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Disappointing Drone Purchase

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TreeLineView

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Shortly before Christmas I decided to sell of some older hardware and upgrade to an Enterprise unit. I had enough work in the pipeline for 2020 that I thought it was time to move to a more reliable platform. I purchase a new M200 series and new Flir XT 640 sensor. I chose a well-known dealer who gave me a great deal.



A couple weeks after receiving my new equipment, I had a new Client approach me who needed some work done immediately. I had already familiarized myself with the new equipment and had several test flights. Needles to say I ran into major hardware issues attempting to perform the work. The XT sensor would start jerking every 3 or 4 seconds after powering up. Data collection was not possible. Lost the job and the potential to pick up this new Client.



Fast forward 7 weeks. Yes, I said 7 weeks. I have spent hours on the phone with the Enterprise reseller trying to diagnose, and fix the issue. We have done the firmware update exercise on the drone, Sensor, and adapter ring many times. After overnighting the equipment back to the re-seller 3 times, they finally sent it to DJI. It has now been there for over two weeks with no update. Without boring all, I believe the final issue will be something to do with the drone connection and not the XT.

My biggest issue I have is with the reseller. They were very helpful in the beginning and always polite, but as time went on, they just pushed my case aside and stopped responding to me. No updates, no ownership of the issue, no apologies, no NOTHING. I have called them 24 times. They don’t call back. The only way to get any response is to now keep calling until the owner answers. I am currently out $2500 in out of pocket expenses and lost revenue. I told him this last night.

Why am I posting this information? Two reason. First, I would not name the dealer because I have too much respect for this forum. They are a well know supplier. I just want the owner to reflect on how horrible he has treated a customer who dropped $14,000 into his business. Would he be as patient as I have been if he purchased a new car and couldn’t use it for two months. Second, I wanted to share with folks who might be contemplating the same question I did. You are finally getting some Clients, revenue and trying to determine if you can satisfy your customers’ needs with used equipment, or move up to more reliable platform. It is hard to justify the cost of having a second sensor for backup, but maybe my next choice will be to go back to used equipment and a reliable backup system.
 

Mavic Mac

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John - sorry to hear the problems you have experienced. From the phone conversations we had in the past I am pretty sure I know which vendor you are discussing.

Is the job you lost the one I asked to observe ?
 

2edgesword

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Did you sell ALL of your prior equipment with nothing to back you up if there were problems with the new drone?

This comment has nothing to do with the issues between you and the seller just some advise to others that might be considering an upgrade. Get some history with the new equipment and confidence in its reliability before selling all the possible alternatives in case something goes wrong. Better yet keep something as a back-up.
 
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TreeLineView

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Did you sell ALL of your prior equipment with nothing to back you up if there were problems with the new drone?

This comment has nothing to do with the issues between you and the seller just some advise to others that might be considering an upgrade. Get some history with the new equipment and confidence in its reliability before selling all the possible alternatives in case something goes wrong. Better yet keep something as a back-up.
Agreed. I should have clarified, my work is exclusively Thermal. Yes, I could have had and did have multiple Inspire 1s previously, but having an $8000. XT sensor for backup requires the volume. Not there yet. When you move to what the Manufacturer calls "Enterprise Class", you are not buying a "Consumer" quality product, you are buying something that should have reliability, redundancy, and great support from the VAR or reseller.
 

JDSimpson

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Shortly before Christmas I decided to sell of some older hardware and upgrade to an Enterprise unit. I had enough work in the pipeline for 2020 that I thought it was time to move to a more reliable platform. I purchase a new M200 series and new Flir XT 640 sensor. I chose a well-known dealer who gave me a great deal.



A couple weeks after receiving my new equipment, I had a new Client approach me who needed some work done immediately. I had already familiarized myself with the new equipment and had several test flights. Needles to say I ran into major hardware issues attempting to perform the work. The XT sensor would start jerking every 3 or 4 seconds after powering up. Data collection was not possible. Lost the job and the potential to pick up this new Client.



Fast forward 7 weeks. Yes, I said 7 weeks. I have spent hours on the phone with the Enterprise reseller trying to diagnose, and fix the issue. We have done the firmware update exercise on the drone, Sensor, and adapter ring many times. After overnighting the equipment back to the re-seller 3 times, they finally sent it to DJI. It has now been there for over two weeks with no update. Without boring all, I believe the final issue will be something to do with the drone connection and not the XT.

