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atlcruiser
04-12-2010, 06:49
HI all,
Apologies for the looooong post to follow!

I dropped my M4-P with VL 35mm on it whIle In Big Bend National Part about 6 weeks ago. The advance lever was wonky, rangefinder out of alignment, shutter speed knob wonky and the VL was knocked out of adjustment. Still took good pIctures....I learned to compensate :)


First week of April took it to my local "good" repair guy. He loves LeIcas an told me that he could fix In no problem. 3 weeks later he called with an estimate of $250 for the body and $100 for the lens telling me that new parts were needed and It would take a few weeks longer to get It back to me. The estimate seemed high but I want to support my local film shop so I told him to go for It.


I see this guy at least once a week...I use the darkroom at his shop and buy lots of small Items from him. I would call myself a good customer. I asked him about the body/lens a few times and he told me they were taken apart In his home repair shop and would be done "eventually."


He called last Thurs telling me it was done. I asked If It was perfect; more of a joke as he loves LeIcas almost as much as I. He assured me It was.


Stopped by Sat afternoon to grab It. I looked a the InvoIce...$350 listed. I took It out of the wrapper....thIngs went downhill! I ran the advance lever and It still felt bad. I compared to my M6 In my bag and no way Is the M4 Right Right. He said the new parts would need to "break In." I then noticed the RF was still out of adjustment then noticed the shutter speed dial was just as bad as before. I put the VL 35 on my M6 and found It was still off! He was calm and told me "he" would repair It again. I asked why It was so bad after 6 weeks of waItIng..he would only say that "he" would repair It again.


I was so pissed I had to take a walk. I returned and he then told me he does not do the repair but sends it out to some guy he knows that usually does good work. He said he would take it back to the guy in a week or so and have him look it over again. He also told me that it was obvious that no work had been done to the camera/lens. I asked him when I would get my camera back and help told me it takes time and he would call me.


Again I started seeing red. I left to collect my thoughts. I returned and told him no worries about anything but I need my camera and want it back. I have paid him no money and he did no work. I do not trust either him or the repair guy. I hired him to do the work; not farm it out to some unknown. I asked for my camera. He refuses to give it to me. He now says that since he paid the repair guy it is up to the repair guy to either fix it or to refund the money the shop owner paid when it was delivered not fixed.


I told him that I wanted my property back immediately. I told him that I do not authorize nor will I pay for any repairs to any of my equipment in his shop.

I have drafted a demand letter for return of my property and will deliver it to him certified tomorrow AM with Wed 6pm as the return deadline. If I do not get It back then I guess I will sue and file for a criminal warrant. We can do that here. I say what he did, the sheriff reviews it then files a quick court date and hopefully a warrant for his arrest will be he result. He has a court date within a few days and the judge either puts him In jail or I get my stuff back. I believe this is theft by conversion.


My fear Is that he will give the camera to this 3rd party and I will never see It again.


What can I do? Any other suggestions?
David

Roger Hicks
04-12-2010, 07:11
Dear David,

You may be overreacting, but equally, you may not. It should certainly get his attention.

Theft by conversion is unlikely -- I really believe you WILL get your camera back, because it's less hassle for him that way -- so the likeliest thing is that he's going to have to eat the ripoff 'repair', which will make him think twice next time. Oh: and lose a customer. Bigger fool he, as we say in Cornwall.

Cheers,

R.

atlcruiser
04-12-2010, 07:15
I sat back and thought about this to see if I was overreacting. He lied to me and then tried to have me pay for a repair that was not done.

I just need my stuff back!

I own a small business and have a hard time believing he would lose a customer over this...I think fo the stuff we eat here. If i hire a sub it is my issue between me and the sub not the customer and me....I am pissed but also worried.

thanks for the calm :)

Roger Hicks
04-12-2010, 07:22
Dear David,

Well, he can't easily get away, and if you put the fear of God (or David) into him, as I think you have probably done, then it'll turn out as I suggested. How could it easily go otherwise, without his doing a runner?

Not knowing the local jurisdiction, I don't know what other action you could have taken, hence my original post. Put it this way, you haven't underreacted, like the unfortunate fellow whose new M8 disappeared for repair.

