Horn damaged by a tech



  • I hope this post is in the right forum. To clarify, I'm not looking to bash this tech. I'm not looking to cry over spilled milk. And I'm not looking for advice on refurbishing a horn. I'm just trying to decide what would be a fair way to resolve this issue.

    I recently refurbished my 1965 Strad. This included relacquering the horn. This past month, I had a tech work on a mechanical issue. This tech had the horn for several weeks, and the mechanical issue is better. But the horn has new scratches on it, mostly on the side along the bell bow. The lacquer is brand new, and was 100% before the work. There are now moderate depth scratches along this area.

    I want to be fair. The damage is mostly cosmetic. But the horn was cosmetically perfect before this. I'm going to bring the horn back to him tomorrow. Would you just let it go? Would you insist he pay to strip the horn, buff out the scratches, and re-lacquer? Would you ask for something in between?

    Thanks!
    Mike



  • If the tech is 100% responsible for the damage, then he needs to make it right...and at his cost.



  • Thanks Kujo20. I agree 100%, and that might be what I ask for. At the same time, I realize I'm not the first person this has happened to. And I'm wondering how other people have resolved the issue.

    I'd love to hear from Ivan or other techs, to get their perspective.

    Mike


  • Qualified Repair Techs

    My situation as a tech is different than most as the majority of the stuff I work on belongs to the shop and has not been sold yet. However, we do occasionally do some return and repair for customer care issues. In these cases I always speak up if there is a chance I won’t be able to make it look as nice as it did before. I will also send the more complicated things that might be outside my current ability to the head tech. If this shop has more than one tech you may need to discuss with management. If he’s a shop owner, dispute it but find someone better. As far as what you can get with the dispute, it will probably depend on your state’s laws, and what your tech is willing to admit to. If you don’t have dated photos of what it looked like before, you might not get much. My personal gear is insured under its own policy, which includes repair costs. You may want to look at this option in the future.



  • @flugelgirl said in Horn damaged by a tech:

    My situation as a tech is different than most as the majority of the stuff I work on belongs to the shop and has not been sold yet. However, we do occasionally do some return and repair for customer care issues. In these cases I always speak up if there is a chance I won’t be able to make it look as nice as it did before. I will also send the more complicated things that might be outside my current ability to the head tech. If this shop has more than one tech you may need to discuss with management. If he’s a shop owner, dispute it but find someone better. As far as what you can get with the dispute, it will probably depend on your state’s laws, and what your tech is willing to admit to. If you don’t have dated photos of what it looked like before, you might not get much. My personal gear is insured under its own policy, which includes repair costs. You may want to look at this option in the future.

    I was hoping you and Ivan would reply. Thanks.

    You're absolutely right, that this is his word against mine. Why should he believe me? Why should anyone on this forum believe me? The tech in question is the shop owner, so that simplifies things a bit.

    Mike


  • Global Moderator

    From a legal perspective, your only way to be made whole would be to sue the tech and win in court. Although having a good case helps, it's likely to be far more expensive than purchasing a brand new horn, or having it repaired correctly. Some states won't allow you to collect attorney fees in consumer damages cases, even if you do win.



  • @administrator said in Horn damaged by a tech:

    From a legal perspective, your only way to be made whole would be to sue the tech and win in court. Although having a good case helps, it's likely to be far more expensive than purchasing a brand new horn, or having it repaired correctly. Some states won't allow you to collect attorney fees in consumer damages cases, even if you do win.

    Thanks for your input. I agree that small claims court is always an option, but I agree that it's not always a good option. But just to clarify, I haven't spoken to the tech yet.

    Mike



  • There are a lot of factors to consider in this really frustrating situation.

    The first is that it indeed is too costly to file suit relative to the loss involved. This gives the business owner power over you.

    However, to the extent that you are able to document your statements and not cross the defamation line, you are able to spread the word about the business and the tech, which in the internet age can have significant impact on future sales - giving you power over them.

    Lastly, there is the issue that every time you you buff down a horn, you alter it - although a 65 strad bell bow is pretty beefy, so probably not that much of an issue and brand new epoxy will blend seamlessly.

    Seems like negotiation with the business owner is the place to start - just have a range of options you consider acceptable predetermined. Should that fail, you can then choose between a scenario where you lose, or one where everybody loses. Personally, I find that follow through makes it clear to the next guy that I am not bluffing..

    In any case, I would assume you will not be patronizing that business in the future.


  • Global Moderator

    If it were me, I would strip the lacquer off the horn. I love a good "raw brass" Bach. But, I understand, that does not solve the issue. So, again, if it were me, I would kindly ask the tech to refund the money I spent, and then I would strip the lacquer.



  • I would show the horn to the tech and ask him what he suggests.. His answer might then tell you what your next step would be.



  • @Kehaulani said in Horn damaged by a tech:

    .. His answer might then tell you what your next step would be.

    Which may be suing his a$$.

    He damaged a spectacularly maintained horn. He IS responsible for this. TMD should not have to pay out to another person to cover up for an unscrupulous tech.

    Less aggressive TMD would be reporting this to the Better Business Bureau. This needs to be documented to prevent others from this heart ache.



  • @administrator said in Horn damaged by a tech:

    If it were me, I would strip the lacquer off the horn. I love a good "raw brass" Bach. But, I understand, that does not solve the issue. So, again, if it were me, I would kindly ask the tech to refund the money I spent, and then I would strip the lacquer.

    I have a "raw brass" horn (the Olds Super Recording I posted on another thread). Gotta admit, it is one of my best looking horns thanks to Maas brass products!


  • Qualified Repair Techs Credentialed Professional

    I am sorry that your beautifully finished Strad has been damaged.

    In the absence of details any response is hypothetical. Yes, on the face of it the instrument should not have picked up any scratches. But, not knowing the details of the mechanical issues, we do not know what the appropriate remedy would have entailed. Therefore we cannot know what measures needed to be employed to remedy them. Consider the person going in for hip replacement surgery and being upset by the cosmetic disfigurement of surgical stitches.

    The scratches are an unintended result of whatever incident caused the mechanical issues. If the mechanical issues are a result of a pre-lacquering situation, they should have been picked up by the refinishers. If the mechanical issues are from a post-lacquering incident then the scratches are a consequence of that event.



  • As I decide on my techs and use them repeatedly, I would normally check the horn when picking up and discuss whatever immediately. Repeat business is the argument that ALWAYS gets attention. In the case that you do NOT have a current relationship with this tech, try to visit him in person. You mentioned relaquering. Depending on the lacquer, a touch up may be just fine. There are magicians out there!



  • Thanks again for everyone who provided comments and suggestions. They were helpful.

    I took the horn back to the repair shop. I decided that I would not ask for the horn to be stripped and relacquered. Although I think this was well within my rights. And I think I could have put pressure on him, if he refused to do this. (And to his credit, he hesitatingly suggested this as a possible solution.)

    But I wanted him to know the damage he caused, and to acknowledge what he did. And I wanted him to either address the damage in some way, or refund my money for the work he performed. The tech was apologetic, and addressed the problem. It's not back to 100%, but it's better. It was a compromise. But in the future, for a number of reasons, I won't be going back.

    Mike



  • Mike if you want it perfect again the is no one better than Tom Green.



  • @Dr-GO said in Horn damaged by a tech:

    Mike if you want it perfect again the is no one better than Tom Green.

    Absolutely. Thanks for the suggestion Gary. At this point, I'm pretty much the only one who knows it's not perfect, unless you look closely.

    Mike


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