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[Brother GT-381] Why I'm Selling My Brother Graffitee

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Old July 8th, 2015 Jul 8, 2015 9:23:36 PM -   #1 (permalink)
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Default Why I'm Selling My Brother Graffitee

If you are in the market for a new digital to garment printer then you have your work cut out for you. There are quite a few digital to garment printers available at the time of this writing, Kornit, Colsi, DTG, Epson Surecolor 2000, and the brother graffitee.

I was in the same boat as you a few years ago, not knowing which was priced right, reliable, low maintenance, affordable supplies, and great customer service. I attended ISS shows in hopes of finding the perfect machine for me but left more confused than when I arrived. One machine stood out at the time due to having a authorized dealer in my back yard. I figured I would get problems of some sort with any machine I bought but would I have Johnny on the spot service? We’ll the Brother authorized rep in my Arizona area assured me that he would be by my side when I needed. He also led me to believe that due to lack of competition that I would easily make a profit to pay the high ink costs. I leaped out on faith and purchased a brother graffitee with confidence that promises made would be kept. How naive was I?


Once I received my new unit I was excited to get underway on my new business venture. I called my authorized rep, as advised by him, to help with install. “We are super busy now, so I’ll have my tech come out late next week.” I sat with a new $30,000 dtg in a crate for a week and a half until this tech finally showed. I met the tech who thought it wise to show up at 4:00 p.m. to do what I thought would be an all day tutorial. However, the tech seemed to want to get my machine to working order and want to leave as fast as he arrived. After he finished putting the few loose parts together he asked “You got any questions?” Heck yeah how do I use, maintain, and get service when needed? “You can come to our shop 50 minutes away and we can help on our demo, I gotta go.” Really? I purchase a machine that I’m not going to learn a damn thing on? This is not what I was promised. The tech gathered his tools and walked out the door. I stood dumb founded until there was a knock on my door. It was the tech who I thought had come back to do his job. Wrong. He asked if I could help push his old car backward because his reverse wasn’t working. I obliged as I instantly began to regret purchasing the brother graffitee.

Luckily, I’m a go getter so I searched the internet for help and began figuring things out for myself. I did call my rep as there were times my machine just stopped working. I thought my tech would come out to address the problem as I had been promised. Nope, either he was unavailable, in another state, or working on his personal comic book t shirt website. Many times I would get a walk through over the phone doing things that I had no idea what I was doing or looking for. All because the brother company thought it wise to give an authorized rep all of Arizona and half of Nevada for exclusive territory. To top it off he only was required to have one tech to service all the customers in this large area! How in the heck is one tech with a broken car going to help with my down machine if he’s in Las Vegas for a week?

I tried to deal with this because I had already invested thousands of dollars and time into this new venture. This however was not the last travesty imposed on me by my authorized rep. I later found through mutual customers that my authorized rep was running a garment printing business on the side. Now I know many you are saying well what’s so wrong with that? Nothing if it were not for the fact brother authorized reps get a significant discount on ink and supplies. This means that my authorized rep or any brother authorized rep can give customers a significant discount on quoted jobs. This means I can’t compete fairly when an authorized rep is double dipping as a garment printer. I did mention that they are given demo digital printers from brother that are to be used to demo the machine to potential buyers. However, my authorized rep was and probably still is using his demo machines to make money. I personally caught my authorized dealer at comic con conventions and sporting events using a demo to print for profit t-shirts. That was the last straw as I’m paying $1,300.00 just to replace ink in my brother graffitee.

I had been in business for six months and was losing money to my rep and paying super high ink and supply costs. I am also competing with screen printers who are charging $3 to $8 per tee and here I am having to charge $14 to $18 per tee to cover ink and supplies. Now throw in competing with my authorize rep who is under bidding me and selling me ink at a profit. I was beyond pissed and decided to contact brother executives who I was sure would rectify this blatant abuse professional responsibility. How wrong, again, was I to think Mr. Ishiagro, President of Brother or Mr. Peter Holland, Director of Sales would step in to help me solve these issues with my authorized rep. I wrote correspondence on several occasions only to be met with I apologize but there is nothing they could do. Mr. Holland finally called me after three letters stating how I was never properly trained, agreeing to my desire to be an authorized rep, and addressing my authorized rep unfair business advantage. He stated that Brother asked my rep to cease being a garment printer and they would allow me to come to Nashville to be properly trained to become an authorized dealer. I was excited that I finally had made head way and that the big brass would help me mend the past. Again, wrong. After I attended training in Nashville I learned how much false information about daily maintenance I received over the phone from my authorized rep tech. I also found that there is no ongoing certification for authorized dealer or techs as technology advances, authorized dealers are not given evaluations, and Brother does zero to monitor authorized dealers activity with demo units or having side printing business.

