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Don't Bother With FTDNA, Use Another Company

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  • Don't Bother With FTDNA, Use Another Company

    Ordered an upgrade to Big Y 700 on 23 Dec, it was batched same day, #1042, estimated 2/18 to 3/2/2020, which is already an egregiously long turnaround time in its own right.

    In typical FTDNA fashion, they waited until two or three days into the estimated delivery range to update the sample to state "your results have been delayed. Your new estimated time of delivery is 3/2/2020 - 3/16/2020".

    When I logged an inquiry into the reason for the delay, I received a reply to the effect that..."actually, your sample failed QC several weeks back and is being rerun "at our highest priority" throughout the month of February which will delay your results 4-6 weeks. It's likely the generic delay message on your kit right now is incorrect, more likely you will see results sometime towards the end of March....[insert insincere copy/paste boilerplate garbage about they're sorry for the inconvenience] Please let me know if you don't have results by 27 March so I can follow up on this for you further."

    Why on earth would you rerun a failed sample without telling the customer, updating the results ETA and asking for a new sample, when you knew it had happened "several weeks back"? What if this one fails? Will I be asked for a new sample, delaying the results 6-8 additional weeks and dragging into the summer months?

    This would make it an 8 month turnaround on a Christmas order.

    I replied asking for my money back. Wish I'd never done business with this company. Run, do not walk, away from FTDNA. Posting the same review/warning at Facebook.
    Last edited by Uncle Lucifer; 22nd February 2020, 11:06 AM.

  • #2
    You say, "Don't bother with FTDNA, Use another Comany".......What other company does Big Y 700 testing?

    My age-related response: When I deal with a company that has the market cornered/covered, I just go with the flow.
    Last edited by Biblioteque; 22nd February 2020, 11:18 AM.

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    • #3
      I'm probably older than you, but nonetheless, market share is no excuse for poor customer service otherwise they may as well be the DMV. They should at least be periodically reminded of their shortcomings. Might even help get more of that market share. They won't be the only game in town forever.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Uncle Lucifer View Post
        I'm probably older than you, but nonetheless, market share is no excuse for poor customer service otherwise they may as well be the DMV. They should at least be periodically reminded of their shortcomings. Might even help get more of that market share. They won't be the only game in town forever.
        I would keep in mind that the time you ordered Big Y700 it had just replaced Big Y500 and Big Y700 brought changes that weren't previously seen with Y500, not to mention that they were then upgrading late Y500 orders to Y700, which means there is a backlog. I'm sorry that your kit failed quality control and that FTDNA failed to notify you, however I would keep contacting them, let them know. I would also check your junk mail folder if you haven't, I know I tend to get certain FTDNA messages directly in my junk mail folder. There are other companies like FGC, YSEQ and so on that offer sequencing of the Y-chromosome (Y-Elite is similar to Big Y, though I'm not sure if they report STRs readily, unless you submit your VCF/BAM file to YFull, where you will gain access to the STRs that are hidden. FTDNA Big Y700 and FGC Y-Elite are roughly the same price these days.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by spruithean View Post

          I would keep in mind that the time you ordered Big Y700 it had just replaced Big Y500 and Big Y700 brought changes that weren't previously seen with Y500, not to mention that they were then upgrading late Y500 orders to Y700, which means there is a backlog. I'm sorry that your kit failed quality control and that FTDNA failed to notify you, however I would keep contacting them, let them know. I would also check your junk mail folder if you haven't, I know I tend to get certain FTDNA messages directly in my junk mail folder. There are other companies like FGC, YSEQ and so on that offer sequencing of the Y-chromosome (Y-Elite is similar to Big Y, though I'm not sure if they report STRs readily, unless you submit your VCF/BAM file to YFull, where you will gain access to the STRs that are hidden. FTDNA Big Y700 and FGC Y-Elite are roughly the same price these days.
          You make a couple of good points. I did ask the representative why they didn't tell me "several weeks back" when my quality control failed and that they had used a backup sample and restarted the test as I'd have been a bit...not a lot, but a bit less annoyed at the delay had they done so instead of waiting until we were three days into the original estimated delivery range to post the delay notice. I did not receive an email notice of the delay and I haven't noticed FTDNA emails going in my spam filter, but I'll admit a small possibility. The FTDNA representative said "we don't have a notification process to let people know when we switch over to a backup sample. If a customer inquires about the delay, we in customer service can investigate the reasons for said delay, as I've done in your case."

          This seems like a critical omission here. When they switch to a backup sample, that resets the clock and the 6.5 to 8 week window resets as well and I did not receive a notification of this delay. This is further borne out by the representative's statement that "the generic delay message on your status page is likely incorrect and your results will more likely be toward the end of March."

