unscrupulous seller of theremin merchandise

Posted: 8/22/2010 1:14:25 AM

From: Fayetteville, Arkansas

Joined: 6/26/2007

Dear friends,

I wanted to let those in the theremin community know of a potential problem with a seller of theremin equipment.

In early April, I purchased an add-on module for the Moog Etherwave Pro. This module was designed to improve volume response on the Pro. After waiting four weeks, having not receiving this item from the seller, I contacted him to inquire as to when it would be shipped. The seller did respond, saying that he sent it and not knowing what problem had occurred with the shipping. He graciously offered to send another module on May 31, eight weeks after the initial order.

I wrote this seller several times in June, July, and this month. I have received only one response from him, several weeks ago, and no module.

This seller's product is still being sold on Ebay. His seller name is technikalsace. He is located in France and well known on this forum.

I know that there are thereminists on this list who have received the module with no problem. But my message is meant for those who may consider purchasing this module in the future. Be sure to make your purchase with a good payment protection plan in case you do not receive the merchandise. At this point, I have no trust in him. He has, unfortunately, ripped me off.

--Richard Ramey

Posted: 8/22/2010 6:26:35 AM

From: Colmar, France

Joined: 12/31/2007

As most of you know, I have developed the EPVM1345 module which improves the volume response of the Etherwave Pro. Up to now, about 50 people have ordered it, received it, installed it and are satisfied. I never had any negative feedback.

Shipping items from France is unfortunately very expensive, so I choose those prepaid packages which all of you who have received a module have already seen. There is neither an insurance nor tracking, but it normally works fine. In only three cases people pretended that they hadn't received their items and it was clear for me that I would send them a replacement although this was or is a real loss of money for me since the development, production and distribution of these modules is a non-profit task for me.

I cannot always send out new modules within a few days since I can't allow to have a huge parts stock an must from time to time order new components and have to wait some weeks for them. Out of that I have a day job and a family. In the last weeks I was beyond that occupied with the organization of the first Theremin Summer Academy in France.

Although all these things were known, one of my "clients" who pretends not having received his module, someone whom I don't know personally (he ordered on ebay) is bothering me although I promised him a replacement and he will receive it soon. In my eyes it is absolutely impolite to hassle someone for a gratuitous service. I can't stand the feeling that people are playing on my courtesy.

So I decided to remove the modules from ebay and will sell them in the future only to kind people who contact me personally either via the "known channels" (levnet, thereminworld.com, etheremin.com) or via my website.
Posted: 8/22/2010 8:28:25 AM

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

bassoon-o-rama wrote:

At this point, I have no trust in him. He has, unfortunately, ripped me off.


I hate to jump in here because I don't know the details of what happened and it's none of my damn business. But what the hell, that's never stopped me in the past!

I do not know Thierry personally, but I did purchase and install his module in my E'Pro theremin. I found him to be honest and forthright. The suggestion from b-o-rama that he has "ripped me off" implies that Thierry has deliberately defrauded a customer. That would surprise me greatly since he is well known to the worldwide theremin community and there has never been the slightest hint of impropriety in the past.

One thing I do know as a seller of CD's and DVD's through the mail; THINGS GET LOST. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen. It's just a fact of life when you do business using the postal system. Unfortunately, often the conclusion of the buyer is that the item was never sent and that he is the victim of malicious fraud. The conclusion of the seller is that the buyer has received the item but is falsely claiming it never arrived in order to be able either to get his money back, or to demand a second one for nothing.

A few years ago, someone in the U.K. ordered a DVD from me and after a month it still hadn't arrived. I sent a second one, and after another month it hadn't arrived either. The buyer was convinced that I was a thief! I sent a third DVD by registered mail and although it was signed for, the buyer still claimed that he never got the disc!

It turned out that the buyer was recently separated from his wife and had taken an apartment where he lived alone. His mailing address, however, was still the home that he had shared with his spouse and where she was still living. Guess what folks - the wife, angry over the failure of their marriage, had been throwing all his mail into the garbage!! I felt kind of sorry for the guy, and I received a very funny email from him apologizing profusely, and explaining what had happened.

This is the kind of thing that goes on with a mail order business.

I'd bet my left nut that Thierry sent the module to bassoon-o-rama just as he said he did, and I'd bet the right one that bassoon-o-rama, for whatever reason, never received it. My intuitive feeling about this is that both these guys are honorable and sincere, and I strongly suspect that the problem is with the post office.

Since the events of 9/11, the U.S. post office has been carefully screening small packages arriving from foreign countries and delays of many weeks are not uncommon, particularly when the item being sent is some kind of potentially suspicious electronic gadgetry (like Thierry's module) that the boys in U.S. Customs don't have a clue about.

O.K., now everybody step back and take a deeeeeeep breath.
Posted: 8/22/2010 10:41:45 AM

From: Kingston, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

I'm sorry to see these unfortunate feelings expressed. I know Thierry to be a respectable person and component provider. I hope the replacement arrives this time and the situation is resolved. I know we all get impatient, but the time frame does not seem irresponsible to me, but I'm not in either person's shoes. I am however going to delete the duplicate thread to avoid any further confusion from parallel discussions.
Posted: 8/22/2010 1:57:22 PM
Jeff S

From: N.E. Ohio

Joined: 2/14/2005

I can certainly understand bassoon-o-rama's frustration. (Been there...done that.) But I can't say I support his conclusion.

