Some who will be reading this already know about my problems with Warren Audio, Rick Warren, Fidelity Audio or whatever they're currently calling themselves by my posts in another thread on Head-Fi.org. For convenience only, I'll sometimes just call them/it/him "Warren". For those who don't know, you can find my first post at http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/461656/warren-audio-s-broken-hd800-cables/15. I'm posting the outcome of my dispute with Warren in this thread because the discussion in the other thread got way off point as can be seen in that thread. I thought it would be better to post the outcome of my dispute here because this thread contains current relevant postings. I recommend reading just the first few posts in that thread to get the flavor of the problem with Warren, Thereafter, the discussion turned off-point.
First, a very brief synopsis. I purchased cables from Warren on April 16, 2011. They never arrived despite repeated assurances from Rick Warren to the contrary. On May 4, I filed a dispute with PayPal and promptly received an e-mail from Warren informing me that my order was "refunded". That evening, I discovered the postings on this forum about Warren. Also, there was no refund from Warren by the next day (it takes only a few moments to process a refund on PayPal). Therefore, the next day, May 5, after seeing no refund, I escalated the dispute to a claim.
The stated purpose of the PayPal dispute/claim process is to try to get the buyer and seller to resolve the dispute between themselves, with PayPal holding the hammer of ultimate decision over them. With that in mind, upon escalation to a claim, Rick Warren e-mailed me a taunting, abusive response. PayPal e-mailed Warren requesting Warren's response to my claim and giving Warren until yesterday, May 15, to respond. I'm fairly certain that Rick Warren didn't copy PayPal on his taunting, abusive response to me. That's where the matter sat until this morning.
I signed onto PayPal this morning to get their support number to find out what the next steps were going to be if Warren failed to respond to their request for a response to my claim. I discovered two things. First, Warren never offered a response to my claim. Second, I didn't need to call anybody. Without any further action on my part, PayPal decided the claim in my favor and issued a full and complete refund, crediting back my credit card for the full amount charged and depositing into my PayPal account the balance paid to Warren in cash, which I immediately transferred to my bank. The case is now closed.
I don't know if PayPal has taken or is going to take any remedial action against Warren. I certainly hope that they will do what is in their power to prevent these kinds of abuses from being empowered through use of PayPal as the payment intermediary. For your knowledge, when I paid Warren, the customer service e-mail Warren used at PayPal was "firstname.lastname@example.org".
No one can assume that PayPal can or will stop people from dishonestly abusing their services. They certainly have an interest in not having their name associated with dishonesty and fraud but crooks always seem to find a way to abuse systems designed for the transaction of business among basically honest people. I'm not saying Warren is a crook. I am saying that I paid money to Warren for something expensive, never received it, received many excuses, and when I complained, received taunts and abuse. I'm also saying that when an independent third party (PayPal) examined these facts and gave Warren a chance to offer a defense, no defense was offered and PayPal decided the case 100% in my favor, issuing me a full refund.
Don't assume PayPal, your credit card company, the attorney general of your locality, or whatever or whomever, is going to protect you from the consequences of your own actions. I made a mistake not doing thorough due diligence on Warren before sending money. I was fortunate to timely recognize my mistake and know how to deal with it. But I'm honest enough with myself to also know that I was very lucky to have actually fully reversed the consequences of my mistake. In the future, I won't assume luck will be on my side.
We have the stories to share about Warren. If he reemerges, it may be with a new name, new methods or new products. The Warrens will always be with us. Don't make the same mistake I made and assume you'll get lucky too. Not with Warren and not with anybody else. There are too many stories here about people who never got justice. As best as I can tell, this forum has been open and honest about these kinds of problems with members, tradespeople, etc. However, I have come to believe that justice is a fairly rare commodity in this world. Protect yourselves; no one else will. Again, thank you all for your support.
Edited by ricmiclaw - 1/6/12 at 11:50am