Pen Problems: What to do when your new pen isn’t quite right

One of the longest units of time known to man or woman is the wait from the moment your pen order is placed, to when it arrives. This is true regardless of shipping method or proximity to the store. Waiting for a new pen feels like an eternity. So when your new pen finally arrives, it can be pretty heartbreaking if it isn’t working correctly.

Most new pens are perfect little gems that bring us decades of joy. But every now and then, an issue slips through the cracks and a pen with problems ends up out in the world. New pen problems can be broken down into a few categories, and how you deal with them depends on a number of variables. Communication is key with issues like this, so reach out to your retailer before making any assumptions, or posting anything on social media.

1 – Actual damage to the pen

Is there visible damage to the pen when you open the box? If so, contact the retailer first. It may have been damaged in shipping, through no fault of yours or the retailers. Most Priority Mail packages come with $50 of insurance, so chat with your retailer about that first.

Pen Problems – damaged in shipping?

If the damage looks like a manufacturing error, the retailer may replace it or refer you to the brand distributor for a replacement. Don’t be put off if the retailer sends you to the distributor for quality control issues. Some manufacturers prefer to handle problems with the pens directly. This is usually to help them stay on top of any potential long term or consistent problems.

Pen arrived damaged, contact your retailer first.

2 – Issues while writing

Is the damage to the pen only noticeable when the pen is used? This is one good argument for flushing your new pen with water or pen flush before you ink it. I know that means waiting even longer to play with your new toy – but you won’t regret taking the time if a problem arises. Most retailers can’t accept a return if the pen has been inked, so make sure you’re aware of the retailer’s return policy before you start to play.

Skipping and flow issues

Some pen brands include a manufacturer’s warranty that should cover defective merchandise, so check your pen booklet to see if your issue is covered. Unfortunately, some warranties can be voided before you even know something’s wrong. It all comes down to being informed and patient – two simple things that can be understandably difficult when you’re struck with starry-eyed wonder at the sight of your new pen!

3 – Operator Error

Some damage is caused, unfortunately, by user error. Some pens have tricky quirks that can be confusing as you get to know your new pen. If you haven’t done research on the model ahead of time, you run the risk of damaging it yourself. Or maybe you’re so excited to get started that you dance a jig and the poor pen slips from your grasp and tumbles to the floor. Tragedy! There are several pens that have caps that do not thread or snap on like most pens, or others that have unusual filling systems. Educate yourself on how these work before jumping in with both feet. Both you and your pen will thank you.

Operator error – nib meets floor = pen problems!!

Your options are more limited when user error is at play. No retailer or manufacturer generally will accept the pen back at that point. So, you can either fix it yourself, send it to the manufacturer for repair, or send it to an independent repair person.

4 – Repair Options

If you decide to try and fix your pen yourself, do your homework first and accept the consequences of failure before you start. Some fixes are simple and may only require a little time and simple tools such as Micromesh or a loupe. Some may be more involved. Read up on pen repair, watch a few videos online, and maybe ask a local pen store or online pen community for advice.

Sending the pen back to the manufacturer for repair – if the manufacturer offers this service – allows you the best chance of having your pen repaired to original standards.  Be prepared to wait a while, and it may end up costing quite a bit as well. It may not be worth it unless the pen is of a certain value or personal importance.

If the manufacturer doesn’t offer repairs, you can seek out an independent pen repair person to service your pen. Repair people often have different specialties, so ask around for the right person. Your pen retailer might be able to refer you, or if you have a local pen show, you may find someone there who can help.

We all hope our pens arrive perfect – and most of them do – but it’s best to know your options for the worst-case scenario.

Sarah Read

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