BEWARE - Reactive Substance Web site - *ISSUE RESOLVED*

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BEWARE - Reactive Substance Web site - *ISSUE RESOLVED*

Post by crashn_burn » Wed Jul 03, 2013 8:05 pm

I don't know if any one else has ordered from Reactive Substance (out of Pittsburg PA), but I am having a bad experience.

I placed an order nearly 2 weeks ago, paid immediately by paypal, and nothing, black hole.

I have sent numerous emails, the first ones polite asking for updates. No response.

I sent nasty grams, again no response.

I filed a claim with paypal, they did not respond. Escalated to claim, they still have not responded.

I guess they guy in charge over there is one EJ Strauss.

In my book, he is a thief. If you run an online store, well, then I guess you are obligated to send purchases, or in the least respond to email.

At this point, he has my money and I have nothing.

So, warning to all. Buyer beware and especially of one EJ Strauss. Thief and crook and general sh&T head.

Your mileage may vary.

Oh, and if by chance, EJ Strauss is a member here, be a man and make the purchase good or give me my money back!


[Moderator's note: As the issue has now been resolved, I edited the title to reflect that.]

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Re: BEWARE - Reactive Substance Web site

Post by WillAdams » Wed Jul 03, 2013 8:36 pm

This sort of complaint comes up from time-to-time unfortunately.

However, there hasn't yet been an instance of fraud, and I've faith that you'll get your board.

If you search the forums you should be able to find the contact information you want, but I suspect a PM won't help and that the store owners are on vacation.

Patience is a virtue.
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Re: BEWARE - Reactive Substance Web site

Post by crashn_burn » Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:52 pm

Thanks for the info Will.

I can understand vacation, illness in family and such. 1 of 2 things though. Either post on site that you are away (if you own a store, it is good business sense), or as every one has smart phones, a 1 minute reply "Death in family, untold delay". At least it would be communication :)

I guess I did not research enough about that particular store.

I do give Inventables extremely high praise. They know what they are doing!


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Re: BEWARE - Reactive Substance Web site

Post by cvoinescu » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:50 pm

Firstly, I have to say I've always had an excellent experience with Reactive Substance and EJ, and I'm certain that your case is far from the norm. Many people on this forum use a stepper shield purchased from him. I'm pretty sure it's the second most used electronics solution, after the Synthetos grblShield.

One difference between Inventables and Reactive Substance is that Inventables is a company with a number of employees (not sure how many, but I'd say a dozen or so), and Reactive Substance is just EJ. That means you may not always get an instant response. I'm not saying that that justifies two weeks of silence, but other things can happen too. It also means that when there's a technical problem, EJ may not be aware of it, or may not have the means to fix it, whereas a company like Inventables has some sort of in-house IT support.

I run a store pretty much alone too, and I've had two or three instances where, unbeknownst to the customer, their ISP filtered out all email from me. In one case, I got back failure notices, so at least I knew it was happening, and why (a misguided spam filter, probably triggered by another user on the same shared server as my site). Needless to say, all the customer saw was a total lack of response, which led to frustration. We ended up communicating through messages in the PayPal claim he inevitably raised (I had not sent his order in the first place because I had a question to ask). He understood the problem, graciously accepted my apology, and we had a good transaction after all.

I would try emailing EJ from a different email address, maybe his ISP filters out your messages, so he doesn't even know you're angry with him. It's much, much more likely that there's a technical issue of some sort rather than any intention to cheat you out of your money. The approach in your first post does not gain you much sympathy and understanding here, I'm afraid. I would have started with something along the lines of "I'm not getting any response from Reactive Substance two weeks after having paid for a board, after numerous emails. I am getting annoyed with this. Has anyone had a similar experience, or is it just a fluke? Do you know how best to contact EJ Strauss?". By the way, he is a member here: his handle is "ejs".

Lastly, before you call EJ a thief (and other entirely unwarranted names), remember that you have the nearly ironclad guarantee of PayPal buyer protection. If you don't get your stuff, PayPal will give you back your money, and they will do so by taking it from EJ, so he will not end up having taken anything from you.
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Re: BEWARE - Reactive Substance Web site

Post by crashn_burn » Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:12 am

I can appreciate your thoughts. I too ran an online business, from home, as a second job. Not that I needed the money (and I'm not stinking rich), but I did it because I loved the hobby and product. I agree that life can get in the way, but if you venture into that realm, you have an obligation to the customer.

I have tried different email addresses and no response. Paypal has sent him dispute and claim messages, no response. The order now shows cancelled in his store, so he must have changed the status. Which would mean he is obligated to refund my money.

I thought since a number of people were using the board, that the source was reliable. I even thought that since they had their 250'th board sold sale, I was good. I was wrong, I'll be the first to admit it! Perhaps as time has worn on, it has become too much for him. I don't know, and frankly don't care. If you put up a web site, and COLLECT THE MONEY, then you have entered into a contract. Don't honor it and in my book at least, you are scum.

