Oh, crap.

I just wanted to tell y'all about my fun by posting this edited letter to my CC company. Any advice from you business and lawyer types would be much appreciated.

Dear Sir,

I would appreciate your help in getting my money back from an order I made to a dealer on 25 July 2001. The item ordered was a turntable, and I was told by the manager that it would arrive at his store in three to four weeks. He was then to ship it to me. Four weeks after July 25th I called the store to see what the status was on the turntable. A lady who later identified herself as the bookkeeper answered my call and told me she would contact the distributor and then would call me back to let me know when it was due to arrive. She never called me back. I do not remember exactly how long I waited before I called back, around a week I am sure, asking about the status of my turntable. Same reply from her, and she never called me back. I was planning to call again, but September 11th came. Since there was no shipping going on, especially overseas, and since I would have felt very small to complain about my turntable at this time.

Around the 20th –25th or so, I called the distributor, hoping for some help in getting the turntable. I do not remember what the person who answered said, but she did not give me a date or anything. She contacted the dealer to tell them about my call, and the manager then calls me and tells me that an employee of his did not turn in the order to the distributor. The manager then ordered the turntable, and I verified this with a phone call to the distributor. Well, at least they said the has my model on order. So I waited another month, now late October/ early November, before phoning the dealer, and the manager explains to me that they are back ordered, and that the particular one that I want is produced in very limited quantities anyways. A couple of weeks, and I call again. He tells me that he will call the distributor and then call me back. He did not call me back. On November 27th, I called the distributor. I explained to them that I ordered a turntable in late July, but it only ordered the dealer in mid September. They seemed pretty concerned, and said they would check it out and call me back. They never did. On November 30th, I the dealer demanding my money back. The manager proceeded to explain to me that his investors are trying to close down the store and would not let him refund my money. He promised me that no matter what, I would get my turntable, and if not, the demo turntable in his store that is the model up from mine. I only have little doubt about his sincerity, but he does not seem to have full control over what is happening. I am worried that they will claim bankruptcy, or something before I get my turntable, or that they are just ripping me off. Thank you for any help you can provide me.

Brian Norris
Looks like you have an open and shut case to me. You were charged for merchandise and have never received it. 6 months is unreasonable. It also sounds like the dealer may have purposely taken your money to pay down his debt and wasn't worried about ordering your turntable.

Good Luck
The credit card company will refund your money and back charge the dealer. Seems like they played with your money for six months. Anyway, a reputable dealer would only take a depsoit = to his profit and not charge your card until the unit shipped.
Yep - have your credit card company dispute the charge. If you didn't pay by credit card, you may have to threaten small claims court - that worked for me once. Hopefully a lawyer or two will answer your question on this post.
I think their are to many excuses and I question the manager not having the authority to refund your money. Even if the stored declared bankruptcy it wouldnt necessaraly releive them out of their debt with you. I would start legal action now. At this point the quicker the better.
I wouldn't worry about it since you paid by credit card. Just make sure to sign and return their piece of paper the day after you get it and you'll win. I would actually just call them and they'll credit you the whole amount plus interest immediately while the dispute is going on. I've done this twice successfully from scams on eBay. leo.
I assume you ment "I _called_ the dealer..." here.
...On November 30th, I the dealer demanding ...

Other than that I think I would let the CC company deal with it.

- Dan
ohlala: your intuitive request to have your credit card company cancel your debit and have it charged back to the merchant account holder is the correct alternative in this instance. i respectfully disagree with the advice of perfectimage. as a lawyer for more than 32 years with a practice comprised, among many other matters, of hundreds of bankruptcy cases of nearly every stripe imaginable, i would advise you that it is not a wise idea to begin litigation against a party about to file for protection under any section of the bankruptcy code. it would be an utter waste of your monetary and other resources. if your chargeback is not accepted by your credit card issuer and the dealer holding your "deposit" files for bankruptcy, you MAY have a viable case under section 523(a)(2)(A) of the bankruptcy code, but it would be a longshot. an expensive longshot. should you wish more gratis advice concerning your "problem," feel free to send me a private email. -cfb
I agree the Credit Card card approach is the best I just dont know if that is going to be a problem where it was charged so long ago. Im not saying it is only that I dont know.

Small claims court is cheap and the reason I suggested starting the proceeding as quick as possible is that the longer you wait the less effective it is going to be.

If it goes that far I think that you can challenge the bankruptcy during their proceeding when they go in front of the judge to get your money back. I am unsure about all of this and whether you would have to do it in person or could do it with a letter to the court.

