Not sure if this is the correct place for this, please move if need be.
Anyway, I have been on the build list for a relatively well know banjo maker/player since 1/1/2019. At the time of paying my deposit and getting in line I was quoted a wait of around 2 years, no problem. Two years came and went, I reached out to said maker for an update, they answered back, relatively promptly, that they were now looking at an additional 4-5 months from the original 2 years, once again, no problem, I get it. I was finally contacted by said maker on 6/11/2021 stating that my build was up in their next batch, and that if I didn't hear from them again in the next couple of weeks for me to reach back out to get the ball rolling. Well, I never heard from them and at their suggestion sent an email on 6/26/2021 to "get the ball rolling". I have not heard back from that email or a couple of others that I have sent since. All emails have been sent in the same chain, so I have to believe that they have received correspondence and that it didn't make it to their "junk" folder.
Nearly a month later I am kind of in a quandary of what to think/do next. Am I being too impatient? Is this a case of poor Customer Service/communication from the builder, a combination of both? I have the cell number of the maker from 2.5 years ago, but am weary of calling to get an update as I kind of feel like that might be a bit extreme. I am harboring no ill will towards the maker at this point and I am fine if there are additional delays, I mean, I've already waited over two and half years, but just let me know, set the proper expectations.
Does anyone have advice on what I should do next? I don't think I am being taken, but have to admit that the thought has crossed my mind. Any feedback, help, advice would be appreciated. Thanks. BP
I would 100% give them a call. I’m frustrated for you.
Virgin Islands (U.S.)
Delays of this type seem to be pretty common among the smaller popular builders. Even the spam filter didn't block your email, it's easy to lose one email in the daily barrage. I would just give them a call, they're probably busy and don't get to the computer much.
I have been waiting for a build myself.
Come November it will be eight years.
I think it is getting close now.
I’m starting to get excited!
Oh yeah, advice…
Play your other fine banjos while you wait.
Bill Rogers (Moderator)
In my experience, builders who don’t stay in touch are not going to get you a banjo. Staying in touch is probably the biggest problem builders have—and it’s all too common.
I had a guy get mad & wanted his money back (which I gave ) because I was into it 5 months, delays because of a surgery.
Over 2 years I think is too long. From what you have told so far, I'd even want my money back.
If you want a guitar built by that company in Nazareth, it's a longer time from what I hear, & repairs are even longer. That was a while back tho, maybe they are faster now.
Good suggestions above.
I agree with Bill Rogers on this
I do not know why someone would even take a deposit from you if it was going to be two years or more before they ever even were able to start a build for someone in my book if its going to take that long why don't they just make a list of people that calls and says they want a banjo and then when it is close the builder should make a call and see if that person is still wanting a banjo built the money can set in your bank account just as easy as setting in the builders bank account
By all means, call him. If you get voicemail, leave a voice message with your name and return phone number.
These days, I get so many spam phone calls that I rarely pick up the phone unless I recognize the number, and I am not able to receive texts.
Email is not the most reliable form of communication. A message can get lost in the shuffle, go to a spam folder, or simply never reach its destination.
Last month, I was pleasantly surprised by a phone call from an old band mate of mine who lives 1000 away from me. We generally email each other 3 or 4 times a year. The reason he called was that he had emailed several weeks earlier and hadn't heard back from me, and he was worried. I had never received his email. I thought it might show up eventually, but so far it still hasn't. I guess that it fell through "the cloud."
So, in your case, the same sort of thing might have happened, and it wouldn't hurt one bit to email him once more.
If there is a reasonably well known banjo maker who is active these days and is not honest, they have not come to my attention. Over the years, I have known of two who should be avoided, but one is no longer living and the other disappeared from sight at least three years ago. His current whereabouts are unknown, he has no active presence of any kind on the web, and he may very well be locked up or no longer living.
I don't know how many independent banjo makers are backlogged for 2 years or now, but I know of at least one well known guitar maker who had a 5 year waiting list. He finally stopped taking new orders, is finishing up his obligations, and is planning to retire after he fills his remaining orders. I know of at least one or two others who have waiting lists of a couple of years, so it does happen, especially among the most highly skilled builders.
Edited by - rcc56 on 07/20/2021 19:32:39
Thanks everyone for your comments/advice, I appreciate it. To be clear, I was aware of the 2 year wait list when I got on it, and was fine with it, as well as the additional 4-5 months that got tacked on after the original 2 years had come and passed. What I am most concerned about is the deposit, that will equal out to be around 20% of the total build cost, as well as the builders lack of recent communication, or lack there of.
I called the number that I had for the builder when I spoke to them 2.5 years ago, it is no longer in service....shocker. They have no other phone number on their site directly for them, only a number to a repair shop that they are affiliated with, I may try and give that number a call soon. They also have a social media presence, I will try that avenue as well. The saga continues, and as it continues, as mrphysics55 suggested, I will play my other fine banjers while I wait. BP
Is there current activity on the web site? Is there a contact link on it? That should tell you something.
Bail or bail bond
Google the builder's name plus "obituary."
Good luck Brian
At this point he has not been square with you. Ask him for your money back, I would not want a banjo from him now. Business is business.
Care to share the name of the builder so others don’t end up in this boat? Even a pm would be appreciated.
Thank you all for all of the opinions, advise, and feedback, I appreciate it.
Quick update, I was finally able to track down the builder through the repair shop that I previously mentioned. When I spoke with him there wasn't any mention of the delayed timeline and/or lack of communication, just that he very busy with a life/family/work balance....aren't we all? Anyway, he ended up taking my build specs right there on the phone, texted me a few different inlay colors to consider, and sent a follow-up email with the build specifics that we discussed. At this point I am feeling cautiously optimistic that I will finally have a new banjer in my hands in 6-8 weeks.
I'm not comfortable sharing the builder name on a public forum, if you would like more information, feel free to pm and I we can discuss from there. Until then, fingers crossed.
@bpeterson11 you are way more trusting then i am but it is your money you just have to go with your gut feeling
'Norwegian Wood' 9 min
'Norwegian Wood' 15 min
'Norwegian Wood' 43 min
'Gibson Banjo ID' 3 hrs