On September 22, 2012, I "won" a new "North Bay" Hot Tub from "Mountain Harbour Spas" through an eBay auction. After several calls with the seller (Donald Berry) during which he tried very hard to convince me to send him Postal Money Orders or a cashiers check outside of eBay, I declined and paid $4500 through eBay using PayPal on Sept. 24th. (I thought this would protect me...)
These tubs are supposedly build-to-order with the options the buyer wants, and have an "average completion time of 5-7 weeks" after which shipping arrangements must be made and paid for.
Now, a legitimate business man would take the money I just gave him and immediately had it over to the manufacturer (minus his built in profit of course) to start the hot tub build process...
After 6 weeks, I called and and emailed Don requesting a status update on my hot tub. After a few attempts, he replied that he would "check on it". A few days later I finally got an email response saying the manufacturer was "waiting on the controller to come in".
A couple of weeks later, without any further updates, I tried several times to get in touch with Don, leaving several messages and emails, and he finally called me late on Sunday evening Dec. 2nd with some "bad news" - apparently my hot tub had been completed but there was a problem when they ran the "water test". Investigating the problem revealed that the acrylic had not properly bonded and the entire shell would have to be remanufactured!!! At least 4 weeks it would take...I had to "authorize" the rebuild through an email stating there had been a "systemic acrylic bonding issue" and that he was going to have the tub manufactured at a different plant with a slightly different configuration (fewer jets, different seats, etc.) But I was stuck, so what could I do - I authorized it.
On Dec. 17th I started calling and emailing to get an update...finally on the 20th I received an email telling me they were busting hump trying to get all the tubs out they could prior to the "holiday shutdown"!?!? But he would be in contact when they returned "on our about Jan. 10th"!!!!!!! I wish I got this kind of holiday...
I froze my tail off through the holidays and emailed for an update on Jan. 10th. No response...
I called on Jan. 11th and it went straight to voice mail with the system message stating that "this mailbox is full and cannot accept messages at this time. Please try later."
I checked eBay and noted that Don had NO listings for anything...I "Googled" "Donald Berry Hot Tub" and found this site (along with a couple others) that had complaints similar to this one I'm filing now.
I sent another, very direct, email urging Don to contact me ASAP to arrange to either return my money, or deliver my hot tub to avoid my escalating the issue and filing police and internet fraud reports.
A couple of days later, I received an email referring me to his attorney, "Law offices of David A. Tilem, A debt relief agency"!
So it appears that this a$$hole is accepting everyone's money and never placing the orders with the factory so he can pocket the entire amount. Keep in mind that this time frame is well beyond the 45-day window for eBay feedback and "buyer protection" so they were of NO help. I tried PayPal, who also has a 45-day limit on filing a claim online, but an agent took my complaint on the phone. I've heard nothing more for over a week now.
I spoke briefly with a PI who did a quick background check and said Don Berry had a history of financial problems that came in about 2 year cycles. In addition, he had been sued for "breech of contract" at least once.
I may or may not ever get my money back, but I won't stop taking every step I can until I know this POS is in prison for federal felony wire fraud.