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Warning: Ken Bebensee

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by mattwells, Nov 5, 2006.

  1. mattwells


    Mar 19, 2003
    I know there was a 10+ page thread on this earlier, but I figured I would let everyone know about a friends experience:

    I have a friend who has paid in full for an archtop guitar from Ken Bebensee. I think he is now somewhere around two years past due. My friend is trying to either get the guitar or his money back. He has threatened legal action, and is now probably going to have to go forward with it. Ken won't even answer his e-mails or phone calls.

    Just a warning for anyone who might be thinking of using him as a luthier.


    BTW - I say two years past due and am being conservative, I think he is now hitting the 4 years past due mark, but I forgot to ask him how long when I talked to him last night.
  2. wow, shady
  3. Ostinato

    Ostinato Guest

    Feb 7, 2005
    Toronto ON
    I heard he was quitting the business. That's ridiculous...two years is bad. I would've taken some kind of positive action after six months if he was that hard to get a hold of.
  4. tribal3140

    tribal3140 Inactive

    Nov 9, 2004
    near detroit...uh
    That thread is mine
    its 14000 hits deep
    search it.
    At least I got mine, That jackass
    built me the wrong instrument and told me to shove it when I wanted it fixed or a refund
    I think we should go out there and pay him a visit
    It took
    4 years to get mine
    and he wouldnt respond ot emails etc.
    hes a rip off artist and his career is over
    I threatened legal too but he claimed not to have anything $$ or otherwise to take.

    heve your friend contact me maybe we can help each other

    this link:[​IMG]
  5. Juniorkimbrough


    Mar 22, 2005
    Mississippi / Memphis, TN
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland Basses
    this is really sad that someone will stoop as low as stealing money from people who had trust in him.
  6. PDubs


    Aug 22, 2006
    I've never heard of a shadier luthier.

    Karma is a bitch.
  7. Smallmouth_Bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    I know some custom luthiers have long waiting lists for their instruments, but they really should be upfront about the waits. Not responding to to inquiries doesn't help either.

    Luthiers who are running delay times of over two years should stop taking orders (and deposits) until they can fulfill their production requirements and projections.
  8. tribal3140

    tribal3140 Inactive

    Nov 9, 2004
    near detroit...uh
    the wait wasnt even the worst part
    go through my thread.
    he was an arrogant s.o.b who wouldnt take responsibility for his f***ups
    and took my $4500 and gave me the finger at the end
    now its costing me another $800 to get the bass done right by another luthier if I cant sell it, which I probably wont be able to.

    so 4 years from an estimated 18 months
    wrong woods, wrong pup placement, lousy inlay
    no return calls or emails.
    medium crafstmanship and then I have to pay someone else almost a grand to fix it.

    great experience.:spit: :scowl:
  9. mb1

    mb1 Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?

    Jun 23, 2006
    Eastern Iowa, USA
    Caveat: IANAL and this is not legal advice.

    Just FYI.... a quick search of the public web site of the California Secretary of State suggests that Ken Bebensee is not operating his business as either a corporation, a limited partnership or limited liability company:


    This MIGHT indicate that he is operating his business as a sole proprietorship. If so, he MAY be personally responsible if a judge agrees with your position. While immediate payment might not be forthcoming, a legal judgement issued against him MIGHT be a viable alternative. For example, IF it turned out he was personally responsible and IF a judge agreed, a lien on his house MIGHT be possible. In such cases the lien would have to be satisfied before the property could be transfered.

    I would suggest you pursue all legals avenues available to you in this matter. Many less than reputible individuals are able to repeatedly conduct themselves in a reprehensible manner simply because few people choose to pursue the legal avenue available to them.
    Supadope likes this.
  10. mattwells


    Mar 19, 2003
    My friend is DEFINITELY looking at all possible legal avenues. I think the only problem is that he may not have any $$ to his name to sue for. I think they are going to find out though.
  11. That's the mist compelling reason for getting a judgment! He may not have any assets or cash to execute on NOW but he might sometime in the future. Typically a judgment acts as a lien on the debtor's real estate, which can be a real problem for them (and money for you) when they try to sell or refinance. Sue him...NOW!
  12. NickyBass

    NickyBass Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Southern New Jersey
    There is a fantastic double bass bow maker, Sue Lipkins, who has a several year wait. I contacted her, and she will add you to the list but won't take a deposit until you're up on the list. This is the way to do business. I can understand waiting a few years for something that is going to be with you forever, and she doesn't want to compromise quality...so it will take a while. The ironic part is that most people choose a custom to a.) get exactly what they want. b.) get great customer service, and c.) get great QC. I am sorry to hear such bad expeirience. I will spread the word NOT to deal with him.
  13. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    since this particular thread is not bass related, it's going to misc.
  14. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    wow, this guy seems to have done everything he could have possibly done wrong with regard to being an independant businessman/entrepreneur.
  15. -jim


    Jul 26, 2008
    I ordered a guitar to be made for me by sending a $2500 check for down payment to a known internet guitar luthier.

    About a year later I received some pictures from the luthier telling me he is making my guitar.

    Just found my canceled check with his bank account number and signature on the back.

    Its has been 4 years now and the check is dated 5-13-04.

    This was his most recent reply to me, 2 days ago from Ken Bebensee:

    "I haven’t forgotten you and I apologize for the delay. We both invested money into that venture, and I will return your deposit as soon as I can. I have an old guitar I made 10 or 12 years ago I can send to you for collateral. Making custom guitars is much more complicated than I expected and I am trying to finish what I started. I have many debts that I intend to repay."

    As far as I can tell, he has nothing invested but my money... I haven't received anything that would have me believe he ever started the guitar. He he wasn't a known luthier I would have not sent him a dime.
  16. -jim


    Jul 26, 2008
    Just an update...

    I did receive my deposit in full from Ken. I may have jump the gun on this cancellation because Ken has shown to be a man of integrity.

    I now have ever reason to believe that he would have finished my guitar and that I would be the happy owner of a Ken Bebensee original-!!

    Reading warning post's on forums can start a wildfire of misinformation spun out of control can possible result in damaging someone's reputation.

    I hope this note will help repair any damage done to Ken on this forum and please rest easy knowing that Ken will and does deliver outstanding instruments that are a work of art and craftsmanship-!!

    I read this warning thread and believed every word written, sorry that I did...

  17. trailer

    trailer Thumper Supporting Member

    Jan 18, 2008
    Guntersville, Al.
    Really?!? Does this seem weird to anybody else?
  18. ezrs


    Sep 24, 2008

    if you have to wait more than a couple days for an email reply, there IS trouble!

    Rob Allen, who I could rave about for days, gave me updates on what stage my bass was at the day of or after i emailed him.
  19. bongomania

    bongomania Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    :rollno: This is ridiculous. Bebensee's actions have spoken loud and clear of a period of a decade. Just because he sent you your deposit back after four effing years is not even remotely reason to come on here and talk about what a great artist he is and what great integrity he has. I am blown away that anybody would have such low self-esteem, and such a bad case of Stockholm Syndrome, that they would post something like this. :meh:
  20. -jim


    Jul 26, 2008
    "I believe strongly that complaining is no good unless constructive alternatives are offered!

    Hmmm good advise-!!"

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