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I guess over the years many of you have heard me talk of shows and dealers.  Recently I had the opportunity to have a great discussion with one of our sponsors and a man that has been one of my personal dealer for many years.  Let me ramble a little if you don't mind.

Most folks come to knife collecting as either a pattern collector or a brand collector.  I came as a brand collector, Case.  Hooked on the original Case Classics and wharncliff blades from day one.  At that time there were a handful of dealers that were on the internet and carried those pieces.  Out of that handful, there were four that were willing to answer the phone or emails from a young lady just learning about knives and Case in particular.  One I will never forget.  His name was Dwight and he was in TX.  It would be easy to say we purchased around 200 knives from him over the span of about 5 years.  I would see something on his site, send him an email asking about it and he never failed to respond with a bit of history about the knife.

When I switched to GEC as a focus of my collection, I found a dealer that even stepped that up a notch.  He would call me or send an email with something he had bought that fit into my collection.  A proto or a less than 10 production numbered knife.  Something he certainly did not have to do to sell the knife at a premium and quickly, at that time there were only 3 or 4 GEC dealers and they were rarely found on ebay.  

As my collecting taste changed, he remained steady.  Calling or emailing me anytime a knife he thought I might be interested in come through his door.  To this day, before I search ebay for a knife to give away here, I have a good look at the offerings from our sponsors.  It is my way remaining loyal to those dealers that have served me so well.

Just so that you do not believe all my knives were hand picked and perfect, I have returned many.  Another reason to believe in the dealers I went to and those here as sponsors is how they handle that! THAT is what I wanted to talk about this morning.

We as collectors are notoriously picky, and we have a right to be.  I once told a manufacture that a user will buy 2 knives a year from you where a collector will average 2 knives a month, if you offer the right blend of style and quality.  Most of us will remain loyal to a manufacture for years if not decades.  That means we are the bread and butter of most brands.  It also means that we are the most disappointed if the knife is not the perfect gem we waited by the mailbox for.  We all know that pain.

For the purpose of this discussion, we are going to say there is a bit of blade wobble.  Not bad and it locks up tight but you can feel it and you know it is there.  I know what I do first, but what do YOU do? 

 

Tags: What, disappointed?, do, when, you

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I once bought a Case Sodbuster Jr. from SMKW.  It had a blemish on the tang.  If I had bought it for a user I would probably have kept it.  The blemish would not have affected its usability.  But since I had bought it for my collection I sent it back to SMKW to exchange for another Sodbuster Jr.  When the replacement came, it too had a blemish.  I sent it back and used the money to purchase a different knife.

I bought a Jim Bowie (Eye Brand) Wharncliffe Whittler with yellow comp scales. The scales were the best looking "yella" that I've seen, but the secondary blades were not right. They were too thin, not just the blade but thought. They didn't fit the designed space and were loose.
Long story short, dealer wanted to charge a hefty restocking fee, so it now sits under the computer monitor and serves as a reminder to either buy from a TRUSTED dealer, or to buy in person.

I like your idea, JJ!  

A few years ago, I got into the pattern I can really only identify as the Queen Mountain Man (others make it, or made it, or maybe have Queen make it for them maybe -- like Robeson, maybe? -- as well as Boker Plus, & Colonel Coon, & even Kabar's large Dog's Head; Queen even has a "tactical" all black version with a thumb stud).  

I bought one with the Remington name on it from SMKW while I was really into this pattern.  Listed at around $100, this one was going for around $50 on clearance.  Wasn't sure what to expect, didn't have my sights set too high.  What I got was a very poorly finished, light-duty piece of crap I wouldn't have bought for $25.  Especially disappointing because I remember it being listed at around $100, & I guess I really expected, not to be wowed by any means, but a $100 knife to be something worthy of at least the basic user's standards.  This one was not, not at all.

It seemed like it really wasn't worth the return shipping, so it's been slipped aside, somewhere out of sight, out of mind.

In the year following this purchase, I got a phone call from SMKW letting me know they had the same model for sale in an updated version for that year.  I deleted the message & didn't respond.  SMKW is not a small dealer that knows my personalized tastes.  That phone call meant only one thing to me:  "We got more of those Remingtons in stock, they're just as crappy as the ones last year, & we really only have one hope of unloading them -- on people that bought one last year & didn't return it."