Even with this negative info I was excited to be in Nashville learning what was needed to be a authorized rep. I spent four days learning everything I could to take the test for my authorization. I arrived to class the last day to the test area and was told that I could not take the test! I had missed my kids first day of school spent over $2,000 on travel and hotel to be told they changed their mind. I was called into the onsite director office who said Lawerence Davenport had made the call. I asked how I could become an rep and no one not even Mr. Davenport could say what processes was needed to be a rep. All he would say is we are not looking for reps in my area at this time. I was sent home packing with zero but install training that I should have received for free when I first purchased my unit.

Of course I wrote the big brass again about the travesty and they had nothing to say. About a month later I received a call from Mr. Holland to say my authorized rep was no longer able to sell ink and supplies. He could operate as an authorized dealer, but would not answer my question about him being a garment printer. Next I got a call from Lawerence Davenport offering to allow me to “Voluntarily turn in my unit” without an reparations for revenue lost to my authorized reps side business. I’ve done the math and have lost over $20,000 or more to this unfair business practice that I’ll never see again. I’ve asked Brother Brass to allow me out of my remaining low lease obligation with is much lower than what I’ve lost. I've recently received a letter from Brother Senior Counsel who said my claim was without merit. She also insulted me on top of it basically saying I was S.O.L. in being treated like a customer. I’ll attach correspondence from Big Brass and Senior Counsel for your viewing pleasure.

Brother is relying on the fact most customers won’t have enough money to take them to court for something that they are dead wrong in. They’re right I don’t have the dough or time to take this to trial. However, I’m writing this in hopes of saving or educating someone else from spending $30,000 with a company that’s not interested dtg customer’s success. Brother has a decent, not great dtg, super high ink costs that can’t be recouped and authorized reps and management who could care less if you sink or swim. This is something you should consider when buying your dtg, make sure you get your after purchase support in writing. Brother motto is by your side. I say “By your side,” my butt, they care more about profit margins than you.

Last edited by splathead; November 20th, 2015 at 07:56 AM.. Reason: Readability
 
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Old July 9th, 2015 Jul 9, 2015 12:47:42 AM -   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why I'm Selling My Brother Graffitee

Paragraphs.
 
Old July 9th, 2015 Jul 9, 2015 3:23:48 AM -   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why I'm Selling My Brother Graffitee

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mammath
Paragraphs.
Really? That's all you can say? Did you read it at all? Your comment would be insulting to me if that was my story.

I feel for the poster. Thank you for sharing. I'm sure someone looking to make a decision about purchasing Brother will read it and think twice now. I'm sorry you are in the position you are. You can still come out of this with a profit. Don't try to compete with screen printers, that is not your market. Small runs are your ticket to profit.
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Old July 9th, 2015 Jul 9, 2015 3:57:23 AM -   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why I'm Selling My Brother Graffitee

Just skimming I see you had to buy ink from the rep.

Do they not sell it anywhere online or did he raise the cost?
 
Old July 9th, 2015 Jul 9, 2015 3:58:03 AM -   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why I'm Selling My Brother Graffitee

Quote:
Originally Posted by marzatplay
Really? That's all you can say? Did you read it at all? Your comment would be insulting to me if that was my story.
Read the whole thing. Hence my need for 'breaks'. Very sad tale but you got to take that on the chin and rock on!. My apologies for not being compassionate enough.
 
Old November 19th, 2015 Nov 19, 2015 5:04:17 PM -   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why I'm Selling My Brother Graffitee

Damn! and to say I've been considering them as an option, guess my choice is getting easier the more I read these comments and stories.

Imagine this post has been up for 5 month and no one from brother could respond to this post shows how little they care.

MOD1 from Belquette here I come.
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Old November 19th, 2015 Nov 19, 2015 5:18:17 PM -   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why I'm Selling My Brother Graffitee

I'm in a remote area where my only competition is online sellers. We purchase our supplies online, and all of our maintenance has to be done by me because flying a rep in wouldn't be economically feasible. So, my problems are quite a bit different from the OPs.

I still think DtG is really just not a great way to go as a primary business model. It would probably be just fine for an already successful screen printing business looking to pick up those smaller jobs they have to turn away.
 
Old November 19th, 2015 Nov 19, 2015 5:44:40 PM -   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why I'm Selling My Brother Graffitee

I'm also in a remote location ( in Caribbean/ Antigua ) so what I'll be depending on is technical support via phone,email and Skype within hours. I've been studding my market and I have to start with that DTG machine along with my vinyl cutter, print and cut machine and website where customers can design and buy online.

