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Neumann Mic Tech went independent
Old 22nd October 2015
  #31
Gear Head
 

I used two of the four KM84s that Tom Onofrio refurbished recently on an 80-piece concert band recording. He put in new capacitors and removed some resistors. Now the mics have about 6 dB more gain, and sound both clearer and richer. It cost me $1120.00 for the four (the capsules were fine). I'm pleased-money well spent. Tom was also very easy to work with. He is permanently in my contacts app.

I also got the Shapeways 3D-printed ORTF mic holder for the KM84s with the Shure shockmount. It works great and saves time in set up. A great addition!

Thanks to all for the very appreciated advice!

Robert Cartwright
perfectwavedigital.com
San Diego, CA
Old 22nd October 2015
  #32
Tempted to buy a U87 on Ebay and then send it to Tom to review and make sure it's working properly
Old 22nd October 2015
  #33
Thanks Klaus! I'll be using his services. Great news!
Old 22nd October 2015
  #34
Lives for gear
 

Tom serviced my beautiful U67 and brought it back to factory fresh condition. His prices are reasonable and turnaround was 1 week.
Old 15th December 2015
  #35
Lives for gear
 
idylldon's Avatar
 

Just one more endorsement for Tom. Sent my '77 U87 in for repair and got it back in a week sounding the best it's ever sounded. Quick turnaround, fair pricing, and competency. That's a winning combination!

Thanks, Tom!

Cheers,
--
Don
Old 15th December 2015
  #36
Lives for gear
 
mixerguy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomOnofrio View Post
Hi all, new web address is as follows microphone-repair.com

This website is dead

Do uo have a new one ?
Old 15th December 2015
  #37
Lives for gear
 
doncaparker's Avatar
 

Microphone Repair

Or Google Tom Onofrio Neumann.
Old 5th February 2016
  #38
Here for the gear
 

Props to Tom Onofrio!

I want to give my best endorsement of Tom Onofrio @ Microphone Repair ... I had Tom go through 2 Neumann KM84's & he did a fabulous job! New KK84 capsules, caps replaced & tested. Turnaround was very swift & smooth. I now have like-new performing KM84's! Courteous, communicative, competent & cool ... what more could you ask for? Highly recommend ;-)
Old 6th September 2020
  #39
Gear Maniac
 
clark_savant's Avatar
 

Differing Experience and Fair Warning

Hello Gearslutz community,

Unfortunately, my current customer experience with Tom Onofiro is not congruent with all the previous posts in this thread.

So in the interest of fairness and full disclosure, for anyone else in the future who researches reviews like this before making purchasing and/or servicing decision, I want to share my personal experiences dealing with Tom (still occurring as of the writing of this - 9/6/20).

I've written two versions, so there could be a short concise version and a longer detail-rich one too. Everything I've included here is in writing and screenshots can be sent to verify, just PM me.

Short version:
I sent a u87 that I purchased from eBay to Tom to get a service quote (and maybe even serviced depending). After receiving the quote of $1600+, it was too expensive (since the eBay seller was paying for it, b/c they sold it to me as "in proper working condition" so I paid a little extra for the mic ($2800 shipped), however, it was not in proper working condition). So in an attempt to save the eBay deal and not have to return the mic to the seller, I asked Tom to send me back the mic so I can get a 2nd opinion (i'd obviously pay for return shipping). He then told me to pay $150 for the evaluation and return shipping, through the PayPal link. That caught me off-guard and seemed expensive, but I was in a hurry to get these price quotes within the allotted return window offered by eBay. When I went to his website to pay, the PayPal link brought me to PayPal's DONATION process, not service payment process. Since I was paying for the evaluation service and return shipping, I searched his website for the correct place to pay. That donation link was the only payment link on the website. So I emailed Tom and asked him to send me an invoice for the service(s) so I can pay it and move on. He just keeps telling me to use the link on his website that brings me to a donation process.

Currently, he still has my U87 and is holding it until I pay via donation link and won't send me an invoice. Furthermore, he informed me last night that he'll be leaving for FL next week...

My issues are (1) I never agreed to pay the $75-100 for the mic evaluation and he never disclosed that service fee to me... (2) he won't send me an invoice before payment, which may (or may not) impact my ability to write-off this expense come tax time (because I made a non-qualifying donation), and (3) the way he informed me of his impending departure to FL after I told him that I need to contact my attorney and tax professional for their advice, just rubbed me the wrong way.

So I have emails out to my attorney, CPA, Better Business Bureau, and IRS office in Waterbury CT. I don't anticipate hearing anything until Tuesday, but I will keep everyone posted via this thread.