Oh well.

I'll pass the word around to a few friends who do the same for me

AND

never purchase from them (vendor) again.

.

Plain & simple.

Addendum: I started collecting .. stampings. OLD & hard to find (rare) stampings. As such .. didn't go through dealers. Did the Antique store & pawn shop routes instead. It's only been of late that I've started collecting knives that require I go to a dealer .. auto's & "unique" designs.

.

Still ...



D ale said:

I'll pass the word around to a few friends who do the same for me

..............................  AND  ..............................

never purchase from them (vendor) again.

.

Plain & simple.

Dale,

Do you give the dealer the chance to "make it right"?

What does "make it right " mean to all of us????

i buy alot of knives,and im disappointed in case,i hear the roar.but yhe hundreds of case knives ive got 25% are faulty,i also have offshore knives and almost all are good,this is are fault.

Aggravates me when dealers say they will not honor a manufacturers warranty, Jan.
To 'make it right" dealers need to stand by their product and be willing to make efforts to ensure that the customer gets a properly functioning knife.

I will give two instances of a vendor "making it right" for me.

The first I already mentioned above, the two Sodbuster Jrs. I returned to SMKW.  The blemishes on both knives were minor and would not have affected the knives usability.  SMKW took back both knives and returned my money.

In the second case, I had purchased two different hand scrimshawed Rough Rider knives from an eBay seller.  When the knives came, one knife was not the one I had purchased and the other one had the wrong box.  I contacted the seller and he said the wrong knife was one from his own collection and had been sent by mistake.  He said the right knife had already been sent to another buyer.  He said he didn't have the right box for the other knife.  He told me to keep both knives and he refunded my money.  Since the knife from his own collection was sent to me by mistake and he treated me right, I sent that knife back to him.  He thanked me for sending the knife back.  He said it meant a lot to him.

check the links box here,theyre a great bunch,ill vouch for most of them ive delt with.its not all about blades its trust and family.

Usually .. I don't consider it worth my time. i.e. If one presents themselves as purveyors of fine cutlery .. why'd I get it to begin with ???
.
I have .. on one occasion .. went back to the manufacturer .. Case Cutlery. I was gifted a mini copperlock by someone dear to me. Jigged bone scales. Cracked jigged bone. Anyway .. I sent it to Case w/ a cogent & concise letter .. emphasizing the sentimental value. I received both a replacement & the original knife back .. at no charge. I became a CCC life member that same week.

.

Otherwise ......... !!!. NO .!!! 

I have heard too many horror stories.

I write it off as a learning experience & simply move on !!!



Jan Carter said:

Dale,

Do you give the dealer the chance to "make it right"?

What does "make it right " mean to all of us????

WARNING:  I just wrote a book.  Sorry about the long response.  I guess I had more to say about this than I thought when I started typing.

In the scenario that Jan provided, a little blade wobble, I'd attempt to fix it myself.  Blade wobble can usually be taken out pretty easily with a couple taps of the hammer or a little squeeze in the vise.  I'm not afraid to make small adjustments like this, and it doesn't bother me at all to do it.  I'd prefer if the knife came without the issues in the first place, but I've become so used to getting knives that have some kind of issue that I guess I'm relieved when the issue is something that I can take care of and get on with enjoying my knife.  If it's something that I can rectify without taking the knife apart I'll do that.  If the fix involves disassembling, and I can't "just live with it", the knife goes back.

