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Sonlight customer service issues?


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#1 Ghcostafamily

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 11:06 PM

I'm writing to let some steam out......
I purchased a Sonlight core used on eBay for our upcoming year. I'm super excited as it's our first time using it and I just love books!

I had emailed sonlight asking which timeline figures go with the 2nd and 3rd grade readers. They returned an email saying that they couldn't help me or give me any information because I bought my curriculum USED and not brand new from them?!?! Really? So because I choose to save money, and keep things from being thrown away, they can't tell me which timeline figures to buy? Seriously. This irritated me, I just expected more from such a well know and huge homeschooling company. One email is a Nono because I bought something used.

Not sure I'll ever buy anything new from them now. Just bad customer service. Anyone else have this experience?

I'm done bumming out now :)
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#2 nixpix5

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 11:48 PM

I get them wanting to sell things and make the profit but don't they realize if their customer service is good and you have a great year with their product you will be more likely to purchase the next levels new? I know I am really loyal and when I get wonderful customer service I go out of my way to recommend businesses and rebuy. That would have bothered me too. I would probably send a respectful and clear, yet pointed email explaining your thoughts. It probably won't change anything but it might help them consider a different approach. Feedback can be helpful!
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#3 Renai

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 01:38 AM

Hmmm. I understand your frustration. Did you try the forums? People are pretty helpful there.

As to your question: the readers vary, the question you want answered is what time line figures go with the history core? Readers can be ordered separately in the lower cores to help individualize your student's reading level. So, any core below Core D (1st part of American History) can have a varying set of readers. They do not match the history in the core, but are various fun books for the child to read.

Since you say grade 2-3 readers, I think I can assume you mean Core B+C, the one-year world history, maybe? Here's the page for that core: https://www.sonlight.com/BCC2R5. Check and see if that is the right core by comparing the books. If so, the correct time line figures are shown there.

Good luck. And check out the forums.
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#4 Ghcostafamily

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 08:50 AM

Renai- Yes, I'm using b+c this year. Thanks for the info :) I'm really bummed about their customer service, so I'll just buy used from now on if we decide to continue with sonlight.
Thanks for the suggestions!
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#5 Renai

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 09:18 AM

It was rare that I purchased new because of the cost. I currently don't use it because it is not a good fit for my youngest, but my oldest really enjoyed what we used. I'm sorry you had a bad experience.

#6 mschickie

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 09:27 AM

They do say on their site that the advisors do not offer help when purchased second hand.  I understand this because so many people just use their catalog as a reference for the books and do not buy the full core.  They are a company that is in it to make money so it is understandable from a business perspective but it is frustrating when we are trying to save money because their cores are pricey.  If I were them I might not want to make it easier for folks to not buy our product.  They do offer a great product but they make no money when folks buy it used.

 

 

 

Which Core are you talking about?  The timeline figures do not really go along with the readers but instead the history core.  So if you are using Core B you get the Core B timeline figures



#7 Butter

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 09:32 AM

That is typical.  They don't help when you purchase used.  Period.



#8 Tibbie Dunbar

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 10:11 AM

I have twenty seven beeves with Sonlight but this isn't one. They don't really owe anything to non customers; no business does! And they change their product often enough that they'd have to go to some trouble to help match up resources to whatever year the non customer had bought.

Do you buy redwing shoes at goodwill and then take them to redwing for the repair discount? Do you buy a used college textbook and ask Pearson for the current access code for free?
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#9 Ghcostafamily

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 10:19 AM

Yes, I see it from that standpoint. I have never been able to afford to buy brand new, so just disappointed, that's all.
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#10 Tibbie Dunbar

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 10:29 AM

http://da1.redshift....najo/SLmenu.htm

I'm sorry, I can't link on this device, but cut and paste - this is a link to "Paula's Archives" which has a LOT to go with Sonlight! A terrific resource for those trying to work with used programs. :)
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#11 Tibbie Dunbar

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 10:30 AM

Oh, hey, it linked by itself. Didn't know the forums could do that.

