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Author Topic: W4RT: Buyers Beware  (Read 25697 times)
K5LOL
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« on: May 26, 2012, 01:21:17 PM »

Dear Colleagues,

I recently attended the Dayton Hamvention and was able to re-live my memories of attending Dayton during my college years at the University of Cincinnati in the mid-70's.  Every vendor I met and dealt with was honorable and provided me great deals on the products I wanted to purchase save one: W4RT Electronics.  In my 43 years of being a ham, I have never published anything negative about a vendor even when I felt there was a misunderstanding but this is a case, I believe potential buyers should be forewarned about this company.  And in case any of you might have questions about why I think I am entitled to write any comments relative to ethics, I am Eagle Scout and place honorable and ethical business behavior above all else, including price, for business dealings.

At Dayton, I was in the market for an LDG 897AT.  By the time I got to the W4RT booth, all Ralph had left was an open box 897AT.  I have never done business with W4RT but Ralph seemed knowledgeable about the LDG product line and his pricing was slightly better than a couple of other vendors I had spoken with.  When I asked if he might discount it, he offered to throw in a short coaxial cable to which I told him I would prefer to have a New In Box (NIB) unit.  Ralph told me he could ship me a NIB unit but that it would take at least a week and I told him that was not a problem as long as it arrived before Field Day.  Three days later (Wednesday after Dayton), the same open box unit that I did not want to carry home from Dayton with me showed up at my home.  I know this is the same unit he had at Dayton because he had a big sticker on the top of the tuner with various specifications for customers to look at. 

Unfortunately, when I went to contact W4RT Electronics, I discovered that Ralph does not publish any phone number that you can call.  The only ways to contact him are either via email, fax or snail mail.  In addition to the "Contact Us" email listed on their web site, I also sent Ralph an email to his personal email as published on QRZ.com with no response whatsoever.

Bottom line is that if you are considering doing business with Ralph, I would look for another company.  He appears to be a one man operation and, at least with me, has been totally unresponsive.  AES, HRO , HamCity and many other companies are significantly more competent and honorable than W4RT. 

Tom Yenny - K5LOL
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K2CMH
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Posts: 275




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« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2012, 11:30:41 AM »

I will second that opinion.  I have sent them several emails and never got a response.  Since email is a non-guaranteed delivery system, obviously I cannot say for certain whether or not they got it, however, I can't imagine why they would not have.  Given the non-reliable state of email, I feel that if you are willing to take people's money for a product, you should be willing to take their phone call for support or sales questions.  At a very minimum, provide a 'contact' page on the website that allows you to post questions directly and avoid sending an email that apparently can get lost.
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W4PC
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« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2012, 07:20:42 PM »

What a load of crap.

I've known Ralph, Barry and Michael for years and every year we all hang around together. You may not realize how busy people get after Dayton, but yes, they do.

Yes, W4RT is smaller than HRO. AES ETC but they arent a retailer.. they resell stuff to go along with their products.   But they are more than Ralph.  Mary was there too and Ive known her since she was 11.

If Ralph made a mistake, he will fix it.  Im sure he's emailed you back. did you check your spam folder?

All ham radio companies are small.  Even us at HRD at only 6 people.. if you want Sears, go to Sears, if you want ham stuff, work with you other hams and BE PATIENT

I'll email Michael and show him this thread, my guess is the return email address you had could have been mispelled or wrong, Ive seen that 100 times in many of the emails I get from hams, and we have to go on a search and destroy to find the right address.

I was there in the beginning with Barry and Ralph started W4RT.  Barry came to my office to let me play with the one touch.. that was too cool.

Rick - W4PC
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K2CMH
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« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2012, 10:16:39 AM »

I can't speak for K5LOL, but I can tell you I emailed them several times over a several week period with no response.  And yes, I have sense enough to check my spam folder.  Obviously I have no way of knowing what all they had going on when I emailed them, but it was not near the 'Dayton' time of year and I would expect that they could find some time over a several week period to return the email, even if just to say that they are busy and will get back to me.  I don't see how my return email address could have been wrong or misspelled since it is configured into my email client and I have no problems with other people replying to my emails.   My point was not to bash them but just to recommend that if they are in a business that is going to demand interaction with customers that they provide a way to reliably contact them other than just email.  People get antsy when they are spending money and can't get reliable and timely support.  In my case, they lost business because I had a couple of questions I wanted answers to before purchasing.  From my point of view, if someone is unwilling to answer pre-sales questions, what can I possibly expect after they have my money.  I don't know the people in question, so I can't say anything good or bad about them, all I can do is relay the perception that I have of  the 'company' and the image it presents based on my personal experiences.
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KE4DRN
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« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2012, 04:24:50 PM »

No reason why an auto reply can't be setup for busy times like the Dayton event
and no phone contact info?  How do they expect to stay in business?

Perhaps this is a hobby for W4RT instead of a business.

if you used credit card, contact the issuer and log a protest.

