• Report: #1155485

Complaint Review: Auto Top Factory LLC

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  • Submitted: Tue, June 17, 2014
  • Updated: Tue, June 17, 2014

  • Reported By: Grant — Clearwater Florida
Auto Top Factory LLC
Nationwide USA

Auto Top Factory LLC, Hutch Dekirmendjian, Hratch Dekirmendjian, Liza Dekirmendjian Defective Convertible Top and 2 Months of Lies and Broken Promises Van Nuys California

*Author of original report: Not willing to deal with a merchant that LIES without remorse

*REBUTTAL Individual responds: Still trying...

*Author of original report: Do Hutch & Liza have no shame?

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Unreasonable buyer

*Author of original report: The Lies continue!!

*Author of original report: eBay User ID: autotopfactoryllc

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On April 14th, 2014 I purchased a replacement convertible top for my 1999 porsche Boxster from Auto Top factory LLC via Ebay. Paid $319.00 via PayPal. The company claims to offer a six (6) year warranty against manufacturer defects.

I received the top on 18 April 2014 and installed it that same weekend. By the second day after install I discovered that, due to incorrect manufacturing, the guide straps that guide the top into the roof channels during closing had torn away from the top (the guide straps were sewn the wrong way around with the rubberized side facing inwards which would not allow the straps to slide along the roof frame bars as intended)) and thus my top would not close without having two people outside the car during closing (to manually guide the top into the roof channels).

I contacted the company on 23 April and they were very apologetic and offered to send me a replacement top right away or to help me fix the issue. I agreed to try and fix it first rather than spending another 8 hours or more removing the old and re-installing a new top (again). The company send me replacement guide straps and a needle and thread, which used - per their instructions - to sew the new straps onto the roof fabric. Unfortunately this solution did not work as my sewing skills are far from factory-precise and the new straps caused the roof fabric to be too fat to fit into the channel and thus still required two people outside the car during closing to manually guide the roof fabric into the channels, plus when closed it now has bulges along the roof line due to the fat new straps having being sewn in by hand.

Due to this I emailed the company again on 6 May 2014 and told them that I would like to accept their offer of a replacement top. I received no email reply, so on 8 May 2014 I called the company and spoke to Liza Dekirmendjian. Liza then told me that they would replace the top only after I removed it and shipped the old, defective one back to them. I became upset due to the fact that I had spent the last two weeks messing around with this top trying to correct the defects and that I could not remove the top from my car that is parked outdoors and wait two weeks for a new one to arrive, especially as we were entering the rainy season. Hutch Dekirmendjian then came to the phone and apologized to me. He told me that customer satisfaction is their prime concern and that he would send me a new top right away, along with a pre-paid shipping label to return the old one in the same box once I do the new install. In order to compensate me for the hassle he also offered to upgrade the top to a glass-window version. I accepted his offer and he promised to ship the new top no later than Monday, May 12th.

On 13 May 2014, one day after I was promised it would ship, I received an email from Liza saying:

"Hello Grant.
Per your conversation with Hutch, we will be sending you a new top for your Boxster. The tops are in production and should ship out no later than Monday. We will probably expedite the shipping to be sure you receive it quickly.
Thank you.
Liza".

This was the very last email I ever received from the company, even though I emailed them six times since asking about the status of my shipment.

Note, that this was day 30 since purchase, and also the final day that I would be eligible to file an eBay claim against them for a misrepresented item. At the time I did not realize it but I now suspect that this delay was very calculated from the start, as you shall see below.

On 13 May 2014 I replied to Liza's email asking why it had been delayed when Hutch had promised me it would ship on the 12th. I received no reply.

On 19 May 2014 I emailed asking for a status update on the shipment. I received no reply.

On 20 May 2014, after numerous attempts, I finally reached Hutch by telephone. He was very friendly and said they'd been out of stock on the glass windows, but he had them now and would be shipping my top right away. He also offered to throw in some double-sided tape and a defroster cable to make up for the delay.

On 2 June 2014, after still having received no shipment, I emailed asking for a status update on the shipment. I received no reply.

On 3 June 2014 I emailed asking for a status update on the shipment. I received no reply.

I placed at least one dozen phone calls (likely more) during this same time period but the phone was never answered (and no voicemail or answering machine picked up).