#12 Ghcostafamily

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 11:03 AM

Thank you Tibbie!!!!
That's an awesome resource!
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#13 Margaret in CO

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 11:27 AM

I think your experience is typical with them. The snarky attitude is what I've always gotten from them. I'm sorry. 



#14 justasque

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 11:46 AM

Yes, but isn't the OP asking about a product she is intending to buy?  That is, while she didn't buy the Core, she was intending to buy the timeline figures, right?  So there is a potential sale there for Sonlight.  

And if she enjoys her year with her used Core, there may be more sales down the road.  And even if she doesn't buy more, if her impression of the company is good, she will share that experience with her friends, giving that priceless word-of-mouth publicity that is so important in the hs community.

My local family-run sewing machine shop has always taken the time to answer questions, beyond what I would think to ask of them.  They sell parts and user manuals and accessories for machines I didn't buy from them, patterns to use with fabric I didn't buy from them and vice versa, and they will always take the time to show me a machine that catches my eye, even when I make it clear up-front that I'm not going to buy it.  As a result of this graciousness, my family feels like we have a relationship with this shop, that we can trust them, and that they are knowledgeable.  And while I may not be about to buy a machine every time I step into the shop, over the years my extended family has bought quite a few high-end machines there.  We wouldn't think of going anywhere else, as we know we can rely on this shop to be gracious and fair in their business practices.   

In the days of Amazon, eBay, and such, personal customer service is the one area where small businesses can have an edge over the big guys.


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#15 Ghcostafamily

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 12:24 PM

-justasque
This is so well put, and exactly how I feel.
I. Have almost stopped shopping at our local target because the workers are always on their phones and are never helpful with me. There's a huge lacking on customer service now a days I feel.

I can't go into sonlight and ask questions in person, but if I did, and received this response I'd have walked out immediately.

I ended up getting the timeline figures used on eBay after this customer service transaction. I was waiting for them to guide me on which ines to buy from them, and I was getting the markable map too. So they lost a sale from me.

I do get their policy, and I also understand where they are coming from. It's just a bummer that they won't help anyone who isint purchasing new.

What if a family in need gets ther curriculum free and needs help? They won't get any because of financial need? Kwim?

Anyways. Sorry to stir up things. Thanks for everyone's input. It helps to see other sides of it :)
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#16 MedicMom

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 12:26 PM

Sonlight assumes everyone has the money to buy new every year. They won't help with any used purchases whatsoever.
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#17 HomeAgain

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 01:17 PM

I find it rather ironic that Sonlight has a top ten list of goals for their company, most of them being Christ-centered and honoring God daily, but refuse to extend compassion, charity, love, and mercy in their customer service.

 

 


Edited by HomeAgain, 08 August 2017 - 01:18 PM.

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#18 Penelope

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 03:18 PM

Couldn't you just look at the cores that use those readers and see which timeline figure package is included?

I don't know how the question was asked of them, but it seems like the info is easy to find and they could have just directed you to that page. If it is not a specific package and you were wanting to purchase figures from somewhere else from a listing of historical figures they provided, then I don't blame them for not giving the information.

I also understand why they might say that they couldn't answer specific questions about used cores, because they change their products all the time. If they answer this question, maybe people would follow with questions about putting things together, when that is how they make their money.

At least they don't tell you you cannot resell their plans, which is certainly legal but which at least one homeschool company has attempted to restrict.

Edited by Penelope, 08 August 2017 - 03:19 PM.

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#19 nixpix5

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 04:30 PM

I find it rather ironic that Sonlight has a top ten list of goals for their company, most of them being Christ-centered and honoring God daily, but refuse to extend compassion, charity, love, and mercy in their customer service.


