Report: #1249861

Complaint Review: Vita Nova Taxidermy

  • Submitted: Thu, August 20, 2015
  • Updated: Thu, August 20, 2015
  • Reported By: Anony-Mouse — -- Other USA
  • Vita Nova Taxidermy
    79 Breeze Hill Road
    New Hampton, New York
    USA

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

The quality of taxidermy mounts as shown on Vita Nova's website and DeviantArt profile: http://nakomii.deviantart.com/ are not in any way the same quality of product she sends to her clients. Mounts have arrived with multiple holes in the skins, poor detail work in the facial anatomy, ears loose and out of place, etc. She only shows "good" mounts in her web presence but sends clients a very different and poor quality product. In some instances, she has taken well over a year to even get started on a client's mount, and again the finished piece is in terrible shape.  This has happened to over 20 of her clients that I have spoken with, and Marissa refuses to give refunds or compensate in any way besides "replacing" or "remounting" the animal. But her replacements or remounts are just as bad quality so this does not solve the problem. There is no way to reason with her on this and she becomes rude and defensive when clients complain. 

Also, Marissa has been reported to NY Fish & Wildlife for selling state-prohibited wildlife skins such as wolf and kangaroo. Any "professional" taxidermist should know their state laws, but Marissa Hernandez has been anything but professional. This is a business to stay away from! 

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/20/2015 02:36 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/vita-nova-taxidermy/new-hampton-new-york-10958/vita-nova-taxidermy-marissa-hernandez-severe-misrepresentation-of-product-and-service-qua-1249861. 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. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
1Author
10Consumer
2Employee/Owner

#1 Consumer Comment

Never had an issue.

AUTHOR: Shiranui - (USA)

I for one have never had any problems with Vita Nova Taxidermy.  My mounts are all wonderful.  Marissa is always nice and helpful when I ask her questions about my mounts.  She beautifully re-created my disfigured arctic marble fox, and despite my pelt being so old and damaged, she was still able to make her look amazing again.  My lynx, red fox, and cross fox also came out well from her, and I'm excited to receive my cougar, hyena, and sunglow fox!  She makes all her mounts look very nice and life-like.  I don't know where all this negative criticism is coming from, but I for one am very pleased with her services!

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#2 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Clearing things up

AUTHOR: Mars - (USA)

I apologize to anyone who has recieved a less than quality mount, who may have a problem with me, my work, or felt I have treated them improperly prior to our changes. I am working to become the best taxidermist I can possibly be and that means mistakes are made. If and when I have a vacation, this is because I am leaving out of state. I cannot work on items if they are not in my hands. Ive had to go to Florida on a couple of instances for family related reasons. WIP photos are always provided, I do my best to do so. The comments here are not from friends, they are from my clients. I appreciate all their kind and honest words, albeit an issue included or not. Thank you for commenting. I know what I need to do and am happy that we have not had many issues since. I cannot take back any incidents that may have occurred before but I can most certainly correct them. I welcome anyone to send me a message or e-mail. 

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#3 Consumer Comment

Vita Nova Taxidermy is very good

AUTHOR: captainsaviathan - (USA)

Im not sure where all this nonsense is coming from. I have bought premades and commissioned this wildlife artist and she has kept good contact good buisness and delievered good products every time. I have never had any kind of problem with the owner who is one of my favorite taxidermists in terms of customer service. I am currently doing a second commission with her and my 4th one of her mounts. I would highly recommend talking to the owner for even a minute to see that this is all a crude hoax most likely made out of anger from a competitor. I have no ill words about Vita Nova Taxidermy or the owner. None of the mounts Ive gotten from her have any holes from me or the original construction of the mount, it does take her a while for some mounts but it is an expected wait as she does get most of her skins in raw, having them tanned and sent back is a time limit she cannot control but after she receives the pelts she gets the work done in a timely manner and I have no personally been dissapointed yet! 

