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Giving deposits to builders

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Stu Rose, Oct 14, 2013.

  1. BillyRay

    BillyRay Supporting Member

    Jan 20, 2008
    The thing is, a lot of the early birds in that whole debacle WERE smart customers. Darren was backed by a lot of people on message boards and even insiders in the industry.

    The crux of the matter is: customer protection laws work to a point. A 5000$ is a big ticket item, but it's nothing compared to cars and homes and law fees to pursue legal action. Plus, you have to actually get execution if you you through the hassle to finally get to judgement. I know, I'm a civil law lawyer.

    Some builders offer faster turnaround and lesser deposits. Choose them if you want. Others ask for more and if it works for them, good for them. But insulting people by insinuating they could have been better customers when you have the benefit of hindsight is just rude imho.
  2. Perhaps the same idiots that play 5+ strings, no? :p

    Builders kinda rely on the deposit to order parts. For every builder like Darren Huff, there are probably 10-20 buyers who simply can't afford the bass when it's done.
  3. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Ken Smith and Mike Lull are not a small one man operation, neither is MTD. Also none of these companies are pretty much semi custom builders. They all have their own designs that you can choose from. With a small builder they are usually more flexible and can work with a customer to come up with a true custom design. This also takes time.
    I am a small one man operation. I have a day job, so I only build one instrument at a time, for one customer at a time, I prefer to keep a very small operation, I don't really make any money doing it.
  4. My last word on the Topic I wanted a custom bass from a one man builder we all know of here who builds great basses and he is also a great guy. I felt totally comfortable with him except he wants 1k deposit non refundable and there is a one year wait.

    I can't do that an automatic red flag goes up because; no fault of his or mine, either one of us could get hurt, get sick, go out of business, loose a job, (God forbid). For me and I imagine many others tying up 1k-2k etc. for a year is way to long.

    P.S. I said Idiots in haste on the Huff thread SORRY, it was spur of the moment reaction, but I do think some of that was the buyers faults for not being careful with large amounts of money. For sure Huff was 100x more at fault for stealing the money.

  5. Lull build basses all by himself, Mike Tobias is a small shop one man with two helpers, Mike makes all the necks himself by hand. If something happened to Mike the business will probably close immediately and production will stop, same with Lull and Smith. All those deposits will probably go with them or be real hard to get back.

    Fodera is a two man owned shop if one of those guy was no longer there it would keep going I would bet.

    Just saying.
  6. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    You know, I think insulting the victims of scammers like Huff is a GREAT way to validate your opinion on the topic.
  7. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    My thoughts exactly. Mr.Rose does love to pull scabs, doesn't he?
  8. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Since you know so much about the business, and know so much about building basses that you know exactly how long it takes to build one, you should start your own shop :rolleyes:

    That $1000 deposit isn't just sitting there, it goes into buying parts, wood, designing the instrument, and the time it takes to communicate with the customer. You don't honestly believe that that one year wait time is spent just squatting on your money do you?

    I hate threads like that Darrin Huff thread, in spite of their intentions, they make everyone in the industry look bad, and its not fair. Then guys like you start threads like this telling people that they shouldn't put down a deposit if they don't want to get ripped off by this industry full of con men. Without a deposit the builder puts himself in a position to where he can be easily strung along and have his time wasted. Or even worse he can get stuck with a half finished bass that the customer decided to back out on.
  9. This appears to be a recent theme.
  10. I am a small contractor I have 6 employees started in 1987. I know if I were no longer here the business and my clients would be gone in no time and all jobs we are doing would stop for the most part in various stages of completion.

    I also ask for and get deposits and progress payments in my line of work but we get started within a few weeks not a 6 months or a year later. BIG difference.

    Deposits are not my issue at all, just how long people have their deposits tied up.
  11. You advocate not paying a large deposit until the guy starts working on your bass...what's to stop him from getting hurt/sick/other at any point in the build? What if, the day before he ships your bass, his shop burns down?

    Stuff happens. Without reiterating the arguments others have made, I'll just add that another reason why smaller shops (such as Sadowsky, the only one I've had first-hand experience with) may have such long wait times is because the quality of both their product and their customer care is so high, they are seen as well-worth the risk that may come from putting money down at a point well before actual work on an instrument may have started.
  12. Agreed **** happens, that is all the more reason to minimize risk when engaging is a large purchase.
  13. basschanges

    basschanges Unconditionally Loving Member

    Jun 20, 2012
    Baltimore, MD
    I think the OP is wrong about the concept of "fault."

    There is always some risk in making a purchase. Those who purchase from small shops and give large down payments may assume more risk than those purchasing otherwise. In this case, the buyers did their due diligence as best they could and took a risk. Still, it's not the victims' faults that they were actively conned. The ethical culpability lies with the con man- the one who committed the crime!

    It's important in this and every case to not blame the victims of crimes simply because they were less risk averse than you.

    Caveat Emptor doesn't really apply. A tornado didn't hit the shop, nor did the builder suddenly die of a heart attack. These buyers were actively treated with dishonesty.

    This moral concept is reflected in law

    "Under the principle of caveat emptor, the buyer could not recover damages from the seller for defects on the property that rendered the property unfit for ordinary purposes. The only exception was if the seller actively concealed latent defects or otherwise made material misrepresentations amounting to fraud."
  14. preside


    Aug 7, 2010
    Scottsdale Az
    Where's the like button?
  15. Don't blame the thread, blame Darrin.
  16. I agree, a year does seem excessively long to have your one thousand.
  17. Just Thumpin'

    Just Thumpin' Commercial User

    Mar 7, 2008
    NE United States
    Manager and Partner, Fodera Guitars (as of 10/14/09)
    Actually Fodera is owned by several people. Vinny, Joey and I are the most commonly "known" partners, but we have a whole team of people that are involved with crafting our instruments.

    And yes, for Custom builds we do ask for a 30% deposit. We provide each customer a defined start date and have a policy that if we do not deliver the instrument within six months of the start date, the customer can request a full refund. In the four years that I have been involved here managerially we have not been asked for one refund related to us not delivering on time.

    This is a big turnaround from prior to 2009 when we did not have the requisite organization or staff to ensure timely deliveries. We now do and make it a very serious priority for our whole team.

    As for why we ask for the deposit? We are presently booked out 12-13 months and absent a deposit, we believe that we would have a fair number of people filling our schedule who may not actually see their build to its conclusion. Since we must constantly buy material to replenish our inventory of wood and parts, that could wreak havoc with our ability to ensure that everything we need is on hand.

    We clearly post this payment policy for all to see on our website and certainly customers have the option of choosing not to work with us if they find it objectionable.

    Kindest regards,


  18. lfmn16

    lfmn16 SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Seems to me like it is working pretty good now. Considering all of the custom basses being ordered, we don't see very many complaints. Nothing is fool-proof.

    It also looks like very few agree with you.

    It also looks like you posted 4 more times after what you promised was your last word. :D
  19. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    I blame the fact that most people tend to lump people into groups, and make generalizations. So if one builder is a crook, then every one of use must be. Darrin is a criminal, and deserves to be in jail, but how is it fair that other builders are being judged for his actions.
  20. The Darrin Huff thread serves a useful purpose, it warns potential customers from doing business with him. Whether it causes people to think all builders are crooks is dubious.

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