Again screenshots verifying everything I've said are available upon request, just PM me. The goal is not to bash Tom, but to make the community aware that there's more than only positive reviews when dealing with him.

Below is a more nuanced and detail rich version of the situation.


The Extended Version:
Despite loving my Sony c-100, y'all convinced me to get a vintage u87 :P and be done with my vocal mic needs until the budget opens to get some "next level" processing equipment before other "more" high-end mics.

So I purchased a used '70's u87 (#26486) from eBay. I willingly paid a little extra for it ($2850 after international shipping, vat, customs etc.) because the seller told me it was in proper working condition. So, upon receiving the I did some initial recording and testing, and the mic was not in proper working condition. There was unpleasing distortion in the form of low level (but clearly audible in a distracting way) crackle and pops that matched the signal of the source material. Those same artifacts were not present when using my c-100 on the same source back-to-back. I informed the eBay seller about the issues and told them I still want the mic, but it needs to be serviced and they (the seller) would have to pay for it. The seller agreed to pay for it if the service price was reasonable, which I agreed was fair.

After researching who to send it to, top candidates were Tom and Klaus. With both having great reviews, but Klaus being more known as the modification guy, I decided to go with Tom.

After about a week with my mic, Tom got back to me and with a quote for $1650+. I informed the seller and we agreed that it doesn't make sense for him to pay that much relative to the amount he received for the mic. After speaking with to Tom to see if there were nonessential items that we could postpone, Tom said there was a $300 item/service that could wait... but again, that was still too expensive for the seller who was thinking $500-$1000 range. So to try and save the deal, instead of getting a refund from the seller, I informed Tom we're (the seller and I) are going to get at least one more opinion before deciding to return the mic or not.

He responded by telling me it would be $150. Which shocked me at first, but he claimed it was for the evaluation and return shipping. Despite him NEVER TELLING ME there was a charge for the evaluation (Klaus and other independent mic tech either don't charge or told me the price up front) I said okay no problem. Thinking to myself worst case it'll be a write-off come tax time. So I go to his website to find the services section and pay, but there was nothing. Only a PayPal button that brings the visitor to a "donation" page, which was unnerving to me so I emailed Tom back. I asked him to send me an invoice via his PayPal account so I can pay, get my mic and move on (because I had a couple time constraints variables I shared with Tom as a way to give him a better understanding of my situation and why the seller and I were engaging him).

Tom responds by telling me to use the PayPal button again. I responded back telling him that it's a link that leads to a donation process, but I am paying him for the service of inspecting my mic and shipping it back... simply put, I am willing to pay $150 for a service I didn't agree to, so I may get my microphone back; however, I would like an invoice so I won't have issues come tax time. He responds by telling me the invoice will enclosed and returned with the mic, and I essentially responded "that is a receipt". Invoices come before payment (it acts as a formal agreement to the services). And he kept echoing back the same thing.

I thought my position was more than reasonable, but then realized/remembered I disclosed to him my time constraints of (1) getting price quotes within the eBay time frame to submit a return case and (2) maybe purchase another '70s u87 that was was also for sale on eBay in better condition aesthetically (not that I care, as long as it works properly) if I did end up returning this one. Tom passively hinted that he'd be traveling from CT to FL next week, indicating that I should pay sooner than later, after I informed him that I contacted my tax professional and legal counsel and will be following up come Tuesday (after the holiday).

I will continue to keep everyone posted on this situation as it unwinds. Not sure if anything will come of it, but the goal is to provide a heads up to the next person. I am not saying "Don't use Tom," because his work must be good since it seems to be revered here, however just be aware this is/has been my experience.

I can hear you fellow business owners (as am I) getting ready to say why didn't you try to resolve this with him before coming and posting on here...
As a last ditch effort not to hurt the reputation he's built (and to selfishly help myself by resolving this issue quicker), I offered to pay him, through his PayPal donation button, $75 to ship the mic back to me and I'll leave the situation alone without publicly posting. I figured if he'd do that for me, he'd most likely do it for others who are in a similar position if push came to shove. But instead he repeated the same response to use the PayPal button and give him $150. So here we are.

Not sure if anyone has had a similar experience with Tom as of late, seeing that the last review was about 4 years ago, but I wanted to share and provide this user experience to the reviews on here about working with Tom.

As I've mentioned earlier, screenshots verifying everything I've said are available upon request, just PM me... or if the moderators deem it appropriate, I can post them in this thread to further prove the integrity and validity of my statements here.

However, despite being disenchanted with Tom and his handling of my service engagement with him, my intention is not irrevocably harm the reputation he has spent years building (and realistically speaking one post probably couldn't do that anyway); however, I will warn others to do their due diligence and ask direct questions before dealing with him.

