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NV vendor dilemma

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#1 FeedTheNeed

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Posted 16 November 2019 - 10:35 PM

Hi all,

 

A year ago I got interested in NV, and last May I took the plunge and placed an order for a Mod3 from a vendor recommended on here. For the sake of this post, let's call them vendor X. Six months later, I'm out $4k without a Mod3 and X has gone radio silent, and I'm not sure what to do.

 

At the beginning of May, X was very communicative and said that it should take 3 weeks max from placing my order to delivery. So I placed my order, (stupidly!) paid upfront as X asked since others had had good experiences with them, and waited till the end of May.

 

June rolls around, no device but X is communicative and explains there were delays, etc. Says it should be ready in a few more weeks, so I keep waiting. Then July rolls around, and X says that device is ready to ship soon. 

 

Then X goes dark for a few weeks. Calls and texts go unanswered. Mid July, X finally gets in touch and explains he's been having medical issues. I sympathize with him but ask that he keeps me in the loop on his health, as I'm out $4k and it's way past the timeline he promised. 

 

We talk again in August, and X gives me an update on his health, and says he needs to get my stuff shipped out ASAP. Nothing happens. September rolls around, X says the same thing. Nothing happens. October rolls around, I ask about a refund, X says that would take way longer than just getting the device to me. Nothing happens, and X has been dark for over a month now, ignoring calls and texts. 

 

I've given the vendor the benefit of the doubt till this point, because he has a good reputation and life gets in the way sometimes. But I am wary of all the false promises they have made, and I feel as though my patience is being taken advantage of. The real problem is that I paid up front 6 months ago, a big mistake in retrospect but again I trusted X because of their reputation. 

 

I'm not sure what else I can do besides threaten to sue at this point, and of course I'd like to avoid that if possible. Thoughts on how else to handle this? What can I do?

 

Thanks and clear skies.


 

#2 outofsight

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Posted 16 November 2019 - 10:49 PM

How did you pay?


 

#3 FeedTheNeed

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Posted 16 November 2019 - 11:07 PM

How did you pay?

Bank transfer, so I can't easily reverse the transaction.


 

#4 rk2k2

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Posted 16 November 2019 - 11:08 PM

I hope you paid by CC or something like PayPal (business, not 'friend').  If it were me (and I NEVER make a purchase without purchase guarantee of the payment method), I would call them, give them 1 week for the item to be in your possession and tell them to cancel the order and returrn your money if they can't deliver by them.  I have never had a 6 month delay, but I did have a few that went over a month. 


 

#5 TOMDEY

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Posted 16 November 2019 - 11:10 PM

Yes, regarding the above comment. It might not be too late to contest a credit card or Pay Pal "goods and services" payment. Otherwise... sometimes a friendly personal visit can work wonders... The default option is to just forget the whole thing and withdraw another $4K to buy what you want from one of the big retail places. That way you get on with life and enjoy what you wanted in the first place. The lost $4K then just becomes an interesting anecdote.

 

I've been ripped off for that much before, back when $5K was worth double what it is now, by a guy who (I later learned) was into drugs; I just wrote it off as Meh. Get on with life. He was the real loser --- not me.    Tom


 

#6 jupiter122

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Posted 16 November 2019 - 11:22 PM

Good reputation and medical issues or not, the vendor defrauded you out of 4K. Contact the police or sheriff in the area where the vendor is located and find out if you can bring criminal charges against the vendor. That may get him to give your money back. The vendor may be broke but it’s worth the try.  
 

Good luck and hope it works out for you. 
 

Tim


 

#7 Richard O'Neill

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Posted 16 November 2019 - 11:23 PM

"Bank transfer, so I can't easily reverse the transaction."

 

 Not necessarily. check with your bank.


 

#8 outofsight

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Posted 17 November 2019 - 02:15 AM

Bank transfer, so I can't easily reverse the transaction.

Sounds like you're out $4K. Sure you can sue, but that doesn't mean you'll collect. I would do exactly as others have said, call the police in that area and start doing whatever you can to collect. First I would email the person who owes you the $ and let them know you have to try something. The police probably won't be able to help you, but they might have some info, who knows. And work your way up the food chain, maybe call the district attorney for that area, see if they have a fraud unit, etc. If you find, along the way, that this person has defrauded others, then maybe work your way all the way up to the Attorney General of the state. Emailing these people is free. (Chances of anyone being able to help you get back your full $4K on a wire transfer are real slim. But you can also see what small claims are in that area and maybe sue the vendor, yourself. What do you want to do for your 4K?)