I can also respect that you (and maybe everyone else) has a different opinion.

Anyways, back to the shop to play with my shapeoko!


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Re: BEWARE - Reactive Substance Web site

Post by Llamas » Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:18 am

I experienced a communication lag with EJ, when I ordered my shield kit from him. It was only a couple of days, though (he was out of town). Perhaps communication could be better, but he's definitely not a shady character (look for posts by ejs).

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Re: BEWARE - Reactive Substance Web site

Post by crashn_burn » Thu Jul 04, 2013 12:59 am

Thanks Llamas for the re-assuring words. Just want my money back, I'll take my business else where.


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Re: BEWARE - Reactive Substance Web site

Post by ejs » Thu Jul 04, 2013 4:33 am

For the record, I'd like to say that I had my best month ever in June. I've sold dozens and dozens of boards or board kits in total and the ratio of happy customers to complaints is an uneven ratio at best. Thanks again to all of you.

Everyone was very kind to me about this. I thank you all as always for that, too. CV, you always do me a service and I appreciate you doubly for the defense.

I will go on record with a few things. First, I did find one missed email from crash. I'm sorry for it.
Second, no matter what kind of creative math this buyer tries to work, it was nine days since he ordered. Nine. Six business days is my standard turn around, which Michael admits to being aware of in our private messages. I kit once a week, generally, and sometimes run out soon after. How in all things on earth and in the heavens he's rounded up to two weeks is only attributable to a defect I am not qualified to comment on, but it is certainly not a mathematical one. I can't tell you how it rankles to have someone arbitrarily tack on 50% more wait time that has actually passed for the sake or dramatic effect in a public forum. And then have "BEWARE" as the thread title. Honestly.
And in light of that, item three: I miss the days when PayPal was actually moderately discerning in their dispute resolution process.

Really, really unbelievable. If anyone ever feels tenuous about buying from me because of this thread, feel free to PM me and I will happily supply you with a forward of a tracking number, dated receipt, and whatever other information from Micheal's transaction that you may require to feel comfortable purchasing from my store. Additionally, I have clarified the wait time on this item's page in my store.

"BEWARE", indeed.

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Re: BEWARE - Reactive Substance Web site

Post by PsyKo » Thu Jul 04, 2013 6:58 am


Although I never bought from Reactive Substance, I totally support EJS.
As mentionned patience is a virtue, and filling a complaint after 2 weeks ? Really ?
When in a rush, I can understand that they don't have time to answer everybody's email, worrying for update all the time.

Crashn_burn, you expect some obligations from the store (which are legits). But as a customer, you also have to be patient, that's it. Especially if it's a one person business. And especially if they had their 250'th board sold sale which means they are doing a good job, and probably are in a rush.

Now on a personnal aspects, you really should work your communication and show a little bit of respect. You can't just walk into a place, and throw insults on someone... EJS has had several intervention here and never heard of any issue. So to quote you, he is not the "sh&t head" is this case, if you follow my thoughts.

I recommend to close this topic and let the 2 sides discuss using email or pm.
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Re: BEWARE - Reactive Substance Web site

Post by crashn_burn » Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:03 am

Yes, patience is a virtue, and it is very nice to see a post by EJ Strauss. Unfortunately, he has not EVER replied directly to me.Not to the many email I sent. That is bad customer service.

Also for the record, His website shows my order is cancelled, yet now the paypal dispute says its shipped. Inconsistent at best and confusing at worst.

I do concur that HIS website shows 6 days lead time. I bought off his storefront (storeenvy) and it says NOTHING about 6 day lead time. I only found that AFTER I ordered. If you are shooting for honesty with your post and your business, full disclosure on BOTH sites would end most of the confusion.

So lets do the math. I ordered on Monday 6/24 in the AM. No response, no email, no shipping, no contact, no response to paypal until Thursday July 4 at 12:24 am. So lets count them. Monday 1, Tuesday 2, Wednesday 3, Thursday 4, Friday 5, Saturday 6, Sunday 7, Monday 8, Tuesday 9, Wednesday 10, Thursday 11. 11 Days.

Bear in mind that your web site says 6 days. IT DOES NOT SAY BUSINESS DAYS NOR DOES IT SAY THE DAY YOU ORDER DOES NOT COUNT. If that is what you mean, then say it clearly on your website. Also 11 to 14 is not a 50% increase, you should check your math. I also said NEARLY, clearly you don't absorb what people are typing.

At any rate, you failed to respond to any of my messages and you have still not replied directly to me, the customer. Your website is misleading (or missing the vital information all together). You may have an excellent product, but your business practices need work.

I will await my board (even though I asked for a refund, SOMETHING ELSE YOU IGNORED).

Good luck in your future endeavors, and time will tell if you heed some of this advice by updating your website, or you don't care and will leave it the misleading mess that it is.


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