My biggest issue I have is with the reseller. They were very helpful in the beginning and always polite, but as time went on, they just pushed my case aside and stopped responding to me. No updates, no ownership of the issue, no apologies, no NOTHING. I have called them 24 times. They don’t call back. The only way to get any response is to now keep calling until the owner answers. I am currently out $2500 in out of pocket expenses and lost revenue. I told him this last night.

Why am I posting this information? Two reason. First, I would not name the dealer because I have too much respect for this forum. They are a well know supplier. I just want the owner to reflect on how horrible he has treated a customer who dropped $14,000 into his business. Would he be as patient as I have been if he purchased a new car and couldn’t use it for two months. Second, I wanted to share with folks who might be contemplating the same question I did. You are finally getting some Clients, revenue and trying to determine if you can satisfy your customers’ needs with used equipment, or move up to more reliable platform. It is hard to justify the cost of having a second sensor for backup, but maybe my next choice will be to go back to used equipment and a reliable backup system.
Are you at least able to deal directly with DJI now for update status of the repairs, instead of this "Well Known Reseller"? Really sorry to hear this issue is still on-going and that you lost your new potential client. Shoot!!
 

PhantomFandom

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Agreed. I should have clarified, my work is exclusively Thermal. Yes, I could have had and did have multiple Inspire 1s previously, but having an $8000. XT sensor for backup requires the volume. Not there yet. When you move to what the Manufacturer calls "Enterprise Class", you are not buying a "Consumer" quality product, you are buying something that should have reliability, redundancy, and great support from the VAR or reseller.
Very sorry to hear of your issues and loss of business.

It is important though (in any business) to not have a single point of failure with any critical equipment. That is why I always go out with at least two craft, two mobile devices, two storage cards, plenty of extra batteries, etc, for every job. So it isn't just a matter of having backup equipment at home collecting dust, but taking it to every job just in case.

Yes it is terrible that the dealer is not providing the level of support you need, but it could also be that they are not getting the level of support they need from DJI. In any case even though it is expensive, that backup equipment is necessary so that you don't lose credibility with your clients.
 
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Ghost

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I really would like to upgrade to a flir capable drone but horror stories like this make it hard to justify dropping that much money into something and then have it turn out to be a paper weight. Sorry for your troubles and I hope you get it straightened out soon!
 

TreeLineView

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I really would like to upgrade to a flir capable drone but horror stories like this make it hard to justify dropping that much money into something and then have it turn out to be a paper weight. Sorry for your troubles and I hope you get it straightened out soon!
I have owned two Flir sensors previously, and believe they sell a very reliable product. Never had any issue with them. I also have to say that I have owned at least 10 different DJI drones and this is the first time I have ever had to deal with DJI service who manages for Flir repairs as well. Please don't let my general ***** sesson post deter you.

My beef really was with the reseller who I now know has no more power or insight into DJI service/support than we do. Pickup the phone and navigate phone tree for updates. It still doesn't account for his general lack of interest as the issue dragged on. From a business plan perspective, My delivery model should and soon will have a backup for this single point of failure if I want to ensure a superior delivery model for my customers.

Lessons learned: Make sure your you business plan has redundancy at every point. When making a large purchase from an Enterprise reseller, ask them if they have a loaner program if you have any issues with hardware still under warranty.

Update: So this claim is still ongoing. The brand new drone did have an issue and has been fixed by DJI and ready to be shipped back. DJI could not provide an update on the Flir for weeks, because they couldn't find it. After much persistence, I reached the Global sUAS Segment Leader for Flir, Randal Warnas. We found it. The Sensor is with Flir, it did have a hardware issue. It has been repaired and is currently being tested and hopefully I will be reunited with my new system.
 

mfabo

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Hope your issues are resolved now. Resellers are happy to sell, and vary on their amount of help after purchase.

Word of mouth and searches on Uncle Google help steer toward reputable resellers, but issues can take time and be hard to resolve. But I truly hope your issues are behind you.
 
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JustinR

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I have had issues with my M210 RTK V2 and have called/emailed my supplier many times....with no response. Yes, I think I know who your supplier is and I would like to call them out also. IM me and let me know who they are. I definitely won't be using them again.
 

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OK guys i have let this go on all i am going to. I will leave the thread but it is closed per this from our guidelines.
Manufacturer/Distributor/Vendor and Customer Disputes
This community is not intended to be a mechanism for people to vent frustrations about manufacturers, distributors or sales from private parties. Please settle your differences with the seller, manufacturer and distributors through other means but not through our community.


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