 

At the end of the day though, I'd be prepared to right off $4K. No matter what someone recommends on here, it's your money. Sometimes things cost more with a credit card, but it's like paying for insurance. If you had used a credit card and the person, who has currently ripped you off, had an ongoing business concern, the CC company would probably back charge them, no problem. That might also depend on your relationship with your CC company, after six months.

 

Hindsight is 20/20, and usually worth nothing. If you still have money to blow and want to get an NV device, please discuss it more thoroughly here, and let's hope you get pointed in a better direction. I don't know who the vendor was, but you should be able to do better than that. And don't be afraid to say the vendor's name, it might be helpful to someone else.

 

I was afraid you were going to say bank transfer, nevertheless, best of luck.


 

#9 jdbastro

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Posted 17 November 2019 - 02:20 AM

... I don't know who the vendor was, but you should be able to do better than that. And don't be afraid to say the vendor's name, it might be helpful to someone else.

 

..., nevertheless, best of luck.

This is very disconcerting to hear about.

 

Given the exceptionally long delays that you have experienced, I think it is fair for you to state the name of this vendor so that other potential buyers are NOT led to this vendor.

 

Hope you have success in either getting your money back or the NV product in hand.   Wishing you all the best.


 

#10 Eddgie

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Posted 17 November 2019 - 10:03 AM

Hi all,

 

A year ago I got interested in NV, and last May I took the plunge and placed an order for a Mod3 from a vendor recommended on here. For the sake of this post, let's call them vendor X. Six months later, I'm out $4k without a Mod3 and X has gone radio silent, and I'm not sure what to do.

 

At the beginning of May, X was very communicative and said that it should take 3 weeks max from placing my order to delivery. So I placed my order, (stupidly!) paid upfront as X asked since others had had good experiences with them, and waited till the end of May.

 

June rolls around, no device but X is communicative and explains there were delays, etc. Says it should be ready in a few more weeks, so I keep waiting. Then July rolls around, and X says that device is ready to ship soon. 

 

Then X goes dark for a few weeks. Calls and texts go unanswered. Mid July, X finally gets in touch and explains he's been having medical issues. I sympathize with him but ask that he keeps me in the loop on his health, as I'm out $4k and it's way past the timeline he promised. 

 

We talk again in August, and X gives me an update on his health, and says he needs to get my stuff shipped out ASAP. Nothing happens. September rolls around, X says the same thing. Nothing happens. October rolls around, I ask about a refund, X says that would take way longer than just getting the device to me. Nothing happens, and X has been dark for over a month now, ignoring calls and texts. 

 

I've given the vendor the benefit of the doubt till this point, because he has a good reputation and life gets in the way sometimes. But I am wary of all the false promises they have made, and I feel as though my patience is being taken advantage of. The real problem is that I paid up front 6 months ago, a big mistake in retrospect but again I trusted X because of their reputation. 

 

I'm not sure what else I can do besides threaten to sue at this point, and of course I'd like to avoid that if possible. Thoughts on how else to handle this? What can I do?

 

Thanks and clear skies.

First, I was on the phone with Richard at Ultimate and he told me that they are only getting small shipments of MX-11769  22UA tubes these days, so there could be some delay, but Rich said that it is rarely more than 6 to 8 weeks and UNV never asks for money in advance. 

 

If everything you have said is true, the I recommend that you out the vendor.

 

Delays can be normal, so that in itself should be expected, and the length of the delay can be longer if you are after a particularly high spec tube.   A lot of the tubes I see people buying are very nice tubes, but I see some tubes out there that are much better, and if you are looking for one of those, you should expect a longer wait.  I am working with Ultimate Night Vision to obtain a "Unicorn" tube and have simply resigned myself that it might take six months. I think Peter waited quite a long time for his outlier. 

 

But that is for a tube that is well off the bell curve.

 

If a vendor wants money in advance, I always think of this as a potential "Cash Flow" issue, and I personally just move on to another vendor.  This is not just for NV, it is for anything. 

 

Next, if the vendor won't supply specs for the tube prior to payment, my advice is to move along.  Every one of these tubes has a spec sheet, and if the vendor is just shipping a tube to you and you don't even know what model tube that is much less the specs, then you get what you get..   Would you prefer a tube with a 1900 PCR and 72 line pair of resolution, or would you prefer a tube with 2400 PCR and 64 lines of resolution?  If you don't get as spec sheet, you are simply not getting a choice.