If the credit card cancellation doesnt work give your local Attorney Genrals office a call. They will help you out and tell you your legal rights and how to proceed. Good Luck.
Thank you very much, everyone. I faxed the letter tonight and also called to dispute the charge. The CC woman I talked to told me that it was a long shot if they could help me because it has been over 90 days. I thought of the small claims route, but it complicated by the fact that the dealer is in Washington, while I am in Dallas. Also the turntable is only a $1000 Interspace, so heading Cornfedboy's advice, I do not think that small claims is very practical. $1000 however, is a lot of money for me, so I am getting a little tense. I did not include in the letter that the distributor expects my TT Dec. 15th, so maybe I will get lucky. The dealer also promised that if for some reason, I did not get the Interspace, he would send me his Spacedeck/Spacearm demo. A nice thought, but I do not feel comfortable putting my eggs in that basket. Thank you again, everyone. It was very nice of you to read the whole letter and respond. I will update this post when I hear from someone.
I would advise telling them you will take the demo model now and call it even. It may not be the ultimate solution for you but take your losses and get what you can. Things will domino all to quickly and it wont be long before there is a recording at the end of the number.
I would definately take the Spacedeck, if I could. The Spacedeck and Spacearm is quite a step up from mine ($2500 v. $1500), but he mentioned it as a HIS last resort. I believe he was sincere in his offer, but who knows were it would really wind up in the dissolution of his store?. Initially, I felt that the difference between the two is too large, but after reading your post, I am trying to find a way to cover the difference...one hell of a way to get your customer to upgrade :).
I agree with perfectimage. Take the spacedeck now. You should remind him that YOUR last resort is to dispute the charge with your credit card company and get your money back. That's worse for him because he will be back charged, i.e. money taken out of his pocket. The spacedeck he has is just inventory sitting around and probably alread paid for; I'd get it before bankruptcy court and other creditors get it. At this rate, he probably is out 1500 (cost of spacedeck) minus the 1000 he got from you = 500. That's better than to lose 1000 on a back charge. That's 33 cents on the dollar which is still probably better than a court-ordered liquidation. In any case, I'd force the issue rather than let him cow you with promises, deferred gratification and veiled threats of his financial ruin. Good luck.
just curious ohlala, but it sounds like you paid the cc company before you got the 'table. did you? sorry to hear you're running into this scam. the usual con is to offer great deals in exchange for customer checks for goods that never get sent and of course don't exist. with luck and persistance the money is refunded but months later. i learned my lesson the hard way. good luck with your claim.
I agree that you should find a way to get the dealer to send the TT he has in his hands now even if you have to pay him some extra. Worst case is that when you try to be reasonable with him (by paying extra instead of just asking for the upgrade) he'll push back and be unreasonable. At that point you'd at least know that his "guarantee" is not sincere and that you'll never see the demo TT as compensation. If he is sincere, you risk paying extra when with a little waiting you might get it for free, but at this point it seems like good insurance. Believe me, if this guy is on the verge of bankruptcy and is anything less than a saint who knows he's going to declare soon and sends you the goods right under the wire, you won't get anything (at least for a LONG time) if he is forced into bankruptcy. Nobody is going to let him ship goods after declaring, so see what you can do to get him to send you what he has in his hands now for a reasonable price. -Kirk
I had exactly the same problem with some custom clothing I bought one summer and by December called Citibank. They took care of everything and refunded my money including interest over the 6 months (at their userous rate!). I ussume they charged the company all of it. good luck
Today's events included a phone call to the dealer. I thought you gentlemen made a wise suggestion, so I was going to make an offer on his Spacedeck. Well, he was like, "Wow...you must have ESP, I just going to call you. Audiophile Systems called Friday afternoon to tell me they sent the TT. (paraphrased)" I do not believe him to the point where I am going to call the CC company to cancel my dispute. ASL did say that they were getting a shipment from Nottingham at the end of November, so things seem to be in order. He is suppossed to call me when the TT arrives at his store, which should be Wednessday. He also said he would throw in some LPs. Not as good as a little money off, but he seems to be having a rough time with currency management.

Rockvirgo-yes, the CC comapany has been paid for the charge.
Again, thank you all. You have helped me a lot in handling this. I really have little idea about what the hell I am doing.
Just for the archive's sake, I did finally receive the TT, along with ten complimentary records.
ohlala: good for you! i hope the 10 lp's are all on hp's dirty dozen list. -cfb
Man, I would call that an early Xmas present and thank your lucky stars. My business has been owed money by several developer clients over the years who have gone bankrupt. All I get are loads of incomprehensible letters from the court. I have NEVER seen ONE DIME.
Brian: Good luck with the new deck (and your 10 comp LP's:-). Glad to hear/read that it all worked out and I commend you on your patience and civility. Second commends to the dealer who, though it took much longer than expected, came through on their promise. What you received in the end (considering the demise of a business) speaks very highly of the owner (or person(s) in charge) of the shop. I suspect that if they regroup by representing more favorable (more in demand) commercial products (maybe not Hi-fi @ this time, but one can only hope), that they will do well (based on the integrity that they obviously posses). They in effect made available to you one of the last "life boats" (which is your TT) from a sinking ship and trust me they could have passed on this effort as many would have under similar circumstances.
I agree. I dodged a bullet this time. The dealer has proven that he is honest, reputable and generous (esp. w/ his time). I wish I could have been certain of that earlier. I could have saved a bit of 20/20-hindsight shame. That is, however, overshadowed by my TT excitement. I can not listen to it because of an armboard size problem, but I already love it. It is a very substantial TT for $1k. The platter, I estimate, weighs about 30 pounds. We're having fun starting it up by manually spinning the platter, until I can get a replacement armboard. And, Dekay, the dealer says he is going to start selling hi-fi out of his home if he has to.
Thanks again.
I don't think you did anything to be ashamed of. The dealer seems to have been in financial difficulty which resulted in considerable aggravation and delay for you. I think that you went above and beyond the call in terms of your patience; I'm NOT so sure that the dealer deserves the same credit. He had use of your cash for many months and with bankruptcy threatening, could have had the locks placed on the doors and the merchandise impounded, which definately would have left you out in the cold. I'm thrilled that it worked out for you, but the dealer is the one who should be thanking you for your patience.