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In order to prevent other people to get such troubles with that company, I report here the story of my negative customer experience with Welborne labs.
After having seeing very good appreciations of the DRD 300B kit on Enjoy The Music.COM, in March 2007 I ordered the Terraplane 300B kit which is a signature version of the DRD300B amplifier. The transaction was made by visa card and, immediately, my bank account has been charged for the total amount.
3 weeks later, I sent Ron Welborne a mail in order to get a shipping date. He answered me : "We have a few items that we are waiting on from suppliers but we expect to finally have them this week so we will be shipping your kit shortly. I will drop you an email just as soon as it ships."
I never received that email, and, since, he never answered to my other mails.
At the begening of May, I made a complaint to the Denver/Boulder Better Business Bureau (BBB), which is a mediation organism between consumers and businesses. I asked for the cancellation of my order and for a complete refund of all was charged to me. The BBB notified the dispute twice to the Welborne Labs company, without any answer from Ron Welborne.
This neglecting attitude of Ron Welborne is amazing for a businessman !
Finally, the BBB adviced me "You may wish to seek legal advice or small claims court for further recourse". They added "The Better Business Bureau develops and maintains Reliability Reports on companies in our service area. This information is available to the public and is frequently used by potential customers. In the case of your complaint, the company's failure to promptly give attention to the matter will be reflected in the report we give to consumers about them."
You can see the customers experience reports here : http://data.denver.bbb.org/commonreport.html?bid=90007851
The complaints seem to grow in number, and I encourage other people in trouble with that company to make complaints to the BBB.
After this attempt of mediation, and because of the serious damage undergone, I decided to make an as large publicity as possible, and to sue Welborne Labs for breach of trust and swindle. These offenses are severelly repressed in France. I think that is the same in the States.
In a few days, he will be officialy informed.
Of course, if any refund occurs in the interim, I will inform the forum...
Keywords for search indexation :
Ron Welborne, Welborne Labs, WLabs,Ultrapath bp, DRD 300B, Terraplane 300B, DRD 45, 45 Star Chief, Zephyr RCA, Pimp My 70, Remote Controlled Stepped Attenuator, Tube Output Stage for DACs and CD Players, Dynaco ST-70 Modification Kit, 2-Way Active Crossover, The MiniAmp Class-A Line Level Amplifier, Tube/MOSFET Hybrid Line Level Amplifier, Squeezebox, Power Supply Upgrade Kit, PSREG Low Voltage
Regulated Supply, PSREGHC Low Voltage, High Current Regulated Supply, PS1 Power Supply, +/- Low Voltage Regulated Supply, PS5A Power Supply, +/- Low Voltage Power Supply, PS3 High Voltage Regulator, PS8 Power Supply, High Voltage w/Regulated Filament, PS10 High Voltage Regulated, Power Supply (no electrolytic capacitors), The Gatekeeper, DAC Tube Output, Connectors & Cable, Power Products, Speaker Building Parts, Cabinets & Hardware.
I have a some bad experience like same kind post a lot.
I ordered a Zephyr Kit w/Black Aluminum Panel - $425.00 at welborne labs.com on Mar. 30.2007.
First time, back ordered cause by remote controler was out of stock.
Second time, they moved to new business place, still I can't find any address at home page even phone number and FAX too.
Third, requested shipping information or tracking number but no answere, no response, no action.....
Forth, requested credit back because it's long long ago story, and I bought a different kits in the other place who can wait for over 6~7 months without reply, no contact point.
There is an only email address but never answere I sent e-mail so many time, sometiem auto-replied only and that's all.
I just realized that happend to me is not only but other peoples.
Please, God help me!
I will have to admit that I have been a happy customer of RW over many years. Problems began last Christmas Eve, when I decided to buy a version of his kit stepped attenuator.
The cost was USD 319.25 and was promptly paid through PAYPAL. After a lot of e-mail exchange (I do not want to bother you with details...), the attenuator finally arrived on April 24. Unfortunately, two chips were missing.