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#4 Consumer Comment

Frustrating to deal with

AUTHOR: Calicofox - (USA)

 I see that Marissa has recently commented on this, however yet again she does not address the issues at hand, and instead has her friends come in to defend her. Marissa, please address what you were thinking with leaving rusted nails in your mounts. Do you realize how dangerous that is? That isnt even a beginner issue. That is just negligance. What about the massive holes left in the necks of many of your mounts, which is too many to be a simple mistake. How did those massive hole even get there in the first place, because the pelts certainly didn't have them to start with... Please address why you always seem to be on 'vacation' instead of working on the items you have owed people for almost 2 years. Please address why you wont ship items you owe people for months at a time, but throw a huge fit when someone won't ship an item to you in a timely manner (hint, you have done this to me.) Please address why no wip photos are provided to some customers when they ask you for them? Marissa, you can try to act like you're the victim and do no wrong and make many of your followers believe the same, but for the numerous people you HAVE wronged, we know the truth and we have a massive stash of screenshots and photos to back us up. Not once have you apologized or truly tried to make things right with us, without us trying to pull teeth out of you (figure of speach), and we will remember that. Do you want to improve yourself, your products and your business? Here are some tips from a fellow taxidermist... - Don't ignore your customers, no matter how disgruntled at you they are or how disgruntled you are at them. - Dont get and attitude with people who are trying to get you to fix things, finish things or ship things. - Ship items out within a week or 2 of purchase or finishing. And ship them yourself. No more having mommy ship stuff for you. ALWAYS provide a tracking number as well as insurance. - Make 100% certain there are no nails or pins left in your mounts, and sew up every single hole BEFORE you start mounting/stuffing. Every mount must be made as if it were for yourself. Don't you want high quality mounts for yourself? So does everyone else. - Take multiple angle shots of your work. That includes side shots, head on shots, and yes even underneath the head shots (customers want good, tucked liplines). Make sure to show your customers exactly what they are getting BEFORE you ship it. One more thing, dont assume that because these people have not all come forward to you regarding these issues, does not mean that they don't exist. Don't brush this off as "oh they're attacking me for the hell of it". Until you actually rectify things with all the people who have taken issue to you due to bad business and bad products, you are going to have stuff like this happen. To the people who HAVE had decent business with her, please stay out of this as these issues obviously don't concern you. This is for those who HAVE had bad business with Vita Nova.

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#5 Consumer Comment

Idk man I had a good experience

AUTHOR: CindarellaPop - (USA)

I know that the 'community' that surrounds collectors and taxidermists can be very fierce, and that there's a "popular artist" effect that can seriously attract drama. Well, I can't speak for any other customer of Vita Nova, but I had a great experience with them.

I sent in a beat up little fox mount that was to be completely overhauled. Remounted, re-stuffed, and given a little armature so that it can hold a pose. Now, the original product here was ugly as sin and had been remounted already once before. So it wasn't exactly a slice of pie. But VitaNova and its representatives have this much going for them:

1. They respond fast. Many artists I've commissioned have become so consumed with their at home life and their business that it's not uncommon to wait a week or more for a response to a question. Not so here. Responses were quick and the communication good.

2. The product is pretty good too. When I got the fox back, I was ecstatic. The little included touches like the bandana around his neck were great, and the mount looked a thousand times better than it did. It may have slight imperfections maybe, but nothing earth shattering or noticeable unless you're looking for the flaws very closely.

If this artist and company has deliberately done harm, I sure as heck didn't see a lick of it. If anything the service I received was above the average for people who make art dolls and sculptures. I'd shop here again. I probably WILL shop here again.  If anyone out there wants to talk about their own experiences, I won't sit around and argue with them, but my encounter here was nothing but positive.

"Victor" thanks VitaNova for the facelift. He's finally the beautiful showpiece he deserved to be.

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#6 Consumer Comment

Wow.

AUTHOR: anonymous - (USA)

This is all pointless drama and completely uncalled for...it is going way too far. Mars is a great person, who has been nothing but nice and understanding towards me. Sure, there may be a few holes to fix here and there, but such is life; these things happen. My soft mount is still beautiful and wonderful, and her style is by far my favorite out there; it is the most life-like I have ever seen. Heck, people constantly think my mount is still alive, and I think that says something. He is gorgeously well done, and I love him. He is perfect. It is really, really hard to make a soft mount look like it is living still, and yet, Mars is able to pull it off.

