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Charter Oak don't return gear sent in for service
Old 22nd September 2018
  #91
Gear Maniac
 

Sorry for this late update. What happened after the deadline arrived was that Charter Oak was still unable to send me a replacement. But they (Michael Deming) arranged a deal with Calistro Music, the dealer I originally bought the SCL-1 from. Calistro Music would send me a new SCL-1 free of charge, and in return Charter Oak would later send a SCL-1 plus a microphone to Calistro Music. Michael got himself a loan from Calistro Music, basically.

Calistro Music sent me the SCL-1 shortly after, and it is sitting in my studio now. But Calistro asked that I would not update the thread until they got the SCL-1 and the microphone from Charter Oak, only then should I write that everything worked out, and that both I and Calistro Music were happy.

Sadly, Charter Oak never sent the gear to Calistro Music, in spite of many promises that they would do so. I have asked Calistro several times if it would be ok if I update the thread, and he has always said, wait a little longer. But today I got this email:

"Hi Torstein
You can write whatever you want about Michael Deming and Charter Oak.
He is a very bad man. He kept promising to give me gear and never gave us anything.
Craig C.
Calistro Music"

I would like to say for the record that Calistro Music has always been a good dealer to me, and that I am sorry that now they too are being abused.

Torstein
Old 22nd September 2018
  #92
Lives for gear
 
ionian's Avatar
This is insane.
Old 22nd September 2018
  #93
Gear Guru
 
kafka's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ionian View Post
This is insane.
Agreed. Deming could have picked up a part-time job in Home Depot over the summer and refunded the money from that. Really. It's that simple. Doesn't value customers. Doesn't value dealers.
Old 22nd September 2018
  #94
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
Wow. This is just terrible.
Old 23rd September 2018
  #95
Wow. Just wow.
Old 23rd September 2018
  #96
UGP
Gear Nut
 

Craig Calistro is a good man. Bought from him many times and will continue to do so.
Old 23rd September 2018
  #97
Lives for gear
 

Craig is tops!
Old 23rd September 2018
  #98
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
I bought from him once or twice years ago no complaints.
Old 23rd September 2018
  #99
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by kafka View Post
Agreed. Deming could have picked up a part-time job in Home Depot over the summer and refunded the money from that. Really. It's that simple. Doesn't value customers. Doesn't value dealers.
"Well, in our country," said Alice, still panting a little, "you'd generally get to somewhere else—if you run very fast for a long time, as we've been doing."

"A slow sort of country!" said the Queen. "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"
Old 23rd September 2018
  #100
Lives for gear
 
TurboJets's Avatar
Never expected an ending like this. What a shame for all involved.
Old 23rd September 2018
  #101
Lives for gear
Ditto on Craig Calistro. Good guy to deal with.
Old 23rd September 2018
  #102
Lives for gear
 
DrSax's Avatar
Craig Calistro has been top notch in my experience as well. A good man indeed. I highly recommend Calistro Music. But Charter Oak... not so much. Although I like my SCL-1 Compressor a lot, I’ve had massive customer service issues in the past as well. My experience mimics the OP’s experience. Sent a unit in for repair a few years ago... waited months and nothing. Then found out my repaired unit was sold to someone else. Took more than a year to get it all squared away. And they never sent me the mic they promised after all the trouble. The lack of customer service caused me to sell all my Charter Oak gear except one compressor and a mic. It sure is a shame. Michael made some really excellent sounding gear. I know he went through some tough business transitions, but there’s no excuse for what’s happened to several of us customers the last few years.
Old 24th September 2018
  #103
Lives for gear
 

This was the best-worst company thread. This should just go in a retail and business 101 textbook on “how to fail”

Sucks that someone ended up getting efffed by charter oak in the end.
Old 24th September 2018
  #104
Old 24th September 2018
  #105
Quote:
Originally Posted by UGP View Post
Craig Calistro is a good man. Bought from him many times and will continue to do so.
I also purchased gear from Craig and he provided excellent service.
Old 24th September 2018
  #106
Gear Head
 

@ CT Yankee

Remind to never buy a Charter Oaks product... No, actually no need to.


