Report: #1469509

Complaint Review: Meteorite-Recovery lab - Escondido California

  • Submitted:
  • Updated:
  • Reported By: Patrick — Tempe United States
  • Meteorite-Recovery lab 1157 W mission ave unit #463084 Escondido, California United States

Meteorite-Recovery lab Robert Verish He took my money as payment for meteorite testing fee didn't want to send me my specimen back and then gave me half of my specimen back and I'm missing half of it and he didn't even do the proper test on the E give me a test results for a mining operation and didn't test for nickel Escondido California

*REBUTTAL Individual responds: Company Response Form

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so I pay him for meteorite testing seevicees he asked me with my permission if you can give it to the scientist over at UCLA I agreed five months went by didn't hear from him.

so I call UCLA they tell me they never heard of a Robert varnish or nobody farm meteorite recover your lab had brought such a specimen to them so I contact him and let him know this and then he agrees to send it back to me however he only sent me half of my specimen back no typically if the labs going to take some of the specimen for payment and they usually take about 20 g however I paid him cash for testing and yeah I'm missing half my specimen.

the test results are indicative of a mining operation and they didn't even test for ironnickel and everybody knows if you're going to test a suspect meteorite you're going to test for ironnickel and he did not test for ironnickel he ripped me off took my money and then stoled half of my specimen

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 12/13/2018 11:25 PM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/meteorite-recovery-lab/escondido-california-92046/meteorite-recovery-lab-robert-verish-he-took-my-money-as-payment-for-meteorite-testing-fe-1469509. 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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#1 REBUTTAL Individual responds

Company Response Form

AUTHOR: Bob - (United States)

POSTED: Monday, December 23, 2019

Company Response Form

Meteorite Recovery Lab

Complaint ID Number: 816316

Name of Consumer: Mr. Patrick W. Vertnik

Response to complaint:

In response to what Mr. Vertnik wrote in his “Comment or Question Message”, I would like to start by saying that I completely agree with his first ten (10) words. Yes, he did pay me a fee of $40, for tests to determine if his specimens were meteorites. (I can’t call his first ten words a “sentence”, because his “Comment” is a punctuation-free, stream of consciousness). But what follows after those “ten words”, has no basis in reality.  

Attached to this Response Form is a copy of my invoice for Mr. Vertnik and the specimen that I analyzed at his request. Had he included his copy of this invoice you would have clearly seen how it contradicts his claims. I will now explain the contents of this invoice for added context.

In the column titled “Description”, I state that “2-Specimens were tested, this the analysis for the2nd specimen:” – I assigned this specimen the ITEM# “Pat-02”. More about the other specimens later.

Also under “Description”, I show the results of the XRF (X-Ray Fluorescence) testing, where I list the major metallic elements detected in this specimen. It clearly shows that Fe (iron) is ~5%. Also, in my “Analysis”, I note that “there is no detectable Nickel (Ni)”. This is evidence that I, indeed, did test for iron and nickel, and completely contradicts comments by Mr. Vertnik, to wit, “he [Verish] didn’t test for any iron nickel”.

The results of this XRF-testing, and the percentages obtained, would rule out the possibility of this specimen being extra-terrestrial, for ~98% of the known meteorites. It’s at this point that, typically, I would contact my clients and notify them of the negative results from my testing. I called Mr. Vertnik and informed him that I had concluded my XRF-testing, and of the negative results, and then explained to him his options. I explained to him that we could no longer call his rock a meteorite, and that it would remain being a terrestrial rock (of no monetary value), unless:

  1. We could get a second opinion that would contradict my test results and analysis. And/or,
  2. We can get UCLA to confirm that there are “shocked” minerals in his rock.

I pointedly explained to Mr. Vertnik, that along with incurring more lab fees, additional mass from the specimen would have to be consumed during these tests. He agreed for me to go forward with the additional testing, stating that “the rock is worthless without a CoA” (Certificate of Authenticity), and that he wouldn’t be able to sell it to his prospective buyer, without the CoA.

This is a very important point, that Mr. Vertnik agreed to the additional testing, and that this testing would require more mass be extracted from his specimen. Evidence that he was aware of this can be inferred from his own words in his “Comments”, where he states, “… and then he took more”.

Part of this “additional testing” required me to cut a slab from the Mr. Vertnik specimen in order for a petrological thin-section to be fabricated. I informed Mr. Vertnik that the fee for this would be $50. He agreed, and said that he would pay via PayPal. And while I was fabricating this thin-section, I contacted some of my colleagues, and asked them if they would take some samples and try to replicate my results and corroborate my analysis.

