[Happy Ending because of TGP!] What to do when a luthier rips you off?

guitarben

Member
Messages
176
Hey, I know this is a strange situation, but I'm not sure if there's really any type of recourse for something like this. I hired I guy who is a young luthier who makes custom N4s w/ the stephens extended cutaway. We spec'ed out every detail and agreed on the price. I sent him some hardware and a nice case. Back around Christmas he fell on some hard times and asked for the rest of the money. Like a dope I sent it feeling sorry for him. From that point he sent pictures of the progress and then the updates got further and further apart. About a month ago he said the guitar was finished and ready to ship. He asked for shipping money, and like a trusting dumbass I sent it. (fool me twice) Anyway, he's been a ghost ever since. He won't answer my calls, texts, or emails. I did ping his mother on facebook and she apologized for her son's behavior. So at least there's that.

The guy is up in Philadelphia and I'm in a different state. Small claims is one option, and would require travel. I'm not sure what the right move here is. Yeah, I'd like to get my money and hardware back (AT LEAST!!), but I also want to protect other people from this guy. Any thoughts are much appreciated.
Cheers,
 

White Buffalo

Senior Member
Messages
1,217
I've only ever been ripped off once by a builder and, unfortunately, nothing could be done about it as too much time had elapsed between my initial payment (made via regular PayPal) and the time I'd decided "enough, I gotta' do something". His constant lies kept me at bay for a while, but after hearing "I'll send a pic next week" a dozen times I'd had enough, but nothing could be done at that point as too much time had gone by.
The guy was a well documented scumbag POS and went by the name "Bobburst".
This happened close to 10 years ago, but I still get upset at it- he was such an arrogant bastard, too. I'm well over the fact that I lost $1k, but not over what a smug **** he was. Guy was living not far from me, but I could never get an exact address.

I'm completely over this ridiculous practice TGP seems to have no problem with where we pay thousands of our hard earned dollars upfront to builders who we then have to BEG for updates on OUR instruments. **** that, NO build is worth that headache.
 

Jerrod

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
13,310
Hey, I know this is a strange situation, but I'm not sure if there's really any type of recourse for something like this. I hired I guy who is a young luthier who makes custom N4s w/ the stephens extended cutaway. We spec'ed out every detail and agreed on the price. I sent him some hardware and a nice case. Back around Christmas he fell on some hard times and asked for the rest of the money. Like a dope I sent it feeling sorry for him. From that point he sent pictures of the progress and then the updates got further and further apart. About a month ago he said the guitar was finished and ready to ship. He asked for shipping money, and like a trusting dumbass I sent it. (fool me twice) Anyway, he's been a ghost ever since. He won't answer my calls, texts, or emails. I did ping his mother on facebook and she apologized for her son's behavior. So at least there's that.

The guy is up in Philadelphia and I'm in a different state. Small claims is one option, and would require travel. I'm not sure what the right move here is. Yeah, I'd like to get my money and hardware back (AT LEAST!!), but I also want to protect other people from this guy. Any thoughts are much appreciated.
Cheers,
I can't imagine how you could have made this any easier for him to abuse you. Take all actions. Scare the piss out of him. Call the police. Call his mom. Have a lawyer send a letter.
 

FiestaRed

Member
Messages
21,412
Yeah, I'd like to get my money and hardware back (AT LEAST!!), but I also want to protect other people from this guy. Any thoughts are much appreciated.
If you want to protect others then sharing the builder's name and/or business name would help.
 

71strat

Member
Messages
9,366
:mob:mob:mob:mob:worthless

NAMES. WE WANT NAMES.:waiting:waiting:waiting:waiting:mob:mob:mob:munch:munch:knitting:knitting

I myself would tell his name, if he truly is screwing you, of which I believe you.
 

guitarben

Member
Messages
176
Sure I have no problems outing this guy: John Klein. https://www.facebook.com/jkleinguitars/ .....and just to clarify I did not meet or interact w/ him in any way on TGP.
He's outside of Philadelphia in Prospect Park PA. If anyone is local, I'm happy to share his address and phone number as well. ....hell, I'll actually pay someone a generous recovery fee if they're in the area.

*******bottom line ********
avoid this guy like the plague and do not do any business w/ him.
****************************

I guess I'm a softy and was a sucker for his story: Part of me feels really bad for this kid, as over the past 7 months his family life has fallen apart.

I'm torn on the morality side of this as well. What's right? What *actually* helps?
If I let him off the hook, I reward his behavior. I know he's basically broke so going after him .....just ...it feels petty for some reason.

I guess I'm leaning towards torching his digital footprint. Maybe giving him a heavily SEO'ed website so this will pop up when he gets googled. At least that way he won't forget until he grows the balls to at least return my phone calls. It hasn't been easy to keep my cool through this. Thanks for letting me vent.
 

'59_Standard

Member
Messages
541
I guess I'm a softy and was a sucker for his story: Part of me feels really bad for this kid, as over the past 7 months his family life has fallen apart.

I'm torn on the morality side of this as well. What's right? What *actually* helps?
If I let him off the hook, I reward his behavior. I know he's basically broke so going after him .....just ...it feels petty for some reason.
None of that is any of your problem. That his, its life. You didn't buy into a guitar with someones issues whether they're present or incoming. Bottom-line is: you've paid for goods/service and he needs to deliver. Anything else is an excuse. If he can't do what he's took money for he gives it back. You're not his personal banker/doctor.

The family angle is so prevalent with some custom builders and threads here its like Get-out clause 101 - I've had it. Not with a guitar builder, though.
 

Boundcustom

Member
Messages
1,460
Never do gift! I got ripped off by that Elly guy and I am so glad I used my card via PayPal. I got my money back when a lot of others did not. Sorry it happened. We want to work with the small guys but there is sometimes a reason they don't work with/for other people.
 

stratamania

Member
Messages
3,384
For morality reasons you really would not be doing someone a favor to let them "get away with it".

I don't have time to watch his video but whatever the story the guy needs to straighten himself out.

Curious to know how he promotes his business and he finds customers.

EDIT: For clarity, I personally do not advocate violence. It might not even be possible to get the money back, but at least he should be reported to the relevant authorities to prevent this continuing and others losing money.
 
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