Thanks for sharing, Torstein.
Old 24th September 2018
  #107
Gear Guru
When I originally read this thread I was dismayed because the passion and ass on the line devotion it takes to produce a specialty product in a boutique market, and be among the best out there. What really threw me was the owner attacking people who were critical as being in cahoots somehow in a plot to put him out of business. I really hope for the guy he can get himself back on track. People on here seem to think they are dealing with big companies and they really aren't. Developers run afoul of this when they make enthusiastic deadlines, and god forbid attempt humor, when english isn't their first language....These guys aren't slick PR people and even the ones good at it get "snake oiled" at some point by people who don't like their style.

Anyway, sad that people spin out and crash and burn. Keep in mind that even a company like API probably has many less full time employees than you might imagine, and are generally in the business because they do love sound and engineering. They could be making a lot more money selling out their dream and working for someone else. I won't comment on CO because I have no idea what is going on, but there are people who redeem themselves and the marketplace can be forgiving. That's the great thing about making music. Anyway would be great if the CO guy could come here and say something positive, the gear is top notch and sad if there won't be any more of it.....
Old 24th September 2018
  #108
Lives for gear
 
Sharp11's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ardis View Post
When I originally read this thread I was dismayed because the passion and ass on the line devotion it takes to produce a specialty product in a boutique market, and be among the best out there. What really threw me was the owner attacking people who were critical as being in cahoots somehow in a plot to put him out of business. I really hope for the guy he can get himself back on track. People on here seem to think they are dealing with big companies and they really aren't. Developers run afoul of this when they make enthusiastic deadlines, and god forbid attempt humor, when english isn't their first language....These guys aren't slick PR people and even the ones good at it get "snake oiled" at some point by people who don't like their style.

Anyway, sad that people spin out and crash and burn. Keep in mind that even a company like API probably has many less full time employees than you might imagine, and are generally in the business because they do love sound and engineering. They could be making a lot more money selling out their dream and working for someone else. I won't comment on CO because I have no idea what is going on, but there are people who redeem themselves and the marketplace can be forgiving. That's the great thing about making music. Anyway would be great if the CO guy could come here and say something positive, the gear is top notch and sad if there won't be any more of it.....
Good post.

I was one of Mike's early purchasers, having bought my 538b back in 2006. I've used it for years and Mike's customer service in the beginning was exemplary.

I don't know what's happening over there today, but he's essentially a one-man operation with an expanded product line.

I hope everything works out for the best.
Old 25th September 2018
  #109
Lives for gear
 
DrSax's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ardis View Post
When I originally read this thread I was dismayed because the passion and ass on the line devotion it takes to produce a specialty product in a boutique market, and be among the best out there. What really threw me was the owner attacking people who were critical as being in cahoots somehow in a plot to put him out of business. I really hope for the guy he can get himself back on track. People on here seem to think they are dealing with big companies and they really aren't. Developers run afoul of this when they make enthusiastic deadlines, and god forbid attempt humor, when english isn't their first language....These guys aren't slick PR people and even the ones good at it get "snake oiled" at some point by people who don't like their style.