After the thin-section was finished, I examined it under a petrologic microscope, but I could not discern any “shocked” mineral grains. I immediately contacted Mr. Vertnik and notified him of my results examining the thin-section. I also suggested that we should have the meteorite experts at UCLA examine the thin-section, before we give up all hope in trying to prove his specimen is a meteorite. I offered to do this final effort at my expense, and he agreed.

Unfortunately, UCLA could not find any evidence for shocked-mineral-grains, identified the sample as being a “terrestrial gabbro”, and deemed the rock “not a meteorite”. By this time, my other colleagues had finished their testing, and confirmed that there was no detectable Nickel and corroborated my analysis. We had finally come to the end of our efforts. The rock was identified as terrestrial, and consequently of no monetary value. Mr. Vertnik would not be able to sell his rock as a meteorite to his customer.

When I notified Mr. Vertnik of these final results, he was not so much disappointed that his rock was not a meteorite, but was more distressed that he wasn’t getting a Certificate of Authenticity so that he could sell his “meteorite”. I reminded him that his rock was not a meteorite, so there couldn’t be any CoA issued. He then requested that I ship-back all of his rocks, saying that he would PayPal me the postage.

I then reminded him, again, that he still hadn’t paid for the fabrication of the thin-section, but that upon receiving his PayPal funds for postage and thin-section, I would ship to him the thin-section and his rocks. But Mr. Vertnik never sent the PayPal funds. He still hasn’t paid for the postage or thin-section.

It would be six months later before I heard from Mr. Vertnik. He made no mention of the PayPal funds, but solely requested that I return the one rock ( the one that is the subject of this Comment, and is identified by me, on the Invoice, as being “Pat-02”). During that interim, both UCLA and myself have gone out of the business of identifying rocks for the general public. We both have ceased accepting samples and rock specimens from unknown persons, even if they are suspect meteorites.

So, I made the decision then to “close the books” on this Vertnik account, and agreed to send back what remained of the “Pat-02” (at my expense) and to absorb the expense of making the thin-section, but with one stipulation: “that he take the thin-section to UCLA or ASU and get his own second opinion. Until he does that one thing, I will have nothing more to say to him.” He has yet to do that one request.

Mr. Vertnik’s comments regarding UCLA, and in particular the phrase “… they [UCLA] never heard of him”, is easily disproven, simply by just doing a Google search on the key words “Robert Verish UCLA”: https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=Robert+Verish+UCLA&btnG=

The top 4 “results” from the search in the above link shows that I have been a co-author on various papers written by my UCLA colleagues.  And by colleagues, I mean fellow members of the Meteoritical Society. The website for this Society maintains a database for all authenticated meteorites, and in their database I am credited with authenticating 160 meteorites, and all in collaboration with UCLA:   https://www.lpi.usra.edu/meteor/MetBullFindlab.php?abbrev=Verish 

Every one of these 160 meteorites has had at a type-specimen cut , as well as a thin-section cut from the main-mass, and has been placed in the UCLA meteorite collection (for future research), as required and documented by the Meteoritical Society. So, not only does UCLA “know who I am”, but many meteorite scientists in and out of the Society know my name. But Mr. Vertnik doesn’t identify who he contacted at UCLA, let alone whether, or not, it was even the Geology Department.

Regarding my statement in the Invoice under DESCRIPTION: “Cost of thin-section to find evidence of shock”: $50.00 (Paid by myself; never reimbursed by Mr. Vertnik). As stated above, I absorbed that expense, but still sent that thin-section to Mr. Vertnik, so that he could more easily get for himself a second opinion on this specimen from nearby ASU (or UCLA). But Mr. Vertnik has shown no interest in getting his rock an officially corroborated identification, only in getting money for his rock.  

Regarding my statement in the Invoice under DESCRIPTION: “No Shock Found. Since rock is terrestrial, there is no Certificate of Authenticity (CoA)”. This is self-explanatory. But Mr. Vertnik is now so upset about not getting a CoA (meaning, not being able to sell his rock to an unsuspecting customer) that he is now “attacking the messenger of the bad news”.

*Regarding the “-$40.00” on invoice under DISCOUNT: I explained to Mr. Vernik on several occasions that $40 was the fee for only one analysis, and that no matter how many rocks he would send to me, his $40 would only cover the XRF-testing and analysis of one specimen. Nevertheless, I went ahead and at my own expense, tested this second specimen (Pat-02). I showed “-$40.00” on the invoice under DISCOUNT in order to show Mr. Vertnik that he doesn’t owe me anything for this testing and analysis.

In summary, Mr. Vertnik never paid for the XRF-testing and analysis that he is complaining about, and he never paid for the thin-section that was given to him as evidence that his rock is not a meteorite, and finally, he gave me permission to “do whatever is necessary to certify his rock as being a meteorite”, otherwise, it would remain a worthless terrestrial igneous rock of no value – that he couldn’t sell.

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