 

 

My own advice would be to never pay until the device is ready to ship, and never buy a tube until you know how it is going to behave.  Now I have to be fair here and say that any MX-11769  22UA is going to be useful for astronomy so the risk of getting a tube that won't work well for astronomy is practically zero, but every tube is different and if you have a choice, you might decide you want more resolution at the expense of signal strength, or you are willing to accept higher EBI for higher  gain and  improved SN. 

 

Contact your bank and explain that it was payment for goods and the goods were never received and that is fraud, and banks will work with you in cases of fraud.  They may tell you to do as you were advised above and contact the authorities in the area where the vendor lives. 

 

In other words, if you are done waiting, send a note to the seller that you want your money back, and if he does not refund your money in one working day, start putting pressure on them. Get your money back and move on. If you can't get your money back, that is fraud, and you should pursue it through criminal channels. 


Edited by Eddgie, 17 November 2019 - 11:25 AM.

 

#11 Eddgie

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Posted 17 November 2019 - 10:47 AM

And this is how companies get into cash flow issues. This is not intended as a suggestion that this is the case with this transaction, it is a general description of why advance payment to a sole proprietor business has risks.  

 

Bob sells jackhammers and Bob has to place a minimum order of 5 jackhammers from the manufacturer.

Bob missed work for a month and this put him behind on sales, but Bob still has bills to pay.   Bob gets back to work, and sells his inventory of jack hammers, but because he had a bad month in sales, after paying his bills, Bob does not have enough money to buy the minimum order of jack hammers to replenish stock. 

 

So, Bob gets a customer that is willing to pay half or pay in advance, and this gives Bob enough money to place the order.

 

A bad storm hits Bob's region and now Bob has another bad time selling jackhammers and this time but when finally sells out, he is now so short that he has to start asking all customers to pay half or pay in advance. 

 

The danger is when Bob gets so far behind in the cycle that even if he sells all of the jackhammers he has, he is taking Jackhammers from the shipment that would be for the newest costumers to fill orders for customers that have been waiting for months.  

 

Then disaster strikes, and some of those customers that have been waiting start demanding their money back, and Bob doesn't have it, so Bob files bankruptcy and all of those customers that were waiting are out of money and out of luck.  The liquidation of assets in most statements will direct that customers having outstanding orders will be the first to be compensated, but that assumes that there is anything left. 

 

This is why I would never pay for an out of stock item in advance when dealing with small businesses.  (And this is not intended to be an attack on the vendor in question, but rather a general statement)..   If there is someone doing something that is out of the norm (other vendors do not have the same practice) and you can find no reasonable expectation (Bob only sells hand select jackhammers guaranteed to but 10% faster than the standard model of the Jackhammer,) then my advice is to go to any other vendor that practices a normal payment-on-shipment model.  

 

Again, I am not suggesting this is pertinent to this particular case, but in general, advance payment in the sole proprietor business world is risky.  There are thousands of small business bankruptcies a year in the US, and probably tens of thousands of customers that are impacted, and if you have paid in advance and are in such a situation, there is every possibility that you will never see a penny of your money. 

 

And in these cases, no one ever goes to jail if it was a legit business.  The DA would have to have some evidence of criminal intent and that is almost never the case in cash flow situations.  Bob maybe just had a lot of bad luck. 

 

Anyway, this is why I would say to never pay in advance for something that is not in stock unless you have a hard promise for a delivery date, or if advance payment is the standard practice in that industry like custom made goods, where half or full payment is the norm.

 

Again,  I don't know the vendor and have no particular reason to believe that this is the case here, but I do have a belief that in general, when someone has a practice that is outside of the industry norm, that (to me) would raise a flag of caution. 

 

My point to all of this is why paying cash in advance and take any risk when there are other similar businesses that will put you on a wait list and only ask for payment when they can confirm that they are in possession of your merchandise and ready to assemble/complete the order.  (In the case of the Mod 3, the dealer builds these so it would be reasonable to ask for payment before installing the tube in the housing.) 

 

And if paying with credit card only do so if there is a guaranteed delivery date that is less than 30 days. This is because if a seller takes an order for merchandise and cannot complete the order in 30 days, then they have to contact the buyer and ask them if they want a refund, or want to continue to wait for the order.  


Edited by Eddgie, 17 November 2019 - 11:28 AM.