Try to look at it as an outsider: what would you say was likely to happen if (a) it weren't your camera and (b) you weren't (understandably) furious?

Cheers,

R.

freeranger
04-12-2010, 07:22
I hope it works out fine for you. You are clearly in the right and your repair person has reacted incorrectly to this situation.

Good luck!

atlcruiser
04-12-2010, 07:25
I agree roger. I will get it back eventually...but...I ant it fixed and I want to use it. I shoot a bunch; being down a body sucks!

Rayt
04-12-2010, 07:28
Do try to get your camera back as soon as possible by whatever (legal) means. I had a similar problem many years ago and I finally got my camera back over a year later in pieces. The repairman was named Ivan and had a shop off Kearny in San Francisco.

jesse1dog
04-12-2010, 07:45
David
The issue wiii probably resolve itself. I know that you realise it isn't the end of the world although for a couple of moments I guess you thought it was worse than that. However I think you probably need another 'discussion' with your camera guy before you 'serve' anything on him. But a 'discusion' with a witness of you choice and who knows the story. If you have a BIG friend who will come with you so much the better. They don't have to say anything, just stand a pace behind you. The worse case is that its your camera man's word against yours that he has your camera, and that is why I think you need a bit of back up. A witness to hear what he says. Have you a receipt listing your camera and its number? Sorry to put a negative spin on this but ....
Take a bit more time. One or two more days isn't going to make a great deal of difference.
I really feel for you - you haven't your camera, and worse a guy you trusted and tried to support let you down big time.
jesse

dogberryjr
04-12-2010, 07:46
It is so shortsighted of the shop owner to act this way. It seems to me that if you are an endangered species (small, independent camera shop), you should be making every reasonable effort to keep customers happy and coming through your door.

Roger Hicks
04-12-2010, 08:56
David
The issue wiii probably resolve itself. I know that you realise it isn't the end of the world although for a couple of moments I guess you thought it was worse than that. However I think you probably need another 'discussion' with your camera guy before you 'serve' anything on him. But a 'discusion' with a witness of you choice and who knows the story. If you have a BIG friend who will come with you so much the better. They don't have to say anything, just stand a pace behind you. The worse case is that its your camera man's word against yours that he has your camera, and that is why I think you need a bit of back up. A witness to hear what he says. Have you a receipt listing your camera and its number? Sorry to put a negative spin on this but ....
Take a bit more time. One or two more days isn't going to make a great deal of difference.
I really feel for you - you haven't your camera, and worse a guy you trusted and tried to support let you down big time.
jesse

Ah, yes: the old "Me and my friend get nervous" ploy. Good idea. A witness is an excellent idea; a BIG witness merely acts as a reminder that he's there.

Cheers,

R.

Beemermark
04-12-2010, 09:25
I think your asking for a lot of trouble if you get the Sheriff involved. His response " that since he paid the repair guy it is up to the repair guy to either fix it or to refund the money" is totally valid. I've had items repaired that were not up to snuff (my M7 is back to Solms for the 3rd time in 6 months) and fix it was always the only option. Never had any money refunded. I also think $350 for the repair sounds cheap and 6 weeks is not an undue wait.

You get the Sheriff involved and the finding won't be favorable to you. So all you'll accomplish is to P'O the repair shop who will probably put it on the back burner for 6 months.

atlcruiser
04-12-2010, 10:01
I think your asking for a lot of trouble if you get the Sheriff involved. His response " that since he paid the repair guy it is up to the repair guy to either fix it or to refund the money" is totally valid. I've had items repaired that were not up to snuff (my M7 is back to Solms for the 3rd time in 6 months) and fix it was always the only option. Never had any money refunded. I also think $350 for the repair sounds cheap and 6 weeks is not an undue wait.

You get the Sheriff involved and the finding won't be favorable to you. So all you'll accomplish is to P'O the repair shop who will probably put it on the back burner for 6 months.


I am with you on most of the above. But........I did not contract with any other repair shop to do any repairs; only with him. He chose to lie to me about who was fixing the camera. He chose to lie to me about my camera being fixed. I have paid no money and expect nothing back but my broken property.

