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Thread: Ron Oates Lack of Customer Service

  1. #26
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    Interestingly, there are no fewer than 3 separate rono emandos for sale in the MC classifieds right now.

  2. #27
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    okay, I've been racking my brain as to what we might do to collectively (and thus effectively?) influence Rono to get going. Claire Hunter says there are 3 outstanding complaints along the same vein-- mine will make 4. One has received his/ her mandolin; complaint satisfied. She says Rono will not return her calls but may respond to heavier pressure of a legal sort(this sounds like a slow process, how appropriate...) Besides this, it may be that Ron won't care about his reputation as a luthier because he's leaving the business. Does anyone know someone in Boulder that could make a physical visit and assess what's really going on over there? Half the pain is not knowing--

  3. #28

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    For what its worth...

    I live 15 minutes North of Boulder. I've known RonO for about 4 or 5 years now, since having him build my electric mandolin. This was before he was really known. About 3+ years ago, I traded my electric mandolin, an amp, an old computer, and a little cash back to RonO to have him build me an F5 mandolin. He told me it would be finished in 6 months or so... It took a year and a half. I'm sure it would have taken longer had I not been able to go and bug him on occasions. And through the entire extra year, I got the "It'll be done in a month" or "It'll be done in 3 weeks" story over and over again. I was at his shop a few months ago, and there were works in progress there. Now who those were going to, I have no idea. I really don't know what to tell you folks that are in the same boat that I've been in before. It sucks plain and simple... I'm in the same boat again as I'm waiting on him to build me an octave mandolin, which he has some of my cash for as a down payment. I also know that, upon talking to him last, that if I push or nudge him, I'm liable to never get it. Simply because he has everyone pushing and nudging him. He told me he even had someone come to his door and threaten him with physical violence. Sure I could take the legal route, but 95% chance I still wouldn't recover my money, and I'd only end up making an enemy of someone in the local music circle. Something I never do is purposefully make enemies. So, it looks like I'll be waiting for a while, as I'm the last person on the list, and then when I receive my mandolin I'll not do business with him again. Plain and simple, for me at least. I honestly don't think he's trying to jip people out of their money. But I do think he has horrible customer service and people skills, which he'll admit, and shouldn't have gotten this deep into a list without giving people a realistic expectation. Since I've dealt with him in the past, I knew to take his timeframe estimate with a grain of salt...
    Mandofiddle

  4. #29
    Registered User Tom C's Avatar
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    He sounds like the typical bad contractor who get a down payment from customer A,
    pays off some of his debts, then can't do the work for customer A without more resources. Thi$ ha$ to be the only rea$on.

  5. #30

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    mandofiddle,

    he needs to contact everyone and ask them to be patient. right now he does not need to get wound up in a deep legal tangle.

    tom c,

    ever notice that many a contractor has had several wives? (most ex-wives who wish them ill) speaking from experience even the wife gets the "two more weeks" blah blah..... but at least he had to come home.......no choices there, which is why his truck was registered to me......in many states contractors are required to post bonds and deposit funds in excrow. if things continue to deteriorate with instrument builders i can see the "escrow" trend moving over there too.
    Good Advice: Play before you pay, and know your product and your market.

  6. #31
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    I think that is my biggest concern--is RonO still actually working on our mandos...Or has he skipped town with our money? When a business neglects even the most basic form of communication with customers, what else are we left to do but assume that money has been stolen? Mandofiddle--I'm glad to hear that you've actually been to the shop somewhat recently and saw works in progress. At least to the best of everyone's knowledge, it sounds like he's still working...maybe...

    A phone call, Ron...Give your paying customers one lousy PHONE CALL...This is not that hard...Take care of your unfinished business and then all of us will go away, and we'll gladly never have to talk to each other ever again...

  7. #32
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    In a previous post someone mentioned that he is getting out of the busness. If he declares bankrupcy do you loose your deposit?

  8. #33

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    I just got off the phone with RonO. He called me to let me know the status of my mando, which he said he'd have done by Rockygrass. He said he's getting ready to send out a few mandos, and has a total of 9 left before his list is gone. I asked him to call me and let me know after he sends out the mandos, and to who they're going to so that I can post it here. So hopefully good news will be coming shortly for a few folks here...
    Mandofiddle

  9. #34
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    Thanks for the efforts Dave...I really appreciate it...If only RonO had one tenth of your integrity/concern...

  10. #35
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    This is one of the more interesting threads on the site right now.I am sorry that this is being done to you guys. I'm wondering,how many Luthiers take the entire amount up front? The last custom that I ordered,I paid a third down,a third when half finished,and a third when it was done.If the 3 of you think you are having a hard time(not to deminish this) ,think what Ron must be going through right now, not even able to answer his phone.I can't make excuses for him. The last story I heard about this ended in a bankrupcy.I truly hope things work out for you three,and I'll pray for that Ron guy.