Sure, there is always room for improvement, but Mars is still pretty new to taxidermy. She is trying, and doing the best she can. She means well. She is working hard to fix her past mistakes, and this is proven by her recent journal. She is getting things out to everybody. She is not trying to hurt people or do these things. Give her a break, let her catch up. Heck, give her TIME to prove herself. She will, I am certain of that. Everybody makes mistakes. Art is not easy; please accept that. Just think about it; if she had bad intentions, would she even ship anybody their mounts? And why would they have such beautiful faces? Give her a break.

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#7 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Owner of Vita Nova Taxidermy

AUTHOR: Mars - (USA)

Owner of Vita Nova Taxidermy here. I encourage you all to read through this just to clear up some of what has been said.

The first, and maybe most important thing, is that the people writing the bad reviews against me as well as the person who has written this report have personal issues with me, some of which are not directly linked to business. I feel that this attack was personal. Mostly because this same exact thing was posted on two other sites, and they also wrote the BBB saying the same thing. They have admitted to writing it, you can see the email here matches up with the email from the BBB report, they also state in the email that they wrote this report. Email: http://sta.sh/014nhf5lw3zw

BBB letter (names and addresses blocked out) Front: http://sta.sh/01561oosbixz

Back: http://sta.sh/0dqw72jxxt5

 

Most of the commenters have never done business with me, and If they have and they had any issues, they were resolved to the best of my ability. As in the case with NightsGem, she asked for her mount to be sent back to her unfinished, and we made sure she agreed to this twice before sending her fox back. She had expressed she wanted to re do him herself.

Our conversation stating that she wanted him back in whatever condition he was in: (bottom to top) http://sta.sh/0215ncdoyx8q

After she got him she was upset, although we did exactly what she asked of us: http://sta.sh/09h4n2n6so and http://sta.sh/02bb0zz4j44p

 

These reports are coming from people in a small community.

Most of the mentioned works are over 2 years old and were done when in a beginner stage. I started taxidermy only three years ago, and I was not perfect when I started out. I know more now than I did then, and I will know more three, six, 20, 40 years from now. Art is a learning process and I don’t believe our first works should be held against us. We all need to improve, and I am fully aware that each mount I make is a new learning process and I strive to do better each time. My mounts now cannot compare.

People are claiming that we have unhappy customers, but these unhappy customers have not contacted us. When we asked to see evidence of these claims, they refused. We still have yet to receive messages to fix any unsatisfied customers issues. We are welcoming with open arms any issues that need to be resolved to come to us so we can help. I am here to help resolve these issues but I cannot resolve any issues if no one comes to me. I am happy to help and fix anything that we possibly can to the best of my ability. I want to make people happy, that’s all its ever been about.

We only blacklisted one customer because they were harassing us and our business page with false accusations even after resolving our issues and offering to call to explain. We have NEVER blacklisted ANYONE else besides this one person.

One of the comments below is claiming a piece of work we did but it was remounted by a different artist who then returned it to the person commenting. I did not do the work on this animal, it was re done a few times and after it left my hands it was sent to someone else to be "fixed." This mount is also almost three years old now.

The same commenter as mentioned above also did not deal with me business wise. I dealt with them business wise, but anything exchanged through chat was not a business matter, it was a personal matter. They were a previous friend and I had sent them something to work on, and they lost my item. They claimed it was lost in the mail, and their father shipped it, but I asked their father and they said they did not ship it. I had to receive compensation from the father since I did not receive compensation from the person commenting.

We recently made a drastic change on New Years and have yet to have any issues other than typical taxidermy related issues. We made a testimonial page for this new year. All of the good that outweighs any previous poor experiences.

Any legality issues have been taken up with law enforcement and I was confirmed of being OK. I am working on obtaining a hard copy for my records stating this. Any mistakes or misunderstandings have been cleared, and ever since weve moved business off the site causing the drama, (for the most part) we have had 0 issues.

 

Here are some testimonials. http://nakomii.wix.com/vitanovataxidermy?_ga=1.18710201.129055426.1440189383#!testimonials-/c1pt1

Also some recent customer interactions: http://sta.sh/0fy7mzqm9sc , http://sta.sh/02bgtzkvkbd7 , http://sta.sh/0261o4xqpqrl , http://sta.sh/02d3v9ekk4r1

 

I would like to add, as a final statement. Anyone is free to come to us with issues and we will fix them. Anyone is free to ask for proof or ask questions. We are not interested in hiding anything. If anyone wants specifics, we don't have a problem sharing. You can send us a message on our facebook page, or from our website and we will be happy to respond. 