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          • #6
            UncleLucifer, I understand exactly how you feel about not being notified. My cousin's kit which I administer is being upgraded from 111 to 700. I hesitated for a long time doing this because of the cost and fearing that the sample would fail and knowing there is no refund. My nightmare became true today. My kit was batched Dec 1 in batch 1031 and the expected date was 2/24 so I knew I really couldn't complain until at least then. It was difficult not to check on it because many others from my batch and even later batches who were upgrading from 111 to 700 had already gotten their results. Then today I get an email that the sample had failed and they were very apologetic and were sending a new kit out for another sample. My complaint on this forum and others has been the same as yours. As soon as a sample fails the first time we should know and not have to wait three months to find out and then be asked to submit another sample which will then take two - three months longer. If a sample fails one time and is being rerun we should know that not be forced to wait until the sample fails again and then a notice to submit an entire new sample.

            I administer many kits for cousins, many who have no interest in genealogy but were willing to take part in testing. This particular cousin was a last chance to break down a brick wall for gg grandfather's line and he is not particularly interested but did submit a sample for me last year. Now I have to write him and ask him for another sample which I did today but so far he hasn't written back.

            You know, Family Tree, this isn't a $59 Family Finder test.

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            • #7
              Tenn4ever, you may want to contact FTDNA to ask for extra vials be sent, so if your cousin is willing to give another sample, he can use these extra swabs all in one day. That way, even if Big Y-700 is the last test you would ever want to do (and who knows what's in the future for DNA tests), he will have at least several vials available in case one is not a good sample. I think they will still send two extra vials.

              FTDNA, after all these years, still does not see the need for better communication with customers, especially about test progress notification and letting us know if a replacement kit has been sent. It really is a blind spot that they need to fix. I have my own experience of a kit having results postponed over and over and over, month after month. There was some blame on both ends, as I was depending on someone to help an elderly relative who lived far from me use a replacement kit, and somehow that fell through. In the end, a second replacement kit sent to a different helper arrived too late, which is the worst case scenario. It's another reason why FTDNA should inform us the first time a sample fails, and send a replacement kit at that time. The clock is ticking for many of the people providing DNA.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by KATM View Post
                ... The clock is ticking for many of the people providing DNA.
                Two donors from other kits I manage have died in the past year, neither having been upgraded to BigY.

                If there are storage/viability issues, FTDNA owes it to the customers to inform them of that up front and work toward fixing them. I manage a lab and rarely there are "LAs" or "lab accidents" but in every case of those we immediately notify the customer that a new sample will be required and move that test to the head of the line when we receive the new sample.

                My choice as I understand from the FTDNA rep yesterday is see how the current backup sample performs. (Apparently it's possible for your sample to fail QC at any point in the game, necessitating a restart. ) In 4-6 weeks, maybe we'll know how sample #2 did. If it fails, he offered the option of either using a 3rd sample from (2014) storage -or- sending out a new kit, my choice. That, of course, would delay results an additional 9-10 weeks at least due to mailing/return mail, processing, batching, plus analytical time.

                If you're playing along at home, that would put results for a test initially batched on 23 Dec 2019 arriving sometime in June.

                I spoke with another Y-DNA group moderator and he said he is going through the same thing with a distant cousin's test...apparently there's now something called the "rule of 3" concerning BigY tests that to get the full utility of them, you have to have a close relative do the same test and a distant male relative of the same paternal line. News to me.

                I dropped $750 at Christmas on FTDNA for test upgrades to BigY 700. Two of those tests thus far have been delayed due to quality control failure -and- one test already had to have a resample kit sent out to the donor.

                Tenn4Ever, I think I have scolded you at some point about being impatient over test results. I retract that publicly. FTDNA deserves whatever opprobrium it gets for their ongoing refusal to address long-term turnaround time and customer service issues.

                (At this point I truly wish I could swear here without being banned. I can log in to FTDNA and within one minute, I'm using the f word like a comma...).

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                • #9
                  Mother Hen here: "long term turnaround time and customer service issues", you say.

                  Ancestry AND 23 & Me EACH have dropped 100 employees this year.

                  Diminishing/lack of support staff could factor into the issues at FTDNA. That is not a defense, just MHO.
                  Last edited by Biblioteque; 23rd February 2020, 11:23 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Biblioteque View Post
                    Mother Hen here: "long term turnaround time and customer service issues", you say.

                    Ancestry AND 23 & Me EACH have dropped 100 employees this year.

                    Diminishing/lack of support staff could factor into the issues at FTDNA. That is not a defense, just MHO.
                    You may be right. It's really too bad that FTDNA doesn't have a place like a forum or something, where they could occasionally drop by and address these customer concerns.

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                    • #11
                      FTDNA does have a Facebook page, but I'm not sure how many posts they make to address customer issues. I rarely view it. I have seen complaints, there, though.

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                      • #12
                        Did you ever get your results? I think my husband's results took about 7 months to come in, and it was an upgrade from Big Y 500 to 700. They were delayed. We got an email about them running out of old samples and sending the kit for more. I don't remember exactly how far along that was. But this all happened last year. We were forewarned by a project manager so we just forgot about it until they emailed.

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