New e-mails exchanged and the parts arrived on May 28. I then proceeded to finish the kit which - to my surprise - failed to work. I am no novice in this kind of kit building, but things can go wrong for a multitude of reasons...So, after negative troubleshooting both by me and by a professional (no schematic included with the kit...), Ron agreed to take a look himself on June 11. The kit was sent back the same day by registered post.
On June 27, I received a mail - signed by "D" - informing me that the kit has been repaired and will ship the next day. Ouf!
As time passed by (and the unit was yet to be received), I sent two more mails on July 16 and 25, asking for confirmation of the day of dispatch. No reply to the first and an automatic reply to the second informing me that WL will be moving over the next several weeks and that I should seek more info on their website...
Well, you can visit welbornelabs.com yourself and draw your own conclusions. As regards me, I am really aware of the difficulties a small company like WL might have, but I would surely expect another kind of attitude towards its customers.
Got an mail with apologies/excuses today. I will not go into details,but it does not explain why people get kits with missing major parts , or "shipping information" when nothing has actually been sent....
With my deepest sympathy. Even if he has to go through very sad circumstances, i maintain my refund request, because paradoxically, during the past few months, he knew how to manage his internet site so as to get as many orders as possible, with the organization of multiple discounts operations. That just let me hope a near conclusion to my problems.
I received what is probably the same email. Rather than post to this thread, which is becoming rather buried, I have started a new thread with my update.
I have contacted these two groups about Welborne. If others could chime in it would help greatly.
Good idea !
I have already notified enjoythemusic.com. They made me a polite answer, but they seem to want neither to act nor to warn the readers of their site.
Their readiness (as well as the one of the organizers of the RMAF) is certainly connected to the fact that they are also from Denver...
But I'm sure that by means of all these requests, it will become successful and that will change their point of view.
Thanks Don, we simply reviewed his piece of gear. Will attempt to contact Ron and see what is going on.
Enjoy the Music,
Steven R. Rochlin
Superior Audio, The Absolute Sound,
Review Magazine, The $ensible Sound,
The Audiophile Voice... and MUCH more!
Thanks for the reply. I am sure you are a good man and this is not directed at you.
It would be nice if you did some searches on AA. There are several more post like the one I sent you.
Dealing with Ron was a nightmare and I was very very nice to him.
You are not doing any favors to your readers by continuing to show his products in your reviews.
Left a message on his phone yesterday. Ron has been around for many years and perhaps it is a blip or ??? Whatever the case, let us all hope things get back to his normal great service and this is simply a blip on the radar of life.
Enjoy the Music,
Steven R. Rochlin
Superior Audio, The Absolute Sound,
Review Magazine, The $ensible Sound,
The Audiophile Voice... and MUCH more!
My problem with him started last Oct. People are having problems now. Thatís a long time.
Please read the post. One instance of the type of service he is providing is not acceptable.
I got my money back, but only with the use of my credit card company. I did not get my many many hours of work back.
Good luck on the message.
See 6moons for my letter. Hopefully Ron will respond. Like I stated earlier, I find it difficult to believe that Welborne has gone crooked given the particular facts of my case and his prior reputation. My guess is a little communication on his end would probably have prevented many of these situations from festering into the current problem.
My view is that it does not matter if he is dishonest, on drugs, poor, or what ever. If you order from him you will likely have problems. We need to tell others that they should not order from him.
As of today his voicemail box is full and will not accept new messages. I have no idea what has been going on for the last nine months, but this does not speak well for the current situation. I hope he is ok.
In my case, the BBB has contacted me and advised that Welborne did not respond to the complaint within the alloted period. He also has not provided me with a refund of my $1850 and does not respond to my attempts to determine the status of the refund check.
I received today a mail from econsumer.gov. My complaint has been entered into their database, but I'm afraid it's only for a statistical use. I'm still waiting for an answer to the one I've made in ic3.gov...
In my attempt to pusue a small claims action against Welborne, I attempted a business search at the CO Sec. of State website to determine who was the registered agent (and who would be served).
Assuming I was doing the search incorrectly or the computer was down, I contacted the CO Business Center, part of the CO Sec. of State office, by telephone (303.894.2200; I spoke to "Jackie") and requested that they perform the search.