On 5 june 2014, I finally reached hutch by telephone. Again, he was super friendly and apologized for the delay saying that he went to Vegas this time as a reason for not having sent the package (?). He promised he would go right now and package it up and sned it to me. he also offered to throw in a headliner as an added bonus to make up for the delays. I, being skeptical, asked him to clarify that he would send the shipment that very day. he replied that yes he would. i asked him to call me back or email me with the package tracking number. he promised that he would post the tracking number to eBay that night and would also email it to me.

Needless to say I never received a tracking number, nor any email from him.

On 9 June 2014 I emailed both hutch & Liza asking for the tracking number. I received no reply.

On 10 June 2014 I began calling by phone every day, and many days as many as 5-10 times a day. The phone would just ring and ring.

On 11 June 2014 I called from a friend's phone (with an out of state number) and Hutch answered. I said hello and verified that it was him. He said yes. Then I told him who was calling and he suddenly said he couldn't hear me and hung up. I called back and, of course, the phone simply rang and rang. I called about 6 or 7 times until i gave up.

On 13 June 2014 I called from another friend's phone with an entirely different area code, and Liza answered. I asked to please speak to Hutch. She asked who was calling and I said "Grant". Hutch came to the phone and said "Robert?". I said "No, this is Grant". He then did the same routine as before, saying "Hello? Hello? I can't hear you?" and hung up. Again I called back numerous times but it rang and rang as usual.

On 14 June 2014 I open a case with eBay, but because it is over 30 days from purchase all they will do is facilitate communication between us but will not enforce any action whatsoever. In my communication I stated a very brief description of the above and stated that all i wanted was simply a working top as promised numerous times. Hutch replied back saying that I was demanding a refund without being willing to return the top first and that they refused to speak to me any further about it.

So, to summarize: I purchased a convertible top from the company, installed it, but due to manufacturing defects it does not operate as promised under their warranty. I cannot truly use the car for its intended purpose (being a convertible) because I have to have two other people with me any time I have to put the top up properly. The company was very nice and friendly all the way up until my 30-day eBay recourse period expired and then stopped communicating. I believe that the times I have been able to reach Hutch by phone surprised him and he has blanatly lied to me on those occassions simply to mollify me and get me off the phone. I believe he never has had any intention of making good on this sale.

Even so, I don't want a refund. I simply want a working top as promised and (apparently) warrantied.


This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/17/2014 12:55 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Auto-Top-Factory-LLC/nationwide/Auto-Top-Factory-LLC-Hutch-Dekirmendjian-Hratch-Dekirmendjian-Liza-Dekirmendjian-Defec-1155485. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
4Author 0Consumer 2Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Author of original report

Not willing to deal with a merchant that LIES without remorse

AUTHOR: GB - ()

I'm not really interested in going back and forth with this merchant on their rebuttals. They have a solid history of being willing to LIE without conscience, so the idea of anyone believing what Liza's rebuttals say it ludicrous to begin with.

Firstly, the reason I have not returned the item is that I am 100% sure that if I spend the money to buy another top, and invest the time in removal and reinstall, that once i ship it back to Hutch & Liza I WILL NEVER SEE MY REFUND. I am absolutely sure of this, based upon my experience with them to date. Nothing Hutch has ever said to me was true, so how does one expect me to reasonably believe that all of a sudden now they will act in good faith?

I have found a local shop that will resew the straps and correct the defects for me to get my top operational. And since it's the hot (and rainy) season here I am driving my other cars anyway. I've wasted more than enough time with Hutch & Liza's ongoing parade of lies and empty promises.

Secondly, the reason that "Ebay has still taken our side on this matter" is that the seller made lots of wonderful promises and kept me thinking the issue was going to be resolved, right up until the time my eBay Buyer Protection period expired. If you read my original report, you will see the exact time-line of how this occured. I did speak to eBay and because the time had expired, there was nothing they could do. They did however recommend that I file a report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (ic3.gov), which I did.

 

As I mentioned before, I have ever aspect of this entire transaction documented, so let me share just one email that demonstrates Liza's willingness to lie in her "rebuttals"...

