Problem w/ guitar repair - advice needed

EDS

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
392
Hi everyone. I’m dealing with a situation and need some help. I’m going to try to summarize this situation as briefly as possible.

Sept. 2009: I sent a fairly well-know guitar tech my guitar to get Pleked (This tech has a great reputation on TGP and elsewhere – you’ll often see his name recommended here.) Turns out the guitar needs a new neck since the original one is warped and Pleking it wouldn’t really help. I order a new neck which is sent to him in October 2009. He agrees to work on the new neck (put a nut on it, finish it, etc.)

I’ve been waiting to get it back ever since. I’ve been contacting him about once a month to get an idea when he’ll ship it back to me. At one point, he tells there was an accident in his shop and the new neck was damaged (cracked) but he repaired it.

To his credit, he’s promised to do the work free of charge. I remain polite and keep contacting him regarding when I can expect to the get the guitar back. He is also polite and I think generally a good guy/excellent tech, but totally swamped and disorganized.

I’ve finally told him I would be seeking legal action if I don’t get the guitar back. It has been well over a year (14 months to be exact) since I sent him the guitar, and I’ve been contacting him on a regular basis- I’ve consistently received promises to ship the guitar, but I still never get it.

My question is: what sort of action can I take to have the guitar returned to me? I know nothing about the legal situation – contact BBB, small-claims court, etc.? I don’t want to reveal his name on a public forum, so don’t ask me for it please! Any help is appreciated!
 

Lespaulsignature 74

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,897
I am sorry about your bad situation, but I got to say this, I would not be happy or accept a repaired neck. You supplied him with a new neck and he should replace the neck "HE" damaged with a new one. Good luck, I hope this turns out well for you!
 

snacker

Member
Messages
743
i was in a similar situation and asked a cop friend of mine about her thoughts....

she told me to threaten the tech that i would charge him with theft - he returned my guitar immediately - she told me that the next step would have been sicking the cops on him

that being said....i was dealing with someone locally and i'm in canada
 

EDS

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
392
The tech is half-way across the country from me, so dropping in to say hi is not an option.

I didn't think this would be a situation for the police to handle - he lives in a a large city, so some delinquent guitar tech seems like the least of their problems.

Am I mistaken - should I go to the police? Has anyone filed a complaint with the BBB? I suppose hiring a lawyer to send him a letter is possible, but I don't want to hire a lawyer until the last resort.
 

Tyler

Member
Messages
110
It really looks like your choices come down to:
a) wait him out
or..
b) fly out there and look him in the eye. I'll betcha hiring a lawyer is more expensive, and less effective.
 

Johnny Alien

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,710
The tech is half-way across the country from me, so dropping in to say hi is not an option.

I didn't think this would be a situation for the police to handle - he lives in a a large city, so some delinquent guitar tech seems like the least of their problems.

Am I mistaken - should I go to the police? Has anyone filed a complaint with the BBB? I suppose hiring a lawyer to send him a letter is possible, but I don't want to hire a lawyer until the last resort.

Yes, you should contact the local law enforcement. That is what I was instructed to do when I was in a similar situation and the police contacting the person was enough to get my item back.
 

EDS

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
392
In case anyone it interested, I filed a case with the BBB. I will go the law enforcement route if that doesn't work. This sucks - be careful who pleks your guitar!
 

bluesky636

Member
Messages
3,177
In case anyone it interested, I filed a case with the BBB. I will go the law enforcement route if that doesn't work. This sucks - be careful who pleks your guitar!

I don't know about the laws in Illinois, but in Virginia when I had a similar situation, the police told me that it was a civil matter, not criminal and they would not get involved. Think about it for a second:

1. You gave the guy your guitar to work on.
2. He still has it. You know he still has it.
3. You have had regular communications with him.
4. You know where the guitar is, so no theft has occurred.

Filing a complaint with the BBB is the best thing to do. If you know a lawyer, you may be able to get him/her to write the guy a letter threatening legal action. That is often enough. I do agree that he owes you a new, not repaired neck.
 

blueshawk1

Member
Messages
418
Filing a complaint with the BBB is actually almost worthless. They don't take any action - they file your complaint and it's on record with them so if anyone is thinking of doing business with a company, they can check with the BBB to see if they've had any complaints filed in the past. But how many people do you know check with them?

It is a totally bogus situation. A repaired cracked neck when you supplied him with a new one? That's just wrong.
And the time it's taken, also SO wrong.
I don't know what to suggest, I've happily never been in this situation. One thing I would do, while I don't think you could post his name here even if you wanted to, I believe there's a rule here about not posting about bad deals. BUT, if someone sends you a private message asking his name, I would NOT hesitate to tell them.
 

EDS

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
392
Yeah, I didn't think the police would get involved but some other posters indicated otherwise.

At this point, I don't care about getting a replacement neck (considering I can't even get him to send me the guitar, I don't think I'm going to be able to get him to drop $250 on a replacement.)

I just want the guitar back, even if he doesn't do the work he promised.

The guitar is not really expensive or rare - it sells for under $1000.
 

blueshawk1

Member
Messages
418
Yeah, I didn't think the police would get involved but some other posters indicated otherwise.

It seems I've read in different forums about people doing that.
Have you paid him already for the work he was supposed to do?
 

EDS

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
392
I did not pay him yet and he has since offered to do it for free.

For the record, he is not 'plek'-ing the new neck or anything. He just was supposed to put a nut on it and put a finish on it.
 

THebert

Member
Messages
4,455
Had a similar thing happen to me. When I got tired of it I had an attorney friend write him a letter. I had my guitar back two days after they got the letter.
 

axemanjoe

Member
Messages
733
Call an attorney, which will get better results than the police. Since the guitar was sent to him for repair he's not breaking any criminal law by taking too long to repair it. Unless he sells it, which would be theft by conversion (here in GA anyway). You can demand it be returned and you offer to pay him for what he's done so far. If he refuses then you would have a theft by conversion in that context. Get everything on tape if you talk on the phone and have the attorney send any written correspondence. Consult wit the local District Attorney also. Just my 2 cents based on 33 years in this business.
 

Julia343

Member
Messages
7,609
14 months for a neck replacement? That's bogus. I had a Steinway grand completely rebuilt and it took 6 weeks for the rebuild and 6 more weeks for the final tweaks (I was involved in the last six weeks trying it out. What did I like? What didn't I like?). I'm talking replacing the entire guts of a grand and then balancing everything just right. This guy was swamped, too.

It sounds like 1) he's either working a day job and doing this part time and hasn't gotten around to it. 2) he's doing other things than guitar work these days. 3) there may be "other reasons" for his being so disorganized. :drink4) he broke more than the neck on the guitar.

I don't think anyone can be that swamped. I'd put money on number 4, and this makes sense because he hasn't shipped the instrument back to you.

Moral of the story. Probably a good idea to use someone within driving distance for this type of work.
 

EDS

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
392
After it became apparent he wasn't going to be returning it in a timely manner, I did some research (after the fact - D'oh!) and found a post on another guitar forum about him having someone's guitar for 21 months! A few people on that forum reported trouble with him as well.

Not a single bad word on TGP though! I don't think he has another job - it certainly seems possible he badly messed up the guitar and just doesn't want to admit it.

I do know for a fact that other people have gotten their guitars from him recently. The lawyer route sounds costly. How much does it cost to have someone draft a letter to take action?
 




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