According to the Colorado Secretary of State's Office, Welborne Laboratories is not currently a registered business in the State of Colorado. No variation of "Welborne" was found in the database.
I am requesting a "non digital data search" from the Sec. of State (at a cost of $20). If anything turns up, I shall report back. I am also asking the CO Atty. General's office to investigate this matter.
Lately I'd also encountered a very bad experience with Welborne lab. In fact I ordered a few sets of Eichmann Silver Bullet plug from them. On the 1st few mail, there's this guy called Ron replied on the status of the items. He mentioned that the items will reached in 2 wks time. Now after 1 mths, I'd yet to receive the items that I'd ordered thru them. Sent them a few mails, but no reply at all from them.
I guessed they're a cons. Just my luck. Tried to get the contact for Eichmann but to no avail. Else, will definitely write in to check about the plugs.
If Welborne Labs is organized as a sole proprietorship, my understanding is that the "trade name" of the business is to be registered with the Colorado Department of Revenue (which is then recorded and searchable through the Colorado Secretary of State's Office). In this scenarion there would be no requirement to otherwise register with the Sec. of State.
There is no trade name registered in Colorado which includes "Welborne."
What does any of this mean? Probably not much other than it further evidences a decidedly non-professional approach to doing business.
The issue of not delivering after charging you should be taken up with your credit card company. You can file a claim, and then they will credit your account.
I would suspect that having a number of such claims filed against a particular retailer wouldn't bode well for the continuance of their ability to accept credit cards. This would be the best way to get in touch with someone who isn't delivering a product for which you were charged and not responding to your messages.
Yes, although in my case I should have done it quite some time ago. Frankly, until very recently, I was unaware of the scope of the Welborne problems. I attributed the delay to the realities of running a one-man shop and assumed that Ron, certainly a well-known figure, would come through. I never doubted it really.
Now I do and, should Welborne not respond to the BBB inquiry or issue my refund in short order, will be filing a small claims action in the Douglas County Combined Courts. If anyone else is interested in going down this road feel free to contact me and I will forward the forms and a link to the relevant web site.
Even if it seems useless to some people, I think to have done the BBB step is a plus, because of the try to solve the problem by a 3rd-party mediation way.
Then, I have filed a complaint to the ic3.gov which should send it to the right law enforcement agency. For avoiding interferences, I'm waiting news from that procedure before to open another one. But perhaps our roads will meet at a certain point !
I'd be interested but am from Canada, does that matter?
I don't know. From my readong of the applicable Rules, only the Defendant, Welborne, needs to live within the state so that the Court can have jurisdiction over him. I would guess that a bilked Canadian could avail himself of Colorado's judicial system.
If I were you I would contact the Court. They cannot provide legal advice, but can answer general questions.
would probably be easier for a Canadian individual who's not a lawyer just to file the suit and then let the defendant do the work by trying to get it dismissed if they can. Usually an out-of-state corporation must qualify to do business to file suits, but no restrictions on individual plaintiffs.
To get a refund though the credit card people you must return the product.
In my case I had spent many many hours making the preamp, which included a custom wood base.
I returned it and lost all my work, but it was not really a loss, I do not think much of his products.
on behalf all the defrauded asylum inmates with copies of their bills and invoices. Get the police and have him charged and locked up for Interstate fruad, racketering, theft, ON THE SPOT. When he accepetd money and did not deliver within reason or issue a refund, he is legally liable.
I was fortunate I was only bilked out of $40 in parts, but it did put a project on hold for a month
Ron should get a blanket party hes taken so many, sad thing is this started near 10 years ago and hes still going and going;)
Ron Welborne completely screwed me!
Enjoy the music should publish a statement, so that they are not associated with him.
or a debit card? If you used a credit card, contact the issuer, log your complaint due to non-delivery. Your account will be credited, and the credit card issuer will take care of resolving the rest of it. If you used a debit card, well, things aren't all that simple.
Other countries have very different rules. Most EU countries have rules that favour the banks, so that the creditor ends up getting screwed.
If so, I would not want to be sending our down payment to him at this point.
