My experience with Ai & Om knives

Discussion in 'The Kitchen Knife' started by vlasena, Sep 20, 2019.

Help Support Kitchen Knife Forums by donating:

  1. Sep 20, 2019 #1

    vlasena

    vlasena

    vlasena

    Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2019
    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Berlin
    I ordered 50 mm gyuto from them, but received a 45mm knife. Customer Service ignored my complain so I decided to share my experience here. Please be aware and better deal with US companies.
     
  2. Sep 20, 2019 #2
    To share a dissatisfaction is fine, but to conclude that one should rather deal with US than Canadian companies seems rather odd.
     
  3. Sep 20, 2019 #3

    Marek07

    Marek07

    Marek07

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2016
    Messages:
    1,366
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    You ordered a 50mm gyuto?!? Typo perhaps? In any case, I've dealt with Ai & Om and they were lovely to deal with - freely answering my questions, quick shipment across the globe and even more communication after my purchase.

    Also agree with @Matus... why tar all Canadian retailers with the same brush? I've had good dealings with Canadian, American, Australian, Japanese, Swedish and German retailers. If I didn't have great service from one, I certainly wouldn't boycott an entire country.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
    Carl Kotte and Brian Weekley like this.
  4. Sep 20, 2019 #4

    Brian Weekley

    Brian Weekley

    Brian Weekley

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2019
    Messages:
    734
    Location:
    Victoria BC Canada
    Having dealt with Ai & Om repeatedly I am surprised to hear that your experience was less than outstanding. My dealings with them have been absolutely top notch and I’m hopeful that they will address the source of your dissatisfaction if you give them a chance.
     
  5. Sep 20, 2019 #5

    ian

    ian

    ian

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2017
    Messages:
    1,547
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    I’m assuming he was talking about heel height...

    Yea, I’d pester them again. Misrepresentation seems like a totally legit reason for them to accept a return. Wish you all the best with it.
     
  6. Sep 20, 2019 #6

    cheflife15

    cheflife15

    cheflife15

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2015
    Messages:
    359
    Blame canada!

    They seem more expensive than most retailers anyways. 375 usd for a ho wood hd guyto. No thanks.
     
  7. Sep 20, 2019 #7

    Cbt

    Cbt

    Cbt

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2019
    Messages:
    57
    Location:
    Portugal
    "To hell with all the other vendors in Canada and all over the globe. My knife is short!! Only buy USA regardless of the reputation."

    Is that what you're saying?
     
  8. Sep 20, 2019 #8

    McMan

    McMan

    McMan

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2018
    Messages:
    1,180
    I had a bad experience with Ai and Om as well.

    Still like Canada though [emoji56]
     
  9. Sep 20, 2019 #9

    ian

    ian

    ian

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2017
    Messages:
    1,547
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Ai, ai, ai....

    Omg.
     
  10. Sep 20, 2019 #10

    Corradobrit1

    Corradobrit1

    Corradobrit1

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2015
    Messages:
    2,135
    I called recently about a Morihei Hisamoto 240 gyuto. Asked for specs for that particular knife which was last one they had and they provided all the details I needed.
    Another vendor was selling for 25% less but they were unwilling to price match or take anything off. In the end the specs were outside my comfort zone (taller, heavier than the one I bought) so I passed.
    Huge difference between 45 and 50mm heel height. What brand of knife has that much variation?
     
  11. Sep 20, 2019 #11

    toddnmd

    toddnmd

    toddnmd

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2012
    Messages:
    1,874
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    I’ll agree that 50 vs. 45 heel height is a huge difference. Definitely solid reason for return.
    I’m wondering if OP was thinking returns in one’s own country are easier (to which I’d agree), but I wouldn’t rule out a foreign vendor if I really wanted something.
     
    CiderBear likes this.
  12. Sep 20, 2019 #12

    Koakuma

    Koakuma

    Koakuma

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2019
    Messages:
    100
    Location:
    United States
    Yeah, there’s nothing wrong buying outside of the US as long as the vendor is great. Knifewear has one of the best customer service, and they are in Canada as well.
     
  13. Sep 20, 2019 #13

    LucasFur

    LucasFur

    LucasFur

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2016
    Messages:
    844
    Location:
    Toronto, On
    Yea but Knifewear and Ai & Om have different business styles. One is boutique experience, the other is a retail store.
     
    never mind likes this.
  14. Sep 20, 2019 #14

    Koakuma

    Koakuma

    Koakuma

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2019
    Messages:
    100
    Location:
    United States
    That does not make any sense. Business is business, you should have good customer service no matter what.
     