As of the writing of this (Sunday - 9/16/20), he still has possession of my U87 and I have emails out to my attorney, CPA, Better Business Bureau, and IRS office in Waterbury CT. Worst case, and if my advisors tell me it won't hurt my ability to write off the expense, I'll pay the $150 via Tom's donation button.

Either way, I'll keep thread updated.
Old 6th September 2020
  #40
I, too, did have a bad experience with Onofrio. 2 years ago, I sent him one of my old U87i for evaluation. The main goal was to recap and check it, and to replace the HPF switch that was broken. He was friendly and quick to reply, so I decided to go ahead and sent him my precious mic.

A few weeks later, he told me the mic was ready and shipped it back. He asked me to pay $360, also via PayPal "donation"... I was, too, a bit concerned by that, since PayPal offer NO protection under those circumstances... Still, I wanted to trust the guy (and get my mic back quickly) so I sent the guy the payment immediately, but I think this is NOT a proper way of doing business, IMO! I was shocked to see the work sheet when the mic came back... He "cleaned" the capsule, replaced the switch, and repaired "6" solder joints. No new caps (he argued later that those do not need to be replaced), and no further testing, from what I could read.

The real surprise was when I tested the mic... The capsule was now cutting under breath test!! (and it was NOT when I sent the mic). I emailed him asking what happened, etc. He called me on the phone promptly and told me that my capsule needs to be replaced, and that he could make me a good price on a new one... WOW!... I was like "why did you sent the mic back to me in that condition, then? What did you "clean" exactly???" The conversation ended abruptly, and that was it. I paid (lost) $360 for a little plastic switch, 3 inches of solder, no recap, and to get my capsule damaged. Never ever again for me!

I'm now dealing directly with Neumann/Sennheiser when I need service, and guess what... Everything is fine!
Old 8th September 2020
  #41
Gear Maniac
 
clark_savant's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidChampoux View Post
I, too, did have a bad experience with Onofrio. 2 years ago, I sent him one of my old U87i for evaluation. The main goal was to recap and check it, and to replace the HPF switch that was broken. He was friendly and quick to reply, so I decided to go ahead and sent him my precious mic.
...

I'm now dealing directly with Neumann/Sennheiser when I need service, and guess what... Everything is fine!


2 years ago? You should have posted your experience on here! Could have given myself and others a useful heads up and maybe my experience could have been avoided... but so is life i guess

UPDATE:
Anyway, my tax professional, attorney, and referred C.T. attorney (counsel in the state where the suit would be filed if push came to shove) recommended that I pay via the Paypal donation and still write off the expense.

Despite having a strong case, the small claims court in CT are currently close and most likely won't reopen till early next year unless a vaccine is available and Covid is under control.

They said it's a near zero percent chance of being audited and if I was to get "audited" the saved email & text message documentation should be enough to deflect their interest in me (relative to this transaction anyway).

So I guess that's where this one ends... I'll pay it when I get confirmation that the mic will be shipped within a reasonable time (2-3 days of payment)...

Again, I hope this helps others in the future and provides additional context.
Old 8th September 2020
  #42
Lives for gear
 
toledo3's Avatar
 

I don’t understand what the strong case would be?

He has time sunk in, he is also going to ship the item back.

What is the real argument for not paying the method he has outlined? Could you not have asked what the pricing and method of payment was going to be? It seems that you ordered service already, and have no standing at all.

That method of paypal payment doesn’t impact you declaring it however you would want. You just need the invoice. It doesn’t keep him from reporting the income properly either. So I fail to see a problem there either.

I had made these comments above and deleted because I really don’t want to get in the middle, and anyone is well within their right to view service as bad if they see it that way. I have just decided to post because of the comment about having any sort of “good case” seems off.

Even if you just view it as appraisal from a professional, his appraisal comes in at a very low percentage of the cost of the item, whether in condition as sent to him or after repair.

I really do not think the cost is high for time put in either, when you consider the average rates of highly skilled technicians. It is great if someone wants to do something for free, but there doesn’t seem to be much of a valid argument for thinking someone’s time and expertise is devoid of value.
Old 9th September 2020
  #43
Gear Maniac
 
clark_savant's Avatar
 

holy toledo3 :P

Quote:
Originally Posted by toledo3 View Post
I don’t understand what the strong case would be?

He has time sunk in, he is also going to ship the item back.

What is the real argument for not paying the method he has outlined? Could you not have asked what the pricing and method of payment was going to be? It seems that you ordered service already, and have no standing at all.