This is what makes Rainbow Resource really great because they have grants you can apply for on behalf of families in need. How amazing is that!?
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#20 Momto2Ns

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 04:42 PM

I love SL curriculum and used it several years with my kids. I always bought used and with the understanding that they don't support their curriculum when it is purchased used. Back then, you didn't get access to their forums unless you purchased a core or paid for access. Now you can just go online and ask other SL users. The forums are friendly and will help. 


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#21 HomeAgain

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 05:48 PM

This is what makes Rainbow Resource really great because they have grants you can apply for on behalf of families in need. How amazing is that!?

 

That is fantastic! :001_wub:

 

I order from Rainbow Resource for a silly reason: the sticker on the box gives me warm fuzzies. :lol: It just feels more personal, you know? But I seriously love them even more now.  And their customer service has always been great, ever since I started using them 12 years ago.


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#22 Mergath

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 09:13 PM

I'd be annoyed, too. I mean, you were going to buy something from them, and they wouldn't help you because you weren't going to spend enough money? It's like going to Target and asking a question about k-cups and being told they won't help me unless I'm also buying a new Keurig.

I have a policy of never begging companies to take my money.
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#23 Janeway

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 10:24 PM

Many many companies offer customer service to those who buy from them, not those who bought second hand. I think this is very reasonable. If they are expected to offer customer service to every single person who bought the same package..the third time, the 4th time, the 8th time, they would go broke. Personally, I think it is very reasonable to offer the extra help only to those who are original purchasers. You would never buy a second hand car or computer and then just expect the company that made the car or computer to offer support and help without you paying for it. Why should a curriculum provider be any different? This is their livelihood.


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#24 Janeway

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 10:28 PM

I find it rather ironic that Sonlight has a top ten list of goals for their company, most of them being Christ-centered and honoring God daily, but refuse to extend compassion, charity, love, and mercy in their customer service.

If they did, then they would be a charity and not a business and would likely to have to shut down when they give everything away.



#25 Mergath

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 10:56 PM

Many many companies offer customer service to those who buy from them, not those who bought second hand. I think this is very reasonable. If they are expected to offer customer service to every single person who bought the same package..the third time, the 4th time, the 8th time, they would go broke. Personally, I think it is very reasonable to offer the extra help only to those who are original purchasers. You would never buy a second hand car or computer and then just expect the company that made the car or computer to offer support and help without you paying for it. Why should a curriculum provider be any different? This is their livelihood.


The OP was trying to buy from SL. They refused to help her figure out which product she needed.
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#26 justasque

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 11:10 PM

Many many companies offer customer service to those who buy from them, not those who bought second hand. I think this is very reasonable. If they are expected to offer customer service to every single person who bought the same package..the third time, the 4th time, the 8th time, they would go broke. Personally, I think it is very reasonable to offer the extra help only to those who are original purchasers. You would never buy a second hand car or computer and then just expect the company that made the car or computer to offer support and help without you paying for it. Why should a curriculum provider be any different? This is their livelihood.

But Janeway, the OP was asking for information about a product she was intending to buy.  "Which version of Product X should I buy, if I want to use it with the Product Y I already own?" is, I think, a perfectly reasonable question.  And if Sonlight didn't want to answer these questions over and over again, they could put a page on their web site with a guide for purchasing consumables to go with earlier versions of their products, and simply refer people to it.  And it's not just those who buy used who would find such a page useful  For example, if a family bought a Core for their oldest child, and kept it on the shelf until their younger child was ready for it, they may need to purchase new copies of anything consumable, and perhaps of things that went astray for one reason or another over the years.  It was frankly none of SL's business where the OP got her Core; if she was buying something to go with it, then she is a customer and should be treated accordingly.


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#27 HomeAgain

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 05:53 AM

Many many companies offer customer service to those who buy from them, not those who bought second hand. I think this is very reasonable. If they are expected to offer customer service to every single person who bought the same package..the third time, the 4th time, the 8th time, they would go broke. Personally, I think it is very reasonable to offer the extra help only to those who are original purchasers. You would never buy a second hand car or computer and then just expect the company that made the car or computer to offer support and help without you paying for it. Why should a curriculum provider be any different? This is their livelihood.