Anyway, sad that people spin out and crash and burn. Keep in mind that even a company like API probably has many less full time employees than you might imagine, and are generally in the business because they do love sound and engineering. They could be making a lot more money selling out their dream and working for someone else. I won't comment on CO because I have no idea what is going on, but there are people who redeem themselves and the marketplace can be forgiving. That's the great thing about making music. Anyway would be great if the CO guy could come here and say something positive, the gear is top notch and sad if there won't be any more of it.....
I have been one of Michael’s most dedicated CO users. I would LOVE to see him turn it around. (I’ve owned 3 or 4 of his mics, 2 comps and his stereo EQ). I really hope he finds a way to recover from tough times and get back on track. I’ve been rooting for him since day one. He makes some outstanding sounding products and with proper customer support his gear would be selling like hotcakes. It’s all about the customer service. And that goes for every company. Without proper customer service confidence to own that company’s product goes away. These are high end audio tools and customers need to know they can get them fixed quickly and affordably if something goes wrong. I work on lots of high profile music, and may get asked for a recall at any moment. I need confidence that the gear I’m using is easily serviceable by technicians that know the product inside out with quick turnaround times, and that the company has a great reputation. Charter Oak
had a great reputation early on. It would be nice to see them rebound, but they have some customers and companies to get right with before that will happen.
Old 25th September 2018
  #110
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrSax View Post
It’s all about the customer service.
With the price of some of this gear it certainly should be. This is the biggest of several reasons I support Chandler, because they have supported the living **** out of me.

I just can't imagine having to go through anything like what the OP did. Heartbreaking really.

Also seems criminal that Calistro ended up getting hurt too. Craig's been super solid with me. Highly recommended.
Old 25th September 2018
  #111
Moderator
 
matt thomas's Avatar
My personal experience is that Charter Oak have the best customer service that I have ever dealt with. And I've mentioned that in a number of threads here on gearslutz.

Not saying that you didn't have the experiences you have, but it is the complete opposite of mine. I have no personal interest to make me say that either.

Matt
Old 25th September 2018
  #112
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tlindaas View Post
You can write whatever you want about Michael Deming and Charter Oak. He is a very bad man. He kept promising to give me gear and never gave us anything.
I could type for days about this, but I won't. Short and sweet, running any small business involves risk. You do what you can, but to a certain degree you have to trust The Force. Sometimes The Force won't play ball. But that doesn't make you a "very bad man."

I've been stiffed a few times, mostly by people who were simply unlucky. And once by a pair of brothers who are very bad men.
Old 25th September 2018
  #113
Gear Nut
 

To be a liar and not a man of your word seems like a very bad man to me. Maybe I and just too old fashioned though...
Old 25th September 2018
  #114
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Issadore View Post
To be a liar and not a man of your word seems like a very bad man to me. Maybe I and just too old fashioned though...
I understand. But why not stop at "write what you want?" And why assume that the person isn't going to publicly quote your private email and make it potentially libelous?

Last edited by Brent Hahn; 25th September 2018 at 04:50 PM..
Old 1st October 2018
  #115
Here for the gear
 

Same kind of problem with Charter Oak and Michael Deming here.

I'm very sad I have to post this, I really think the SCL1 is a fantastic compressor and would want to believe Charter Oak is a responsible company but after discovering this thread I've asked Michael to play fair. Since I've had no response from him. It's (only...) 3 months since I've sent my SCL1 for service, not two years like tlindaas, but it appears it takes the same path...

My SCL1 was working but had some strange behavior on certain material. After a skype call with Michael to check a few voltages inside the unit, it appears that it would be best to send it back at the factory. Finally Michael told me to send it at his home address because my unit were apparently build in the original Connecticut factory and was too old to be serviced by Charter Oak's actual contract manufacturer...

I did so and this was the beginning of troubles... Apparently my unit is too old to be fixed because it would cost too much to bring it to the actual design of the SCL1. So Michael offers me to replace it for a new unit at a good price, telling me he would give me that price soon... I bought my SCL1 used, so it sounds like a fair deal to me. But he never sent me any offer. However he was always responding my emails, we had a few phone call, he was very kind and seems helpful. At one point he explains me that their production line has been relocated in the US so it would take a few weeks before they could send me a new SCL1. Again he told me he would send me his offer, but he never did.

In his last mail, he told me he was in the hospital. Maybe this is true, I don't know. But given the replies on this thread it appears to be difficult to know what to believe or not...

Now I have no news from him anymore. So I am publicly asking this to Michael Deming / CT Yankee : be honest and explain if Charter Oak is indeed able to manufacture and service his products or not. I also expect you to propose real solutions, not promises, to customers who have sent their gear to you.