  11. #36
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    PS Can you put yourself in his shoes after reading this thread? If it was me ,I think I'd just curl up and die.

  12. #37
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    Believe it or not, I finally took delivery of my RonO emando today...1 year and 2 months later, I'm relieved the whole ordeal is finally over and a resolution has been reached.

    I still can't believe that law enforcement had to be involved--you'd think Ron would've just returned a simple phone call and let his customers know that he was still working but had fallen behind schedule: A little communication goes a long way...

    My heart goes out to my fellow cafe brethren who are still waiting...

    Dave--Thanks again for all of your efforts and concern...Next time I'm in the area, I'll be sure to check out Heartwood Hollow.

    Mike

  13. #38
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    Thank goodness that's over.

  14. #39
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    so.... how's the mando? ... what is worth the time and tsouris?
    Foley #268
    Janish #183
    Newell #22
    Weber D-hole Hyalite

  15. #40
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    Yes, I'd enjoy hearing a review of your new emando.

  16. #41
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    regarding deposits on a custom instrument and customer relations I would like to add that Jack Spira is building an octave mandolin for me and my experience has been very different. Jack asked for NO deposit, has contacted me with suggestions sent wood samples and photos all along. I wish that all people having an instrument made could deal with someone like Jack.
    john harmon

  17. #42
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    I'd like to keep the review brief:

    Quality instrument? Yes
    Quality buying experience? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

    Sorry for the extreme brevity, but this whole process has fatigued me to the point that I'd rather not speak of it anymore...I'm just glad it's finally over, and I'd like to get back to more important things like playing mandolin! However, if I can be of help to any others who are still waiting, let me know...

    Mike

  18. #43
    ISO TEKNO delsbrother's Avatar
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    Could you at least tell us what kind of Rono you got? Each one on the classifieds is different, as is the one for sale at Mando Bros..

  19. #44
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    delsbrother--5 String "Working Man's Special" w/ 1 humbucker & a piezo

    One last thing--If you still owe him money, have him ship the mando COD....That way he doesn't get your money until you receive the mandolin...and, from his perspective, if you don't have the dough, you can't take delivery of the mando--In other words, both parties are equally protected by shipping COD...That was the ONLY method of completion that I felt comfortable with after everything that had gone down...

    Hope that helps...
    Mike




  20. #45
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    Hey everyone, I'm new to the mando discussion board. I just wanted to share my story for everyone else's knowledge. I too am waiting for a mandolin from Ron. I ordered mine January 10, 2003, and he said it would be done in 7 weeks. I have only spoken or had communication with him a couple of times since then. The most recent communication I had was 2 weeks ago, and its the same story everytiem, he says that it will be done and shipped out next week. So, I happily hung up thinking that I was going to get my great custom made mandolin in a week. Of course, that didn't happen. Unfortunately for me, I got an email from him about a month and a half ago saying that it was almost done, and to please send him the rest of my money so I did. So now he has no financial reason to work on it. I hope he does make it, because I know he can make great instruments and I have been looking forward to this instrument for a long time.
    I have not called any authorities and I don't think that I will for another month or so, because based on the stories I've heard, I dont think he is trying to rip me off. I am a little upset that another person posted that he ordered his mandolin later than I did, and received it before me.

  21. #46
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    Hey now, folks! #Add another name to the listing of buyers. #I've had a similar experience starting in March 2003. #I wish the best for all of us.

  22. #47
    Registered User Steven Stone's Avatar
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    I live in Boulder. On monday I ran into Ron O. at the UPS drop-off. He was shipping a mandolin. He said to me, as he has said to many folks before. I ship one mandolin each week.

    Ron is building mandos. He is a good builder, but, as he freely admits, not a great people person or customer support person. If you ordred a mando from him, it will come, but don't expect it to come quickly, and don't expect any amount of harrassment to speed it up.

  23. #48

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    I think Steven nailed it on the head. From my experience with RonO, any amount of harrassment will likely slow it down...
    Mandofiddle

  24. #49
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    It's good to hear that Ron is still getting his orders out, albeit slowly. #While the money is a consideration, of course, the mando is the goal. #I am very leery of trying to force either speed or response by legal means. #I don't think that Ron is a fraud, and many contractors of many sorts fall behind in their work schedules. #Having known other players who have ordered from other luthiers, I knew that Ron's original six month projection was way too ambitious. #However, being a March 2003 vintage order, I am looking forward to that day in the hopefully not to distant future when I will get to jam on my Homer (five string, double humbucker,inlaid with an image of Homer Simpson). #When I get it, I'll post to let you know.

  25. #50
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    Still waiting for that mando, Ron... just thinking about how good i would be at playin' it right now if I had gotten it when you said i would!

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