PV's Rickenbacker Fight!
The People of alt.guitar Speak!


Chronology:

Summary of events.
Original PV letter.
Rickenbacker's first response.
Ric's CEO responds to the newsgroup.
PV responds to Ric's CEO.
Ric's CEO threaten's PV.
PV responds to CEO's threat.
CEO responds to PV again.
Some of the comments from the newsgroups (BELOW).
These are postings from the newsgroup alt.guitar.

The best response so far, though I don't have the direct quote, went something like this:

I think the company has lost all its direction ever since Orville Rickenbacker died.

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.. and after just visiting Steve's Music in downtown Toronto last Saturday, with my eye on a 360V64, I will pass. Mr. Hall, NOTHING matters more than customer satisfaction. You evidently disagree, and your methods leave me with a bad taste in my mouth. To Patrick, thanks again. WHEN I put my hard-earned coin down on the counter for a quality axe, I will do it knowing that the company from which I buy it will be there, in MY corner. Let me recount a story I heard some years ago...

A Rolls-Royce owner called the company to inform them that the differential had failed in his car, and could they come to fix it? The following morning, a mechanic arrived, replacement assembly in tow, and replaced the entire unit, then vanished. The owner, ecstatic, called the company the following day to express his delight at the repairs, and, to whom should he direct a cheque and for how much, to cover his repairs, to which the receptionist replied,

"Sir, I have no idea to what you might be referring - a Rolls-Royce could never break down, they're built much too well for that. We're pleased that your vehicle performs as you would expect it to. Enjoy it in good health."

Mr. Hall, could I offer you Pat Sajak's phone number, so you could call him and buy a clue?

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The staff at Rickenbacker is composed, for the most part, of everyday people who just try to do their job and get through the day like anyone else. With one exception, they have never given me a bad time. It's their Chief Executive Officer that you gotta watch out for, IMO.

Patrick, IMO, I see you know the same lying, scheming, slandering, con- spiring and threatening Mr. Hall as I do. And I've dealt with him for close to two decades. You're certainly not the only one on these news- groups who shares similar experiences, makes similar observations, and shares the same opinions regarding Mr. Hall as you have expressed.

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Sounds like some brilliant management consultant's policies at work. It certainly can't be the result of thinking on the the part of someone who knows or cares much about guitars or working musicians. Is the new Rickenbaker motto "Brother Musician, Go Jump"?

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Patrick, I looked up the Rickenbacker site, and it looks like they are incorporated in CA. You can find out who the President of Rickenbacker is by calling the Secretary of State's Office, Corporate Division, in California. The offices are usually located in the state capitol. The corporate officers will be named in the Articles of Incorporation. Also, you might want to send an ASCII copy of your letter to Rickenbacker by e-mail: service@rickenbacker.com.

I don't blame you for being livid. If I had just spent $1,700.00 on a guitar and had to fight to get 4 screws worth .28 I would be livid, too. What does that tell you about the workmanship if two bridge screws mysteriously came undone? I hope this is only an isolated incident.

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> After Jeff and I hung up, I called Rickenbacker again and asked the
> receptionist if she could give me the name of the president of the
> company. She said, "No, I cannot,"

That's comical. His name is John C. Hall; he used to post on this

newsgroup fairly regularly a few years ago!

He seems to be a really helpful, friendly guy. His email addresses

were, in 1995 anyway, jchall@delphi.com and 71410.106@Compuserve.com.

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Patrick: Sorry to hear about your trouble with RIC. The good news is that you have bought a fine guitar that plays like a dream. In the end this will be a fun tale to tell your family and friends and in the context of your

life wil be worth about 10 cents. Keep smokin with your Ricky.

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There is nothing wrong with asking for the name of a manager or supervisor. How are you supposed to send a complaint with any kind of bearing on it if you have to send it through the person you are complaining about? What a joke. You should have gotten an apology from this guy, instead of him telling you the same thing he said on the phone. For 1700 bucks, you should be treated better than this.

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Interesting story. I was thinking of buying a Rick 360/12 next year. After hearing all the negative comments about Rickenbacker, I'll consider a Fender or Carvin 12-string instead.

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Pat, it looks like you wrote a good letter, and they are being jerks. I wouldn't buy a Ric before(I don't really dig 'em.), and I certainly won't buy one now!

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I'd considered a new Rickenbacker--but not after reading Patrick's letter. No way I'd deal with jerk offs like that. Pass the word, guys. There are too many good guitars and good people out there to spend money with rude idiots.

The folks at PRS sent me a bridge allen wrench for free once. No questions were asked.

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I recently called Rickenbacker and told them about this new group and the message I just read. I told Rickenbacker that I will never buy an instrument from them because of their new reputation. I'm tired of customer service attitudes like the one Patrick ran into. It's about time we use this news group to communicate stuff like this so people like Rickenbacker will pull their head out of their ass and realize it's people like us who are paying their bills. If the executives at Rickenbacker have any sense at all, they are reading news groups like this one. Right about now, the people at Rickenbacker are realizing it's time to send Patrick a letter of apology, about one hundred screws, a free gift certificate and one big kiss on his ass.

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My two cents. I own four Rics, with the first being from 1979 and the most recent purchased new two months ago. Over this time I have dealt directly with Ric service on a number of parts and service questions, including just recently. I have always been treated decently, parts orders handled expediently with credit cards each time. Questions always answered.

