Review of Historic Arts Carpentry sword rack

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Review of Historic Arts Carpentry sword rack

Postby David Rawlings » 05 Apr 2013 15:26

It is with regret that I feel myself moved to write this review of Historic Arts Carpentry (HAC). Those of you who know me well will know that I am a tolerant and patient person, and very slow to anger. However, the tortuous process of having a sword rack made and delivered by HAC has proven one of the most frustrating and least professional experiences I have had to endure.

The main issues are these:
From payment of £450 being sent on 8th May 2012, the rack took 11 months to complete and deliver (5 months after the estimated delivery time of November 2012). (The original quote of £450 plus delivery costs was amended to £500 plus delivery, but the extra £50 was then waived by HAC).
I was only informed of issues regarding progress on the piece when I chased persistently for updates.
Even when the rack was finished and I had paid £80 for delivery, Historic Arts Carpentry delayed sending it to me citing ‘other commitments’.
The rack was sent to the wrong address, meaning that it did not arrive on the day on which I had waited for it at home. When I chased HAC and the couriers, I was called back at the one time in the day when I was teaching and the one time I had informed HAC that I could not answer the phone. This was the only point at which I lost my temper with the way in which I was being treated as a customer, and I said that I was ‘extremely pissed off’. Though strong, I do not think this language was unreasonable in the circumstances.
When it was finally delivered a day late on 4th April 2013, it arrived incomplete, as HAC had packed the main rack separately from the metalwork. Though I was informed that the parts would arrive in three separate packages, I had told him specifically that the packages had to be all delivered on the same day, as I could not guarantee I would be at home on other days. The two smaller packages have still not arrived.
When the main rack arrived it was packed in only one layer of cardboard, with no additional protection. When I unpacked it, I discovered that a large chunk of wood had broken off the front of the rack and that, where metal rivets had been sunk into the wood, the wood had cracked right the way through the frame. This had happened in four separate places. Whether this damage was down to transit or sloppy workmanship is up for discussion, but the rack was in any case very inadequately packed and given no protection during transit.
When I then complained, I was given a barrage of increasingly rude, passive-aggressive and hysterical email responses to queries about his work. These ranged from implying that charging me £450 (a price HAC quoted and which I accepted immediately) required using poor quality contractors; saying that HAC had, in fact, ‘bent over backwards’ for me (something I would dispute in the strongest possible terms); referring to repairing a broken product as a ‘kind offer of help that is clearly going to bleed the person white’; withdrawing an offer to repair the broken product at no charge; calling me ‘nasty’ and so refusing to chase the courier companies for the missing pieces and damage; and offering me an ‘olive branch’ of a receipt for the work and a quote of £100 plus shipping for repairs to my new, broken and incomplete sword rack.
I commissioned this sword rack from HAC because I like Paul Bennett, and because I wanted to give work to someone within the HEMA community. Paul has acknowledged that this work ‘came at a time when I was in dire straits and was an important piece of work’. While I have no desire to see big corporations take over in the HEMA community and for small artisans to miss out, the utter lack of professionalism, workmanship and even the barest politeness from HAC has prompted me to write this review. I truly hope that HAC can trade profitably within HEMA, but only if the level of work and customer service can match that which paying customers receive from other vendors.

I am now looking for another carpenter to repair the damage to the rack and salvage what I can from this.
This thread sucks, screw you guys I'm going home....teehee
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David Rawlings
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