Ill be able to charge US $20- $25 per shirt at minim for a basic shirt which I think is doable and affordable for my market using a DTG machine.

My only competitors are screen printers and vinyl plotter owners which isn't competitors for my targeted market.
 
Old November 19th, 2015 Nov 19, 2015 6:58:22 PM -   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why I'm Selling My Brother Graffitee

Quote:
Originally Posted by picturekid
Damn! and to say I've been considering them as an option, guess my choice is getting easier the more I read these comments and stories.

Imagine this post has been up for 5 month and no one from brother could respond to this post shows how little they care.

MOD1 from Belquette here I come.
Don't judge a printer from just one bad experience though. Look at the entire Brother forums, very very few complaints compared to other brands. This post seems to be more about lack of tech support than anything.
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Old November 19th, 2015 Nov 19, 2015 8:56:51 PM -   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why I'm Selling My Brother Graffitee

There is alot about the original post that (1) doesn't make sense and (2) does NOT match up with the experience most of us have had with Brother. Also, if you look around the forums, he/she was still running this machine as of late October, so it quite obviously did NOT get sold after the above post.
 
Old November 20th, 2015 Nov 20, 2015 5:25:07 AM -   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why I'm Selling My Brother Graffitee

A machine is a tool. Some are expensive and some are not. If you know what its capabilities are and can exploit its virtues you should be all set. It has to do too with your market and client type. An over saturated market with lots of printers will reduce you competitive advantage. You cannot blame the seller or manufacturer of the machine for your inability to exploit what it has to offer.

Brothers is a fine machine. Yes, it is more expensive to operate and maintain but also less prone to break down. Head issues for the most part is its bigger drawback, mainly the cost to replace them if they fail something that will happen unexpectedly. No printer is shielded against this problem.

Cost of ink is high but also in my opinion is a good ink. If you compare the cost of the ink and maintenance schedules versus downtime, repairs, and other issues of other printers you'll find that the cost of these minor setbacks is a wash in term of what you can profit from selling your product.

I have found that tech support is responsive to your needs. If under warranty, they will come to your place and fix whatever is needed to get you running contrary to many other posts that claims they their printer manufacturer or seller is the only one that does that. Many printers sold it is true that you would have to send it back to have it fix. Brothers have an extensive tech support department that travel all over the USA if needed. You'll be best serve if you are closer to any of their dealers.

It is up to you to find your customers. Customers that recognize that what you are offering has a value that no other competitor can offer. Multicolor printing with no additional charges for screens or films to add to their bills, fast turn around with no minimum quantities, printing comparable to screen printing without the plastic like feel of it. All of these has a value to many customers. Some others will not care what you have to offer and will go the cheaper route many time translating into disappointment on the products they got. Ultimately it is your responsibility to secure your customers and adjust to the market your are operating on to make your operation profitable. If you cannot do that don't put the blame on your tools or the seller that sold it to you. No one can promise you will be successful just because you purchased they machines.

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Old November 20th, 2015 Nov 20, 2015 8:16:21 AM -   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why I'm Selling My Brother Graffitee

Is it possible your expectations were too high?

1. I don't know much about Brother, but I would think it takes more than a 4 day class to become an Authorized Representative for them? You were going to give up your printing business and work for them? Set up an office? Do sales calls? Maintain stock and inventory?

2. As a Brother Rep, what would become of your new DTG? Would you keep it and still print on the side?

3. You've done the math and concluded you lost $20,000 from a sales rep using a demo printer on the side to make garments. Curious how you arrived at this figure? Are you assuming every garment he sold you would have gotten instead?

Let it go man. You still have arguably the best DTG on the market. Very few posts besides yours where you find someone complaining about a Brother or break downs. It's super rare. You now know how to run it efficiently, just go print.
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Old November 20th, 2015 Nov 20, 2015 9:04:29 AM -   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why I'm Selling My Brother Graffitee

It doesn't look like he sold his machine but he's still using it.
 
Old December 4th, 2015 Dec 4, 2015 12:01:11 AM -   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Why I'm Selling My Brother Graffitee

I understand where OP is coming from. We're based in Phoenix and have had very similar issues with the reps in this state. They are plain awful. Like really, really awful. Fortunately, we're self-sufficient and have been able to figure most things out with our printers.

The "training" is a joke. It's insulting honestly to call it training, but the printers are solid. Ink and maintenance is expensive, but we've had our printers for over a year and they've been great.
 






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