 

#12 Eddgie

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Posted 17 November 2019 - 11:04 AM

 

 

If the seller is unable to ship within the promised time, it must notify you, give a revised shipping date and give you the chance to cancel for a full refund or accept the new shipping date. The seller also must give you some way to exercise the cancellation option for free — for example, by supplying a prepaid reply card or staffing a toll-free telephone number.

 

If you don’t respond — and the delay is 30 days or less — it’s assumed that you accept the delay and are willing to wait for the merchandise.

 

If you don’t respond — and the delay is more than 30 days — the order must be canceled by the 30th day of the delay period and a full refund issued promptly.

 

If the seller can’t meet the revised shipping date, it must notify you again by mail, email or telephone and give you a new shipping date or cancel your order and give you a refund.

 

The order should be canceled and a refund issued promptly unless you indicate by the revised shipping date that you are willing to wait.

 

If you don’t respond to the second notice, the seller should assume that you are not willing to wait issue a full refund promptly.

Except above from this web page. This page also includes more detailed information about consumer credit card protections for phone, mail, or online purchases. This is the law.  

 

https://www.consumer...-never-received

 

 

 

Buy with credit card if you want to make sure you are protected. If the vendor will not take a credit card, the risk is pretty much all on the consumer.  People break the law all the time and don't go to jail for it because again, A DA would have to typically believe that there was criminal intent. 


Edited by Eddgie, 17 November 2019 - 11:29 AM.

 

#13 Eddgie

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Posted 17 November 2019 - 11:23 AM

And if you don't want to ID the vendor in public (though I think you should), I would very much like to know who it was by PM. I try to keep notes on various vendors for my own use in both my own purchasing and for recommendations. 

 

Otherwise, anyone reading your post should be able to ID the vendor when they attempt to place an order and determine if they are willing to suffer the same treatment,  but not everyone reads the forum before purchasing. 

 

Thanks!


Edited by Eddgie, 17 November 2019 - 11:23 AM.

 

#14 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 17 November 2019 - 02:13 PM

Buy with credit card if you want to make sure you are protected. If the vendor will not take a credit card, the risk is pretty much all on the consumer.  People break the law all the time and don't go to jail for it because again, A DA would have to typically believe that there was criminal intent. 

 

Be aware credit card companies may have limits on time. As I recently found out (non-astronomy item), six months on my Chase Visa card.


 

#15 FeedTheNeed

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Posted 17 November 2019 - 02:50 PM

Thanks all for the input. It is a frustrating situation; in hindsight I should've been more careful. 

 

The vendor is Pete Lesbo at I^2 Technologies. I was hesitant to reveal him since he has been dealing with some truly scary medical issues, and the last few times we spoke he said he felt terrible health wise. But he has had all the parts for the build since July (according to him), and seemed to be "about to finish" every time we've spoken since then, which was clearly a lie. If he knowingly couldn't finish the build because of his health, then it's easy to send a bank transfer back from any smartphone. 

 

I also contacted Ultimate, TNVC, and Glynn @ Night Vision Inc beforehand. I was less than impressed by all three. At both Ultimate and TNVC, I spoke with sales guys who were unhelpful and borderline rude. Glynn was very bad at getting back to emails or calls. Pete was by far the best, very good at communicating early on, and extremely knowledgable as well. I did pay after I got a spec sheet on the tube, so I didn't go in completely blind. 


 

#16 Gavster

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Posted 17 November 2019 - 03:11 PM

Unfortunately this has happened before
https://www.cloudyni...ease-read-this/
 

#17 outofsight

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Posted 17 November 2019 - 04:15 PM

Unfortunately this has happened before
https://www.cloudyni...ease-read-this/

Yeah, that's the one I couldn't remember last night and was going to look for today.

 

". . . then it's easy to send a bank transfer back from any smartphone." That's the key isn't it. To me, if you're having health problems, you want to get rid of your other problems and only try to get better. He should return your money.

 

"the last few times we spoke he said he felt terrible health wise." I wish him well, but if he can talk on a phone or email, he can return your money.


 

#18 flyingcougar

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Posted 17 November 2019 - 06:10 PM

@FeedThe Need,

 

Everyone is sorry to hear about your troubles in receiving a product that you've already paid for. You have received some good advice on how to proceed from here, follow up with it and good luck. Let me know in a PM if you wish to report a final outcome, but for now this topic is lock.gif before it gets out of hand.


 


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