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I Need Your Help...You be the Judge

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by GunDr, Mar 23, 2009.

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  1. GunDr

    GunDr Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
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    First off, this post will be kind of lengthy, so I ask you to be patient.

    I recently did a couple of jobs for a member here on TS.com. Below, you will see the work I performed on both jobs, and the charges.

    <a href="http://s132.photobucket.com/albums/q20/GunDr_Photo/?action=view¤t=scan0003.jpg" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>

    <a href="http://s132.photobucket.com/albums/q20/GunDr_Photo/?action=view¤t=scan0002-1.jpg" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>

    As you can see, it was not just a simple rebulding of a Perazzi, many of which I do. This job required the refitting of two different bbls to a non-matching receiver, and the other job required the fitting of another bbl to another non-matching receiver.

    If it were just refitting, this is also not a labor intensive job, but because through the process of refitting the bbls, the forend lugs(hangers to some) also needed changing. Changing these lugs involved removing the old lugs, prepping the surface for the new lugs, placing the new lugs in the correct position and soldering in place. Once soldered, the flux needed to be removed, the area around the lugs polished, and then the bbls reblued. Each of the steps are itemized on the invoices.

    It appears that this fella is/was confused as to the amount of work that was involved to do this kind of job, and refuses to pay in full for the work I completed for him. Through the correspondence we've had through emails, and me realizing this fact, I offerred a 20% dealer discount to the above invoices.

    The following was mailed to me, telling me that my charges are inconsistant. The charge of $359.93, was for rebuilding the locking bolt and tightening the action for Dan Thome's DB-81. I charge a flat rate for this kind of job, but this disgruntled customer feels I should have charge him the same, though the two jobs are entirely different.

    <a href="http://s132.photobucket.com/albums/q20/GunDr_Photo/?action=view¤t=scan0001-1.jpg" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>

    <a href="http://s132.photobucket.com/albums/q20/GunDr_Photo/?action=view&current=scan0004.jpg" target="_blank">[​IMG]</a>

    I've recently emailed him several times with regards to the balance, and now he is telling me that his guns are not working properly. Though I thoroughly check and test fire each gun before it leaves here, he has told me that the ejector timing is off, and that one of the guns does not eject all the time, though during the first round the gun worked fine.

    It is very possible that something has changed. All of my work is warranted for one year, so I asked him to send the gun or guns to me and I'll correct it, along with any other issue that may arise....return shipping charges paid by me. The customer refuses to return the gun and has since taken it to someone else to have it corrected, and paid him $250. In the last email I received, this "someone", did not correct the problem and the gun still does not eject with consistency and that the POI has changed. He says his gun is now "junk", and he could never "recoup" his costs, if he were to ever sell the guns. I've saved the TS.com links to all of his posts requesting this type of work, and the replies to him, the costs other gunsmiths have charged.

    The balance still owed is a little over $600. This customer lives over 1000 miles from me in another state. So, filing a small claims suit against him seems frugal because of the costs associated.

    Now, this is where I'm asking for help and/or advice. 75% of all my work, as many of you know, is billed when the gun is received back to the customer. I do not take credit cards and do not care to wait for checks to clear. I want the customer's gun back in their hands ASAP. The invoice is always attached to the outside of the box. Many of you WILL say that is my first mistake....yes it is, but I am not willing to change that.....YET.

    Are there any avenues I can take...short of posting a name, to resolve this issue. I've offered in every email, to return the gun(s) for me to correct any problems. I also believe the original charges were very fair, but went ahead and discounted them. What more can I offer? Or do I write this guy off and take the loss. If I take the loss, his name will be posted, he then can have his side of the story or blast away at me.


    Doug Braker
     
  2. BigM-Perazzi

    BigM-Perazzi Well-Known Member

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    I'd probably try and get an estimate from someone like Giacamo, as to what the comparable cost would be to do this type work for comparison value.

    It might enlighten him a bit more......

    my .02

    Jim
     
  3. halfmile

    halfmile Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    The gun owner had no business assuming you would do that work on a different gun for the same price.

    Hopefully he will read this and realize he made a mistake in not getting a price quote.

    Accusations of a ruined gun, etc do not speak well for this person, hopefully he will man up and pay.

    Or you can, as a last resort, post his name and address here.

    I'm with you on this one.

    I retired from 30 years of business and SELDOM did business with consumers. Most of my customers were commercial or religious leaders who made decisions and stuck with them. If they told me to do the work I did, and they paid what I asked. Period.

    HM
     
  4. cubancigar2000

    cubancigar2000 Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    He has been offered to return them to you and has decided not to. He owes the bill period. Give him another chance to change his mind and then I say tell us who it is because I certainly do not want to do business with him. Your reputation speaks for itself, his is very questionable at this point.
     
