Warning to Anyone Thinking of Buying a Pickguard From Tone-Guard

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by 597feetdown, Jun 11, 2018.

  1. Disclaimer: I'm not looking to slander the company or its owner Wayne Richman. I'm sure the company did great work (note the tense there: DID), and I'm sure Wayne is a good guy. But people need to be aware of what I went through, because from what I've seen here on TB and on their own Tone-Guard's Facebook page, I'm not the only one who has had an unpleasant experience with this company.

    Let me start this off by saying, DO NOT PLACE AN ORDER WITH TONE-GUARD. At least not right now. Maybe things will get better in the future, maybe they won't, but for the time being, you should basically consider their website dead.

    Here's my story: back in November of 2017, I placed an order with them for a P-Bass pickguard. No transaction issues, as it was via PayPal. I didn't hear anything back from them the entire rest of 2017. Not a peep. Knowing that they were based out of Southern California, and knowing that the December wildfires devastated parts of it, I thought maybe that was slowing them down. But I still hoped to hear SOMETHING from them. Alas, nada.

    I made my first attempt to reach out to them on January 3rd via email, simply asking if they received the order or had any updates they could give me. Once again, crickets. I waited another 3 weeks to contact them again. This time, I emailed them AND attempted to message them via Facebook. My email was again met with silence and the Facebook message was answered via an automated response.

    A month passes. At this point, it has now been over 3 months since I placed the order, and I had been exceedingly patient with them, but my patience was wearing thin. I hopped on to their website to see if there was another means of contacting them. I noticed a different email address from the one that was given to me via PayPal, so I decided to try that. I explained my situation, gave them the order information, and asked if there were any updates. THIS TIME, within 20 minutes, Wayne answered me.

    His explanation was that he had been dealing with damage from the wildfires and a personal family matter that "had my complete attention for the past months+." He also said in that email, "Your parts are almost ready to ship out. [...] [They] should be ready by end of this week, or beginning of next week." Okay, fair enough, he hit on some hard times, but he's playing catch-up, and I should probably expect a shipping confirmation within a couple weeks, right?

    Fast forward 8 weeks. Nothing.

    So, on April 10th, I send a follow-up email to the address where he actually responded to me, asking if there was any news on my order. This time, like with the other email address, no response. I even attempted to call the office number listed on the website, but there was no answer.

    I waited yet another month. The deadline for filing a dispute with PayPal is 180 days from date of transaction, and that time was drawing near. I sent one final email on May 7th, saying that if I didn't hear from him by the end of the week, I'd be filing a dispute. I didn't hear from him. After going through PayPal's dispute/claim process, I did finally get my money back a week ago, but... jeez, what a mess!

    I don't think it's appropriate to get into the details of what Wayne's "personal family matter" was on a public forum. Suffice it to say, it's one of those things where I can definitely understand how it would take up damn near ALL of your time. But it just strikes me as irresponsible/bad business to leave your website open for orders when you don't have the time or the intent to actually fill them! If this family matter is what you have to focus on, then at least take a few minutes to lock down the order options on your website & tell people "we are not taking new orders at this time."

    So, at least from what I've seen, it's not worth your time to even look at Tone-Guard if you're in the market for a gold anodized pickguard. Perhaps when his family matter is settled, they'll get back in the swing of things, but for now, DO NOT place an order with them.
    Jim C and baTassi like this.
  2. Gorn

    Gorn Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    That sucks, although you really should’ve filed the dispute within a week if you didn’t even get an order confirmation. Would’ve saved you a lot of time and worry.
    JRA likes this.
  3. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    too bad. glad you got your money back. good luck trying to accept the appearance of your bass as is. :thumbsup:
  4. Goatrope


    Nov 18, 2011
    Sarasota Florida
    EEC2962D-AA89-4F18-BE2B-E3D2147A6488.jpeg Wow, they’ve really fallen off the wagon.

    I dealt with them in Feb and the transaction was painless, and end-to-end complete within a week.

    Hope they get it together soon. Probably best to call them if anyone needs to place an order while they recover.
  5. ratwell


    Sep 6, 2018
    I just received my Tone-Guard refund from Paypal after escalating a claim.

    No emails replied to by Tone-Guard. No one answering the phone at Tone-Guard.

