Turning Archive 2004

Open Letter to TD and the group

Doug Trembath
>First let me say I had no idea this discussion would escalate into recrimination and hurt feelings. I donít believe my own part in the thread has been particularly inflammatory, but if Iím mistaken, I apologize to the group. To allow a disagreement such as this to blur the respect we have for one another would be just plain silly, and a disservice to the online community. As the politicians have said lately, we can disagree without being disagreeable, and do it in the manner WC is famous for.

Terry, after reading the last few posts from David, yourself, and Vic, I find quite a bit of conflicting information, mostly coming out in the latest posts, and one can only wonder what the truth is. Unfortunately, on a discussion board, that is all we can do, as we see and hear only parts of each side of the equation, but never the full story.

I want to say that, until your recent post I took issue with regarding the usefulness of the Vicmarc lathe marketed by CSUSA, I had nothing but genuine respect and admiration for the time and effort you have put in on this forum. You have been an inspiration and a guide to many folks, and have generated a tremendous amount of goodwill in doing it. For that I applaud you, and would hate to see that sort of thing disturbed.

On the subject of representing a product for a manufacturer, I, like you, have been on both sides of that fence, and have had to resolve difficulties myself at the expense of my company. I have endured the indignity of explaining that we had included materials in our equipment that, in the final analysis, were indeed less than advertised by the maker. We didn't use them subsequently, by the way, and replaced the ones we had.

Upon reflection, rereading all the posts associated with this thread, I find that my comments were justified, with the caveat that it is, as I said in the post, only my own opinion. To have a problem with a lathe from a major manufacturer take this amount of time to resolve would be unacceptable to me. Unlike David, I'm not a real patient man, maybe because of my experience in customer service. I canít document the chronology of the situation, Terry, nor do more than wonder what the circumstances were that it took place under.

There are some major disconnects associated with the posts from Vicmarc and yourself, and a lot of information is unavailable to us here. The comments you have made and the ones made by Vic seem to be diametrically opposed, and much of it has come about after my comments were written. We cannot know who said what and how the understandings went. All we can do is infer from the discussion, and that's where the difficulty lies when we have a problem like this. Let me be clear, my post was not a personal attack, although I can see how you might feel like it after all that has been said. I simply laid out my own philosophy as to how the responsibility is shared among the principals in a situation like this. This is the passage from that post I think you may have taken issue with:

"Regardless of margin, when the dealer purchases a unit, and sells it to a client, it is incumbent upon them to ensure the customer is satisfied. The fact that you were so very long in distress must be laid at his feet. No matter the circumstances, he should have been performing the follow-up necessary to ensure a satisfactory conclusion."

You asked me what I would have you do, then outlined all you had done. My only wonder is that there seems to have been a year that went by between the time David purchased a defective lathe and now. Unless you were unaware of the problem, I cannot see how that could happen. I guess, in answer to your question, absent any direction from the factory, I personally would have had David ship the defective lathe back to me, and torn it apart to determine what the problem was. At that point I'd have had adequate information to hammer the manufacturer with for a replacement, and/or reimbursement for any costs I had incurred. I'd also have good info to share with both the manufacturer and the client as to the status of the machinery exiting the factory.

I took no issue with your repair of the lathe, as I have done the same thing with different equipment, and sold it to a client. I did this after advising them that although the manufacturer may not be honoring the warranty, my company would in any event. At that time, I took the responsibility away from my customer, and held it where, IMHO, it belongs. It seems that the current problem was NOT associated with any repairs you made, so unless the factory does not consider your business an authorized repair station, it should be treated as a new warranty claim. Not having the advantage of knowing your arrangements with Vicmarc, I must revert to my own set of values.

My sense is that you and Vic need to readdress the relationship you share, and make a decision as to how you want to go forward. Iíd personally like to know what Vicmarcís warranty policies are, just so I can adequately advise students and other turners on the lathe when questions arise, and satisfy myself in case something disastrous happens to my own. I remain a dedicated and satisfied user of their products, but subsequent to this discussion, I will now have a question about the advisability of itís recommendation to potential buyers. I will be pursuing this directly with Vicmarc in order to satisfy myself.

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