The business between him and his repir guy has nothing to do with me or my property.

I did have a witness for all of the exchanges detailed above; thank god!

I am having a demand letter written up today and will fed ex it to him overnight.

I also am willing to pay him his actual invoice amount to the repair guy just to get my stuff back. I searched reviews about this guy and i am not the first this has happened to.

The application for a criminal warrent is where i go to the sheriff and sign an affidavit of what happened and that i beleive a criminal act has occured. The sheriff serves my application to both the other party and to the magistrate court. A date is set within 2-3 days where he must appear and a judge then decides if a warrent should be issued based on testomoney of both parties. At the elast it will get his attention.

I think I have a valid fear I will get my property back any time soon.

Also, a very good friend of mine is a local DA in another county. The course of action I am on was suggessted by him as a quick way to see a result.

I also cannot spell..sorry :D

atlcruiser
04-12-2010, 10:12
David
The issue wiii probably resolve itself. I know that you realise it isn't the end of the world although for a couple of moments I guess you thought it was worse than that. However I think you probably need another 'discussion' with your camera guy before you 'serve' anything on him. But a 'discusion' with a witness of you choice and who knows the story. If you have a BIG friend who will come with you so much the better. They don't have to say anything, just stand a pace behind you. The worse case is that its your camera man's word against yours that he has your camera, and that is why I think you need a bit of back up. A witness to hear what he says. Have you a receipt listing your camera and its number? Sorry to put a negative spin on this but ....
Take a bit more time. One or two more days isn't going to make a great deal of difference.
I really feel for you - you haven't your camera, and worse a guy you trusted and tried to support let you down big time.
jesse


I agree. The last thing in the world I want to do is to involve any law or courts. I will have the demand letter in his hand tomorrow AM and he has until Wed at 6pm to give it back to me.

The key under Ga law is to present you demand in writing and give a reasonable amount of time to have the property returned. I will ahve doen so and I do hope it is enough to get my stuff back from him.

Gumby
04-12-2010, 13:04
I think your asking for a lot of trouble if you get the Sheriff involved. His response " that since he paid the repair guy it is up to the repair guy to either fix it or to refund the money" is totally valid. (personal story snipped)
You get the Sheriff involved and the finding won't be favorable to you. So all you'll accomplish is to P'O the repair shop who will probably put it on the back burner for 6 months.

Sorry about your troubles (speaking to the OP, not Beemermark).

I doubt that a Sheriff of any juristiction would get involved since this is a civil, not a criminal, issue. And if you take it to small claims court (which is likely a better option than intimidation using a big burly friend) I suspect Judge Judy would question that you really had a deal (or sufficient evidence to support such a claim) that you actually contracted with the camera shop guy to personally repair the camera.

Subcontracting repairs is a normal part of most small camera shop's business practices, and there isn't anything to "require" the shop owner to tell you that is how he operates. The deal usually is that you contracted with the camera shop to have your camera repaired... period.

The fact that the repair was not to your satisfaction is very unfortunate, but Judge Judy would tell you that you have to give the guy a chance to make good on the contract; that means sit tight and let the repair man make the repairs to the best of his abilities.

But let's face it, a dropped-and-repaired camera is just like a smashed-and-repaired auto... it will never be the same as when it was new so you might as well lower your expectations accordingly.

A very unfortunate situation, I'd say!

Andy Kibber
04-12-2010, 13:29
I kinda like TWoK's suggestion: go back, ask to see the camera and lens again and walk out the door with them. :)

Gumby
04-12-2010, 13:40
I kinda like Frank's suggestion to sieze the opportunity and go digital! :D

Finder
04-12-2010, 13:51
The shop keeper has no legal reason to return your property. You are required to pay for services you ordered--it can be tough to prove nothing was done. If you walk out of the store with your camera without payment, he can haul you off to court--just as if you drove your car from the repair garage without paying.

You are in a game and you need to play it. The owner is still required to provide the service to you. It is his right to "correct" the "mistake." Let him do that.