Antoine


p.s : As tlindaas, here are a snippets of the emails I've got :

08.01 - "Yes we have it and will start to look into it today."
08.16 - "I have an engineer working on it and will be able to give you some feedback by the end of the day tomorrow. I expect a report from him before then."
08.18 - "Yes we're opting for replacing the unit with a new one. Will call you early in the week to discuss."
08.22 - "Can we reschedule our SKYPE to Friday. I have to take one of my people to Kennedy Airport tomorrow at the time that we should be on SKYPE. Please let me know."
08.27 - " I was literally writing an email to you when your email came to me!
I have had to go into Manhattan again today so I would like to postpone until 2PM tomorrow. I am sorry to postpone but I am working alone as some of my people are away on vacation and I have no one available to go into New York today to tend to the project we're doing. I will be at me desk tomorrow. If 2PM is not good for you. Please let me know a good time and I will adjust my schedule for you so we can meet. I appreciate it!"
09.03 - "I'm sorry I forgot that this weekend and today are the labor day holiday and no one is working. I will be back in the office and my people will be available tomorrow so I can send you the proposal. You should have it before the end of business."
09.10 -" I should have the information we need by tomorrow end of business and will give you a phone call."
09.12 - "I will be in touch today. I am very sorry for the delay but am wokint alone for the past few weeks in the office. It's a nightmare, In any event, we can as I told you provide a new unit at the cost of goods which is the number I am waiting for from my engineering people. The problem is that it's constantly fluctuating because of some of the parts costs. However, I yelled at him and told him that our customer is getting impatient and should not have to wait so lo¦g for thsi number. He promised to get it to me tomorrow. I am going to try you on SKYPE."
09.24 - "'m sorry. I'm in the hospital, I had a stroke. I'll call you as soon as I can. I'm not allowed to use my phone often. I'll be in touch soon."
Old 1st October 2018
  #116
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by altSonik View Post
Same kind of problem with Charter Oak and Michael Deming here.

I'm very sad I have to post this, I really think the SCL1 is a fantastic compressor and would want to believe Charter Oak is a responsible company but after discovering this thread I've asked Michael to play fair. Since I've had no response from him. It's (only...) 3 months since I've sent my SCL1 for service, not two years like tlindaas, but it appears it takes the same path...

My SCL1 was working but had some strange behavior on certain material. After a skype call with Michael to check a few voltages inside the unit, it appears that it would be best to send it back at the factory. Finally Michael told me to send it at his home address because my unit were apparently build in the original Connecticut factory and was too old to be serviced by Charter Oak's actual contract manufacturer...

I did so and this was the beginning of troubles... Apparently my unit is too old to be fixed because it would cost too much to bring it to the actual design of the SCL1. So Michael offers me to replace it for a new unit at a good price, telling me he would give me that price soon... I bought my SCL1 used, so it sounds like a fair deal to me. But he never sent me any offer. However he was always responding my emails, we had a few phone call, he was very kind and seems helpful. At one point he explains me that their production line has been relocated in the US so it would take a few weeks before they could send me a new SCL1. Again he told me he would send me his offer, but he never did.

In his last mail, he told me he was in the hospital. Maybe this is true, I don't know. But given the replies on this thread it appears to be difficult to know what to believe or not...

Now I have no news from him anymore. So I am publicly asking this to Michael Deming / CT Yankee : be honest and explain if Charter Oak is indeed able to manufacture and service his products or not. I also expect you to propose real solutions, not promises, to customers who have sent their gear to you.