256.880.3866 is the fax line from their website.

email is info@w4rt.com >>>>>>> This works, received reply this morning. <<<<<<<<<<

73 james
« Last Edit: May 31, 2012, 04:40:13 PM by KE4DRN » Logged
N9RO
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« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2012, 05:02:25 PM »

Quote
I've known Ralph, Barry and Michael for years and every year we all hang around together.

Sounds like a biased post. 

73,
Tim - N9RO
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Real techies don't use knobs.
WB2WIK
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« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2012, 11:55:28 AM »

I can't speak for K5LOL, but I can tell you I emailed them several times over a several week period with no response.  And yes, I have sense enough to check my spam folder.  Obviously I have no way of knowing what all they had going on when I emailed them, but it was not near the 'Dayton' time of year and I would expect that they could find some time over a several week period to return the email, even if just to say that they are busy and will get back to me.  I don't see how my return email address could have been wrong or misspelled since it is configured into my email client and I have no problems with other people replying to my emails.   My point was not to bash them but just to recommend that if they are in a business that is going to demand interaction with customers that they provide a way to reliably contact them other than just email.  People get antsy when they are spending money and can't get reliable and timely support.  In my case, they lost business because I had a couple of questions I wanted answers to before purchasing.  From my point of view, if someone is unwilling to answer pre-sales questions, what can I possibly expect after they have my money.  I don't know the people in question, so I can't say anything good or bad about them, all I can do is relay the perception that I have of  the 'company' and the image it presents based on my personal experiences.

Nicely written, I think.

I'm the same way, it's easy: No phone number, no personal contact, no business and no sale.

Period. 
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W4PC
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« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2012, 01:03:11 PM »

Of course the guy got fixed and never returned here to post an update.

Let's see, they've been in business 12 years, always go to Dayton, etc etc

And yes, my post was biased, but arent all posts.. the real problem is some hams have NO PATIENCE, or assume too much.

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WB2WIK
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« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2012, 03:28:56 PM »

I'd say the OP is not alone in his general complaint:

http://forums.qrz.com/archive/index.php/t-96249.html
http://chat.qth.com/viewtopic.php?t=10170&sid=811b2fdf6643f992c19bcc6d143caa99
http://lists.contesting.com/archives//html/Amps/2011-04/msg00426.html
...and on and on.

Common complaint.  Based on hearing this lots of times, I wouldn't buy anything. Wink
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KA5IPF
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« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2012, 05:17:09 AM »

Of course the guy got fixed and never returned here to post an update.

Let's see, they've been in business 12 years, always go to Dayton, etc etc

And yes, my post was biased, but arent all posts.. the real problem is some hams have NO PATIENCE, or assume too much.



What does patience have to do with getting the product he wanted? A NIB tuner, not the Dayton demo he passed on.

My 2 cents worth.
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K2CMH
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« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2012, 11:47:14 AM »

I'm a fairly patient guy, but come on, I have been waiting over a year for a reply to my emails...  ;-)

Not sure what the point about patience is...either they reply or they don't...the complaints don't seem to be that they take too long to reply but rather that they don't reply at all.
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WC8I
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« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2013, 12:09:27 PM »

Well I wasn't going to get in this , because I have dealt with them before, but I was in the market for a charger for my 897 I emailed them Monday afternoon and its Thursday now!that is not good, I bought off someone else , they need to get help if they are that busy , tnx Bill
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SWL2002
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« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2013, 04:39:20 AM »


Bottom line is that if you are considering doing business with Ralph, I would look for another company.  He appears to be a one man operation and, at least with me, has been totally unresponsive.  AES, HRO , HamCity and many other companies are significantly more competent and honorable than W4RT. 


While there is no excuse for returning emails (if he actually received the email), generally these Ham radio companies are small one or two man operations.  There is just not enough sales volume in Ham radio to support a large staff of people answering the phones, etc...  The best way for a small operation like this to waste their day away is to publish a phone number where a bunch of hot air bag Hams can call and spend hours blabbing on the phone.  While many of the old fart Hams have retired long ago and have nothing better to do with their time, the business owner does not have the luxury of listening to the 20th story of the day from these old fart Hams telling how it was back in the day.  At least with email, you can control the time spent with each windbag so that your day (and your profits) are not wasted away.
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W4OP
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« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2013, 06:24:36 AM »

I run a small business here in NC- while most of our clients are military/aerospace/commercial, we do sell some amateur products. We are doing 80+ hour weeks. If your email is not answered by us within 1 hour, 6 days/week then either our internet  is down or there is a disaster here. Customer service is paramount. Most successful businesses follow this paradigm. Elecraft immediately comes to mind. And I agree with a previous poster- no phone number, no business from me.

Dale W4OP
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W9CLL
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Posts: 48




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« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2013, 08:10:58 AM »

Easy enough to contact. This was on W4RT's site in the contact area:

 W4RT Electronics is a Division of the PanTechne Corporation

Googling PanTechne returns the following:

Pantechne Corp
W4rt Electronics, Pantechne Corporation
3077 Leeman Ferry Road SW
Huntsville, AL   35801-5614 map
Phone: (256) 880-8207   
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