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Dave .
(Ramapo) - F
Dealing with fraudulent small business practices on 03/09/2009 13:59:42 MDT Print View

Say, you ordered a pack from a small business cottage manufacturer. Now suppose that almost two months after paying for the pack the small business hasn't seen fit to totally fill your order (your frame sheet and various other bits and pieces haven't been shipped). Now let's suppose the small business owner only responds to emails when he feels like it and doesn't have a phone number set up, so you can't really reach anyone to get this situation sorted out.

What are your options? More specifically how do you take legal action and make life miserable for the business owner?

Edited by Ramapo on 03/09/2009 14:00:48 MDT.

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Call an attorney on 03/09/2009 14:03:20 MDT Print View

You consult an attorney.

Peter Gurin
(intheswim) - F
How did you pay? on 03/09/2009 14:04:00 MDT Print View

If you paid with credit maybe your credit card company can help.

Who'd you order from?

Dave .
(Ramapo) - F
Dealing with fraudulent small business practices on 03/09/2009 14:16:09 MDT Print View

I'd rather not hire an attorney. I've already got enough money tied up in a useless bag, I can't afford to pay a lawyer's fee too.

I paid online with PayPal.

Tom Caldwell
(Coldspring) - F

Locale: Ozarks
Dealing with fraudulent small business practices on 03/09/2009 14:24:27 MDT Print View

Not all of the cottage gear companies produce perfect gear and have perfect customer service, in fact I think most are overrated. It seems like people are afraid to criticize and name names.

jim bailey
(florigen) - F - M

Locale: South East
Dealing with fraudulent small business practices on 03/09/2009 14:25:52 MDT Print View

Contact the State Attorney Generals office in the state where the business is located and see if they have a consumer affairs division, they should be able to help you out.
Good luck
Jim

Matt Lutz
(citystuckhiker) - F

Locale: Midwest
Concilliation court on 03/09/2009 14:30:44 MDT Print View

You could also contact the the courthouse in your county - most of them should have something online in how to file a claim in conciliation court.

You could also contact the department of commerce in your state - they often an enforcement division to deal with consumer complaints.

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Re: Dealing with fraudulent small business practices on 03/09/2009 14:33:18 MDT Print View

Dave,

If it's not past the Pay Pal time limit you can file a claim with Pay Pal.

Another thing you might try is to post the name of the business here on BPL and we'll "turn the BPL membership dogs loose" on this guy. That might not help but members always like to rip any manufacturer who doesn't perform as advertised.

For instance, take Big Sky International. Please.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Dealing with fraudulent small business practices on 03/09/2009 14:34:01 MDT Print View

Maybe we can all help. Many of us have built up and provided the demand for products from Cottage Producers - if it wasn't for these types of forums these companies would never have thrived and survived. We have provided free marketing. Perhaps names should be named to protect other potential customers and to hopefully get a suitable response from the company. Didn't this work with Big Sky?

Joe Kuster
(slacklinejoe) - MLife

Locale: Flatirons
Dealing with fraudulent small business practices on 03/09/2009 14:38:01 MDT Print View

Paypal has a charge dispute system. It isn't nearly as consumer friendly as a credit card's options, but it does work and is likely to be on your side in this instance. Paypal typically expects sellers to ship the items purchased within a week. They don't take into consideration custom products and such, they are more used to dealing with mainstream sellers.


As someone who runs and internet business as well as a frequent internet shopper, my best recommendation is to always use a credit card. Paypal is biased to make the charge go through otherwise they get no fee and both the customer and the retailer are clients, your credit card company is biased to do whatever it takes to keep you as a customer and will often go out of the way to keep the customer happy in regards to charge disputes.

If concerns regarding security of credit card purchases on the web, call your credit card for a one time use credit card number; it can only be charged once and then is voided - many card companies offer this, you just have to know to ask.

Edited by slacklinejoe on 03/09/2009 14:39:12 MDT.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Dealing with fraudulent small business practices on 03/09/2009 14:40:51 MDT Print View

Perhaps names should be named to protect other potential customers and to hopefully get a suitable response from the company. Didn't this work with Big Sky?

Did BS improve their delivery times ... apparently so.

Did BPL members make a lot of noise about BS delivery times? You bet!

Cause and effect? Maybe ... maybe not.

But I will grant you that given our collective track record of always buying the next best thing, perhaps many UL cottage industry firms WOULD notice the effect of negative feedback here.

victoria maki
(clt1953) - F

Locale: northern minnesota
re:dealing with fraudulent small business practices on 03/09/2009 14:46:42 MDT Print View

Dave. Don't know if the better business bureau is still practicing, but if so, i would give them a call, too. I would also advertise but good, if you know what i mean. I would let the business know this ahead of time...bet they will start responding to you. People usually don't tell 10 people how they like a product, but will tell 10 people that they don't like something. company's want good reports of their products.

