I didn't have to make the phone call. I received an email on Sunday night from Vanessa informing me she was sending a replacement knot immediately. Currently, I'm very satisfied with TGN's resolution.
Once I receive the knot and break it in, I'll give a revised review and update the scores. I just moved the product rating from 1 to 5 based purely on the customer service.
--End of Edit--
I felt it would be ethical to inform you all of my experience. I haven't owned a high-end badger brush since I started wet shaving. I've been using a couple of good boar brushes and a TGN synthetic, all of which I enjoy.
Having a few extra bucks in my pocket, and an old Maestro handle in dire need of an overhaul, I decided to spring for the $30 silvertip.
When the knot arrived, it was a nice tight knot, everything looked good. The first shave: about 20 hairs fell out. I looked it up, and for the most part, everyone said for a new knot, it's totally normal for there to be some loose hairs.
Second, third, maybe on to like the tenth shave, the brush bloomed nicely, looked good. All is well. But still shedding like a mangy dog.
A month of daily shaves and you can see the picture. The bloom is gone, the backbone is gone, it feels about like the VDH black badger brush I got with my first puck of soap, just with softer tips.
At this point, I can slowly, gently and lightly "paintbrush" stroke the dry brush across the dry palm of my hand (read almost no friction) and within 60 seconds 20 hairs have fallen out. Basically, just flexing the knot is enough to cause hairs to fall out. And if I apply the wet brush to a wet puck of soap, it pretty near coats the puck with loose hairs.
It seems to me like the rosin that holds the knot together is no good. Some of the hairs that fall out have a little chunk of it stuck to the end.
I sent an email to the company three days ago (two full business days from their side). They haven't responded. So I went onto the website to try to leave a review of the brush. That doesn't appear to be possible to do. I will call them tomorrow.
Worst case, my purchases are protected by my credit card. I'll have it refunded. But just FYI. I'm not impressed with their customer service at all. I own a TGN synthetic knot that is an absolute joy to shave with. And I know we all may get a dud once in a while, it's just the nature of the beast. But I would expect an American company to stand behind their products, OR AT LEAST acknowledge a customer’s frustration with a compassionately worded email.
I will follow up once the issue is resolved to let you know how the phone call went.