    M1k3 likes this.
  15. Sep 20, 2019 #15

    toddnmd

    toddnmd

    toddnmd

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2012
    Messages:
    1,874
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    I’ll agree that 50 vs. 45 heel height is a huge difference. Definitely solid reason for return.
    I’m wondering if OP was thinking returns in one’s own country are easier (to which I’d agree
     
  16. Sep 20, 2019 #16

    HRC_64

    HRC_64

    HRC_64

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2017
    Messages:
    2,584
    OP is listed as 'Berlin' so maybe has to deal with shipping/VAT and import problems with customs?

    45 vs 50 is such a big difference depending on your hand size
    its really not excusable to not work with the cusomer on that.

    I'm sure both parties would have preferred to not have this problem, tho
     
    vlasena likes this.
  17. Sep 21, 2019 #17

    zizirex

    zizirex

    zizirex

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2018
    Messages:
    241
    Hmm, that's weird. I never have a problem with them, they have one of the best customers services and a wide variety of choices. I went to both Knifewear and Ai and Om, and they have very good customer services, they both use the same old Shopify **** Ecommerce setup. But then again, what knife did you buy, and did you chat and confirm with them for the products? if you buy a Takeda that means it's just **** happens you got a short blade.
     
  18. Sep 21, 2019 #18

    SeattleBen

    SeattleBen

    SeattleBen

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2018
    Messages:
    311
    I’ll throw in my experience with ai and om. I’ve dealt with them a number of times over the last two years and they have been exceptionally helpful and friendly repeatedly. All this despite only spending very modestly.
     
    vlasena likes this.
  19. Sep 21, 2019 #19

    vlasena

    vlasena

    vlasena

    Member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2019
    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Berlin
    To all folks, I have not meant to offend the country or point fingers to Canada specifically, my sincere apologies for this! The post is meant specifically to Ai and Om knives.

    45mm is the blade height, and the difference for large hand, like mine, in 45mm vs 50mm is actually quite noticeable and IMHO is quite big. The length of the Gyuto was also said to be 205, but ended up being 195. The company claims that the measurements are approximate and this is their policy, fine, but in my opinion this approximation is taken a step too far forward and in the current form renders all measurement on their site meaningless.

    HRC_64 is right, i am located in Berlin and I have to rely heavily on information available online, that is why I thought it is unfair to cheat with the numbers to such an extent and went online to share it. Yesterday, after this post, Ai and Om replied to my email and offered me to send the knife back at my expense, however, i have already paid taxes and paid shipping fees so I would loose enough money to make this transaction unattractive.
     
    McMan, CiderBear and Matus like this.
  20. Sep 21, 2019 #20

    Cbt

    Cbt

    Cbt

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2019
    Messages:
    57
    Location:
    Portugal
    Now that you've explained the situation, I believe that you have the right to be displeased with Ai and Om. Approximation is when you miss by one or two millimeters, not when you sell a completely different knife from the one you advertise.

    That said, you shouldn't discard everyone else just because of one store, and being based in Europe you have some good stores from where you can buy without import taxes.

    I wish you good luck finding a solution to your current problem!!
     
  21. Sep 21, 2019 #21
    Btw, it is possible to talk to local customs and get the taxes back if you are sending the knife back, but unless you are left sitting on the shipping charges, it still may not make sense.

    What knife it is actually?
     
  22. Sep 21, 2019 #22

    Brian Weekley

    Brian Weekley

    Brian Weekley

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2019
    Messages:
    734
    Location:
    Victoria BC Canada
    As a Canadian who has purchased literally thousands of packages from around the world over six decades I might be able to add something constructive to the discussion. Duties and taxes paid on imported items are generally difficult to claim a reimbursement for in the case of an unsatisfactory purchase. I said difficult ... but not generally impossible. It simply requires proof of return, the completion of documenting paperwork and an inordinately long time for the bureaucratic processes involved. I doubt that there is much difference between Canada and Germany in this regard except that Germany is probably more efficient with the process. To the average person, not worth the effort.

    However, it is generally very easy to return an unsatisfactory product for “repair or replacement”. That will not trigger any additional taxes or duties. The OP simply packages the product up and sends it back to Ai & Om for “repair or replacement”. Ai & Om will pay no additional duties or taxes to re-import the product. Upon receipt Ai & Om simply issues a credit or refund for the product returned. Presumably the OP has in the interim been very specific about their expectations with Ai & Om who ships a replacement product back to the OP marked Warranty Repair or Replacement and includes a copy of the OP’s documentation. No additional taxes or duties will be payable by the OP. The OP will have a product that they are happy with and will only be out the additional shipping cost. Although they are under no obligation to do so Ai & Om will probably eat the return shipping cost as a goodwill gesture.

    I have followed this procedure several times with products I have received that didn’t meet my expectations. Well known American sellers in the knife trade are very good at this and make the process very easy. In one recent case a well known American knife seller produced the customs documentation for me as well as shipping labelling for FedEx at no extra cost. Amazon, for example probably does this hundreds of times each day. It’s not a big deal and is certainly easier than screaming injustice from the rooftops.