I know this sucks. But I would be calm and careful with everything you do during this transaction. Get everything in writing. A paper trail is the only thing of value--what is said is just hearsay.

Finder
04-12-2010, 13:54
But let's face it, a dropped-and-repaired camera is just like a smashed-and-repaired auto... it will never be the same as when it was new so you might as well lower your expectations accordingly.


I have cameras repaired to original condition. It is not the same a a damaged car with nice body work to hid the damage.

Steve M.
04-12-2010, 14:26
I don't know about god or this David guy helping you much. Mythical deities have a lousy track record in the real world. But this is made for Small Claims Court if you ask me. I'd start first w/ a certified letter from an attorney and a written complaint to the Better Business Bureau and go from there. But it all depends on what you have written down as far as repair contracts. If it's all verbal I see no reason why you wouldn't get your camera back (you do have proof of purchase on it right?). In the end, you want him to know it's going to be a huge hassle for him, and be prepared to go to court if you need to.

atlcruiser
04-12-2010, 14:33
I don't know about god or this David guy helping you much. Mythical deities have a lousy track record in the real world. But this is made for Small Claims Court if you ask me. I'd start first w/ a certified letter from an attorney and a written complaint to the Better Business Bureau and go from there. But it all depends on what you have written down as far as repair contracts. If it's all verbal I see no reason why you wouldn't get your camera back (you do have proof of purchase on it right?). In the end, you want him to know it's going to be a huge hassle for him, and be prepared to go to court if you need to.


I have a witness for all of this from drop off to yesterday. The attorney helped with a demand letter that has already been sent.

What i see is that he was hired to fix my camera. He was not hired to farm it out nor was I told that he would farm it out. I did not agree to pay anyone but him for any work done.

I will go to court and small claims is the "correct" venue for this but it will take 6-8 weeks to get to court. My hope is that I can make his life such a nightmare that he will just give it to me.

atlcruiser
04-12-2010, 14:40
The shop keeper has no legal reason to return your property. You are required to pay for services you ordered--it can be tough to prove nothing was done. If you walk out of the store with your camera without payment, he can haul you off to court--just as if you drove your car from the repair garage without paying.

You are in a game and you need to play it. The owner is still required to provide the service to you. It is his right to "correct" the "mistake." Let him do that.

I know this sucks. But I would be calm and careful with everything you do during this transaction. Get everything in writing. A paper trail is the only thing of value--what is said is just hearsay.

He agrees that nothing was done and told me so in front of a few witnesses.

It may not look lke it but i am being calm but i reall am :)

I would be required to pay if any work had been done. If work had been done and i had not been happy they would be offered the chance to do the work again. No work has been done so I want my property back.

The BIG screw up here was me trusting a person I thought ran a good business. Honestly, my feelings are hurt. I really tried hard to help his business out and I get crapped on. I now see why he struggles.

Gumby
04-12-2010, 16:50
I have cameras repaired to original condition. It is not the same a a damaged car with nice body work to hid the damage.

This is good to hear. Perhaps I am being too skeptical. Thanks for hte "attitude adjustment". :)

Andy Kibber
04-12-2010, 17:05
The shop keeper has no legal reason to return your property. You are required to pay for services you ordered--it can be tough to prove nothing was done. If you walk out of the store with your camera without payment, he can haul you off to court--just as if you drove your car from the repair garage without paying.

You are in a game and you need to play it. The owner is still required to provide the service to you. It is his right to "correct" the "mistake." Let him do that.

I know this sucks. But I would be calm and careful with everything you do during this transaction. Get everything in writing. A paper trail is the only thing of value--what is said is just hearsay.

True enough, but if the OP just takes it back, then the ball's in the repair guy's court and he's got to decide if he wants to go through the hassle of chasing a guy over $300. Then, if the OP does end up in small claims court or whatever, he tells his side of it and sees what happens.

Let's say he does things your way and goes to court and gets an order for the guy to return the camera. I don't know what it costs to start a small claims action where the OP lives, but it's probably at least $50. Then you've got to serve the guy. Let's say that everything goes swimmingly at the hearing and the adjudicator agrees 100% with the OP, maybe he'll get those costs back, maybe not.