========================================================================

Here, Liza shows her customer service prowess by letting me know that they will gladly send me out a replacement top:

========================================================================

-------- Original Message --------

Subject: Re: Installation Instructions for Porsche top
Date: Wed, 23 Apr 2014 18:32:27 -0700
From: Liza Dekirmendjian <autotopfactory@att.net>
To: Thrust Motorsports 

Thank you for your photos.

Also, thank you for your patience on this matter. The purpose of these velcro straps are to train the cable to go into the track.  Sometimes it's not necessary to use this strap.  If that's not the case with your car, we will send out a new top for you at no charge.
If you'd like to contact us by phone we can assist you in fixing this issue. Your satisfaction is our priority.
Thanks again.
Liza
818-989-1000

Sent from my iPhone

On Apr 23, 2014, at 1:23 PM, Thrust Motorsports wrote:

Here you go. You can see in the first two photos an example of the poor quality stitching (on the one side that's still attached). The next two photos show the other side which has already come off. If you look closely at the bar you will see gunk on it which is a result of the gummy backing material from your velcro straps (and presumably heat from the Florida sun). I'm not sure it's such a good idea to have a gummy backing on a part that is supposed to slide freely up and down the bar.

Grant
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Hi. Can you send me photos?

On Apr 21, 2014, at 6:27 AM, "Grant B." wrote:
Thanks.   I never heard back from you on my last email regarding the velcro straps coming off the top.  I had replied to your email letting you know that the straps were attached to the frame exactly in the same place as my original ones (on the top I removed), and that they were attached loosely to allow movement.
 
G

=========================================================================

Here Liza promises to credit me a portion of the purchase price for my trouble - of course that also NEVER HAPPENED:

==========================================================================

-------- Original Message --------

Subject: Re: Installation Instructions for Porsche top
Date: Sat, 26 Apr 2014 19:09:03 -0700
From: Liza Dekirmendjian <autotopfactory@att.net>
To: Grant B. 

Hi Grant.

I will be sending you a photo of a top with an idea of how to fix this. I have been authorized to credit you some of your purchase price for the time and trouble this may have caused you.
If you'd like, we can send you some polyester thread and a needle to help out.  If you still want a new top, we can exchange it for you. 
Thank you again.
Liza
 

=========================================================================

Here Liza let's me know that they will be shipping me a replacement top "no later than Monday". Of course that never happened! BUT, they did make me half a dozen more of these same promises over the next month. And, of course, once my eBay Protection period expired, they SUDDENLY CHANGED THEIR TUNE!

==========================================================================

 -------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: Boxster Top
Date: Tue, 13 May 2014 11:13:23 -0700
From: Liza Dekirmendjian <autotopfactory@att.net>
To: Thrust Motorsports 

Hello Grant.
Per your conversation with Hutch, we will be sending you a new top for your Boxster. The tops are in production and should ship out no later than Monday. We will probably expedite the shipping to be sure you receive it quickly.
Thank you.
Liza 

Sent from my iPhone

On May 6, 2014, at 7:52 AM, Thrust Motorsports wrote:

Liz,

So, I decided I would like to go with a new top and, as much as I hate the idea of it, doing a fresh installation with a fresh top that has professionally sewn side straps.  I sewed the straps on and the top does close properly now however there is a bulge under each side where the bulk of the new strap is being trapped in the channel along with the side bead.  You can see an example in the attached pictures of the bulge.

So, if you could please get me out a fresh top ASAP I would appreciate it. Please make sure that the top has the velcro straps oriented correctly so that the smooth fabric side is on the inside against the pole rather than the rubberized side.

Best,

Grant B.
Thrust Motorsports
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#2 REBUTTAL Individual responds

Still trying...

AUTHOR: Liza - ()

 We had made about twenty five of the same top in this particular batch with the straps sewn exactly the same way.  Since none of the other customers complained, we came to the conclusion that the straps must have been installed on the wrong bar.  This is a helper strap for the initial installation to keep the top in place and help it stretch out.  If installed on the wrong bar, it can easily come apart from the top. 

 We offered for the customer to take his time returning the item, and recommended that he purchase it from another seller, since he is not happy with our product.  We even offered that he should install the new top from another seller and then return ours.  Of course, we would then have no use for it, since it is used and we cannot sell it to anyone else.  We still offered to give him a full refund.