    Let’s say that the OP does end up paying double shipping. The risk of that is part of the risk they undertook by entering into the transaction in the first place. Why does somebody in Berlin order a knife from a small knife shop in Vancouver? The simple answer is that the OP couldn’t buy it in Berlin or probably in the EU in the first place (free trade zone). The answer also could be that the price charged by Ai & Om was such a screaming deal that it was worth ordering it from overseas in the first place. In my experience both reasons apply when I purchase overseas or across the border in the USA. If the product is available locally or in Canada for even a small premium in price I buy it locally. I don’t transact business with a small retailer in a country half a world away.

    When a deal goes south you contact the seller and work out some mutually satisfactory resolution. Getting on a soapbox and condemning the seller and the entire country as worthy of scorn or rebuke accomplishes nothing. Having the deal go south happens and it was part of the risk you assumed when you decided to place the order in the first instance.

    Just my .02 ... but .02 based on experience.
     
  23. Sep 21, 2019 #23

    Cyrilix

    Cyrilix

    Cyrilix

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2019
    Messages:
    255
    Location:
    Canada
    Sakai knives often have machi and are about 10mm shorter. What is the knife you bought?
     
  24. Sep 21, 2019 #24

    ian

    ian

    ian

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2017
    Messages:
    1,547
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    That’s only true in that a knife named “Ashi Ginga 240mm gyuto” might really be a 230, but if the vendor lists the measurements of the knife inside the listing (not as the name of the knife) you expect them to be accurate.
     
  25. Sep 21, 2019 #25

    atb

    atb

    atb

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2019
    Messages:
    71
    Location:
    Flawda
    Ai & Om definitely isnt my first choice to buy knives, but the couple ones ive gotten from them have been in great condition just as described.
     
  26. Sep 21, 2019 #26

    Corradobrit1

    Corradobrit1

    Corradobrit1

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2015
    Messages:
    2,135
    Its still not quite clear if OP contacted Ai and Om directly prior to making the purchase to ensure he got a blade with his desired specs. This was was what I thought happened reading the first post. Now after reading the later post it appears he was using the online specs. BIG mistake. There is so much variation its not funny, not only in the knives themselves but what dimensions the manufacturers choose to quote. Some manufacturers list blade length including machi, others edge length etc etc. I've learned with experience to contact the vendor directly to understand exactly the dimensions that matter to ME (usually weight, height at heel and edge length). This eliminates much disappointment. I've yet to find a reputable vendor who will not pick out the blade that most matches my preferences. If they can't do that then I buy elsewhere.
    Given the situation my feeling is OP should use this as a learning experience and sell the knife privately to minimize loses.
     
  27. Sep 21, 2019 #27

    MarkC

    MarkC

    MarkC

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2019
    Messages:
    149
    Most of the sites are pretty careful these days. They have some boilerplate disclaimer talking about how these are hand made and that they vary. If you reach out and contact them and don't get what you are looking for, move on to another vendor. Most are very helpful. I have traded many notes with Jon and the folks at his shop. I am always amazed that they start by trying to understand what your needs are and often suggest knives that cost less than what you might have been inquiring about.
     
  28. Sep 21, 2019 #28

    Cyrilix

    Cyrilix

    Cyrilix

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2019
    Messages:
    255
    Location:
    Canada
    No, that's true in a lot of Sakai knives, including my Konosuke Fujiyamas. If it has a machi, it's measured differently.

    I agree if the vendor lists exact measurements from heel, they should be correct.
     
  29. Sep 21, 2019 #29

    ian

    ian

    ian

    Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2017
    Messages:
    1,547
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    If you look at some of Ai & Om's pages, they all list "Edge Length". The length from "Handle to Tip" is also listed. This is unambiguous, imo. I know people in Sakai generally measure length differently, but in my experience a vendor that sells a bunch of lines of knives and lists precise measurements will not vary the technique of measuring from knife to knife.

    Edit: of course, there'll be variation knife to knife, but as people have said, 45mm vs 50mm and 195 vs 205 are big differences, especially the former.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
  30. Sep 21, 2019 #30

    Corradobrit1

    Corradobrit1

    Corradobrit1

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2015
    Messages:
    2,135
    The specs provided for my Morihei Hisamoto were pulled directly from the Hitohira website. Fortunately my knife was the one used to create those measurements. The knife they were selling were marginally different which might not bother some but could be make or break for others (ask Kevin ;)). There was a 2mm heal height, 3mm edge length and 17g weight discrepancy. They only had one knife available so not inconceivable to correct their website details. However if they have 10+ blades you can'e expect each knives vital statistics or an average to be used. Thats why a call or email prior to placing the order (especially if out of the country) is needed for handmade knives that can vary significantly.
     
    zizirex and CiderBear like this.

Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page

Group Builder