Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: 30 16' 29.80"N 97 44' 25.30"W
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Mel Pinto Imports - A Cautionary Tale
On 6/19 I ordered a set of hubs from Mel Pinto Imports. Pelisser 1000s which were "on sale" marked down from $119.95 (same as Velo-Orange) to $59.95. I know that you don't often get fire-sale prices on NOS parts, but I had e-mailed to confirm specs and availability and so felt safe. I ran the transaction through PayPal and everything looked good.
When I got home on 6/23 I was happy to see a USPS package on my porch bearing a label from:
Mel Pinto Imports, Inc.
2860 Annandale Road
P.O. Box 2198
Falls Church, VA 22042
My joy was short-lived, however, because what the boxed contained was not the 1000 series hubs I had ordered, paid for and had a receipt confirming, but the cheaper high-flange Pelissiers that were on sale for $39.95. And there was no packing list. I also noticed that although the cheaper hubs I received were advertised as coming without QR skewers these had skewers. Used ones. Used Shimano skewers.
I promptly fired off an e-mail to find out what was going on and received a reply that they were terribly sorry and that there had been a "big mistake" and that "oh, by the way we're out of the 1000 series hubs and won't be getting any more" (paraphrased). In addition I should feel free to return the incorrect parts, at their expense, for a refund. No suggestion on how they planned to pay the return freight. Interestingly enough, up until yesterday (6/29) the website still listed the hubs at the sale price - they are now shown as "sold out".
I replied that just as soon as I saw a credit to my PayPal account for the original amount plus the return freight I would return the parts.
The next communication from Mel Pinto was that they will get that refund to me ASAP, BUT they are "currently experiencing delays with PayPal" (their words, not paraphrased).
I have offered to contact PayPal on their behalf to determine the nature of this delay, but at this point they (Mel Pinto) are not responding to my e-mail.
Now I'm NOT saying that I was the victim of a "bait-and-switch". I'm NOT say that they are dishonest. It may simply be a case of sloppy business practices, bad inventory control, poor site management and rotten customer service.
What I am saying is that I am NOT a satisfied customer and that I do not plan on giving then any further business.