Update – Decided to sticky this and also add direct links to threads on Aussie Arcade and Pinside highlighting the negative dealings people have had with Twisted Pins and Travis.
Thread on Aussie Arcade forums – Link
Thread on Pinside forums (Appended to an existing thread)- Link
Originally posted May 7th, 2015.
After a very poor experience with Twisted Pins over the last month, I’ve decided to write up the details for others as a warning. If you must order from them, be aware they don’t have the strongest reputation (as I’ve since heard and now experienced). In fact after some searching, I’ve found a number of people have a very negative view of Twisted Pins and the guy who runs it – Travis Brawley. No doubt people order from them without issue. But if there is an issue with your stencils (as I found with mine), you may not get any support – regardless of where the fault lay.
My intention for this thread isn’t for it to be a platform for bashing Twisted Pins or Travis personally. I’m not happy with him or the customer service I’ve been given, but will keep to specific details without the name calling. I personally won’t be buying from them again, but am not worried if others choose to do so. Hopefully though this experience can be used as caution should you decide to order from them. From talking with others after this experience, I’ve found this isn’t an isolated incident. Look up Twisted Pins on the Aussie Arcade or Pinside forums to see more stories about the rubbish people have to deal with when buying from Travis. So buy with caution.
My problem is with a set of Pinbot stencils which were purchased for me as a gift from by Wife. Anyway, I discovered an issue with the stencils for the front cabinet panel. Each stencil piece has a sticker on it with the colour details “First Colour – Red” or “Second Colour – Yellow”. The sticker also has details about the panel it’s for “Front of Cabinet”, “Left Cabinet Side”, etc. It’s nice these stickers are there as it helps ensure people put them on in the correct order and for the correct colour…. only my set had the stickers around the wrong way for the front panel. I sadly discovered this after I had applied the red layer. The front panel layers are both very similar, so it wasn’t obvious that the stickers were incorrect until I went to the the second layer. The stickers for all other panels were however correct. This was confirmed by comparing it with photos of my cabinet and a number of other photos I sourced online. I double checked the sticker on the remaining stencil and it was marked as Second colour Yellow – when it should have been the red layer. (Note: I did some Googling about Twisted Pins, now weeks later and discovered others have had the same issue of incorrectly labelled stencils – so this is not the first time it’s happened).
While I was annoyed, it’s not the end of the world. Given the stencils were labelled incorrectly, it shouldn’t be too difficult to get a replacement from Twisted Pins. In fact the replacement stencil should be the easy part as I now have to sand back the front panel, prep it again and repaint it. I took a photo of the remaining stencil that was clearly labelled incorrectly and also sourced a photo of my original front panel to show the label could not be right. On April 11th I sent an email to Twisted Pins with the photos and details of the issue. I took the polite approach as I wasn’t interested in finger pointing and being rude. Mistakes happen. Who ever stuck the stickers on wasn’t careful and got one wrong. No big deal. I can solve it my end with a replacement stencil as I’ve got plenty of paint. I waited for a response.
After 5 days, I had not got a response. The email had been sent on the weekend, so made sure to allow a few days after for a reply. Still in positive mode, I sent a second email on April 16th to see if they had received the original (and if not, I included it in the follow up email). People are busy. emails get missed – I miss them at work myself – no real issue, I just want to get the problem sorted. I get a reply the following day from Travis. Says he missed the first email and says he can send a replacement. He requests the account name the order was made under (in my original email I provided the email address and order number, but apparently that wasn’t useful in searching for an order). My Wife was the person who made the order, so I got the account name from her (and had her log in to verify it was correct). On the same day (April 17th) I sent the details off Travis.
Another 7 days pass without a response. Again I allowed for time around weekends as I assume he shuts down over the weekend. Maybe he sent the replacement? Maybe he didn’t? I had no idea, so decided to follow up again. Still in positive mode. I sent another email on April 24th to verify that account name was all he needed and if there was anything else, to please let me know. Still no reply.
On April 30th I decided to follow up yet again. Since he had said on the 17th that a replacement could be sent out, I couldn’t understand why there was no reply or send confirmation. My positive mode was greatly decreasing as it had been a couple of weeks now without any real progress. I reminded Travis I had not heard from him since the 17th and could he please provide an update. A single sentence email takes no time at all. I’m not asking too much here.
May 6 arrives, we’re now less than a week away from 1 full month since my first email with a single email reply and (by the look of it) I’m no closer to getting a replacement. Yet another reminder email was sent, again pointing out dates of my emails and that I would like an update on the status of the replacement. At this point I’m wondering – is he ignoring me? Seems like it. But life does happen and maybe he is away from work. But how to test it? So on the same day, I created an email address on one of my domains (with a different name). I send Travis a sales inquiry from this email address. Would he reply to this without replying to my update request on the replacement? I think you can guess the answer to this one.
Less than 12 hours later, I receive a reply from Travis on my other email account in response to my sales inquiry – he’s keen to make a sale. However my follow up email about the status of my replacement stencil went without reply – again. So he’s there, answering emails – but deliberately ignoring mine and the situation I’m in.
It’s incredibly frustrating that after 4 weeks, I’m effectively in the same position I was on April 11th. If I had stuffed up, I’d be doing the right thing and purchasing a replacement from him (or a complete set if a single panel wasn’t possible). I’ve done the right thing as a customer. I’ve been patient and polite along the way and not had expectations on mountains being moved overnight to resolve the issue. I was even willing to work with him in getting the replacement here (i.e contribute towards the overseas shipping) even though I should not be out of pocket for this. His one and only reply indicated he would send out a replacement. So what happened? Unless I get another reply, I can only guess.
