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Rue

The Etiquette of Taking Commissions

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This came up on another forum. Wondering what the thoughts are on MN.

A person had an instrument made by a luthier. He liked it enough to want an upgrade made with his ideas combined with the growing skills of said luthier.

He was put on a 7 year waiting list. There was yearly communication.

In anticipation, he sold the original instrument. 

After 7 years he was told he had been dropped from the waiting list because: they were only taking new customers and professionals.

Since he already had an instrument made by this luthier, and wasn't a pro, he was dropped. That he had sold the original instrument apparently didn't matter. 

No deposit was made, even though he had offered.

 

Edited by Rue
It was 7 years, not 5.

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IMO you don't want to sell what you have until you see and play the new one.  So there's that.  

And dropping someone from a waiting list like that seems like very poor form.  So there's that too.

To me, if someone is on a waiting list, they don't get bumped off it the rules change.  The changes should only apply to new clients that are not on the list yet.

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I would say it is an inexplicable and extremely incorrect behavior, it deserves to be published with the full name of that maker so that other customers do not end up the same:blink:

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I agree with Don, dropping someone from your waiting list is poor form, and yes, sometimes luthiers can be jerks. But i suspect that this story has more to it .

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12 minutes ago, deans said:

 But i suspect that this story has more to it .

I also hope that he is not only a rude luthier but that there are valid reasons for this exclusion.

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36 minutes ago, Rue said:

...want an upgrade made with his ideas...

This could contain a lot of valid reasons. 

Maybe his "ideas" included 5-string cornerless oak violin varnished in green metalflake.

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5 minutes ago, Don Noon said:

This could contain a lot of valid reasons. 

Maybe his "ideas" included 5-string cornerless oak violin varnished in green metalflake.

Yes, this would be a good reason, but not to accept the order in the first instance....:)

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10 minutes ago, Don Noon said:

This could contain a lot of valid reasons. 

Maybe his "ideas" included 5-string cornerless oak violin varnished in green metalflake.

Maybe it wasn't a violin.  I got that caught that way once. I managed to skip some of the worst ideas but still ended up with a lot of discussion and a result like a camel.

 

5 minutes ago, Davide Sora said:

Yes, this would be a good reason, but not to accept the order in the first instance....:)

I wish I had but I knew the person too well, he kept asking and in the end I surrendered.  Never again!

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1 hour ago, deans said:

I agree with Don, dropping someone from your waiting list is poor form, and yes, sometimes luthiers can be jerks. But i suspect that this story has more to it .

There very well might not be much more to the story - I've been through a similar issue with a custom guitar order where I paid a sizable deposit (6 years ago) to a company that then experienced exponential growth (Electrical Guitar Company). The two times I managed to get the owner on the phone, he promised to call me back and flaked. Nobody at the company has ever offered to make things right.

Some people are just dishonest and lousy at customer service: once they've managed to attain a certain amount of success, they have no interest in living up to the commitments that they made when they needed clients.

I may be venting a little here. Unlike the OP, I sent the company $1,750 and an exceptional piece of birdseye maple.

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6 hours ago, Davide Sora said:

Yes, this would be a good reason, but not to accept the order in the first instance....:)

There's also the real possibility of creeping requirements.  Accept the order and then there's the "oh, by the way, could you also..."

I could see how that could wind up with the maker not really wanting to deal with this guy, but then again, whatever ended up being agreed to should be held as unbreakable unless both sides are willing to give up the deal.

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If he put down a deposit, he has grounds for a lawsuit.

If he didn’t, he’s a fool to sell the old before acquiring the new.

Edited by PhilipKT
Spwlling

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I doubt all the facts in this situation are known, so I'd hate to jump to maker cruxifixction without them... I would guess that communication from both sides was less than perfect... It's a guess, but after observing humans for a number of decades, an educated one.

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He's quite upset. That's all I can add...no other new info other than what I had summarized.

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1 hour ago, Jeffrey Holmes said:

I doubt all the facts in this situation are known, so I'd hate to jump to maker cruxifixction without them... I would guess that communication from both sides was less than perfect... It's a guess, but after observing humans for a number of decades, an educated one.

The truth is usually somewhere in the middle. 