 

Did we even read the same thread?

 

And this logic is absurd.  I bought a secondhand car.  It was a Ford.  When I contacted Ford about a question I had with the car, they didn't even ask or look through their records to make sure I was the first buyer.  They immediately gave me an answer, along with which product can go with. 

 

Most of my homeschool supplies are bought through a distributor. The companies have no way of knowing when I bought the product or if I even bought it new.  The few times I've had a question I've had nothing but graciousness extended, with the exception of Rosetta Stone. Of course I'm buying from those companies more!  They have customer service.  This is how a company gains people - not plastering them with adverts.  By being professional and personal at the same time. 
 

Don't tell me that companies can't go a step to be part of their product.  Some refuse.  It's companies like Apologia, Sonlight, BJU, AiG that are so awful in their morals they make the rest of Christianity look bad while peddling their wares. 

 

 

Since the rest of this thread was clearly misunderstood, please take the time to read every word of this.


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#28 Julie of KY

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 06:59 AM

I think Sonlight as a business used to be much more friendly and helpful. I don't like the direction they've gone.



#29 mschickie

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 11:05 AM

As someone said earlier in the thread Sonlight updates their product just about every year.  This would make it difficult to match up older curriculum with new product.  That is why Sonlight offers discounted IG so that folks can match up the IG with the new program and new consumables.  Now when it comes to things like timeline figures or the student sheets the best you can really do (unless you find them used) is to buy what matches that core and hope for the best.


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#30 mamamoose

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 07:32 AM

I have twenty seven beeves with Sonlight but this isn't one. They don't really owe anything to non customers; no business does! And they change their product often enough that they'd have to go to some trouble to help match up resources to whatever year the non customer had bought.

Do you buy redwing shoes at goodwill and then take them to redwing for the repair discount? Do you buy a used college textbook and ask Pearson for the current access code for free?


As a business owner myself, I agree with this sentiment 100%.

#31 Mergath

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 08:53 PM

As a business owner myself, I agree with this sentiment 100%.


So you turn away customers if they aren't going to spend enough?

#32 Corraleno

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 09:20 PM

Many many companies offer customer service to those who buy from them, not those who bought second hand. I think this is very reasonable. If they are expected to offer customer service to every single person who bought the same package..the third time, the 4th time, the 8th time, they would go broke. Personally, I think it is very reasonable to offer the extra help only to those who are original purchasers. You would never buy a second hand car or computer and then just expect the company that made the car or computer to offer support and help without you paying for it. Why should a curriculum provider be any different? This is their livelihood.

 
This analogy is absurd. Every car company in the world will answer questions and sell you parts for their cars regardless of where you bought it. When I go to the Apple Store and say I need a replacement cord for my particular model of laptop, they don't ask where I bought the laptop, they tell me which cord I need and I buy it. If I call the manufacturer of any appliance I own and ask a question about it, they will answer my question and tell me what part I need, even if I'm not ordering from them.
 

If they did, then they would be a charity and not a business and would likely to have to shut down when they give everything away.

 
And yet other homeschool curriculum companies like Teaching Textbooks not only will provide help and answer questions even if you bought your copy used, they let you register a used copy with them and they reactivate it for you no questions asked, and if you lose or damage a disk they will replace it for a small fee, whether you originally bought from them or not. I don't think they're in any danger of shutting down, and I assume they even make a decent profit.
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#33 Corraleno

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 10:41 PM

Do you buy redwing shoes at goodwill and then take them to redwing for the repair discount? Do you buy a used college textbook and ask Pearson for the current access code for free?


But she wasn't asking them to give her free timeline figures to go with her core, she was asking which ones to buy. The timeline figures she wanted are about $15. So it's more like calling Pearson and asking which access code, or workbook or lab book or whatever, to buy to go with a text you bought used. I'm pretty sure most publishers would be happy to tell a customer which consumables go with which edition text, or at least point them to a page where they could find that info. All Sonlight had to do was send her a link to the ordering page for the correct timeline figures. But apparently they'd rather snub a potential customer for not buying a new core than make $15 selling a new set of figures. 