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#8 Consumer Comment

Drama

AUTHOR: Anonymous - (USA)

This whole thing is drama and jealousy driven. Watching from the sidelines and being a customer myself, I can say that this report was not written as a warning. This was not even written by a customer, just somebody who is friends with the two people there was an issue with and was seemingly resolved. Marissa's work is so beautiful in person! Her stitching could use some work to make it tighter but asking for her help to correct a small hole was very easy! She is super super sweet and her work is some of the best I've seen! They're so lifelike and look like they're looking right at you! I have seen comments about small hole issues but they were mounts done when she was first starting out, like 2-3 years ago??? Everybody needs to start somewhere. In a world of taxidermy there isn't such thing as flawlessness. I am more than pleased with my mounts by Marissa and will continue doing business with her. Keep it up, Marissa! You deserve the best! Don't let anyone kick you down!

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#9 Consumer Comment

Vita Nova Taxidermy Isn't What You Think

AUTHOR: Anonymous - (USA)

I had found myself commenting with Marissa, the owner of Vita Nova Taxidermy for a while, and at first she did appear to be a very friendly individual to deal with. However that had soon changed when she and I had an issue. An item of hers that I was going to work on, had been sent back, and been lost in postage. I was personally threatened, belittled, called names, as well as being bad mouthed to other people in our community. Some severe issues had happened with me, to which she informed others that I was lying of my state, to which I am still recovering from. I offered her several items, as well as cash to ammend the situation, however she stated that she "almost wanted something with equal sentemental value" to which her item had... which I can not provide. After a lot of arguing, I finally issued her what she wanted, which was a refund, and then left it at that. However she posted a very lengthy beware against me, when I was trying to do everything within my power to make it right. This has damaged my own business, and dealings with others, seeing as a lot of newer people to the community take what she says by heart. 

I am also a taxidermist, and having seen some of her work up close and in person, I am appauled with the condition that these items were sent in. Even though it was stated to be an 'older product' the mount was nonethelss not what she had advertised and a danger to people who had owned it. The mount basically fell apart in my hands when recieved, the lips were untucked, the ears were barely on the form and the liners visiable, there were multipe holes including a very large one in the back of the neck, as well as being horribly sewn for someone who claims to be a professoinal. The condition this wolf was in, and how it appeared was nothing like the one photo she had provided in her gallery, and seeing what state it was in, I decided to take the form out of the head to make some adjustments and planned on remounting it myself. However doing this only made matters worse. Having some other taxidermists on a livestream, as well as having another award winning taxidermist staying with me at the time, we were seriously appauled with what came out of that animal. The form was to small for the pelt, and was butchered beyond repair. Not only that but several large, rusted nails were found holding the pelt in place. I was surprised removing them, then realized if held or hugged wrong (which with soft mounts people tend to do) , that this nail could have protruded or otherwise come out of the form and caused serious injury to someone, possibly causing them to need a tetnis shot. Shocked, I hoped that this was the only mount like it, however I soon found out that people were also recieving mounts in similar conditions.

Vita Nova is very unprofessional to work with, and does not address the issues that are brought to her by other consumers over their products. She has several pelts and money that was sent to her by customers that have been with her for years, to which a lot haven't recieved update photos of the mount or what progress it is on other then the generic answer she is known to give that the item is almost finished, or finished and waiting to ship. She will sometimes communicate, or ignore the person entirely, making it almost impossible for them to get ahold of her, either through email, her site, or other means. Only when the person threatens leagal action does she respond, and usually it is blamed on the consumer that the item isn't ready, and that they are responsible for any issues with the item itself. It's not a way to run a business, nor is it polite for this 'professional' to be having such interactions with her own customers. Some of which after they had recieved their mounts after these issues, or recieved their mounts and were unhappy with how they looked, she blacklisted, refusing to talk to them or sell to them again. She is very selective over the mounts and pieces she does show to her potential clients, and they do not example the actual product at all. This is not a person who you want to do business with! 

The recent interview that was done did not express these conditions, also that it was very biast towards Marissa herself, making her customers out to be the bad guys for simply wanting the items they paid for. This should not be taken as a reflection on her business for the information is very one sided! I recommend staying far away from this business, because you can easily loose your funds, or a pelt that is very valuable to you.