So, now he's got a court order. Maybe the repair guy still wants to jerk him around and the OP has to get a sheriff to seize the camera or funds. More money. Not to mention the time and energy.

I still like TWoK's suggestion. :)

atlcruiser
04-14-2010, 20:26
Good news. sent letter via fed ex, e mail, fax, and drop off on monday. He called Tue afternoon and said he had recieved the letter and that I was right on all counts. He apologised and said to come pick up my stuff. I got it back tonight.

Very glad it worked out so well

Frank Petronio
04-14-2010, 20:58
Publish the name of the shop now!

BillBingham2
04-14-2010, 20:59
Congrats, wonderful when these things work out well.

Try Sherry for the M4-P, not sure on lens.

B2 (;->

Bill58
04-14-2010, 21:04
Take him to Small Claims Court in your city (hopefully the same as his). You don't need a lawyer--just the fact and honesty.

atlcruiser
04-14-2010, 21:09
Publish the name of the shop now!


Not fair to him. He did the right thing in the long run. I would strongly suggest that no one in the atlanta use anyone for local repairs...maybe KEH but no first hand experience with them.

If you are from here you already know who I am talking about :)

Roger Hicks
04-14-2010, 23:24
Good news. sent letter via fed ex, e mail, fax, and drop off on monday. He called Tue afternoon and said he had recieved the letter and that I was right on all counts. He apologised and said to come pick up my stuff. I got it back tonight.

Very glad it worked out so well

Good news!

Of course you still don't know if you overreacted, because this might have happened anyway when he'd thought it through.

But it looks as though you did the right thing. You certainly didn't do the wrong thing.

Cheers,

R.

Krosya
04-15-2010, 00:17
What i see is that he was hired to fix my camera. He was not hired to farm it out nor was I told that he would farm it out. I did not agree to pay anyone but him for any work done.

.

First - I'm glad that it worked out for you.
However I cant agree with the above statement.
Let take an example. What if you came back when you did and camera was in superb shape - everything fixed, even new covering put on (or whatever else minor things as extra touch-ups). I'm sure you would be happy. And what if after you told the repair person how happy you are with everything - he told you: "Btw, I didnt do it myself - I have a good repair guy that did it and he was nice enough to even add little nice things, plus throw in a new strap or something". Would you still be upset that it wasnt the same person that did the repair? What if camera was sent to Sherry K and she did the repair, but it was done without asking you first? Would that still be as much of a problem?

I agree - it was an upsetting situation and the owner of the shop had to at least check that repair was done or done properly. But I'd give them at least a chance to fix that problem, unless you know they are crooks to begin with - but than you wouldnt go to them in a first place.

Gumby
04-15-2010, 06:54
... but was the camera fixed, or is it still broken?

BillBingham2
04-15-2010, 07:31
I think the repair was attempted but did not work.

With respect to the letting him have another swing at it I would vote NO. He did not set the OPs expectations for that. It is not that he is a crook, but more that he is inexperienced and most of the time I would not want him learning on my camera. If it were not in my main group of user cameras and I had a good relationship with him/her and it was a learning experience that I knew would be made right in the end I would say have a good with it.

Having it shipped out to an expert, not an issue. But if it came back smelling of oil or WD-40 that would be very different. Handing your equipment over for repair is a matter of trust.

B2 (;->

Gumby
04-15-2010, 07:40
It is not that he is a crook, but more that he is inexperienced ...

I beg to differ, Bill. The OP called the situation a "scam", so he is indeed accusing the repariman of being a crook. And on your second point... you might be correct but there is no evidence of that.

It is certain that the repair did not meet the requirements of the OP but we don't know how those requirements were expressed to either the camera shop or the subcontract repairman.

There are way too many unknowns in this story to be able to accurately speculate from afar. :)

BillBingham2
04-15-2010, 07:52
I beg to differ, Bill. The OP called the situation a "scam", so he is indeed accusing the repariman of being a crook........

You are correct but I read that as a "Heat Of The Moment" reaction to having a close friend of his (a camera) mishandled and not returned. I think the repairman got heated at that moment too and then after it cooled down on both sides good things happened.