"Ron Welborne has had nothing to do with RMAF since the first year." - direct quote from Al Stiefel, organizer/etc. of RMAF in recent correspondence.
Before any of you guys start thinking of forming a lynch mob or hit squad to gang up on him at RMAF, consider that almost everyone, including Al Stiefel who is a personal friend, has had a very hard time reaching him. I do not know the circumstances of Ron's absence nor am I here to defend him, but I urge you to approach him as gentlemen individually to see what can be worked out. Maybe you can get some kind of commitment in writing from him to make restitution, but I suggest doing so on a one-on-one basis. Be civil about it.
His name is on the website for the RMAF. This is free publicity and a statement that he is creditable. He is not.
Enjoy the music also still runs reviews of his products. The review makes him sound like a great guy and the kits are top notch.
The kits are a few parts in a box. I had over 30 emails to him during three months and still never received all the parts. I had to return to almost every board and re add parts. It made it so difficult.
These are two sources where most people look. They are not looking here.
Also how many people have been screwed around and are not part of AA. We will never hear from them.
I have notified Steve at Enjoy the Music.
suspect. I have corresponded privately with Al Stiefel in the past couple of days and spoke with him on the phone yesterday about all of this. Did you? I took the liberty of quoting a sentence from his email to me verbatim, because Al is too busy attending to other matters than to participate in online forums. Someone else, Art Tedeschi, maintains the RMAF website. Apparently the website content could be changed.
Again, I have no dog in this hunt. I empathize with you and others who feel cheated by Welborne, but the organizers of RMAF have no connection with Ron other than he is supposedly an exhibitor, and he and Al are friends. I hold Al in high esteem and suggest that he, Marjorie Baumert, and members of the Colorado Audio Society put on a terrific show. Maybe you would have a different opinion if you were to attend the show and experience the enthusiasm and hard work they put into it to make it a successful, enjoyable event. Relax and have fun.
Your comment to "Relax and have fun" is, frankly, offensive. Many audio consumers (as a dealer you ARE there to provide a service to consumers, right?) seem to be out money (and time!) as a result of Welborne's actions. For me, it is alot of money.
Suspect sources? Perhaps it is just me, but the tone of your post comes off as rather accustatory - as if due diligence was not done in connecting Ron with RMAF. Well, heck, we don't have your big shot inside connections. We are only quoting the official website.
If you dont like the connection spread some of the snarky insider attitude to your buddies with their fingers on the (website) buttons. Otherwise, I will wait to hear from the Show proper or read an updated site before saying that Welborne is NOT a sponsor.
Gee Kev, I apologize for any offense taken, though not intended - I respect your opinion and understand and strongly support your goal of getting your money back. Anything less and it's not right.
Anyone can contact Al Stiefel and discuss the matter, although he is aware of it. His email address and phone number are on the RMAF site. There's no big shot insider attitude; Al is very approachable, one of the good guys. The purpose of my posts was to communicate the fact that Ron Welborne has not been connected with RMAF since the first year there. The responsible parties have been informed about the website matter. Heck, I've seen audio websites that are two years or more out of date, although I don't mean to make excuses. When in doubt, the best thing to do is pick up the phone to remove misunderstandings.
"Anyone can contact Al Stiefel and discuss the matter, although he is aware of it."
Given your quote above and your statement earlier that Al and Ron are friends, did Al provide you with any insight as to what's going on with Ron? Thanks.
about that. I have no reason to doubt that you are correct. I am glad you posted as I was seriously considering writing online publications such as 6moons and posting in the Critic's Corner about this situation and calling for the RMAF boycott. Based on your posts, it would seem to not be the proper thing to do.
I would, however, encourage RMAF to edit the site.
Hey thanks! I'll encourage the RMAF folks to revise their site. I think we agree they don't want to be party to any questionable business practices of others. Do you plan to attend RMAF? I imagine you'd like it a lot.
I went to the RMAF last year and will go again this year - its fun.
Thats were I Meet Welborne. How was I to know.
I would suggest banning Welborne from the RMAF would be the right thing to do.