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#10 Consumer Comment

Not Fake

AUTHOR: Calicofox - (USA)

I have done business with Vita Nova Taxidermy personally, and I can confirm, 100%, her poor attitude towards many of the individuals she deals with, as I have been on the recieving end of it a couple of times.

I can also confirm the poor quality products she sends many of her customers, as I am currently in the process of re-mounting one of those such products for a customer, who came to me BEGGING for me to re-mount and fix it. The sad part is that this was a recent mount, not even a few months old. I have also seen numerous photos from a number of her customers of all the issues with their mounts (clayed/painted/untucked lip lines, lopsided lips, poor finish work on the eyes, rough looking ears, and not to mention the numerous holes in the body (especially large ones on the neck). All of these issues seem to be present on a shocking number of her finished products, yet when called out about it she immediately claims 'shipping damage' and blacklists the customer.

The mentioned customer who is having me re-mount their item will remain anonymous, however they expressed to me that NO work-in-progress photos were provided to them by the taxidermist while their product was being worked on, and even finished photos weren't even provided until AFTER the product had been shipped.

I have also been informed that Marissa owes a large number or people either money or items, and does not seem to be willing to correct this issue in a timely manner. She has no problem taking issue to those who take a little longer than normal to ship items she has purchased, when she herself takes many months to ship a couple small items without batting an eye.

As far as the so called 'interview' she had on some not-well-known online radio, the radio station has no idea of the issues at hand, so of course they're going to buddy up with her and believe everything she says, and coddle her when she starts playing the victim. Not once does she mention how she owes many of her customers. Not once does she mention the problems with her mounts. It's all biased.

 

There is no excuse for this kind of un-professionalism. Consumers, be aware.

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#11 Consumer Comment

Vita Nova Taxidermy sent me an unacceptable mount

AUTHOR: NightsGem - (USA)

I have been personally wronged by Marissa Hernandez of Vita Nota Taxidermy. I waited over a year to get back my fox, when he was supposed to be done last August. She was telling me "He's shipping this week!" for months before I finally demanded to have my fox back in early March. At that point, she finally told me that he was unfinished. I wondered why then she'd been telling me he'd ship for over six months.

I'd seen a few of her mounts sent back to a friend of mine, and worried my fox would be the same. The mounts I saw were of inferior quality and nothing like she advertises on her website. After a struggle and threatening legal action, I finally got her to ship my fox back to me three months after I demanded to have him back. Needless to say, my fox was the inferior quality that I expected.

Being another taxidermist, I can attest that Marissa does not use proper methods of taxidermy to make the mount last at all. I had to remount my own fox because of how badly he was messed up. I even had a conversation with her where at one point she said "Well, he isn't in a state of display." and later she said she "was decently pleased with how he turned out." Those two statements completely contradict each other.

Needless to say, despite the recent podcast that Marissa got herself on, she is not a very nice business owner to deal with, especially when she's so generic in her replies to your inquiries about when your mount will be done, or if you can see a work in progress picture. Evidence of my claims can be provided if requested.

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#12 Author of original report

Report is not fake

AUTHOR: - ()

All I will say is that the report given is not false, it is a compilation of information given by more than one client, and therefore potential customers should simply use their best judgement when considering doing business with Vita Nova Taxidermy. 

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#13 General Comment

Anony-Mouse's review is completely fake

AUTHOR: Reply All Listener #1 - ()

Marissa Hernandez is an honest, hard-working taxidermist who does not deserve the reputation generated by this phony report. The complete falsehood of this report is documented thoroughly by an episode of the podcast Reply All. A journalist contacted both the filer of the original report and Melissa Hernandez to assess the situation. Please listen to it for yourself before you give even the slightest shred of credence to a review written on a website that absolutely refuses to investigate the veracity of any statements made by its users unless the business owner pays out a large fee. The episode is 32 minutes in length, which admittedly is pretty long for people who just wanted to spend a few minutes in online reading to determine Marissa's reputation before deciding whether to place an order with her. But it is definitely worth it if you are (or are considering becoming) a regular user of this website, as it sheds an unflattering light on its business practices.

https://gimletmedia.com/episode/40-the-flower-child/

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