 We refuse to work with a customer who curses, threatens, and screams unreasonably.  This is the right of every seller, and is often posted on signs in stores.  We reserve the right to refuse his business. 

 We are a small business and it is clear that someone is trying to hurt us.

 To this day, Ebay has still taken our side on this matter, and we have not received our item back, which can only mean that it's really not as bad as he says it is.  So why didn't he return it for a refund?  And why still try to fight and hurt others?  If our products are really that bad, why does he still want another one?  And why isn't anyone else complaining??? 

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#3 Author of original report

Do Hutch & Liza have no shame?

AUTHOR: GB - ()

I found it interesting to read Liza's "rebuttal", especially since I have mounds of email and photographic documentation of the communication back and forth between us.

 

So, let's clarify a couple of points:

 

1. The defective top was purely due to manufacturer error. The velcro straps were sewn onto the top BACKWARDS, meaning that the rubberized side of the cloth material was sewn to face inwards, up against the metal frame bar to which it is attached.  Installation has nothing to do with it. I installed it exactly as the old one came off. the problem was that once I started using the top, the rubberized side of the straps would (obviously) not slide smoothly along the metal frame bar, and this is what caused the straps to tear away from the top.

I provided photographic evidence of this to Liza by email and this is what prompted them to apologize for the error and offer a repair or replacement. I will be glad to provide copies of said emails and photographs to anyone who doubts the veracity of my statements.

 

2. I did not demand something out of the ordinary. I worked with them for almost a month (primarily due to their extreme communication delays and broken promises of ship dates for the replacement velcro straps) and actually sewed new straps onto the top myself in an attempt to fix the problem. By the end of it, with so much time invested and my top still not fully operational, I opted to accept their offer of a replacement.

 

3. It is true that at first Liza told me I would have to ship the top back before getting a replacement. Now, let's be clear, this is NOT a sweater from a department store that one can simply take off. The installation of one of these tops takes close to 8 hours (or about $1200-$1600 if you have a shop do it) plus the car is outdoors. So, my contention was how would I reasonably be able to remove the defective top, send it back, and wait for who-knows-how-long before I receive the replacement. Based on my experience with them that could have taken a month, all the while I would have my Porsche sitting out in the driveway without a roof. After Liza being unreasonable on this point I became upset - and I think reasonably so. That's when Hutch got on the phone and made his promises.

 

The bottom line here is not so much the replacement of the top, which I would have had to deal with if Hutch had said "no, I'm terribly sorry but that's our policy and we are not able to send out a replacement without receiving the original back", HOWEVER he did not say that. He gave me his speech about how customer service is his top priority and made promises which, i now know, he had no intention of keeping, and strung me out with those continuing lies for over two months.

 

I am a small business owner and have no intentions of slamming small businesses, where they are honest and forthright, however this company has no qualms whatsoever about lying to one's face, over and over and over. THAT is why I filed this report.

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#4 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Unreasonable buyer

AUTHOR: Liza - ()

First off, this is the first negative report ever received for our company.

The buyer purchased one of our convertible tops on ebay (worth about $300) and with some improper installation, damaged the velcro straps.  This happens when it is installed on the wrong bar and it gets pulled too much.  Makes sense, right?  So when the buyer called to complain about the problem, and tried to blame it on us,  I kindly offered him a replacement for the item when we received the original item back.  This is common practice.  If you buy something from a department store or any electronics that have an issue, would they replace it without receiving the original one back? NO, THEY WOULDN'T.  To top it off, he wants an item that we sell for about $460 (for free as well).  He refused to send the item back and demanded we replace it with a more expensive item at no charge before he sent it back.  REALLY????  He then began to curse and threaten to send people he knows to our place to "straighten things out" (whatever that means).  When I was being yelled at and cursed at with "A" words, and "F" words (such a gentleman)  I handed the phone to Hutch, who had no idea what was going on and promised the buyer that things would get replaced and set right for him.  Hutch is the head of manufacturing and later examined the photos of his complaint, and concluded that this was not our fault.  For such a minor problem caused by the consumer, we cannot in good faith replace the item without at least receiving the original one back.  We were still kind enough to offer him a full refund if he returned the used and damaged item.  He filed a complaint with ebay and ebay sided in our favor.  We have yet to receive our item back, and honestly fear for our safety with his threats.  He has sent people to our location who loitered in our parking lot and took photos of our building, parking lot, and our cars!  If any type of vandalism or damage should happen to our place of business or personal property, this report is proof of his threats.  If he lived in California, I would file a restraining order.  Fortunately, he's in Florida, but it hasn't seemed to stop him.  He has the audacity to actually still want a replacement top sent out.  We refuse to work with him and suggested that he get a replacement top from one of our competitors and take two more weeks sending back the return, and still offered him a refund.  We do not have the return yet. We have hundreds of happy and satisfied customers who thank us everyday.  This is by far the worst behaved consumer we have ever dealt with who obviously has nothing better to do with his time than to harass small businesses.