That method of paypal payment doesn’t impact you declaring it however you would want. You just need the invoice. It doesn’t keep him from reporting the income properly either. So I fail to see a problem there either.

I had made these comments above and deleted because I really don’t want to get in the middle, and anyone is well within their right to view service as bad if they see it that way. I have just decided to post because of the comment about having any sort of “good case” seems off.

Even if you just view it as appraisal from a professional, his appraisal comes in at a very low percentage of the cost of the item, whether in condition as sent to him or after repair.

I really do not think the cost is high for time put in either, when you consider the average rates of highly skilled technicians. It is great if someone wants to do something for free, but there doesn’t seem to be much of a valid argument for thinking someone’s time and expertise is devoid of value.
No worries, you're entitled to your own opinion.

Strong case = there's clear documented evidence that he's holding my mic hostage unless I make a "donation" instead of "paying for a service". I couldn't care less if he claims the money it or not... my concern= peace of mind that all my tax-deductible transactions I made were done on the up-and-up so I know I have nothing to worry about. He wanted a "donation" for a clear "business service" and it seemed sketchy to me... regardless of personal opinion.

Furthermore, despite thinking that the cost was expensive, I was (and still am) more than willing to pay through what I understand to be a legitimate method that wouldn't cause me issues down the line when it came tax time. That's all.

My counsel asked me "do you want want the mic back relatively quick or do you want win a relatively meaningless dispute that can't even be herd in small claims court till maybe early-mid 2021, after the pandemic?"

So, as long as I can have peace of mind, that when push comes to shove I can defend myself from the IRS if need be, I'm fine with whatever. I'm not gonna blindly do something because you or Tom believes it doesn't matter. Especially when I was just hit with a bill for $150 unexpectedly, because I wasn't cautious with the same person who is now asking me to "donate" instead of pay for a service... a business service... as you said "has time sunk in" providing a business service, not feeding the hungry

I don't understand your point, and what I've said thus far is really simple to follow. Maybe you don't want to understand both sides of this situation... Maybe you just love supporting Tom... I don't know... I was thoughtful about the words I chose and did not want to come on here an bash him. Tom can chime in at point and say if I lied about or misrepresented anything...

Anyway, there's a material difference between "donation" vs "payment for service"... or at least the IRS thinks so... Each method of exchanging money has different implications on what/how you write the expenses off come tax time... from now on, when I go get the oil changed in all the (my) corporate vehicles my team uses exclusively for business, I'll donate to the mechanic through their PayPal donation link instead of setting up a vendor account and making taxable transactions... "no really Mr. & Mrs. IRS, tell uncle Sam Tom O. and toledo3 said it was ok"

My point in writing this is to inform people, despite the glowing reviews, to remain cautious and seek as much information up front to reduce the chances of a misunderstanding like this, from happening again. No more no less. Take it how you want.

Lastly, as I understand it and as David pointed out, there's no PayPal protection in the event that my mic comes back in worse physical condition then it was beforehand... so yes, I wanted to consult the attorneys and tax professionals I have on retainer anyway...

p.s. I shipped the mic via USPS to Tom for just under $55 with $3000 insurance... It might have took him one hour to evaluate the mic... assuming he evaluated it at all... and without haggling, I agreed to pay his asking price via proper means (aka not a donation for CLEAR business service). Also, if you're implying that he was painstakingly evaluating my mic everyday for a week, idk what to say... To be frank, I'm not 100% sure he actually evaluated my mic, based on the same cookie-cutter email I know he sent 3 other members on here, in addition to my young brother when he got his vintage U87 repaired... and 3 of the 5 mics were from different decades. That's suspect to me. Again, I had my reasons to be weary and the donation link was something I decided to get professional advice on. If you have your mind made up that I'm the bad guy for sharing my experiences, just say that...
Old 9th September 2020
  #44
Lives for gear
 
toledo3's Avatar
 

If it was me, I would have probably given you the option to pay a paypal invoice and the extra fees they charge for processing it that way, or possibly “friends and family” with a note in the memo field; then send the invoice separately.

The paypal “donation” link is just a practical way of avoiding having them take a huge percentage of the transaction and doesn’t have all of the implications you seem to think it does. You want to question that, fine, just giving my perspective.

It feels like he charged a reasonable amount, and that then you decided to use something irrelevant as an excuse to withhold money for services rendered.

I have seen many professionals in the audio and video industry use this method for transactions of much much more money, and have done so myself from both sides of the equation... and it is the first I have seen someone balk about it. If I had done work for someone and then they were not paying in a timely fashion, and then choosing to escalate it... well, I am not sure where I would go with it for sure, but I would definitely capture everything that person wrote about it online to use against them if need be. I think your posts leave you more exposed than you think they do.

