specific problems in Version 1. I ask him what V2 corrects and he says:

a. The retract servos strip and die so they replaced them with metal geared servos.
b. The ESC has a higher load capacity in the new version
c. In Version 2, a carbon rod is inserted through the fuse and into each wing to prevent the wings from tearing off during high G maneuvers.

I remember the feeling of utter vindication when hearing this. Pete graciously offers to send me a V2 plane and I accepted.

That was more than two weeks ago. Today I called to find out where the plane was and Taylor gave me a UPS tracking number. Then, about 45 minutes later, I get a call from Ryan. Ryan explains that Pete's boss has denied the new plane and that I must pay an additional $100.00 to get it shipped. He also says that Pete is very sorry for going back on his promise.

This is when I lost my cook top. I don't give a rat's behind about the 100 bucks. Truly. What I do care about is that the owners of Banana Hobby couldn't see past 100 bucks to remedy an admittedly defective product. A product that failed in every area they corrected!! You don't treat customers that way. Who buys a high-performance EDF for 600 bucks and "takes it easy" on maneuvers? There is nothing in the manual that tells you NOT to pull loops with your jet. In my view, EVERY CUSTOMER who has bought one of these deserves a refund. I'm sure the State of California Department of Consumer Affairs would frown on the sale of a known defective product.

SIDE NOTE: What is even more MORONIC about what Banana Hobby did is that the owners superseded a promise that Pete (their front man) made to me! And, they did that knowing that I'm the CEO of RCU. Duhhhh. We do editorial. Yeah....we produce content for a living. Is the owner of Banana Hobby so business-challenged and cheap that he couldn't see that pissing off a customer is bad enough, but pissing off the CEO of the world's largest RC community site is NOT the way to spread positive PR for your company???

I'd love to hear how many of you have had issues with this plane. I'd also like to know what you think about the owner's handling of this issue.


P.S. It does appear that JetTech has the very same plane for about HALF the price:

http://www.jettechmodels.com/servlet...ets/Categories
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Old 07-07-2009, 11:50 PM
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Their have been quite a bit of controversy about Banana Hobbies, over at RCGroups. Enough controversy that I will not even consider buying from them.
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Old 07-07-2009, 11:54 PM
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So far I have not purchased anything from BH simply because of all the "issues" I've heard and read about regarding their customer service. But this is the first time I've heard about a plane that had so many defects in the first version that it is virtually unflyable.

I've been sorely tempted to purchase some jets as they seem very nice, and I'm going to try very hard to resist the coming B-2. But your report just reinforces what many many others have already said about BH.

No matter how much Pete comes on the forums and brays about how much better BH is getting, it seems it's just the same shinola, different day. Thanks for your post. I'll just contniue to get my EDFs (and excellent customer service) from Electric Jet Factory (www.ejf.com). Robert is good people.
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Old 07-07-2009, 11:57 PM
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Louis
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You have a link for EJF?

thanks
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Old 07-08-2009, 12:00 AM
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www.ejf.com

They are based in Tucson, AZ and are typically at all the major events in the southwest. They will be at Beat the Heat in Flagstaff in a few weeks, and a week later at LA Jets. Robert is a great person and has been doing EDF for over 10 years.
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Old 07-08-2009, 03:23 AM
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I ordered the super duper A-10 from BH and have been fairly lucky to this point. So far my only complaints are the fact that I paid on a Monday and it did not ship until that Friday (I had to call), one of the elevator servos was DOA (and they would not reply to my email) and the retracts suck. I was able to live with waiting, had to rewire an HS55 in the place of the elevator servos and leave the gear up and land on the grass... I think I will stick with Hobby King, BP, and Horizon from here on out... Just my .02 from a boomer...
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Old 07-08-2009, 03:31 AM
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I can't say as I've ever hear anyone say anything positive about BH.

I think I'll steer clear of them for sure.
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Old 07-08-2009, 04:06 AM
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Originally Posted by crxmanpat View Post

That was too simple! I should have tried it before I posted.

thanks
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Old 07-08-2009, 06:13 AM
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Larry3215
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Originally Posted by crxmanpat View Post
So far I have not purchased anything from BH simply because of all the "issues" I've heard and read about regarding their customer service. But this is the first time I've heard about a plane that had so many defects in the first version that it is virtually unflyable.

I've been sorely tempted to purchase some jets as they seem very nice, and I'm going to try very hard to resist the coming B-2. But your report just reinforces what many many others have already said about BH.

