March 13, 2011: I drop my Sony HDR CX350V camcorder and create autofocusing problems. (Approx. value new $700.00)
March 17th: After calling several camcorder repair companies listed on the internet, I chose to send my camera to ProGear Camera Repair at 1692 S. Hunt Ln., Fayetteville AR. 72701 via USPS- insured and with delivery confirmation.
March 23rd: ProGear calls me with an estimate of the repair: $272.19, incl. return shipping- back to me in two weeks. I approve and give them my debit card number. Point of sale withdrawal of $272.19 was recorded by my bank later the same day.
Mid April- approximately three or four weeks later: I call and leave messages over several days with no response. Finally the phone answered by Trey Holland who directs my inquiry about progress to the technician Hal Newton. Hal convinces me he ordered and installed new parts, but was not satisfied and so ordered more parts. He said it was only a matter of a few days.
I called a week later with no answer and then almost daily. (I really needed this camera to document a project).
April 29th: Increasingly suspicious I changed my debit card number. I was still hopeful of a happy ending however.
Over the next several weeks one call made it through to an answering machine on which I insisted on a callback or I would withdraw my prepayment through my bank/ Visa. Hal called the next day and pleaded for just a few more days. I agreed again. (At this point I didn't realize Visa has a 30 day limit on payment disputes).
Weeks passed again with no responses to my messages, (the answering mach was usually full from other messages).
Finally on June 21st I sent an email via their web site demanding the return of my camera and that I would be withdrawing prepayment. Failing this I would contact the authorities. Later that afternoon both telephone numbers were disconnected and the website taken down. I had my bank try to retract the payment though Visa, but Visa denied- I was a few hours over on the 90 days limit.
June 26th I contacted the Fayetteville Police Dept. They mention 2 other complaints against an address I give them of a "sister company within their jurisdiction: Progear Audio Repair at 26W Center St Fayetteville The address I sent camera was in Washing ton County, so they referred me Washington County Sheriff's Office where I spoke to a Detective. He called me back after speaking to a woman claiming financial hardship at Progear Camera's new tel. #. They also resumed their website with a list of their problems.
I left a message at the new number demanding the return of my camera and my money. I still have not heard from them as of today: July 6, 2011. I will continue to call and fill up their machine, while investigations proceed. Even a simple internet search reveals these guys have been doing this to other saps, just like me- for years! As well as the BBB; the Consumer Protection Division of the Arkansas Attorney Generals office. IC3; and right here at Ripoff Report! When is somone going to catch them and put them in jail?!