    I can appreciate the situation mentioned by the first poster but the website order taking should be disabled until the business is up and running again.
    597feetdown likes this.
  6. jhayr0213


    Mar 7, 2019
    If this is really true Oh poopie I've just recently made an order from them and thru credit card not paypal. So sad I cannot get my money back if it takes forever my orders come to my address.. Its international shipping... SO WASTED
  7. jhayr0213


    Mar 7, 2019
    Can I still file a dispute even if I dont pay thru paypal? Because my payment thru credit card was still processed thru paypal even if I dont have paypal account used. please can someone help me on this?
  8. Goatrope


    Nov 18, 2011
    Sarasota Florida
    In order to file a dispute with PayPal, you’d need to log into your PayPal account. If you don’t have a PayPal account, just get your credit card company to reverse the charge.

    Try PayPal first. If they deny you, go to your credit card company.
  9. ScottsTheLimit

    ScottsTheLimit Inactive

    Sep 3, 2018
    Any update on the status of Tone-Guard? I was thinking of ordering a few pickguards then ran across this thread...
  10. GMOB


    Aug 11, 2018
    I was looking for a black anodized guard for my 57 reissue P bass, and after a web search I was excited to find this specialty resource In my home state.
    I placed order and payed immediately.
    Now I am having real trouble getting any response to multiple emails to two different addresses, and a two ring drop when dialing number in Agoura Hills, CA. The product looks amazing and I hope to get word soon, but fear I my have repeated what others have experienced. Wish I checked TB first, and hope it improves . I’ll post updates here. The coronavirus is probably not helping any of this either .
  11. darwin-bass


    Mar 29, 2013
    Salem OR
    I placed a control plate order a couple of months ago. Have heard nothing. No reply to my first e-mail status request and so far no reply to the follow-up I sent a couple of days ago.
  12. GMOB


    Aug 11, 2018
    I had to get PayPal involved and open case. Once I did I received refund within day’s with a message stating “we do not have these in stock”. I would have waited until next production run, but based on no communication decided to take the refund. Too bad. Great looking stuff.
  13. darwin-bass


    Mar 29, 2013
    Salem OR
    Sigh. I wanted an aluminum control plate for my Jazz. The stock steel plates are so heavy. I haven't found a good source for aluminum control plates anywhere else.
  14. MoonQuake

    MoonQuake Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2011
    Montréal, Qc.
    Anyone else has recent experience with them?

    Pulled the trigger on pickguard last saturday.

    Yet to have received an order confirmation of any sort.

    Sent an email to two of their email addresses and no news for now.
  15. MoonQuake

    MoonQuake Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2011
    Montréal, Qc.

    Never received any response from them after sending two messages to both of their email addresses and a third message through Paypal.

    Opened a claim through Paypal and got my refund the same day.

    Avoid that company
    B-Mac likes this.
  16. Back in December I purchased a Player Plus Nashville Telecaster. It's my first Telly in 40 years, so it was a big deal for me. :) I contacted Tone-Guard and Wayne about ordering a black anodized pickguard for it. He was super helpful, and very responsive right up until I pre-paid for it on January 6th. Crickets since then. No order confirmation, no invoice, no order number, no response or any documentation of any kind from Tone-Guard or Wayne since then. No human response to email (only a generic auto-responder). His "office" phone is a tape machine that doesn't take messages, and the company that actually received my payment was NOT Tone-Guard, but something called INSTRMARTS.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2022
  17. Wayne refunded my money 20 minutes after I filed a dispute with PayPal.
    I don't know if he initiated it, or PayPal did, but it doesn't matter. Life goes on.
  18. JimVS


    Jan 15, 2011
    I think I've figured out what happened to Wayne. I've been wondering for a few years if maybe he died but only recently learned his name. Hearing others here say he's popped his head up as recently as last Dec means he's not dead. Then I thought, this sounds like a stoner with couchlock. Has the best intentions, just can't seem to get things done.

    I just looked him up on Linked in and found this:
    Founder / President of the California Hemp Association and California Hemp Foundation

    Started this in 2016, right around when he started falling off the map.
    Goatrope, Rezdog and OLD-PLAYER like this.
  19. After my aborted Toneguard experience, I discovered there were some amazing craftsmen on Etsy doing beautiful custom Wood, Tolex, Leather, and Anodized Aluminum pickguards. So, I ordered a custom Tolex pickguard for my new Player Plus Nashville Telly from a gentlemen in Greece (for less than $50 US!). it arrived within 3 weeks, and it's beautiful! (see the picture below) NT2.jpg
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2022
    Goatrope and JKos like this.