.......There are way too many unknowns in this story to be able to accurately speculate from afar. :)

Agreed!

B2 (;->

Andy Kibber
04-15-2010, 08:07
I'm glad that things worked out for the OP and he got his camera back.

Let take an example. What if you came back when you did and camera was in superb shape - everything fixed, even new covering put on (or whatever else minor things as extra touch-ups). I'm sure you would be happy. And what if after you told the repair person how happy you are with everything - he told you: "Btw, I didnt do it myself - I have a good repair guy that did it and he was nice enough to even add little nice things, plus throw in a new strap or something". Would you still be upset that it wasnt the same person that did the repair? What if camera was sent to Sherry K and she did the repair, but it was done without asking you first? Would that still be as much of a problem?

I don't agree with that at all. Perhaps the OP wouldn't kick up a big fuss if the camera came back fixed properly by someone with a good reputation and an extra bonus strap. But that's not what happened here.

The fact of the matter is the repair guy wasn't upfront with the OP about what was going to happen to the camera and who was going to fix it. That's not acceptable IMHO.

oftheherd
04-15-2010, 08:45
I'm glad that things worked out for the OP and he got his camera back.



I don't agree with that at all. Perhaps the OP wouldn't kick up a big fuss if the camera came back fixed properly by someone with a good reputation and an extra bonus strap. But that's not what happened here.

The fact of the matter is the repair guy wasn't upfront with the OP about what was going to happen to the camera and who was going to fix it. That's not acceptable IMHO.

I tend to agree with the above. I have stood in my favorite local camera shop and heard them tell customers they had to send something out for repairs. They would tell them they didn't know what the exact problem was, but repairs typically cost in the range of ... but they would get an estimate before repairs were done.

I have also been to local auto repair shops (since that was used as an example) and been told they would do a repair, but such and such would have to go to a machine shop.

Such are the best ways to treat a customer. No surprises.

I also expect the camera store to act as my representative/agent. When they send out something for repair, they are in effect telling me they will do so. Otherwise, they should give me the names of repair shops, or just say they don't handle repairs, check the yellow pages. As my representative/agent, they will ensure I am getting what I paid for. I have no leverage with a 2nd party. They do.

I think the OP acted fairly reasonably. The store owner could have acted much differently, as well as the "2nd party." You don't raise a repair by 1/3 without contacting the customer and explaining why it is necessary, and getting permission. That was the first mistake. It went down hill from there.

atlcruiser
04-15-2010, 20:50
lots of good points here. my reaction or overreaction was simply based on my desire to have my camera back in my hands. I did nothing wrong...he did.

had he said when I went to pick it up...

1. I decided to send your camera to a qualified shop for repair as I wanted it right for you; a good customer.

2. when it got back from repair I called you and, based on my experience with this repair guy I use with normally good result, i assured you it was fixed and to come get it

3. I, the camera store owner, failed in my job as i did not inspect the work of my sub vendor. The camera should be fixed but it is not. This is my fault an we will address it as you wish.

4. I can have it fixed again by the same guy or you can have it back.

That is how this should have been handled. I know this as in my business i have had the basic issue happen before and that is how I handled it. Honest and willing to do whatever makes a bad situation less bad for the customer.

The "scam" in the title was a bit of frustration but also the truth. He was holding onto my camera to address a debt with his vendor. No work was done, no monies owed. It is on him if he chose to pay for a repair without inspecting the work.

Had work been done and the work not to standard then he should have gotten an opportunity to fix the camera again. I would have been willing to allow that.

It was lie upon lie with this guy. No way did I want him to have my stuff......

So now that this is beat into the ground lets argue over who I should send it to to have it really fixed :)

atlcruiser
04-15-2010, 20:54
I think the repair was attempted but did not work.

(;->


Gosh...i thought it was done :)

No work at all done to the camera. Dirt still on it, sand still inside it. My 1/2 assed tape on the hood still in place, could still see my sweaty fingerprints on it.

The most basic part of the repair was the RF alignment; not done at all.

The owner admitted that no work was done at all and said he could not expalin it.