I don't know about banning Welborne, but Ron needs to come clean on the matter and make restitution with people who have not received what is due them, or else not show. It's the proper thing to do. The matter is a source of embarrassment and perhaps guilt by association for RMAF otherwise. I suggest if you were to ask any exhibitor there what they think of Al and Marjorie, you'd get an enthusiastic thumbs up.
Thanks for the follow up Brian.
From my view Welborne has quit doing the "proper thing" a long time ago. It would be hard for you to know this with out having the experiences that we have had. So I understand.
Yes I enjoyed last years RMAF and will go again this year. I am sure Al and Marjorie are wonderful.
Then they should change the website. He is clearly listed as a show sponsor:
Red Rock Audio
The Colorado Audio Society
Copyright © 2007 ~ AudioFest.net
Given the apparent association with Welborne, I would urge show participants to reconsider their involvement. I would also suggest that online and print publications to distance themselves from this event.
Although the show is quite wonderful, and perhaps the best in North America, coverage of and participation in the event implicitly condones Welborne's behavior. Look - if it were just me, I wouldn't have even posted for fear of doing harm to Ron's reputation for what could be a simple oversight. A search of the General, SET, Tweaker's, or Tube DIY Asylum will show, however, that there are scores of unhappy customers since the start of 2007.
Although I would never recommend a hostile confrontation at the show, Welborne has lost the right to be treated in a civil or respectful fashion. IF the problem is as extensive as it appears (I can only speak for myself, but I can assure you that in nine months the score in my case is Ron W. +$1850 / Kevin -$1850 and no product), he does not deserve to be confronted in private in order to protect his dignity. He serves the public, makes a living from the public, and should be accountable to the public. Is it embarrassing? Sure. You reap what you sow.
Yes, I am wondering why, perhaps over the past year or so, Ron's behaviour seems to have changed somewhat. He had built a loyal following based on nice products, decent pricing, and acceptable service - or so it seemed. Lately the service has dropped off, his AA forum has closed, and so on. Sometimes kind and well-intentioned people do bizarre things in certain circumstances.
Despite some running battles with those that blindly seek to defend Ron's recent practices and gag those who would speak against him, I do have my concerns WRT Ron's health and wellbeing and the future of his business.
As for civilly trying to gain some restitution from Ron, it seems many have tried this already; I am not suggesting he be lynched, but lawful action must be taken to protect those at risk.
This is a disturbing turn of events.
I've been out of audio for a while (yes, I found my dream system and no longer feel the need to change anything) but I was a frequent customer of Ron's a few years back.
He was always very helpful, considerate and honest - although you did have the feeling you were dealing with a small family business. Things took a while to arrive sometimes, but he was never dishonest and always made up for any problems with shipments by tucking a few goodies in with replacements or shipping at his own cost.
It it very sad to hear that things have changed so dramatically.
Guys, I can't believe that Ron is just a plain crooked dealer. I really sympathize with those of you who have been done wrong, but something must have gone badly, badly "pear shaped" in his personal or business life for a situation like this to emerge.
That's no comfort to those of you who are out of pocket due to unfulfilled orders, but I can only guess that for some reason Ron is in a really bad place financially at the moment.
I hope that this awful situation works out for the best for all parties. It's a terrible shame that such a trusted dealer, and such fine quality products, have come into disrepute,
Cheers to all, good listening
I think he is doing fine.
He has just learned that there is no reason to be responsible. Money in the pocket is money in the pocket.
So if you do not have money its ok to be flaky and steal? Have you seen the Bicycle Thief?
> > > I think he is doing fine. < < <
So you are not sure?
> > > He has just learned that there is no reason to be responsible. < < <
Do you know this for certain? I can think of many scenarios that could explain the current problems with Ron.
I was just wondering why the change - nothing more; perhaps that part of my post could have been left out, for it is not directly relevant or helpful. Be damned compassion.
