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bad experience with furrier


Guest freemetolovefur
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In spring 2006, I purchased four chinchilla pelts from fursnthings, a NYC-based seller on eBay. One pelt was ten years old, but the other three were new. A few weeks later, I sent two of the new pelts to Daniel Wachtenheim, a furrier in Los Angeles. I wanted him to make me a headband from the two pelts. I paid him $68, give or take a few dollars, for his labor. He sent me back a beautiful headband. However, the pelts started to shed fur in loose clumps. I asked him what he had done to the pelts. He told me he had stretched them, as is usually the case with making pelts into headbands. He told me that the pelts I sent him were low quality. I didn't believe him. Though the pelts I bought were not top of the line, they were definitely good quality pelts. We are not talking about black velvet chinchilla here. The pelts were the standard chinchilla color of slate gray with a blackish grotzen and they certainly did not shed when I received them. Some background info on the relationship between fursnthings and Daniel Wachtenheim. Daniel told me that he had unpleasant dealings with the owner of fursnthings and it resulted in mutual bad feelings between the two men. He would not give me the details so I don't know what bad blood was between the two and how it came about.

 

Tricia

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Daniel told me he stretched the pelts himself. I thought that he may have switched the pelts I sent him with two of his own, but he adamantly denied doing so.

 

Tricia

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I suspect the pelts were considerably older than you had been told by the seller. If the pelts were true chinchilla, the leather would be very thin and thus would dry out and start to fall apart much sooner than thicker skinned species of fur bearers.

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It is so hard to buy commodity goods on-line.

 

When you're buying consumer goods, it is a lot easier. If you buy a computer or a camera from the internet you know what to expect. If the goods are not up to the standards you expect, return them for replacement or refund.

 

With commodities like fur, you can't do that. You need to inspect the goods first. Once you have bought the goods, they are yours. No returns unless you can prove fraud.

 

This is where your problem lies. You might be the victim of a fraud but how can you prove it? Even if you ordered chinchilla but the seller switched you rex rabbit, how can you prove it? The other guy can just claim that you are the one who switched the goods and that you are trying to swindle him.

 

With consumer goods, things are different. An iPad is an iPad. A camera is a camera. If you didn't get what you paid for, don't open the package and send it back. If it is defective, you have warranties. There are regulations to protect the consumer and to limit the seller's liability in case of dispute.

 

Not so with commodities. It is all face-to-face dealing. It is about reputations and relationships between parties. You just can't do that sort of thing so easily on the internet unless you have previously had face-to-face dealings with the person.

 

We're your pelts marked? Do you have clear photos of them which might prove that you didn't get the same ones back? Can you prove that the furrier damaged them by handling them improperly? Can you prove that your seller sent you genuine, first quality pelts and not old ones?

 

Unless you can prove it... and by "prove" I mean outright fraud... I don't know what to tell you. Just chalk it up to experience and cross these businesses off your list.

 

Unfortunately, this is one of the pitfalls of doing business over the internet.

 

As the saying goes, "Know your furrier!"

 

I buy handmade, one-of-a-kind, artist-made Teddy Bears via the internet but only from select, well-known Teddy Bear artists who have been in business for a period of time. When I buy, it's almost always done over private e-mail and an in-person phone call is almost always made. If/when I finally buy, I pay with a postal money order sent via registered mail with return receipt and a tracking number. I always enclose a hard copy of our e-mail conversations and a cover letter to summarize everything. Street addresses, shipping address, phone number and e-mail addresses are always included. Nothing left to chance if I can help it.

 

Maybe people think I'm being an asshole when I do things like this but WTF? This is the internet. It's my money. You can't be too careful. Can you?

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Just to be clear, the pelts were true chinchilla, not rabbit. The pelts I received from fursnthings and the headband I received from Daniel were both true chinchilla. There was no question as to the veracity of the fur. As for their age, they were definitely newer than the ten year-old pelt that I was sent first and whose age was definitely mentioned in the ad. The two pelts I sent to Daniel had soft leather. Again, they were not super duper brand new, but they were not old pelts either.

Tricia

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Didn't say you were switched rabbit for chinchilla. It was an example... "Even IF..."

 

I'm pretty sure you know your furs well enough to tell if somebody is trying to pull the old switcheroo on you. There's no doubt in my mind you'd raise hell if somebody tried that crap on you.

 

My point was to highlight the difference between buying commodity goods versus consumer goods.

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It was just two pelts. You should have signed each pelt on the leather side just in case.

The furrier seeing this would not care to swtich.

 

I do not know how other furriers work or make business, but I find it too hard to believe that a furrier would do the switch and risk his reputation over two chinchilla pelts...

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It was just two pelts. You should have signed each pelt on the leather side just in case.

The furrier seeing this would not care to swtich.

 

I would do this just for identification, without even considering unscrupulous actions. You could simply say that you are doing it as a favor to the other person. You "know" that he has many other jobs to do with many other fur pelts that could accidentally get lost or mixed up. It ensures that the furrier knows whose goods he's working on and the right fur gets used for the right job.

 

My wife's name is monogrammed into the lining of her fur coat. There is an ID number stamped in ink on the leather, inside the coat. (I know because I saw it.) When we send our fur in for cold storage or to be cleaned or to be repaired, we know that THEY know and they know that WE know whose fur is whose. It's not just because I think somebody is going to try to steal anything. It's because all parties involved want to do things quickly and easily and without a lot of guesswork or messing around.

 

Be organized and leave nothing to chance.

 

If grade school students write their names on the tops of their test papers before they turn them in to their teachers, why should I not write my name on my fur pelts before I send them to a furrier to be worked on?

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