No matter how much Pete comes on the forums and brays about how much better BH is getting, it seems it's just the same shinola, different day. Thanks for your post. I'll just contniue to get my EDFs (and excellent customer service) from Electric Jet Factory (www.ejf.com). Robert is good people.
I agree on all points and second the recomendation for EJF.
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Old 07-08-2009, 07:07 AM
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Banana Heads is more like it... What a stupid move on thier part. If YOU had that much trouble imagine how much chance a 15 year old kid who saved all summer would have...
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Old 07-08-2009, 07:20 AM
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Their entire vendor section on RCG is inundated by equally disasterous reports on many different product lines. How they survive is beyond me (I'm sure that there's a lot of people who are content with what they've got from BH but the high number of disgrunted people is still a bad sign overall).

Going back on the promise was the fatal flaw.
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Old 07-08-2009, 07:22 AM
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As they slowly swirl down the bowl,,,,. thanks for the warning, my buddy was all jazzed about that plane. I'll stay away for sure.
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Old 07-08-2009, 08:43 AM
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Good to know about BH, I wont buy from them knowing this, Dang, what a dumb stupid thing to do, BH if your reading this, You fudged up big time, for being cheap, its going to cost you big time, as in loss of sales, What a stupid stupid stupid thing to do,

Last edited by CHELLIE; 07-08-2009 at 09:00 AM.
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Old 07-08-2009, 09:23 AM
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What gets me is how these businesses survive... do they have a huge backlog of cash they don't mind burning through?

I'm a small cottage business here and even with the best of customer services it's hard to keep things afloat, such is just the nature of this business. If was to start [mis]behaving like these folks it'd be all over in a week.

Paul.
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Old 07-08-2009, 01:52 PM
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Seems they give the green banana repeatedly and don't care about repeat business.
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Old 07-08-2009, 01:54 PM
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Trouble is, it would seem that there's enough of a supply of new/fresh victims that they don't have to care. The victims don't become initiated with the horrors until they go to vent about them on the assorted forums.

Paul.
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Old 07-08-2009, 02:35 PM
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Louis
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Originally Posted by pldaniels View Post
What gets me is how these businesses survive... do they have a huge backlog of cash they don't mind burning through?

I'm a small cottage business here and even with the best of customer services it's hard to keep things afloat, such is just the nature of this business. If was to start [mis]behaving like these folks it'd be all over in a week.

Paul.
I have been trying to figure that one out for a long time. At RCG, in the vendor/trader forums you see a lot of unhappy buyers. What gets me is that the same unhappy buyer wants so very badly to believe that the seller will finally come through with their landing gear, motor, airplane or what ever.
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Old 07-08-2009, 03:07 PM
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Sorry to hear about your issues with BH. I've not purchased from them either because of the bad press I've read. I'll second what Pat says on EJF. GOOD PEOPLE! They stand behind their products when needed.

I used to run a customer service center and I can assure you I NEVER went back on a promise. If for some reason I couldn't fulfill that promise, I always had a better solution for the customer than they were expecting. Even when the customer is in the wrong, I didn't tell them and got them taken care of anyway. It's just the way you have to do business these days. The problem with companies like BH, is they are looking at the short term effect of the decision and forgetting what the long term damage will be.

It also shouldn't matter if you are a CEO or a kid that mows lawns for a summer, you're still a customer and should be treated with the same respect and courtesy you deserve. It seems like customer service is a vanishing concept these days.
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Old 07-08-2009, 05:38 PM
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The absolute best customer service for a online hobby store is A Main Hobbies. The owner Kendall Bennett has set the standard for customer service in the narrow margin of the hobby biz.. He and his crew always go out of there way to make sure that "the customer is always right" If he doesen't have it in stock, a simple email asking about the availibilty will usually get the ball rolling. Dut to his excellent service and reputation, that store has grown by leaps and bounds over the last 6 yrs. he always answers emails ASAP. He is adding more and more airplane and chopper stuff everyday. I asked him about possibly stocking the FMA chargers and this was his reply:

"Thanks for the info on that charger. In the past I never found a way to order their products, and I think they only sell direct to consumers, and not to dealers. But I will take another shot at it."
http://www.amainhobbies.com/

He doesen't give up, he exhausts every option on a daily basis.