If I go to a restaurant, and order a meal, eat it, then have a problem with the price because I didn’t bother to check...and didn’t check to see if I have whatever payment they take (cash only, specific card type, whatever)... maybe I am old school, but it feels like that’s on me, and the position of integrity is to pay what I truly do owe.
Old 9th September 2020
  #45
Quote:
Originally Posted by clark_savant View Post
Hello Gearslutz community,

Unfortunately, my current customer experience with Tom Onofiro is not congruent with all the previous posts in this thread.

So in the interest of fairness and full disclosure, for anyone else in the future who researches reviews like this before making purchasing and/or servicing decision, I want to share my personal experiences dealing with Tom (still occurring as of the writing of this - 9/6/20).

I've written two versions, so there could be a short concise version and a longer detail-rich one too. Everything I've included here is in writing and screenshots can be sent to verify, just PM me.

Short version:
I sent a u87 that I purchased from eBay to Tom to get a service quote (and maybe even serviced depending). After receiving the quote of $1600+, it was too expensive (since the eBay seller was paying for it, b/c they sold it to me as "in proper working condition" so I paid a little extra for the mic ($2800 shipped), however, it was not in proper working condition). So in an attempt to save the eBay deal and not have to return the mic to the seller, I asked Tom to send me back the mic so I can get a 2nd opinion (i'd obviously pay for return shipping). He then told me to pay $150 for the evaluation and return shipping, through the PayPal link. That caught me off-guard and seemed expensive, but I was in a hurry to get these price quotes within the allotted return window offered by eBay. When I went to his website to pay, the PayPal link brought me to PayPal's DONATION process, not service payment process. Since I was paying for the evaluation service and return shipping, I searched his website for the correct place to pay. That donation link was the only payment link on the website. So I emailed Tom and asked him to send me an invoice for the service(s) so I can pay it and move on. He just keeps telling me to use the link on his website that brings me to a donation process.

Currently, he still has my U87 and is holding it until I pay via donation link and won't send me an invoice. Furthermore, he informed me last night that he'll be leaving for FL next week...

My issues are (1) I never agreed to pay the $75-100 for the mic evaluation and he never disclosed that service fee to me... (2) he won't send me an invoice before payment, which may (or may not) impact my ability to write-off this expense come tax time (because I made a non-qualifying donation), and (3) the way he informed me of his impending departure to FL after I told him that I need to contact my attorney and tax professional for their advice, just rubbed me the wrong way.

So I have emails out to my attorney, CPA, Better Business Bureau, and IRS office in Waterbury CT. I don't anticipate hearing anything until Tuesday, but I will keep everyone posted via this thread.

Again screenshots verifying everything I've said are available upon request, just PM me. The goal is not to bash Tom, but to make the community aware that there's more than only positive reviews when dealing with him.

Below is a more nuanced and detail rich version of the situation.


The Extended Version:
Despite loving my Sony c-100, y'all convinced me to get a vintage u87 :P and be done with my vocal mic needs until the budget opens to get some "next level" processing equipment before other "more" high-end mics.

So I purchased a used '70's u87 (#26486) from eBay. I willingly paid a little extra for it ($2850 after international shipping, vat, customs etc.) because the seller told me it was in proper working condition. So, upon receiving the I did some initial recording and testing, and the mic was not in proper working condition. There was unpleasing distortion in the form of low level (but clearly audible in a distracting way) crackle and pops that matched the signal of the source material. Those same artifacts were not present when using my c-100 on the same source back-to-back. I informed the eBay seller about the issues and told them I still want the mic, but it needs to be serviced and they (the seller) would have to pay for it. The seller agreed to pay for it if the service price was reasonable, which I agreed was fair.

After researching who to send it to, top candidates were Tom and Klaus. With both having great reviews, but Klaus being more known as the modification guy, I decided to go with Tom.

After about a week with my mic, Tom got back to me and with a quote for $1650+. I informed the seller and we agreed that it doesn't make sense for him to pay that much relative to the amount he received for the mic. After speaking with to Tom to see if there were nonessential items that we could postpone, Tom said there was a $300 item/service that could wait... but again, that was still too expensive for the seller who was thinking $500-$1000 range. So to try and save the deal, instead of getting a refund from the seller, I informed Tom we're (the seller and I) are going to get at least one more opinion before deciding to return the mic or not.