Also, do not miss my intent; I have taken on those that have blindly defended Ron before - hey, where are John Cheplas and Chris O anyway? - and may do so again, but assumptions will help the matter little, especially when they are no more than personal attacks on values etc. The current problems should be resolved in a lawful manner, for which there is no need for such assumptions.
the casualties will begin to climb
Don't tell that to Dennis Had at Caryaudio. It would be a pity to have anyone think that their SET sales might be about to slow down, after more than 20 years. It would be a shame.
"It would be a pity to have anyone think that their SET sales might be about to slow down, after more than 20 years. It would be a shame."
Not really..... People can think whatever they want. It might be wishful thinking, but they're free to say it.
They had that thought about vinyl too. But now I see just every current artist in my radar has or will have albums available in vinyl.
Or Art Audio, or Lamm for that matter.
Ssshhhhhh....don't tell Mr. Douglas.
Or Don Garber, whose waiting list is miles long.
And let us not forget all the speaker manufacturers, such as Zu, Cain & Cain, Omega, and Tonian, that easily accommodate lower-powered designs. There is a cornucopia of product available now.
I have already posted my experiance, It has been over 6 months for my order and I am still missing the tubes and chokes. At this point I dont feel I'll ever get these parts from welborne nor my refund he owes me. I am out over $500 to this company, at this point its safe to say I've been had!
At this point no one should be making any purchases from Welborne Labs.
So many customers cannot be wrong.
People around here who constantly defend Welborne should realize that something has changed there. One offense is too many.
I wonder how any specialty audio parts sellers can stay in business with the skyrocketing prices of quality parts, which have nearly doubled in five years.
I use Digi-Key mostly and while their customer service, quality and speed are #1 in my book, their prices are prohibitive.
Last winter I suspended my restoration activities after 25 years of one after another projects.
I cannot seem to place an order that does not break the bank. I did complete restos so it was expensive.
Some customers of hifi gear companies think they belong to a religious movement and for them it is immoral to say anything bad, but true, about their messiah-vendor.
But times are time, these days, for the little guys because they have so many orders, so little help and it's hard to find qualified labor at wage rates that will allow the vendor to turn a profit. One firm i know went from getting an average of 2 orders a week to over 40. His response was interesting: before he will take any money down, he tells all his customers about his problem; he says he refuses to hire extra labor for quality reasons; and gives them a firm delivery date (now up to 6 months). And then he churns out his amps, preamps, dacs, ower conditioners, cables, etc. as if there were no tomorrow, and still has time to come out with new products.
His business is thriving.
Yes, it is a little like a religious movement.
I'd love to see any examples of that. The last 6 months or so have seen a pretty heavy onslaught against Wellborne. I'd certainly more than hesitate before placing an order. And that's rather sad - I think they/he has some fine products & honestly hope things change for the better!
I ordered a Star Chief on September 26, 2006. As of mid-December it was not delivered and several requests for a status to Ron went unanswered. Delivery WAS attempted around the holidays. Unfortunately I was out of town and never advised by Ron that the 2 boxes would be coming.
By mid-March one of the two boxes had been successfully re-delivered. At that point, fearing that I was off of the radar, I began another series of attempts to contact Ron by email and telephone. I cannot say that he never answered my emails, but the ratio was proabably 20-1 over the course of 2 months - all with no resolution of the missing items.
In early May I was advised that I could return the one box for a refund. I did so. My emails for the status of my refund went unanswered for several weeks. On the third week after Welborne received the returned box with no word as to the status of the return, I filed a complaint with the BBB. Welborne has until 6/20 to respond. To date he has not done so.
He DID contact me several days ago advising that he has been out of town for family matters and that my refund will be sent. I will certainly report back to this thread if it is.
Like the poster, my credit card was charged imdiately. What followed was, at best, poor service. I know many members preach patience when dealing with Ron, but I have been out $2000 since September. There was an attempted delivery in December, so I certainly wouldn't say that Welborne Labs intends to steal from its customers. That said, that service, or lack thereof, both before and after the attempted delivery has been quite poor.
They have no legal authority to do anything. They are a joke. There are other legal agencies that can do something and you should use them.
...where Welborne Labs is located, the Colorado Attorney General's Consumer Protection office requires you to make your complaint to the BBB, and the AG's office gets a copy.
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