  5. BROWNST100

    BROWNST100 Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    LEWISBERRY, PA.
    Maybe in the future, you should give a completed price, after looking at what needs to be done and before work begins. Send an E-mail and get an approval
    from the customer by return E-mail. Then you would have the entire transaction documented. Have your invoices marked that you must perform and follow up work
    that is not to the customers satisfaction.

    I recently lost thousands of dollars to BILL GERDES of Stan Bakers. I am not the only one he has and either not produced the item or returned the money.

    I guess in a way We know how you feel. Don't put the guys name out in public...might get messy....just let it be known under the table.

    Vern
     
  6. Kevin Nelson

    Kevin Nelson Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    213
    Two things come to mind after reading your post. #1 Was the customer told up front what you were going to do and how much it would cost, if not why not? #2 Why would you give the gun back without recieving any kind of payment, this is trouble waiting to happen from the get go. #3 Was there a signed contract or work order before the work was started? If you work on the honor system , as it sounds like you do, you are opening yourself up for all kinds of problems like this. You might ask your customer what he expects,it might be something you can live with, and move on, and put this behind you.
     
  7. bgf

    bgf Active Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Doug,

    I just sent you a stock for work and you should get it by Thursday.

    We communicated first by PM...then by e-mail...then by phone. Work was discussed and we agreed on a price.

    Also, I enclosed a check, a note to what we agreed upon and also a return label back to me.

    I think you are too trusting in this respect. Work needs [should] be addressed and payment agreed too.

    In any event, if the work was in this case agreed to and price was discussed, he owes you the money. If none of this was spelled out, you went out on a limb and may need to put this in 'a lesson learned' column.

    Best regards,
    Bernie

    PS; I would out the AH on here. I see no legal exposure with what you provided in your original post.
     
  8. trappermike

    trappermike Well-Known Member

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    Jan 29, 1998
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    Me thinks that the name is already out. Read the stuff posted above.


    Mike
     
  9. GunDr

    GunDr Well-Known Member

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    Kevin,

    Most "contracts" are within my emails, and yes, I did mention to the customer that both of us are guilty of not bringing up what the total tab would be. Therefore the 20% off. Also, at what point can you stop a job once it's begun. The final completion of the bbl fitting takes place AFTER the new lugs have been soldered on.

    When I give someone a quote, it's as firm as my handshake. The total cost may be less, but never more. Even if it turns out I have several more hours in the job. If he felt that the cost of doing what I did, should be the same cost as the work I did for Dan, why did he still short me $200?

    Here is a copy of an email he sent me on 12-30-08....it's pretty clear he knew what need to be done.

    Questions or Comments
    Hi Doug - I sent you my MT-6 for a barrel fitting. I have another MT-6 I would like to send you today. This also needs a barrel fitting and a change of barrel hangers. All total, three Perazzi barrels, two receivers, I am changing receivers and wood on all of them. NO HURRY. I will call and we can discuss this project. I hope you will help me. Thanks!~

    When he called, it was to tell me he was adding the 3rd bbl.

    He mentioned he did not want to go through Giacomo because he charges too much. Also in that same topic, a price of $200 was mention as to the cost of just soldering on a lug....no mention of additional bbl fitting or rebluing(the bluing which couldn't be done because it was done by a vendor at a shoot.)

    Doug
     
  10. rick979

    rick979 Active Member

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    When doing work for someone you simply MUST have a cost discussion PRIOR to doing the work. If you did this and even offered to take a second look at the gun I would post his name and then forget trying to get the money he owes you. My $.04....Rick
     
  11. Bazooka Joe

    Bazooka Joe Member

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    Location:
    Waukesha, WI
    I have known Doug for almost 30yrs. since we both worked together at the same gunclub. With all the work Doug has done at the club and his time at Kolar I have never known him to overcharge anyone, or be unfair in his pricing. He always discusses prices and the work envolved upfront.

    I guess this situation shows that times have changed and Doug needs to get money upfront. One cannot in most cases view pricing for one customer as being the same for another when both jobs required diffent amounts of work and were not cut and dried.

    The customer needs to return the gun for Doug to correct the problems or pay up!

    Thanks,
    Rick Goshgarian
     
  12. racer

    racer TS Member

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    Doug, It's obvious he understands that He owes you for your work. You won't see those guns again. Trashing him may reflect poorly on your business. If I was sending work to you, I would enclose a check for the amount discussed with the understanding we could settle up if it's higher or lower- at least you'd be close if someone stiffed you. Why would anyone put that kind of money in a Parazzi? LOL- Dan
     
  13. jcw62

    jcw62 TS Member

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    You have one of two options

    1. forget about what he owes you and never do business with the person again.
    2. Take the man to small claims court and try to recover a portion of the money, from what you have said option one may be the best of the two.
     
  14. Setterman

    Setterman Well-Known Member

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    Doug, Tell your customer to look at the responses here, and see what he says. If he still refuses, write it off and move on. I would not stoop to his level by exposing his name.

    Or....send Thome another invoice for $1,120. Then, this guy can't bitch about the price difference! (just kidding)

    When all else fails, save your reputation.
     