I don't get the new upstart hobby companys instantly chopping there foot off due to a bad deal. It's not the first time we have seen this and it probably wont be the last. It's not like they should be tossing money and flowers to everyone who buys from them, or has a problem, But some things can be handled differently on a company survival type of strategy due to recent economic times. you can't please everyone, but you can try alot harder than that. In this case, Banana hobby didn't try very hard to rectify the problem and looked very bad in doing so. (a new made-overseas ESC is a drop in the bucket)

I owned my own business at one time, I know how tough it is. I always strived to take care of my customers above and beyond the call, even if it cost me a bit of money.

Pop's always said "if you borrow something, try to return it in better shape than when you recieved it". I think it's a good motto that still rings true to this day.
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Old 07-08-2009, 06:52 PM
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I've never bought from them, after reading this thread never will. They use to say before the internet, if one person is unhappy with a company 10 people will here about the complaint and not do busines with said company. With the internet thousand's will hear about it.
Dumb on their part.
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Old 07-08-2009, 09:40 PM
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Thank goodness for the Internet. It helps us weed out the bad ones and highlight the good ones. Needless to say, BH or any of their other aliases will never see ANY of my hard earned dollars
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Old 07-08-2009, 10:37 PM
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I just bought an MX-2 plane from BH before I read the problems in this thread. The plane came quickly, and I ordered it without the radio/receiver (I am using a DX-7/AR6200). the assembly went smoothly except the throttle won't function (all other controls will. I stuck another esc/motor in the throttle port on the receiver, and it works. The ESC is direct-soldered to the motor, and I have to remove the nose (which is hotglued inplace) to pull the motor. I called and after about 30 minutes on hold, I was talking to someone. We went through the obligatory tests with the tx/rx, and I informed him of my troubleshooting steps. They wanted me to take it to an RC shop to get it tested, or to further troubleshoot to either the ESC or motor (which I can't do without cutting up the plane, which would void the warranty). Finally after an hour on the phone (of which half was waiting for the reception person to get advice), they said to send the fuselage in and they will test it. If it works I will have to pay return shipping to get it back. If it doesn't work they will fix it and pay shipping both ways. I am quite disappointed, this is my first plane, but I have many helis (using the same tx/rx combo). I definitely won't be doing more business with them. I had to really argue to get the remedy I have (returning the fuselage). They kept trying to say that it is a tx problem, when I told them I proved that wasn't the case. They tried their best to deny any sort of responsibility.
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Old 07-08-2009, 10:48 PM
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MKRanitz

"QUOTE"
He gets Pete on the phone after he learns that I'm CEO of RCU. (it's nice sometimes to be that guy [] ).
"QUOTE"

You do know Pete IS the owner of BananaHobby right???
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Old 07-08-2009, 11:09 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by iscreamsunday View Post
I just bought an MX-2 plane from BH before I read the problems in this thread. The plane came quickly, and I ordered it without the radio/receiver (I am using a DX-7/AR6200). the assembly went smoothly except the throttle won't function (all other controls will. I stuck another esc/motor in the throttle port on the receiver, and it works. The ESC is direct-soldered to the motor, and I have to remove the nose (which is hotglued inplace) to pull the motor. I called and after about 30 minutes on hold, I was talking to someone. We went through the obligatory tests with the tx/rx, and I informed him of my troubleshooting steps. They wanted me to take it to an RC shop to get it tested, or to further troubleshoot to either the ESC or motor (which I can't do without cutting up the plane, which would void the warranty). Finally after an hour on the phone (of which half was waiting for the reception person to get advice), they said to send the fuselage in and they will test it. If it works I will have to pay return shipping to get it back. If it doesn't work they will fix it and pay shipping both ways. I am quite disappointed, this is my first plane, but I have many helis (using the same tx/rx combo). I definitely won't be doing more business with them. I had to really argue to get the remedy I have (returning the fuselage). They kept trying to say that it is a tx problem, when I told them I proved that wasn't the case. They tried their best to deny any sort of responsibility.
BH has a terrible commercial reputation-if you paid by credit card, DISPUTE IT; if not, file a complaint with the Attorney General in your state and their state for either a "deceptive" or "unfair" trade practice!
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Old 07-09-2009, 03:44 AM
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I have sent the fuselage back, after plugging in yet another spare esc/motor combo into the receiver and verifying it works. I marked the esc and motor to see if I get the same one back. Hopefully they make good on this, even with the hoops I have to jump through. I'll post when this is resolved (or not).
wish me luck...
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