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#5 Author of original report

The Lies continue!!

AUTHOR: GB - ()

On June 20th, 2014 I was able to reach Hutch (by calling from a google voice phone number that is in a different area code from mine). This time I made sure he could hear me okay before I told him who i was, so he couldn't use his old "I can't hear you" trick.  

This time, he pretended to be at a total loss as to what I was calling about. When i told him that I still had not received my top, he pretended to get upset and said that Lisa (his wife who he pretends is just an employee) is "this close" to being fired. He told me that he'd had similar complaints from other customers and that she was "on thin ice".  But, don't worry, he would take care of this personally!

He then proceeded to tell me the following:

1. That he had lots of tops "on the shelf" and was pretty sure that mine had been shipped that day, but that he would go check and see, and if mine had not shipped then he would personally ship it immediately.

2. That he was going to throw in a headliner and other goodies to prove to me that customer service is his #1 prioirty.

3. That, to further demonstrate his pure character, he was going to refund my original purchase price to my PayPal account "within the hour" and once I'd received the new top and installed it that I should then pay him whatever I felt was fair. Wow, what a guy!

4. That he would call me back within the hour with a tracking number for my package.

I should have know, of course, that he was just blowing smoke up my a** as usual, but I can't conceive of someone being that brazen as to just lie through their teeth and I naively hoped that maybe this time he was telling the truth.

As a precaution, i posted this note on eBay so that I had a written record of it:

"Hutch, It was good speaking to you on the telephone tonight (Wednesday 6/18/14 7:49 PM EST) and I'm very glad we we were able to work things out to both our satisfaction. I'm posting this follow-up on eBay just so that we both have a written record of the conversation. As discussed, we agreed to the following: 1. You will be refunding $319 to my paypal account within the hour. 2. You will see if my replacement top (glass window, defroster cable & headliner) shipped today and, if so, you will email me the tracking number. 3. If it did not ship today, you will call or email me right away and let me know and I will have a friend or family member in LA stop by your shop tomorrow to pick it up on my behalf. 4. Once I have installed the replacement top I will then pay you cost of my original purchase. If there's anything I missed please let me know. "

After three hours and no call back I tried him again. No answer, over and over, just as before.

That night, I get the following message on eBay from him:

"I don't think my prior message went through... I can understand that you would want to return the plastic window top and get a glass window at the same cost. Per our policy, we would gladly stitch the Velcro strap that came apart during installation. After consulting with my partner, we have decided that we simply cannot afford to send out additional merchandise, especially a higher cost item. We will not have a replacement for at least two weeks. Even then, we would prefer if you purchased a replacement item from another seller. I hope you understand our position. We will send you a full refund once our item is returned. Once installed, we cannot even sell the item you are returning, so we are at a complete loss. For our low price point, we simply cannot afford it. You may take two weeks to send it back as we understand that you want to have another top on your car. I hope you understand. Hutch."

Notice that in a matter of hours he suddenly went from having lots on the shelf to suddenly not having a replacement available for two week and, interestingly, his "employee" Lisa has suddenly become his "partner".

 

The next day, using the same tricky phone shenanigans, I was able to reach Hutch one last time. When I told him who it was he said in a friendly tone, as if we were best friends, "Hi, how are you doing?"  I said to him simply: "You lied to me again."  He just hung up the phone and that was it.  I have never been able to reach anyone at their office again since.

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#6 Author of original report

eBay User ID: autotopfactoryllc

AUTHOR: GB - ()

This company's handle on eBay is "autotopfactoryllc".

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