Dave .
(Ramapo) - F
Dealing with fraudulent small business practices on 03/09/2009 14:49:27 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the good ideas. Much appreciated.

I ordered a 60L Worksack from Cilogear. Not exactly UL, but I wanted it for winter camping and 3 season climbing trips.

It's just been one thing after another with this order. I was emailing back and forth with Cilogear trying to get info on the pack before ordering. They futzed around, leaving me hanging for long periods before responding. When they did respond they were helpful. Then I ordered the pack and found that I missed sale price by one or two days - mostly because I didn't want to order the pack without getting answers to my questions.

So I paid $40 over the sale price. Then the pack gets to me, but is missing a frame sheet, the wand pockets, and BR straps. I email about this, but get no response because Cilogear is at the Outdoor Winter Retailer Market. And on it goes.

My sense of things is that the move to Portland has been difficult and Cilogear is too broke to afford phone service.

In any case, I'm fed up, I want to return the pack, and nobody at Cilogear is even responding to emails.

So, here I am.

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Re: Dealing with fraudulent small business practices on 03/09/2009 14:57:42 MDT Print View

"I email about this, but get no response because Cilogear is at the Outdoor Winter Retailer Market. And on it goes."

Sounds like Big Sky to me. By the way, who has any first hand experience that Big Sky has cleaned up their act? Speak now! Please. If they have improved Ben2 and I would like to know.

victoria maki
(clt1953) - F

Locale: northern minnesota
re:rotten business practices on 03/09/2009 15:08:59 MDT Print View

Hey, Dave. Just went on their website. I see they are out of Portland. Now, how about someone from that area (I know there must be someone on this site that lives there)going to speak directly with the company spokesperson. Maybe, this "helpful" person could somehow get a phone number for you..or alest get other info. If I lived out there, I would run right over. I hate people being taken advandaged of. Good luck

Ian Rae
(iancrae) - F

Locale: North Cascades
Re: Dealing with fraudulent small business practices on 03/09/2009 15:09:40 MDT Print View

Dave,
I had a similar experience with them. I definitely would not call them fraudulent, just unresponsive. I think they have every intention of doing right; it just doesnt seem to happen that way. I've had durability issues with both packs as well, but am hesitant to send the pack back in, as I have no idea how long it would take to see it again. Great designs on their packs, though.

Tim Cheek
(hikerfan4sure) - MLife
Dealing with fraudulent small business practices on 03/09/2009 16:43:16 MDT Print View

I telephoned a local city police detective for a bad ebay seller. The seller was in another state and it wouldn't have been practical to hire a lawyer.

I explained that a simple phone call from the detective would likely be all that was needed to get the seller to mail me what I had bought. I emphasized a single phone call is all it would likely take, so the detective didn't think that I was going to eat up a lot of his time. I explained to the detective that just the intimidation of his voice and office would do, because I thought the seller was probably not a thief, just a slug who needed some prodding along.

Sure enough, within a few days of just a couple of calls, it was mailed.

Henry Blake
(Dragon) - F

Locale: Minnesota
Another Idea on 03/09/2009 18:31:28 MDT Print View

I don't know if this is a good idea or not.

What if ten or twenty of us wrote an email to them indicating that our buddy, Dave H., ordered a pack and was missing part of the order? "As friends, we're concerned, especially because a several of us were interested in some of the your packs but wanted to first make sure that your service is responsive."

In designing a tactic on how to proceed, we all should remember, how's the old saying go—"you catch more flies with honey rather than salt." So maybe a nice, civil approach will work best.

One person could write the form letter which we would all use.

joe w
(sandalot) - F - M
Re: Dealing with fraudulent small business practices on 03/09/2009 20:01:16 MDT Print View

nm

Edited by sandalot on 09/19/2009 16:10:44 MDT.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
Cilogear on 03/09/2009 20:28:40 MDT Print View

In the past (about 2 years ago) I was able to get lots of info about Cilogear packs directly from Graham, and he was most helpful. I also heard lots of good things from others about their excellent customer service at that time.

I gather from occasionally reading their blog that there have been major disruptions to this firm from which they are still trying to recover. They evidently discontinued the Turkey connection; they moved across the country from NYC to Portland and started up manufacturing there; there have been illnesses and startup problems at the new site.

Try a registered USnail Mail letter, return receipt requested, to their mailing address, which is listed on their website:
http://www.cilogear.com/info.html
This should get lots more attention than an email!

Judging from Cilogear's address, they are located in the Qwest phone service area. Qwest is probably the most complained-about firm to the Oregon attorney general's office--it can take up to 6 months to get a business phone system from Qwest in the Portland area. I would assume that Graham has a cell phone but doesn't want to use it for business inquiries. The lack of a phone listing on their website (or in the Portland Metro online white pages) is therefore normal for a business that has been open in Portland for only a few months.

I suspect that the issue is not fraud but the problems I described. However, it sounds as though they need to slow down and get their act together.

Edited by hikinggranny on 03/09/2009 20:33:47 MDT.