There are many considerations when selecting a fountain pen. The fountain pen itself includes considerations of style, material, price point, the ink fill mechanism, the nib and overall feel of the pen in your hand. There is a fair amount to consider. After you have narrowed the field on the type of pen you are considering, another aspect to consider is the after-sales service.
Quite often we never ask about after sales service. But it is important.
Pen retailers are also aware of the importance of after-sales service. I have talked with numerous pen stores who will say the reason they do or do not carry a particular brand of pen is in response to the level of after-sales service.
Pen retailers can be very good at standing behind the products they sell. But at one point for most repairs a pen will be sent back to an authorized service centre. Some stores can clean or perform minor adjustments. For a cracked or broken part, the pen has to be sent back. That is where the after-sales service become so critical.
For my Aurora, Montegrappa, OMAS, Sheaffer, and OMAS pens, Kenro Industries our of New York in the US is the authorized representative.
They have a straight forward process on their web site for you to complete the repair form. Once you select the brand, the coverage of warranty appears. You provide credit card information for the Service Fee to cover shipping and handling, send the pen and the form to Kenro. They in turn send the pen to the applicable factory.
You will receive an email back to confirm they have received the pen. An email with a Control Number allows you to go online and track the status of the pen. For the pens that go back to Italy, the time frame can be the 8 - 12 weeks according to what they have written back to me, and my experience confirms that. Have a good second pen as 12 weeks means you will without your pen for up to three months. Then an email comes with the Shipping Tracking Number and the pen is on its way back to you.
I find it interesting to view the web sites of the various pen manufactures and see how easy it is to find out where to send a pen for repairs. Some make it easy, others not so.
For example, if you go to the Montblanc website and look for a Service Centre under Customer Service, none will appear. It is only if you look under FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) that you find there is a telephone number to call and an email address.
Delta and Stipula have YAFA as their service representative. I have not had to have either of these pens repaired yet. I was able to go online on the YAFA web site and register my pens. The web site includes a form which is printed, you provide details of the pen, your credit card number and then send the form and your pen in for repairs.
I needed a replacement convertor for my AD 2000 Dunhill fountain pen a few months ago. I went to the Dunhill website only to find they will not accept requests from Canada. Not sure what we did wrong there! But, I sent a note and I was impressed that the next morning I had an email from their New York store, and the convertor was put into the mail and arrived a few days later. Good service.
Recently one of my Pelikan M800s pen broke. The nib section totally came away from the body. I have many Pelikan pens, and repairs are very rarely needed. Over my many years of using my various Pelikan fountain pens it has basically when the unexpected event that has required me to send a pen in for repair.
So as I started this process, the important to keeping repairs in mind became clear.
Be prepared for questions as to when and where you purchased the pen. Even when I indicated I would pair for the repair, the service centre would only take a pen in for service if it was purchased from an authorized deal, in this case with Chartpak, in North America. Luckily I was able to meet those conditions and send the pen off.
The repair service is something that varies between companies. For some I have sent the pen in for repair. Paid a service fee and then waited while the pen was sent back to Italy. If anyone asks why do you have more than one pen, the response can be so that you have something to use while a pen is in service. Six to eight weeks is common, and that means in essence almost two months for a repair.
With my Montegrappa and OMAS pens it can be costly experience. Paying for a service fee and then in some cases for repair costs also. Quite common, credit card information is all taken before the service process starts.
I was very impressed with my recent experience with Chartpak.
I sent the pen off and within a very short time I received an email from Abi Weeks, Pen Repair Technician, to confirm the repair and to be informed that they had identified an issue with the nib. All was fixed under warranty.
To Right: Two of my Pelikan Sourverän M800 Fountain Pens with a bottle of the new Edelstein Ink
I received an email when the work was completed with the notification the pen was being sent back that day. Within a short time the pen was back in my hands, writing as smoothly as a Pelikan M800 writes! All parts are fixed or replaced under a three year warranty and they will do replace the parts for as long as the parts are available form Pelikan-Germany. An added surprise was that Chartpack covers the cost of shipping to return the pen to customer - for US and Canada. So this was all very good news.
The whole process took about a month, and what I very much appreciated was hearing back on where the pen was in the process:
I have written other columns on repair times of pens from other companies, but this impressed me.
So, considering buying your next pen. Consider the service that will be there when you need it after you buy the pen. It is important
Your pen, an expression of you.