He responded by telling me it would be $150. Which shocked me at first, but he claimed it was for the evaluation and return shipping. Despite him NEVER TELLING ME there was a charge for the evaluation (Klaus and other independent mic tech either don't charge or told me the price up front) I said okay no problem. Thinking to myself worst case it'll be a write-off come tax time. So I go to his website to find the services section and pay, but there was nothing. Only a PayPal button that brings the visitor to a "donation" page, which was unnerving to me so I emailed Tom back. I asked him to send me an invoice via his PayPal account so I can pay, get my mic and move on (because I had a couple time constraints variables I shared with Tom as a way to give him a better understanding of my situation and why the seller and I were engaging him).

Tom responds by telling me to use the PayPal button again. I responded back telling him that it's a link that leads to a donation process, but I am paying him for the service of inspecting my mic and shipping it back... simply put, I am willing to pay $150 for a service I didn't agree to, so I may get my microphone back; however, I would like an invoice so I won't have issues come tax time. He responds by telling me the invoice will enclosed and returned with the mic, and I essentially responded "that is a receipt". Invoices come before payment (it acts as a formal agreement to the services). And he kept echoing back the same thing.

I thought my position was more than reasonable, but then realized/remembered I disclosed to him my time constraints of (1) getting price quotes within the eBay time frame to submit a return case and (2) maybe purchase another '70s u87 that was was also for sale on eBay in better condition aesthetically (not that I care, as long as it works properly) if I did end up returning this one. Tom passively hinted that he'd be traveling from CT to FL next week, indicating that I should pay sooner than later, after I informed him that I contacted my tax professional and legal counsel and will be following up come Tuesday (after the holiday).

I will continue to keep everyone posted on this situation as it unwinds. Not sure if anything will come of it, but the goal is to provide a heads up to the next person. I am not saying "Don't use Tom," because his work must be good since it seems to be revered here, however just be aware this is/has been my experience.

I can hear you fellow business owners (as am I) getting ready to say why didn't you try to resolve this with him before coming and posting on here...
As a last ditch effort not to hurt the reputation he's built (and to selfishly help myself by resolving this issue quicker), I offered to pay him, through his PayPal donation button, $75 to ship the mic back to me and I'll leave the situation alone without publicly posting. I figured if he'd do that for me, he'd most likely do it for others who are in a similar position if push came to shove. But instead he repeated the same response to use the PayPal button and give him $150. So here we are.

Not sure if anyone has had a similar experience with Tom as of late, seeing that the last review was about 4 years ago, but I wanted to share and provide this user experience to the reviews on here about working with Tom.

As I've mentioned earlier, screenshots verifying everything I've said are available upon request, just PM me... or if the moderators deem it appropriate, I can post them in this thread to further prove the integrity and validity of my statements here.

However, despite being disenchanted with Tom and his handling of my service engagement with him, my intention is not irrevocably harm the reputation he has spent years building (and realistically speaking one post probably couldn't do that anyway); however, I will warn others to do their due diligence and ask direct questions before dealing with him.

As of the writing of this (Sunday - 9/16/20), he still has possession of my U87 and I have emails out to my attorney, CPA, Better Business Bureau, and IRS office in Waterbury CT. Worst case, and if my advisors tell me it won't hurt my ability to write off the expense, I'll pay the $150 via Tom's donation button.

Either way, I'll keep thread updated.
I find it strange to make such a big deal about not wanting to pay a tech for their time. Lawyering up and trying to ruin a reputation over what is obviously a modest fee for time spent, and a standard method of payment seems inappropriate to me
Old 9th September 2020
  #46
Lives for gear
 
Klaus's Avatar
 

A surefire way to avoid one of the biggest potential misunderstandings between customer and service provider:
Disclosing, preferably in writing, what the (minimum) service charges will be, before any work is started, and stating the precise nature and extent of that work.

My understanding of this episode (at least from one side of the fence) is that charges for previously not clearly defined services popped up unexpectedly AFTER some service was already performed.


I have been able to avoid this type of stressy nightmare for 35 years by:

1. Never charging for estimates

2. Never starting a job before I get a written agreement from the customer to my cost estimate for the recommended service

3. Never deviating from the original estimate, once it has been given and accepted by the customer, but eat the difference if additional work is needed which I had initially overlooked

Last edited by Klaus; 10th September 2020 at 03:01 AM..
Old 9th September 2020
  #47
Gear Maniac
 
clark_savant's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by toledo3 View Post
If it was me, I would have probably given you the option to pay a paypal invoice and the extra fees they charge for processing it that way, or possibly “friends and family” with a note in the memo field; then send the invoice separately.

The paypal “donation” link is just a practical way of avoiding having them take a huge percentage of the transaction and doesn’t have all of the implications you seem to think it does. You want to question that, fine, just giving my perspective.