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On 1/13/2020 at 1:29 PM, Three13 said:

There very well might not be much more to the story - I've been through a similar issue with a custom guitar order where I paid a sizable deposit (6 years ago) to a company that then experienced exponential growth (Electrical Guitar Company). The two times I managed to get the owner on the phone, he promised to call me back and flaked. Nobody at the company has ever offered to make things right.

Some people are just dishonest and lousy at customer service: once they've managed to attain a certain amount of success, they have no interest in living up to the commitments that they made when they needed clients.

I may be venting a little here. Unlike the OP, I sent the company $1,750 and an exceptional piece of birdseye maple.

time to visit in person...

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Just now, Christopher Jacoby said:

time to visit in person...

I have a couple friends who know the owner very well. This thread reminded me to reach out to the one who is closest with him, who told me that they've got a new office manager who is apparently trying to fix issues like this (evidently, there are a few people out there who got left in the dust). 

I'm told that if I reach out to him, I might be able to get the money applied to a regular production piece, but it's unlikely that my order will ever get made. Probably better than nothing.

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On 1/14/2020 at 1:28 AM, Rue said:

This came up on another forum. Wondering what the thoughts are on MN.

A person had an instrument made by a luthier. He liked it enough to want an upgrade made with his ideas combined with the growing skills of said luthier.

He was put on a 7 year waiting list. There was yearly communication.

In anticipation, he sold the original instrument. 

After 7 years he was told he had been dropped from the waiting list because: they were only taking new customers and professionals.

Since he already had an instrument made by this luthier, and wasn't a pro, he was dropped. That he had sold the original instrument apparently didn't matter. 

No deposit was made, even though he had offered.

 

Well, looks like that the luthier in question didn't accept a deposit from the beginning to have no legal obligation to take the order. So just in terms of law, he didn't breach any contract. BUT I assume that the luthier didn't tell the customer this at the time of order. (BAD COMMUNICATION):angry:

For customer care this is just unacceptable if there was not even any prior notice of dropping the customer from the waiting list. (BAD COMMUNICATION):angry:

I assume that the customer didn't inform the luthier that he is planning to sell his instrument in anticipation for the new one. Naive considering that no downpayment was accepted. (BAD COMMUNICATION):wacko:

The whole thing looks like a big ego luthier is dropping off a 'minor' client to boost his reputation.  

The moral of the story is that verbal promises aren't worth anything for this luthier AND miscommunication on both sides. (my guess)

Making the case public will only warn future customers before placing an order but will serve the same time the big ego of the luthier. :wacko:

Those customers remaining on the waiting list will feel maybe flattered to have been 'selected' by the big ego luthier.  

Edited by Andreas Preuss
correct one word

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Yikes!  7 year wait for a violin!?!  

Is any violin really worth such a wait?  What if you don't like the finished product?  

If the wait time starts to approach one's expected longevity (or the luthier's) then maybe one should move on to someone else. 

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17 minutes ago, Greg F. said:

If the wait time starts to approach one's expected longevity (or the luthier's) then maybe one should move on to someone else. 

Hopefully we all here have longer than that. WIth that said, there are lots of really good new makers who's instruments are available. I think waiting lists are for a very few highly popular luthiers, and in some cases are artificial.

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I agree with Andreas.

However, I find it curious that nobody is willing to name this person and in doing so protect future customers. I don’t care, I’ve got my cello already, But if what this person has done is so bad, and he should be named… Or she. It works either way.

 

edit:  this must be a really outstanding maker if someone is willing to wait seven years for one of his widgets… Or hers. 

Lots of fish in the sea, I bet if you look you can find one just as tasty without having to wait seven years to heat up the pan.

Edited by PhilipKT
Addendum

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This isn't about naming names. I believe the word "libel" should be dusted off.

This is about policy.

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One possible reason is that over the course of 7 years both parties became increasingly sure of what constituted a good violin, but that only one of them was right ...

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This is a complete unproven and at least unprovable hearsay story, reported exclusively from the viewpoint of one of the involved parties. Could be pure fantasy only, too. So I would it discuss as hypothetical only, if it is worth to waste time discussing it at all.

The last to demand is "give us a name to tar and feather somebody".:wacko:

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