Something I have add is that I found the second stencil layer of the right cabinet panel to have one part missing and another small section not cut out. I never bothered to raise it with him because I was able to fix it myself. But these issues add to the overall experience with Twisted Pins and the quality of their stencils. I don’t mind that there was an issue with the stencil – but I don’t accept how he deals with customers. If I had been a jerk or rude in my emails, his lack of communication would be understandable. But this isn’t the case. He’s hoping I go away if he ignores me long enough.
I’ve been in contact with Jeff at Pinball Pimp about one of his Pinbot stencil kits (which look to be much better and not suffer from the same issues I could complain about with the Twisted Pins stencils (Those issues are for another thread though). Having to purchase a complete new set really pisses me off since I’m not at fault here. But I’ve been left with little choice. My money certainly won’t be going to Twisted Pins and I’ll continue to chase him for the replacement. The only other option I have is to try and create my own, but I believe the quality of the result would suffer compared with the other panels of the machine and stand out like dogs balls.
If I get any further updates, I’ll add them to this. Another email was sent on May 7th which again has gone unreplied to. I’m not holding my breath on a reply, but will continue to contact him via the site, email and Facebook. If you buy (or have purchased) a Twisted Pins stencil, go over it very closely to ensure everything is correct. Be prepared that if there is a problem, you are possibly going to be on your own. Customer service doesn’t end the moment an item is put into a box and sent. This is something Twisted Pins seem to be unfamiliar with.
Update – 14/05/2015
The last email sent on May 7th has still not been replied to. Given none of the emails since April 16th have been replied to, I’m not surprised. On May 8th, I made a post to the Twisted Pins Facebook page asking for an update (as can be seen in this screen grab).
I checked back a few times over the following days but did no see a reply. Again, no surprises. However I went back again on May 13th and found that instead of replying to the post (or replying to any of my emails), Travis felt it better to just delete the post. In his world, I guess it’s better to try and pretend a problem doesn’t exist. He of course didn’t realise I’d take a screen grab of the message. So I decided to post a second message to the Facebook page, again asking for an update on the replacement stencil. I also decided to include the screen dump, clearly showing my original post had been deleted.
This post has since been liked by a few people and even shared. The more he tries to hide the issue, the more evidence I can share and show how poor his customer service is and reasons why you should avoid dealing with him if possible.
I created a post on Aussie Arcade, which contains much of the same content above. A number of users have also chimed in with their own poor experiences when dealing with Travis – so it’s worth a read for anyone wanting to learn more about the “quality” of service (and products) offered by Twisted Pins. You can view the thread here: Twisted Pins Feedback
Update – 19/06/2015
I decided to give the emails a rest for a few weeks while my Credit card company looked into the complaint I made. Sadly, because the product was delivered, they can’t do anything about it. They did refer me to an organisation I can made a complaint to that can take the matter further, but how far their reach is – who knows. Meanwhile, Travis has still not responded to any of the emails sent (which is not really a surprise now).
I’ll be appending this experience to one of the existing Twisted Pins threads on Pinside shortly. There are a number of threads that already paint Travis and Twisted Pins poorly there, so this experience probably won’t surprise anyone. But it’s worth noting for anyone considering buying from them. A new email was sent on June 17th – exactly 2 months since his first and only reply. Naturally, no response has been received. Another email has been sent today and will be waiting in Travis’s inbox tomorrow morning.
Update – 25/08/2015
Additional emails sent to Travis asking for an update on the replacement stencil. These were sent on July 19th and August 18th. Again no reply.
I decided to send another fake sales inquiry from a different email to see what his response time was like again to sales. Email sent with a sales question on August 24th and sure enough, over night, a reply came through to that account answering my question. My emails to him trying to resolve the incorrectly labeled stencil continue to go without reply.
I went back to their Facebook page today and found that my posts to their wall asking for an update were again deleted. This time I found two new posts from other people who have had issues dealing with Travis. Like me, he ignores them. Both also specifically mention that their posts to his wall have been deleted.
I’ve screen dumped all my deleted posts to his Facebook page and also the current batch of people chasing him over products not sent (one of who has been waiting for a year). Just in case he every tries to argue otherwise. Plus it’s a pretty damning example of his customer service.
Update – 18/11/2015
I check in with Twisted Pins from time to time with a short email or visit to their facebook page. Never seems to be much activity from their side and certainly never a reply to me.
A week ago I noticed that their facebook page had a new post, asking if they were still in business. To my surprise, there was a reply from Twisted Pins. Not only are they still in business, but the best way to contact them regarding orders, was via email (according to the reply). Given my emails over many months went unanswered, I was amused. I couldn’t resist, I had to reply. Seems yet another customer given the Twisted Pins customer service treatment.
A fresh email was sent again today, and why not – according to the post by Travis on their Facebook page – email is the best way to contact them regarding order queries. Maybe he just missed the previous 8 that have gone unanswered..
Update – 25/11/2015
Still no update or reply from Travis. It appears email correspondence actually isn’t the best way to contact Twisted Pins (SHOCK!) – unless of course it involves you handing money over (as documented above, replies come in within 12 hours for those). The facebook post by another customer (mentioned in my previous update) is still there – I wonder how long until he takes it down.
Update – 30/06/2016
I’ve decided to unsticky this post now as the Twisted Pins website and Facebook page no longer exist. Travis managed to screw even more people over purchases (there are some interesting posts on the Pinside forums regarding this). In the final days of his Facebook page, several other people raised issues and wrote reviews warning people not to deal with him. He never replied to them and thankfully he was not able to delete valid reviews of his business. Hopefully he will never be back to take money from people again.