Antoine


p.s : As tlindaas, here are a snippets of the emails I've got :

08.01 - "Yes we have it and will start to look into it today."
08.16 - "I have an engineer working on it and will be able to give you some feedback by the end of the day tomorrow. I expect a report from him before then."
08.18 - "Yes we're opting for replacing the unit with a new one. Will call you early in the week to discuss."
08.22 - "Can we reschedule our SKYPE to Friday. I have to take one of my people to Kennedy Airport tomorrow at the time that we should be on SKYPE. Please let me know."
08.27 - " I was literally writing an email to you when your email came to me!
I have had to go into Manhattan again today so I would like to postpone until 2PM tomorrow. I am sorry to postpone but I am working alone as some of my people are away on vacation and I have no one available to go into New York today to tend to the project we're doing. I will be at me desk tomorrow. If 2PM is not good for you. Please let me know a good time and I will adjust my schedule for you so we can meet. I appreciate it!"
09.03 - "I'm sorry I forgot that this weekend and today are the labor day holiday and no one is working. I will be back in the office and my people will be available tomorrow so I can send you the proposal. You should have it before the end of business."
09.10 -" I should have the information we need by tomorrow end of business and will give you a phone call."
09.12 - "I will be in touch today. I am very sorry for the delay but am wokint alone for the past few weeks in the office. It's a nightmare, In any event, we can as I told you provide a new unit at the cost of goods which is the number I am waiting for from my engineering people. The problem is that it's constantly fluctuating because of some of the parts costs. However, I yelled at him and told him that our customer is getting impatient and should not have to wait so lo¦g for thsi number. He promised to get it to me tomorrow. I am going to try you on SKYPE."
09.24 - "'m sorry. I'm in the hospital, I had a stroke. I'll call you as soon as I can. I'm not allowed to use my phone often. I'll be in touch soon."
Call the local authorities (his, not yours) and report fraud.

And if you shipped it USPS I'd call them too. That's mail fraud, which is serious business.
Old 1st October 2018
  #117
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tlindaas View Post
Sorry for this late update. What happened after the deadline arrived was that Charter Oak was still unable to send me a replacement. But they (Michael Deming) arranged a deal with Calistro Music, the dealer I originally bought the SCL-1 from. Calistro Music would send me a new SCL-1 free of charge, and in return Charter Oak would later send a SCL-1 plus a microphone to Calistro Music. Michael got himself a loan from Calistro Music, basically.

Calistro Music sent me the SCL-1 shortly after, and it is sitting in my studio now. But Calistro asked that I would not update the thread until they got the SCL-1 and the microphone from Charter Oak, only then should I write that everything worked out, and that both I and Calistro Music were happy.

Sadly, Charter Oak never sent the gear to Calistro Music, in spite of many promises that they would do so. I have asked Calistro several times if it would be ok if I update the thread, and he has always said, wait a little longer. But today I got this email:

"Hi Torstein
You can write whatever you want about Michael Deming and Charter Oak.
He is a very bad man. He kept promising to give me gear and never gave us anything.
Craig C.
Calistro Music"

I would like to say for the record that Calistro Music has always been a good dealer to me, and that I am sorry that now they too are being abused.

Torstein
They should also call and report fraud.
Old 1st October 2018
  #118
Quote:
Now I have no news from him anymore. So I am publicly asking this to Michael Deming / CT Yankee : be honest and explain if Charter Oak is indeed able to manufacture and service his products or not. I also expect you to propose real solutions, not promises, to customers who have sent their gear to you.
I'm steering way clear of this company.
Old 2nd October 2018
  #119
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by drpeacock View Post
Call the local authorities (his, not yours) and report fraud.

And if you shipped it USPS I'd call them too. That's mail fraud, which is serious business.
I'd rather not to do that, I still want to believe we can reach a solution with MD, but yes that's what I'm gonna do if he continues to ignore my messages...

CT Yankee will you show up here ?
Old 2nd October 2018
  #120
Gear Guru
In the post (altSonic) above sounded like he had a stroke no? In the back and forth sounded like he was scrambling. I think anyone should realise when buying gear these guys are usually engineers first and business people second or third..... It's easy to get in over your head and ironically most small businesses go belly up trying to expand too quickly. Hope there's a happy end to the tale.......
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