It feels like he charged a reasonable amount, and that then you decided to use something irrelevant as an excuse to withhold money for services rendered.

I have seen many professionals in the audio and video industry use this method for transactions of much much more money, and have done so myself from both sides of the equation... and it is the first I have seen someone balk about it. If I had done work for someone and then they were not paying in a timely fashion, and then choosing to escalate it... well, I am not sure where I would go with it for sure, but I would definitely capture everything that person wrote about it online to use against them if need be. I think your posts leave you more exposed than you think they do.

If I go to a restaurant, and order a meal, eat it, then have a problem with the price because I didn’t bother to check...and didn’t check to see if I have whatever payment they take (cash only, specific card type, whatever)... maybe I am old school, but it feels like that’s on me, and the position of integrity is to pay what I truly do owe.
Again, you can have your own opinion...

And to your point, that first option would have been fine by me... and the issue could have been resolved that way.

However, that was a terrible analogy, so it's clear you don't understand the situation... maybe I didn't explain it well, or better yet, you have a strong bias towards supporting Tom irrespective of anything else.

A more appropriate analogy, if I was using your restaurant example, would be:
Bringing a friend (eBay seller trying to save our deal) to a highly recommended restaurant, recommended by a social club/community that I've been a part of for 5 years+ (aka gearslutz), waiting in line to be seated and served. Then being seated, given water & bread, and brought menus... to realize it was more expensive than expected. My friend and I inform the waiter of our intention to leave and would like to pay for the bread and water... but the waiter then says no... you also have to pay because you were seated... then I respond... "fair enough, I want to leave, where do I pay?" We don't accept legitimate forms of payment... you must "donate" to us via this process... so on and so forth...

But that's neither here or there... I didn't just decide to hop on here haphazardly... we had multiple email exchanges over a few days... and I was like really... all it could have prevented with a few questions upfront, but I overlooked it because of the glowing reviews on gearslutz... so i wanted to provide a warning to others... and you won't shame me out of sharing my actual experiences...

And please stop babying him like he's not a grown man...

I told him "hey, I'll give you $150 legitimately, or $75 through your donation and won't worry myself about writing it off". He kept on, so I told him I'd go out of my way to share my actual experiences on the online forums so people will have a heads up, and he kept on... here we are...

but i guess Tom is 100% in the right and I'm 100% in the wrong, according to you... so let me better understand your perspective... you believe Tom did everything right, and took proactive steps to avoid this then?... and I understand that "technically speaking" you only have my side of the story, but he can chime in whenever.
Old 10th September 2020
  #48
Gear Maniac
 
clark_savant's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by themiracle View Post
I find it strange to make such a big deal about not wanting to pay a tech for their time. Lawyering up and trying to ruin a reputation over what is obviously a modest fee for time spent, and a standard method of payment seems inappropriate to me
I don't know if you're trolling me or what... When did I say I did not want to pay the tech... if anything this whole issue is about me trying to "pay" the tech instead of "donate"...

Regarding your comments, big deal "no"... long read "yes"... it's a nuanced situation where context is needed to provide understanding. I chose what I believed to be the lesser of two evils (1) short and easy to read, but lacking detail and context... or (2) longer but provides context and understanding to avoid people saying "why didn't you do this? why didn't you do that? why did you do this? why did you do that? etc."

If you read it, you'll know I provided an option to pay the $150 legitimately, or have me donate $75 (which I would just take a loss on come tax time) to get the mic back and be done with it. Neither of those sufficed for him. Then I warned him that I'd didn't want to, but if we can't work this out, I'll (1) let people know about my experiences online (not everywhere online but the place where the strongest recommendations came from) and (2) find out what my options are legally and from a tax perspective... mind you, "work this out" in the context of that email meant "give me a better proposal if you don't like what I'm saying".

Also, I didn't start searching far and wide to "lawyer-up" because of this situation.. my life is organized in such a way that I happen to have legal and tax professionals handy for various reasons... so asking them for legal and tax advice isn't "such a big deal."

All in all, as I stated yesterday... I was advised that paying via donation link (under these circumstances) is legally defensible... so I'm fine with paying Tom via that method, however my posts still stand as my experience.
Old 10th September 2020
  #49
Lives for gear
 

A less than desirable trait in the service industry is vagueness. Clearly outlining the work being done/required, and why/how that is reflected in the cost of said work goes a long way, and frankly is pretty necessary to keeping your clientele happy and growing. If I were being absolutely honest, having used Toms services myself, I would say he can be party to extreme vagueness, coupled with what I would consider well above average pricing is not the best combination. That said, when I sent my mic for evaluation, I knew it would come at a price and one I was willing to pay regardless because of his talents. Personally, I have no real issues to speak of, though my mic did come back missing a screw. He’s pretty prompt with his replies which is better than most.

