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Machinery Reseller Fraud???10/5
Before I go public with the name of the organization that I feel has wronged us in a transaction for the purchase of a used 3 side planer moulder I would like input from other professionals. I saw a 3 sided planer moulder on a machinery website that would give us the ability to do short runs of wide plank T&G up to 20". I inquired with the agent listed and he put me in touch with the owner of the machine. The owner stated that is was a complete machine that was ready to run. We made a wire transfer to the supposedly reputable machinery reseller and received our machine about 2 weeks later. The machine was heavily corroded and there were multiple missing parts include a lack of a chipbreaker assembly on the top planing head, missing side spindle drive belt guards, and no dust extraction hood. The top head is literally completely exposed so that anyone near the machine while running would be in harms way. With the lack of a chipbreaker I can not see that this will have any cut quality besides the safety concerns. I contacted the agent and complained and he supposedly contacted the original owner who stated he had forgotten to load chipbreaker and her would ship it to me. Several weeks passed and nothing arrived so I contacted the reseller again to state that no chipbreaker was received and he said he would get back to me. Several more weeks pass and no follow up. I started emailing reseller. I have not received a return response since. At this point I feel like this reseller offers no protection when buying used equipment and really is getting compensated for being in the middle while not even offering escrow type protection for the buyer. My first question is would anyone consider a planer with no chipbreaker assembly complete and ready to run? My second question is what do you think I should do at this point? I could have bought a new machine for about twice what I paid which I could have easily afforded but figure why buy an industrial machine new when there was this "complete and ready to run" machine available at half price. Now I am realizing that commissioning this machine would most likely cost me more than scrapping it and buying a new one. Custom fabrication or refitting a chipbreaker assembly would cost an arm and a leg and is probably just not worth it. I am so flaming PO'ed about this transaction and want to know if I have an unreasonable expectation of protection from such fraud by the machinery reseller??? I feel like I should post their name on every wood related website so that no one else gets screwed like this but am waiting to see if an amicable resolution can be had but their failure to communicate at this point leaves me little other choice. Thanks
Get a single copy of every document, arrange them in chronological order, highlight the things that did not happen, and go see the owner that sold the machine. In person. Show up unannounced. Bring along a very large friend. Expect to wait, be prepared for anything, but let him know you will not leave until you have all the answers and more. Record the conversation. Corner him and ask him if the machine was ready to run. Ask where the chipbreaker is and why he did not send it. Let him know you are not leaving until you have any/all parts, and an apology in the form of your costs for your time and travel expenses.
The middle man is scum and has his money and will be able to dodge you forever. The seller knows what he did. You have to assume anything you buy sight unseen is just that - unseen. Plan on spending at least its cost to get it right and running.
This is my 2 cents. I am not an attorney so take it with a grain of salt.
I have bought from a site like this but I was satisfied with the transaction. When asked they were very careful to say that "the owner said the machine was working, and in good condition"
The middle man is just, that and nothing more. The original owner probably misrepresented the condition to them as well. I am sure the re-seller is covered by a disclaimer in the purchase agreement.
By definition this could very well be "fraudulent" act but don't dwell on that just yet.
Perhaps the original owner was just unaware as to what "industry standard" expectations in regards to condition and usability might be. It might have worked quite well for whatever they were using it for. Maybe there is some sentimental value.
The first thing that you need to do is to document everything and get an expert opinion other than your own as to the actual condition of the machine.
I would send a certified letter to the original owner/seller, and a copy to the middleman.
Keep it professional, avoid any legalese, and lay out all the facts.
I would acknowledge that the original owner might have made an error in communicating the actual condition of the machine.
State that they could make this right, and that you would be happy with a refund.
I would avoid any threats of litigation. Avoid making accusations of fraud. If you do this, their attorney would certainly advise them not to speak to you. If you need to go this far, you need to consult a qualified legal professional.
As a last resort you could try contacting a law enforcement agency in the original owners area, however there is a good chance they would brush this off as a "cvil matter" and refer you to the court system.
Well if the PO said the machine was complete and ready to run they lied right off the bat. A machine missing guards is not complete, and missing a chipbreaker is not ready to run.
I don't know how much liability the middle man has as they put you in contact with the seller for full details, which is the same way they would get their information? So I'm guessing your going to have to go after the PO? If so I think that the friendly approach is a good start, however if they are ignoring you after what....almost 2 months, probably not going to get it done. A lawyer is probably going to cost more than you'll recover, so I'm guessing small claims court. I'd start with a letter to the PO explaining your position and intent and see if that gets a response and if not, dragging his butt to court may be your only option!
Again this is just my thinking out loud as I have not been in such a situation. I would however be careful about how badly you rip the middle man. You don't want to end up not only stuck with a useless machine, but wind up in court for slander on top of it??? Then again they have some responsibility to help you as they benefitted financially from the deal, so that money should also be on the table in some way.
I would go to the site of the seller and demand the chipbreaker or you want your money back. A planer is not actually a planer without a chipbreaker - it's a big pile of scrap metal. It's certainly not in operating condition. However, I suspect that they never had the chipbreaker and that you will never get it or your money back.
It's too late now, but my advice for the future is to never buy a used piece of machinery unless you see it in person, preferably in operation.
We purchased a moulder about 8 years ago from an used equipment dealer. It was a Weinig P22N that was advertised as "very low hours, very good condition" with a price tag of $25k, which seemed commensurate for the machine and condition. When it arrived we found bed plate wear of more than .060" (1/16"!) and surface corrosion on all exposed bare metal. The infeed table adjustment was frozen solid. Even after talking and emailing with them, getting a Weinig tech to inspect and report on it, and getting our attorney involved they did absolutely nothing. We eventually sold it for $6000 - a $20k lesson that I will never forget.
Even a $1000 airfare/car rental/hotel/meals is cheap if it makes the difference between making a good decision versus a bad one.
The reseller will not return calls or emails about this but through shipping documents found the original seller who said that reseller was aware of machine condition as they sold it to him originally and that he was only paid 25% of what I paid the reseller for the piece of crap. Really as shady deal from this reseller out of Michigan. I am currently looking for an attorney to file civil suit in that state so that they are held accountable for this fraud. I am willing to spend more than the loss of the machine to see that they are brought to justice.
Why is this topic being discussed in Dust Collection? I fail to connect the relevance.
That being said - it would be nice if the OP could post an update to his issues. Posting rants and asking for advice and then not following up to advise as to a solution is not conducive towards acquiring help here..
I posted in this forum because it also includes plant operation and safety. As of now I have receive no response from reseller so I guess I am on my own. I have sent a letter to the state Attorney General about their business practice with the original description from the reseller and photos of the incomplete machine. I am considering legal action but fear the cost of litigation outweighs the return. I was contacted by another Woodweb user who went to view a machine that was offered by the same reseller and the machine was also not even close to what was described so this seems to be the methods used by this particular reseller. Unfortunate that this reseller makes it difficult for those resellers out there that do practice ethical business but I am sure many of you experience mistrust by potential customers because they have been burned by unethical woodworkers in the past.
I have contacted the state attorney general in the state that this company is incorporated in and a consumer protection case has been opened. I showed them all of the original documents stating that it was a complete and ready to run machine. Sounds as if they plan on pursuing it for us. Still no return contact from reseller or offer of remedy.