There are quite a lot of updates pending, not posted so far for a variety of reasons. This is the first one, partly because it seems easiest!
I have a project coming up for Halloween, and I decided to buy some (modest) studio lighting gear for this. I find the Lastolite School of Photography very useful for tips on lighting, not just their products, so I decided to buy their Lumen8 dual head kit via long time suppliers W*. Well, as usual the kit arrived very quickly, but one head just would not work. W*’s answer to this was that the only option was to return the entire system (2 heads, stands, reflectors, umbrellas, leads etc). Given that the last time I had to return anything to them it took around 2 months, and several phone calls/emails,to get a replacement, I was not impressed. Emailed Lastolite too, and got an immediate response from them (no response yet from an email to W*), and drove over and exchanged the faulty unit at Lastolite themselves. Any company can have a product that fails, so I don’t hold this against Lastolite, far from it, but unimpressed by W*, and I won’t deal with them again (good supplier if everything works perfectly, but after 2 problem products, I can only say that their service in those conditions is unacceptable for me). I’m happy to pay more for a company that can handle problems properly, but how do you know which are these companies?
Oh, and while visiting Lastolite I was delighted to find that they manufacture the sewn products (though not stands and lighting units) here in the UK, and I also had the opportunity to meet Boris, their peacock!