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Old 12-18-09, 06:42 PM   #1
schanson2
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Bad experience with a custom builder???

Has anyone had a bad experience with a custom builder? Right now I'm on the verge of suing a custom builder for 1) theft by deception, and 2) misapplication of entrusted funds.

To summarize- Last April I ordered a frame from a well-known builder, who recently restarted his business after taking a break. I was the first order at the time, and he articulated that completing the frame would take a few weeks. A few weeks later he contacted me, saying that the "frame was built and ready for powdercoating," and he charged the remainder of my credit card. I waited approximately one month for the frame to arrive, and when it didn't, I contacted him. He back-tracked by saying that the rear triangle was not completed because he did not have the adequate tooling. But in the same email he told me that the issue was resolved and that he was "looking forward to finishing up and getting her out to you hopefully this coming week."

I waited several weeks and when it didn't arrive, I contacted him again. He said that the rear triangle issue still wasn't resolved. He also forgot if I ordered disc or V brake tabs! Overall, he attributed the delay to personal financial problems. In return, I expressed my dissatisfaction in a proper tone because my credit card was charged before he was able to complete the order.

He responded by shutting down all lines of communication. I filed a complaint with the BBB, but he did not respond to them. After numerous times of trying to get in contact, in November he finally said that he would reimburse me in the full amount. Unfortunately, in the email he refrained from setting any sort of timeline for a refund. He said that "there should be absolutely no reason for you to contact me at all, so donít, otherwise there will be harsh circumstances."

As of now, I have not received a payment. I am frustrated because on his Twitter account he mentioned that he was starting a production line of a certain frame model!

Right now, what are my options? He refuses to respond to my emails or phone calls.

At this point, I am reluctant to sue because he is in another state. There is also no incentive for him to show up at court because he has my money. I do not want to fly across the country and have this happen. Also, since his company was previously liquidated in 2006, he might have creditors waiting in line, so there is no guarantee I'll see my money ever again.

If you have any advice on how to resolve my issue, please let me know....


-schanson2

Last edited by schanson2; 12-21-09 at 10:39 AM. Reason: I deleted the company name
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Old 12-18-09, 07:36 PM   #2
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Probably best to delete the builders name from above and then tell us what kind of problems you're having with them so someone can give some better advice. I don't think it's a good idea to bash someone's name without explaining it first. Not saying you don't have a legitimate complaint but it's better to state your case first.
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Old 12-19-09, 12:47 AM   #3
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IANAL, but you probably should delete it either way, this isn't a good way to start a lawsuit.

Last edited by unterhausen; 12-19-09 at 01:54 AM.
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Old 12-19-09, 09:52 AM   #4
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It is probably a good way to start one if you want to be a defendant and not a plaintiff.....
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Old 12-19-09, 05:52 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by schanson2 View Post
Has anyone had a bad experience with a custom builder? Right now I'm on the verge of suing {Moderator edit** a custom builder {/edit**. I won't go into details, but he subjected me to deceptive and unfair business practices.

I want to support a custom builder, but want to make sure they are reliable. Please let me know what your experiences have been...
Two sides to every story S.
How would knowing about somebody else's bad experience help your case at all?
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Old 12-21-09, 09:56 PM   #6
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This sounds like downright theft. This seems like it might be somthing that would be more relevant/ produce better results if posted on a legal forum rather than here, as the fact that hes a framebuilder is slightly irrelevant the real issue is his poor and seems most likely less than legal, but I',m not a lawyer so I can't give you any advice on your rights, and I doubt there are many people on here that are.

Last edited by cnnrmccloskey; 12-21-09 at 10:21 PM.
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Old 12-22-09, 12:50 AM   #7
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Legally speaking, and I am not a lawyer, I would be inclined to pursue the wire fraud element of this. It is a federal crime to comit fraud over the phone, or through the mail. I don't know who it is, but there is someone I used about 15 years ago, possibly through the federal regulator, or whatever who can ad some push to a complaint. I got this assistance even though not a US citizen. This really only works with people who can be intimidated. There have been examples of chraftspeople I am aware of who were brazen enough to know law enforcement will not bother with small cases. But the more law abiding can be scared by the threat of a federal beef.