  15. BIGDON

    BIGDON Well-Known Member

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    I'm wondering what the otherside would say. I recently had locking block replaced, lugs built up on both barrels of a combo and some trigger work for $450. I would think that you would get apporval on anything over $500, I would expect it and apparently so did your customer.

    You definately had some mis-communication here. I personally think you and others run to this forum way to quickly looking for sympathy and solutions to mistakes you have made in running your business. Who owes who is between you and your customer and the judge if it comes to that. File it in small claims and get a real judgement from a real judge instead of whoever on TS.com.

    It only takes a few minutes to prevent this from happening.

    Don
     
  16. Trap2

    Trap2 Well-Known Member

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    Well, it looks like I need to jump in here to clear up a few things regarding my postings on T/S.com regarding Dougs work on my DB-81. First, and probably the most important part of this is the work Doug actually did for me, as compared to what he did for shooter "B". I have used Doug several times in the past, all with outstanding results. I even wrote an article for "On Target" magazine stating, very clearly, that Doug Braker, "The Gun Doctor", is my go to guy for my DB-81. Why? Because his workmanship is beyond reproach, he is a true gentleman, his word is his bond, and what he says my gun needs, IT NEEDS, and I don't doubt him. Doug has always told me, IN ADVANCE, what the approximate charges would be before I sent my gun to him. It has NEVER been more, and more times than not, Doug finds something I missed and repairs it for nothing. That being said, there is NOTHING that shooter "B" had done to his gun that compares with what Doug did for me. Doug rewelded my locking block, refitted it to the barrels, welded one forend lug to tightened a forend, and replaced a few springs. This hardly compares to the scope of work Doug did for shooter "B". From what I can tell, shooter "B" had 3-4 times the amount of work, parts, and labor involved in his gun as I had in mine. Much more labor intensive, and included some blueing, which I had none of. If it was only 3 times the amount of work I had done, that alone would come to 3x359.93, for a total of $1079.79. I fail to see where shooter "B" can even come close to comparing what I had done to what Doug did for him. It's like comparing apples to oranges. I will stand by my original post on T/S.com that Doug Braker is THE palce to send your gun for quality, economical work. A simple call to Giacomo would give this shooter some idea of just how good a deal he got from Doug.

    Here is my advice to you all. You can send your gun to anyone you want to. It's your money, and you have the right to spend it any way you see fit. If you want a quality job, from a shooter and gunsmith that really cares about what he does, and his reputation, send it to Doug. If you don't give a damn, send it to someone else. As for you, shooter "B", man-up, pay your bill, and be glad you have someone like Doug to take care of your gun needs. Failure to do so, at this point, makes you about the lowest scumbag on my list, and, if you are someone I know, or have talked to about Doug, do me a favor will you? Don't talk to me anymore because I don't need anyone in my life that will do this to another man that is trying to help you out....... DAN THOME (TRAP2!!!!)
     
  17. j2jake

    j2jake Well-Known Member

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    I think Dan has tapped the nail on the head. Time for shooter "B" to pay up. Jake
     
  18. likes-to-shoot

    likes-to-shoot Well-Known Member

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    And to apologize for being a dork!

    Bill
     
  19. gun fitter

    gun fitter TS Member

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    This is the problem with work when it is not face to face! Doug you did not take any liberties or gouge the guy. Taking in to account the wood work and the new style top lever spring your looking at a total of $213 if you discount your work 20% he's getting that work for free. I would obviously not want to work for him in the future if you can't resolve it. In fact PM me since I wouldn't want to have him as a customer either.

    Now the question is. Is this guy just dumb or might not have the money? I had something similar happen and found out that my customer was having financial problems and he sent me back a barrel set to hold until he was able to pay me. It all finally worked out and were now friends but it was not a good situation for about three weeks.

    I have gone to the following practice with customers I don't personally know. I require 50% of the estimated work up front and payment prior to shipping. Now I don't wait for checks to clear since if they bounce I have recourse and its easy to prosecute with out hiring a lawyer.

    I've been stiffed twice in 30 years once by a so called friend and once by a customer who did the same thing to another vendor just to get free work; she's now blacklisted by quite a few vendors.

    Good luck Joe
     
  20. GunDr

    GunDr Well-Known Member

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    Well, I've decided to take this as a lesson learned. This has been going on for close to two months, but I've been "stewing" on it for the last week. This was only the second time in near 30 yrs I've gotten stung. The last time was 25 yrs ago. I will continue my billing just as before.

    I'm not going to mention this customer by name. He was a heavy poster here with close to 300 posts, maybe more. I say "was", because it's highly likely he has seen this thread, and has now deleted all but about 20 posts.(I do have a copy of them all)

    Also in his last email, he mentioned if I have a problem. to "bring it on". Well, I have....and that's where I'll now leave it.

    Thanks for everyone's time,

    Doug Braker
     
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