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#34 scoutingmom

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 03:30 AM

And to compare with another homeschool product... years ago I was given a used copy of Rightstart Math. When one of my kids was struggling with it, I called their help line and talked to their representative for probably an hour while they helped me figure out the best plan of attack, and sent me a pdf with about 10-20 worksheets for lessons I was going to redo with that student, even though I had never purchased anything directly from them. They have always been helpful. I have bought items and workbooks from them (I have had to but teacher manuals used), and have recommended them a lot of times. And a lot of the recommendations include a mention of the great customer service. That is how a good business runs. I find it horrible that a company would not help someone figure out what to buy to match a product. (Mind you, I know one that won't sell a required part of their product even though original owners have to keep it for higher levels... so I guess I have seen worse!)

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#35 justasque

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 10:02 AM

...I'm pretty sure most publishers would be happy to tell a customer which consumables go with which edition text, ...

 

And I think this is key.  Any homeschool business should be aware that we are a community that reuses resources, either with our own kids or passing things on to other families.  You are more likely to succeed if your business model accepts this, rather than trying to fight it.  So if you have consumables as part of your curricula, you can continue to sell a new copy with each student who uses the non-consumable part.  Since Sonlight has consumables as part of their curricula, I don't really understand why they feel the need to be unwelcoming to people who want to purchase them.


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#36 Renai

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 10:38 AM

Since Sonlight has consumables as part of their curricula, I don't really understand why they feel the need to be unwelcoming to people who want to purchase them.


Sonlight does know that their packages are reused. That's why there are places on their site under each package saying if you have the package, these are the consumables that will be needed for another student. I can't speak for the treatment op received; I've never called the company, only used the forums or found it myself on the website.
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#37 RootAnn

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 10:01 PM

Memoria Press wanted to replace a broken DVD (of a larger 5-6 CD set) for free that I purchased used - knowing I bought it used. I insisted on paying the small fee ($3?) for it. They also sent me Christmas gift cards ($10) several years after this customer service win. I will always be impressed with how great they were.
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#38 nixpix5

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 09:46 PM

Memoria Press wanted to replace a broken DVD (of a larger 5-6 CD set) for free that I purchased used - knowing I bought it used. I insisted on paying the small fee ($3?) for it. They also sent me Christmas gift cards ($10) several years after this customer service win. I will always be impressed with how great they were.


Wow! That is pretty great :)

Sonlight has some other annoying habits. I have never used them but I did create an account with them a year ago because I considered it. I placed something in the cart and forgot about it. I get emails from them just about everyday and two days ago I had a message on my phone from them reminding me I had something in my cart and if I needed any help. I quickly removed the item. Eesh...that is annoying.

#39 kolamum

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Posted 22 August 2017 - 03:40 AM

That stinks, & I'm sorry you got treated poorly. 

We left SL due to poor Customer Service & Mr H coming out & saying some nasty things about people who buy SL second hand. To be honest, we loved our years with them & the move was well needed anyway & already coming even if those things hadn't been said. It did, however set me free from thinking, "But this has worked previously.." I think they are completely out of touch with their customer base & they are really shunning the idea of purchasing their curriculum used. I find it disappointing because I don't think they understand just how much their Expat customers are actually paying. Not all of us living overseas get allowance for housing, education, & so forth. I am not military & I am not missionary so I get $0 discount. 

When I say we can save, literally, hundreds of dollars buying used I'm not joking around. The shipping alone costs more than the products & when I have two kids & need double the stuff.. Ahh, anyway I can totally relate & I am sorry you got treated poorly. I agree, check the forums or join a FB Group {all though be aware that some SL Staff are in some of the large FB Groups} & you'll get your answers pretty quickly. Chances are you're looking for either the B or C timeline figures. ;)