There is only one experience that stands out in my mind as negative in regards to getting taken care of when I received a knife with issues.  I bought two slipjoints with buffalo horn covers from an online dealer.  This particular dealer is well known here, and one that I bought from regularly.  In the past there had been issues, but I had been extremely impressed with how they were handled.  Well, prior to these two knives I had only ever owned one knife with buffalo horn on it.  I have read all over that buffalo horn isn't very stable if it's not properly cured before being used.  I had exchanged emails with the dealer explaining that I wasn't very experienced with buffalo horn and was interested in buying a couple from his site.  He was very helpful, if a bit short.  I felt comfortable enough to go ahead and order the knives.  When I got the knives there were significant gaps around the horn.  A couple of the gaps were big enough that I could clearly see the liner between the cover and the bolster.  I again contacted the dealer with questions as to how horn behaves and whether or not these gaps would get worse.  He responded with "Send it back. Be sure to include a note telling me what's wrong with it."  I sent another email asking if it's possible that the horn was just a bit dry and that oiling it would help the issue at all.(I really liked the knives other than the gaps.)  I wrote a pretty lengthy email and included pictures.  I was sincerely trying to understand what I was seeing and figure out if there was something wrong with these knives or if my expectations were off.  His response was "Not unusual for buffalo horn to shrink."  These two quotes include his entire correspondence.  Before the purchase i was getting my questions answered, and a little bit of extra info.  He was short, but helpful.  After my purchase i was getting one sentence responses.  Disappointed, I sent the knives back and shortly afterwards saw that the dealer had changed his return policy to include a 15% restocking fee and stating that quality issues must be dealt with through the manufacturer.

This experience left a bad taste in my mouth for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, the level of service substantially declined once the dealer had my money in his hands.  Before my purchase I was treated as a valued customer, afterwards I was treated as a problem.  Secondly, I had messaged the dealer with my concerns before making a purchase.  He knew what my comfort level was and what knives I was looking at.  He had pictures of the specific knives that I bought, so he had personally handled each of them.  The pictures were angled in such a way that the gaps didn't show (I went back and checked).  After our initial correspondence, I would have expected that the dealer would ensure that the knives he was shipping out were up to snuff.  That just didn't happen.  Thirdly, the change in his return policy indicates to me that he's perfectly comfortable sending out shoddy products and doesn't want to be bothered with the repercussions.


The same week I that this was going on I saw another buffalo horn covered slipjoint from the same line on the site of another dealer.  I messaged them just like I had the first dealer and let them know about my inexperience with buffalo horn, but that I really like the look of it.  I placed an order for the knife and within an hour got an email stating that they had pulled out the knife I ordered and it had some gap issues.  They found another one in their stock that had similar characteristics, but was put together much better.  They wanted to know if they could send me that one instead.  It took them all of two minutes to ensure that they were preempting the problem and that I would be happy with my purchase.

Despite the fact that the second dealer charges higher prices I have bought 15 - 20 more knives from them and have yet to make another purchase from the first dealer.  The second dealer treats me like a valued customer no matter what stage of the sales process we're in.  They even treat me right when I'm not making purchases from them.  As somebody that has worked in retail, and currently owns a business where I sell physical goods to customers, I can't imagine trying to wash my hands of problems by referring the customer back to the manufacturer.  It's the worst kind of bad customer service.  In my mind I'm buying a knife from the dealer.  I'm their customer.  The dealer is buying from the manufacturer.  The dealer is the manufacturer's customer.  If there's a problem with a product I take it to the person I bought it from and they deal with the person that they bought it from.  If you're accepting my money you are taking responsibility for the deal that's transpiring between us.  I don't want to hear about it being somebody else's fault when you don't come through with a quality product.  Why deal with somebody that isn't willing to work for your money when there are so many great dealers out there that will bend over backwards for you?

I'd expect the same from a manufacturer.  If the knife is in new condition, I'd expect it to be their top priority to make sure that it's right.  I recently bought a Queen knife that was made before the Daniels family took over, but it was still in new condition.  It had never been used, sharpened, or otherwise defiled in any way.  When I received the knife there were some cracks in the stag.  I could have sent the knife back, but I wouldn't be able to get it replaced.  I contacted Ryan Daniels and he told me not to worry about it and send the knife in to Queen.  I did so and they did a great job taking care of me.  They communicated with me when they received the knife, and it was returned to me in much better shape than I was expecting.  The stag that they put on the knife is much better than what was on it when I sent it in.  They also fixed the minor blade rub that the knife had before.  All in all, I'm very impressed with their work.  It took about 11 weeks to get the knife back, which is in line with what I was expecting.  I probably could have gotten it back a little earlier, but I knew that I'd be seeing Courtney Daniels at our local knife show so I let Ryan know that I'd be fine with her bringing me the knife instead of them shipping it.  This worked out great for me, as I was able to inspect it right in front of her so if there were any issues I could make sure that we were seeing the same thing.

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