Last edited by Carabinerx; 10th September 2020 at 06:54 PM..
Old 10th September 2020
  #50
Lives for gear
 
toledo3's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by clark_savant View Post
Again, you can have your own opinion...

And to your point, that first option would have been fine by me... and the issue could have been resolved that way.

However, that was a terrible analogy, so it's clear you don't understand the situation... maybe I didn't explain it well, or better yet, you have a strong bias towards supporting Tom irrespective of anything else.

A more appropriate analogy, if I was using your restaurant example, would be:
Bringing a friend (eBay seller trying to save our deal) to a highly recommended restaurant, recommended by a social club/community that I've been a part of for 5 years+ (aka gearslutz), waiting in line to be seated and served. Then being seated, given water & bread, and brought menus... to realize it was more expensive than expected. My friend and I inform the waiter of our intention to leave and would like to pay for the bread and water... but the waiter then says no... you also have to pay because you were seated... then I respond... "fair enough, I want to leave, where do I pay?" We don't accept legitimate forms of payment... you must "donate" to us via this process... so on and so forth...

But that's neither here or there... I didn't just decide to hop on here haphazardly... we had multiple email exchanges over a few days... and I was like really... all it could have prevented with a few questions upfront, but I overlooked it because of the glowing reviews on gearslutz... so i wanted to provide a warning to others... and you won't shame me out of sharing my actual experiences...

And please stop babying him like he's not a grown man...

I told him "hey, I'll give you $150 legitimately, or $75 through your donation and won't worry myself about writing it off". He kept on, so I told him I'd go out of my way to share my actual experiences on the online forums so people will have a heads up, and he kept on... here we are...

but i guess Tom is 100% in the right and I'm 100% in the wrong, according to you... so let me better understand your perspective... you believe Tom did everything right, and took proactive steps to avoid this then?... and I understand that "technically speaking" you only have my side of the story, but he can chime in whenever.
I’m starting to understand why you have problems communicating given your quoting me, then proceeding to wildly mischaracterize.

I do agree with Klaus’s point about having people agree to something in writing before proceeding with work, and have always done that as well myself (as well as getting half of any estimate up front most of the time).

I hope you get your situation resolved, and good luck.

.
Old 10th September 2020
  #51
Gear Guru
If I had a bunch of communication with a guy who’s in business I’d figure I was going to be charged. I’d certainly ask.
Maybe his bad not telling customers but honestly they should ask especially sending back and forth?

Figure also there may be sales tax issues on goods and services hence the donation. Not easy to pay to states or internationally.,,,,

Just some thoughts...
Old 10th September 2020
  #52
Gear Maniac
 
clark_savant's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by toledo3 View Post
I’m starting to understand why you have problems communicating given your quoting me, then proceeding to wildly mischaracterize.

I do agree with Klaus’s point about having people agree to something in writing before proceeding with work, and have always done that as well myself (as well as getting half of any estimate up front most of the time).

I hope you get your situation resolved, and good luck.

.
To be fair I was being dramatic/sarcastic when I did that using your quote to make a point... I apologize.

And yes I paid Tom the $150 he requested (via donation) after I received confirmation from my team that there shouldn't be any issues writing it off.

The issue was never the amount... but the method coupled with the customer experience.
Old 11th September 2020
  #53
Gear Maniac
 
Weepit's Avatar
 

Damn, you could have made triple the money you paid Tom by working instead of typing a novel on GS.

Tax time...$150...hahahaha lookout the IRS is coming for you.

I paid Tom a decent amount to fix up some km84’s a few years ago and they came back sounding great. He was not very warm and fuzzy when communicating but that is common in this industry and I wasn’t looking for a buddy.
Old 11th September 2020
  #54
Lives for gear
 

Here in the UK (and tax is similar in the US) $150 expense will reduce your tax liability by $150 but as one basically pays roughly 33% tax on earnings that will equate to $50 off your tax bill not the whole $150. The $150 is just how much the liable profit total is reduced that you will pay 33% on.

So $50. What's that - about £35.

£35 will get you an average lunch for two with coffee and a cheap glass of wine each.

Honestly, last time I looked life on earth is roughly 30,000 days!.

Pay the man his $150 (by whatever method he prefers) forget about putting it down as an expense, wear the $50 tax saving you will miss out on, get your mic back and don't waste another of your precious days sweating the small stuff, it's simply not worth it.
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