I would also ad, and this is from professional experience, that you need to break-out your precise objectives (really objective). Are you mostly concerned with getting a bike, getting money back, prosecution, removal of business related accreditation (presumable there are none), getting info out to other consumers, getting revenge. Are you mostly interested in principle, or coming out ahead (Often there is a way of getting advancing a principle, but it ends up hurting you. Extreme cases are whistleblowers and **** victims). Very often there are no avenues that will allow you to proceed on the particular front you wish to advance. Or you will be hurt in their pursuit. In my case, I worked for a self-regulatory organization, and we could remove licenses, accreditations, levy fines, but could not by law compel restitution. The stuff we could do was important to the system, the stuff we couldn't do was generally mostly what clients of our members were after.

Last edited by NoReg; 12-22-09 at 12:54 AM.
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Old 12-22-09, 09:16 AM   #8
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I suppose the credit card company will not help
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Old 12-26-09, 12:06 PM   #9
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I would contact the credit card company. They will pretty much always side with you. It's simple, card was charged for goods you did not receive=theft. You will have to sign a form to the effect of "no I am not lying about this theft".

I don't know if they have time limits for a claim but just call them and find out. If they took a $38 fraudulent charge on my card seriously and gave me my money back it's worth a shot.
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Old 12-26-09, 03:05 PM   #10
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Contact your credit card company ASAP. Most card companies will refund you the money with very little hassle and then they will deal with the seller. The only possible problem here is the amount of time that has passed, but they are still your best bet. I would only consider taking the builder to court as a last resort; however, given that he was doing business with you in your state (over the phone or internet), your local state or federal court is probably has jurisdiction over the builder. If he fails to show, there will likely be a default judgment against him in your favor.
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Old 12-26-09, 03:07 PM   #11
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Definitely go the credit card route. I've had mine reimbursed a couple times due to fraud, and that was the end of it. I wish you would have left the company's name about--but I understand why you didn't--just so others could avoid being scammed in the same way.
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Old 12-26-09, 05:39 PM   #12
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I wish you would have left the company's name about--but I understand why you didn't--just so others could avoid being scammed in the same way.
Just to add to my original post from above. Personally I would want to have bad builders exposed here but only after attempting to resove any problems with them first, as Schanson2 has done, and if most here agree that you have been wronged. (I know, a little subjective). I think once eveything has been settled and it turns out in your favor it would be fair play to let us know the outcome and show the builders name.

Last edited by Crankycrank; 12-26-09 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 12-26-09, 06:37 PM   #13
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I'm really conflicted about posts like this just because we don't know both sides of the story. And the builder is pretty much defenseless anyway, how could you respond other than a full refund? If the OP is in the same state as the builder, a trip to small claims court may be in order. You have the full force of the law to enforce a judgment. Hopefully the credit card company can sort it out more easily though.
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Old 12-28-09, 08:37 AM   #14
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Schadenfreude serves no practical benefit in most situations and this one is no different.

Leave the builder's name out of any public forum. It is bad form and you are messing with a man's livelihood. Let it get resolved between builder and customer. If the courts need to get involved then so be it. One thing is certain though, the collective "WE" in this situation have no dog in the fight. We are merely the peanut gallery looking for a good seat to watch the fight. You can do that without proper nouns.
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Old 01-15-10, 10:48 PM   #15
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Blood from a turnip. I think not putting the persons name in here is a good idea...you may end up getting sued by him...lol...I know...not funny. NOT THAT HE DOESN'T deserve to be slammed. I can say the guy does sound financially strapped and you probably won't get your money back unless you go through your credit card company to see what they can do.

A hard lesson learned...and unfortunately you are the one having to learn it. You are the better man...hang in there and just let it go after you have gone as far as you can get it.
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Old 01-15-10, 11:55 PM   #16
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Man thats terrible, I would contact the credit card company. Another good point is to have a lawyer write a formal letter saying that he will get sued if he doesn't refund your money. Its a matter of principal and I would take some sort of action.
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