I won't bother repeating anything that's already been said other than I've never been led to believe that Thierry is anything but an honest and decent fellow.

There are a few things I do know....

Because of global tensions of the last nine years, even having some items shipped from Canada to the USA is a friggin', expensive nightmare.

There was a fellow selling optical "theremins" on ebay who had a well-deserved reputation. He quoted shipping to be up to ten weeks, but it was often far longer assuming you would ever receive it at all.

If you have no patience, I'd suggest not ordering any new product from Moog Music either. It is not uncommon for well over a year to pass before you receive your item. In this case it's best to wait for the product to hit the stores, but then you'll wind up paying close to retail for it.

Posted: 8/22/2010 3:53:15 PM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

As a personal friend of Thierry's I would like to add my note of confidence in him to the general chorus.

And I would like to add that, having done a quick google on [i]Richard Ramey theremin[/i] it is quite obvious that Richard does not fit the profile of an eBay trickster in the slightest.


So yeah, as Peter said, deep breath time everyone.

(Amd Thierry, don't be too quick to give up on eBay. One of it's benefits is that it has a procedure for resolving disputes that is there for the protection of both vendors and customers. Which is probably where this should be resolved - after giving good time for the postal service - and we all know its reputation for sloth - to deliver the missing items.)
Posted: 8/22/2010 4:06:43 PM

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

(Or I could have glanced in bassoon-o-rama's profile and saved myself the bother of googling. D'oh.)

Richard, I promise you that the modification to your ePro, when you eventually have it, will be more than worthwhile.

Welcome to ThereminWorld. :-)
Posted: 8/23/2010 5:45:58 AM

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

Anybody who plays the bassoon (or for that matter, any of the double reed instruments) deserves all the support and appreciation the rest of us can muster!

Posted: 8/23/2010 1:52:19 PM

From: Los Angeles

Joined: 10/6/2007

I want to put in my $1.37's worth (2ยข adjusted for inflation).

Following is a report I wrote last August when I ordered an Etherwave Pro modification kit from Thierry Frenkel. Lest anyone suspect that he and I have cooked up this story to cover up his evil wrongdoings in swindling purchasers of his product, I suggest you search the Levnet archives. It's in there.

I feel compelled to speak up on Thierry's behalf because he could not have been kinder or more gracious to me. Well, read on...

I do feel it is highly unprofessional and inappropriate of someone to air a private grievance on a public forum, regardless of the intent.


Several weeks ago, I emailed Frenkel Thierry and asked him to send me his Etherwave Pro modification kit. He did, and it got here but not without an appropriate {{{*oooooooEEEooooooo*}}} element ...

When the small box from him arrived, I emailed him to let him know it had come, and then set it aside until I was ready to take it and my theremin to Dave Weiner, local theremin tech extraordinare.

A couple of weeks went by and with all the usual commotion going on around here, the module slipped my mind. I just hadn't had time to take over to Dave for him to install for me.

I got a follow-up email from Thierry asking if I had received the module. He said he had not heard back from me about it, so he was somewhat concerned.

So, as I sat down to email him again to let him know the module had arrived, I opened the box and looked inside. It was filled with styro peanuts and some bubble-wrap. And that was all! I looked through the peanuts several times, combing through them carefully to make sure a small part wasn't hidden inside somewhere. But the box was empty!!

The box did not appear to have been tampered with or opened, and there were no holes or unsealed areas where it could have fallen out (which has happened before with parcels). So I wondered if possibly Frenkel could have overlooked putting the module in the box before he sealed
the box and mailed it to me.

I emailed Thierry and let him know about this.

He replied saying he couldn't imagine having made such a mistake, because he writes down the modude's serial number when he packs it.

He wondered if I might have overlooked something. He said that the module is very small, about 1" x 0.8". He put it in the middle of three foam pieces and wrapped tape around it. He wrote 'CRL' onto that before wrapping it with bubble wrap and stuffing it into the parcel together with styro peanuts.

So I looked through the box again very carefully, and even looked around on my desk where I had opened the box and on the floor around the desk to see if it had fallen out and I hadn't noticed it. But it was not here.

I emailed him again and assured him the module was nowhere to be found.

He was so incredibly gracious as to send me a second module, and would not hear of my paying for it; he would not even let me cover the additional postage.

When the second box came, I opened it to make sure it had contents and this time it did! I emailed him to let him know, and then I sealed the box back up. Then the next day, I took it to Dave's house for him to install.

He did so, and then last night I went over there to try it out.

As I said in the subject line.......

******* WOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!! *******

The volume response is ABSOLUTELY incredible. The tone comes up perfectly smoothly without the slight "pop" that was there before. And the volume range from pppp to FFFF is magnificent. My Pro was nowhere nearly as expressive or smoothly responsive before. It has wonderful response and sensitivity in even the softest volume levels, and then when I soar up to full volume it literally makes the hairs on the back of my neck tingle because the range is so sublimely expressive.

I'm running out of
Posted: 8/23/2010 6:35:37 PM

From: Kingston, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

Thank you everyone for keeping this discussion polite and respectful.

You must be logged in to post a reply. Please log in or register for a new account.