To your letter and experience. Your story is direct and seemingly well stated, but seems out of character in reference to my own experiences. The president of Rickenbacker is John Hall; he succeeded his father, John Hall, who bought the company from Adolf Rickenbacker in the late 1950's. It is still a family owned business that is highly repected for their craftsmanship in a day and age of mass produced garbage.

I recommend you send a copy of your letter, or perhaps a condensed version, to John Hall as an FYI. I hope you get a quick and favorable response - and several 7 cent screws! Let us know.

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If those screws are so easy to lose and are special I compare it to the situation of the buttons for the dresses my wife gets from Bloomingdale's etc. Those dresses *always* come with extra buttons. She doesn't need them, but in case one is lost she has no hastle to instantly replace it.

This company should sell the screws for $1 each and then "as a courtesy" send them to you for free. Now *that* would impress people.

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Large companies got that way for one reason; bottom line. Turn out as many instruments as possible. Sending a few bucks to send screws that cost them next to nothing is not economical, especially since they already have your money. If they piss off a few people, and their sales are up 10%, do you really think they care?

This is not true for all companies, especially the smaller ones who make custom instruments. They're much more likely to care about your needs since you are their bread and butter.

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Read w/ interest your Rickenbacker story. Welcome to bidniz in the 90's! My guitar tech used to work for Ric, and sez the sign above the out-loading dock sez "When in doubt, ship it out"... Hey- I play Rics myself, so as always it is "caviat emptor"- for the screws you seek, get in touch with "Small Parts, INC."-I bet they have what you need.

Small Parts,INC.
P.O. Box 4650
Miami Lakes,FL 33014-9727
Rock on

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I agree with you for the most part. They have had two Jeffs in Customer Service. The last one left under mysterious circumstances, and I gathered that he could not stand to be hog-tied by their archaic way of doing business.

I love Rickenbackers. I have owned a lot of them, and know John Hall. Have spoken to him a few times. But their sales support, dealer relations, and distribution and production mentality is almost self-destructive in its inanity. The guitars are high quality, despite the occasional missing screw ( They will not fall out if adjusted properly. If one is allowed to slack, they will.)

You have a legitimate beef. To not give you his last name or the name of the company president? I can't imagine. Were you irate or abusive?

By the way, the President is now Cindalee P. Hall, John's wife.

I hope he wakes up before he runs that company into the ground. He is a fella who is just completely comsumed by his own ego and living on past glories of Rickenbacker. If he can't run it, he should sell to someone who can.

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I'll bet the "Orange County Airport" receptionist is feeling really cool now.....

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So Geoff,

By the looks of it, your "Rickenbacker Responds" reply and your poorly measured service in the first place - just cost your company at least 5 new sales at more than $1,500 a piece, and that's just from those careful enough to respond.

There's an adage in business that says you can be sure that every pissed off customer will cost you ten. Now that's about 50 sales gone, and I'll bet more.

Customers stick together, and newsgroups like this make us all a part of a much smaller community, more than you probably thought.

An apology may be too late for some out here, but it's never too late for others.

Tough spot bra'. Hope you can make it right.

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Rickenbacker is run by Jon Hall's wife, who is a less than charitable woman, and this is speaking kindly. It is a backward, moronic company that makes great 12 strings, and blows for customer service. They just don't give a ****.

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Sounds almost like Fender, but like their necks, they'll at least bend under pressure. It is a shame that somebody willing to spend that much money on a guitar can't get "acceptable" customer service. I repair and restore guitars. That is the way Rickenbacker has operated for years. In short, they suck. Unfortunately, the only way that they'll change is to stop buying their equipment, and spread the word to every human, dog, cat, and insect on the earth. If all else fails, go to Rickenbacker and clock one of their executives with that guitar. Good luck, I honestly wish you the best. I don't fix Ricks any more.

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I've been watching the controversy about Rickenbacker and their screws and decided that I'd add to it. I am a Rickenbacker fan and former dealer for their guitars.

1) in the original post, the dealer suggests that the customer call Rickenbacker himself because he might get better results. --This does not lead me to believe RIC is that concerned about dealer and customer concerns.

2) though a handbuilt guitar such as Ric. can have some "character" Ric. has been building them long enough that they should function properly. I feel that if screws routinely fall out of a properly set up and used guitar, it could be considered DEFECTIVE. Do Fenders and Kays do this?

3) if the retail purchesor of a defective guitar is willing to settle for a few extra 7 cent screws (retail price) and tolerate this shortcoming, which is certainly less expensive for all concerned than returning it to RIC to be made right, IT IS INADEQUITE OF RIC TO ONLY REPLACE THE 2 THAT FELL OUT. The guitar owner is entitled to more than that! I am curious as to Rickenbacker's view on this.

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Geoff! Why, after so short a time, *did* 14 cents worth of screws fall out of $ 1700 guitar made by you?

This was first off, a quality compaint which your department has now managed to make into a well publicised --customer service complaint.

You didn't comment about this in your reply , but are you gonna do anything about the smart mouth 'Orange County ' lady--or does she reflect the philosophy of Rickenbacker too?

Your reply to the original poster and the crap service he explained to us says just one thing to me--'avoid Rickenbacker products'.


Rickenbacker CEO's email is ceo@rickenbacker.com.
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