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I’m writing this post to warn you about the lack of professionalism and ethics of Steiner Kraus guitars. Back in June 2018 Steiner Kraus started offering DIY kits of his models, so I contacted him regarding a kit of his valkerye model. On June 13th, 2018 I purchased a valkerye DIY kit 7 strings with tremolo, during the following months there was a good communication with him and his company, which included pictures of the build progress up to November 2018, after this date communication with him or his company hasn´t been efficient.

On January 5th, 2019 Steiner Kraus replied one of my messages saying that the build will be completed in 9 days, despite the fact that this was meant to be a build that would take a couple of months. On January 14th, 2019, He called me via Facebook messenger telling me that he was sorry for the delay and that the build was in progress. On February 7th He replied another of my messages saying that he will be "... spending today here to get organized with all my customers and send pictures off... Including yourself". No pictures were sent. On March 20th he replied to me "… finishing up all 7 strings this week. Will have a shipping day for you on Friday morning". No information was given that week, no shipping information or pictures.

On April 26th He replied " … very sorry for the delay. I am currently just out of town for a family funeral and will be back at the shop Monday. Thank you for your patience"; "... Yes. I completely understand your frustrations. I’m working as hard and fast as I can to expedite this guitar for shipping. I will be back to work in a couple days as I had to head out of town for a funeral. My earliest eta for shipping will be next Thursday/friday". As you can guess no shipping information was sent.

On May 2nd He replied " … here’s where we are at I have to get all guitars including yours out for this month of May. I have had many problems with different employees not being able to provide their skills and abilities to the business and it has left me as a one-man show which I am fine with however as you can see it has caused some major delays", "There have been a lot of outside activities taking away from my time in the shop collecting wood placing orders ordering materials and reaching out to customers “to which I replied "Ok, if those are the issues you are having then you should have told me that a while ago, If you are honest with the reality of the situation then I can adjust my expectations ,instead of being given a false hope that it would be done soon. The last picture that you sent me, the body was practically done, has there been any more progress done to the guitar, like the neck or is in the same state? “ and He answered " There will be completed photos of the Guitar online this week.", I replied "Are you sure it will be done this week?" , "I know that I’m nowhere to be a known musician , but this build is something that I have really wanted for a long time and despite not being an expensive product, I have worked really hard for every dollar that it costs", He replied: " Absolutely and I completely understand and you will not be disappointed with what you will be receiving" and gave me your word that the build would be "Done. Completed and Shipped by May 21st."

May 21st came with no information. On May 24th I asked for a refund, to which He replied, "There isn’t going to be a refund. Your going to get the guitar." After this date, being tired about this situation I kept asking about my product or a refund. On June 11th He wrote me regarding the pictures he initially sent me in November “... Nothing has happened to it. I will have our situation with the shipping of your guitar resolved this week”.

June 13th He wrote me“ all orders from 2018 are going out the door within the next 13 business days.” June 26th He called me saying that he was sorry and that by next week he will be sending me pictures and a shipping date, and that my kit was supposedly finished. Again, days came and no pictures or shipping information were given. I kept asking about a refund and about all the guitars that he is publishing on his social media to which he replied me on July 13th “Put in for a charge back with your credit card company and get your refund. If it bothers you to take a look at my social media of me posting guitars that is quite simple and don’t look at it.”To which I replied “Like if that will work after a whole year... ””and why shouldn’t I see your social media posts if that might be the only way I would get a real update”.After this message he has been ignoring my messages and emails.

As of today, over a year after paying for the product, no real information has been given about the state of the build; no pictures or real updates have been sent since November 2018, He has committed over and over again with different dates that he has failed to achieve. No product has been shipped or refund has been given.
 

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Super Moderator
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I'm going to take a wild guess and say that "Steiner Kraus" is the alias Bernie Rico Jr. began using after he escaped to Canada with all the guitar deposit money.

Either that, or he's Keyzer Soze.
 

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If I cant hold it first I dont want it in most cases. Seen too many of these storys to try that unless it was someone I trusted and/or was near me so I could unleash my wrath lol. Brian on here is one Id still like to have but I think his pickups take his time now, other than that... no dice.
 

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Hates Richie Kotzen
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The old "out of town for a family funeral" excuse. Classic.

Heard that one too many times to list. I almost feel bad buying from people online, because I feel like I might be the cause of it. I can't count the number of times I've bought something from someone, waited a week for it to show it up, and then found out that I had once again brought the grim harbinger of death to their world by purchasing a $70 pedal.

One pedal builder actually pulled the ultra rare "two consecutive back to back family funerals" excuse on me. Of course, the ones that pull this also are usually the ones who openly post on social media and forums and actually think you won't figure out they didn't actually have a family funeral. And then when you call them on it like, "Right after you said you had a family funeral you checked into Six Flags on social media. Did you really hold the funeral on a roller coaster?".

I skimmed your text, there are basically three kinds of builders/dealers in situations like this.

1) Outright Scammers
2) Dudes who are so inept and uncapable that they got so far in over their head they have basically made so many questionable concessions and lies they crossed the line somewhere and are basically Scammers
3) Dude who are super inept and uncapable but fully intend to resolve the situation and will do so eventually. Though it might take over 5 years.

There are also the competent ones you don't have problems with, but that's like, 60% of the field in a market like this. Tops.

If they're the ones who launch in to some fatalistic rant about how the buyer is wrong and they don't understand the challenges of the service they provide it's usually a type 2 or type 3.
 

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Hates Richie Kotzen
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I mean, this shit happens everyday in guitar and guitar gear. You basically just have to send a summation of "cut the bullshit, here's what's going on" to the seller.

Most of them actually set out to be honest businessmen somewhere in the distant past, but things happened, and they made so many questionable decisions they are basically scammers. But they are in denial about it, and they will basically waste a ton of time using questionable logic to defend how their business practices are justified. This dude probably intends to make things right, but he would also be happy to completely forget about it or wouldn't mind if the process takes a decade. In their mind it's all honest mistakes and they are victims and etc. etc. etc.

The best way to handle it is to send a short summary of the sellers behavior to them. Like, "On so and so date you accepted my money, etc. etc. etc. blah blah blah details, I understand the situation you are in, but I either need my money back or some form of closure on this transaction". You can also outright say, "cut the bullshit". Which seems melodramatic, but a lot of builders will actually spend time they could spend actually getting you your shit concocting up ridiculous justifications.

You actually won't shame them into completing your shit or refunding you with a post on a public forum like this. You would think it would work, but it doesnt. It just hardens their resolve. They might even waste more time they could be spending actually finishing your shit or refunding you rebutting your points or dragging character witnesses for them into it or whatever. You have to outright aggressively approach them and be like, "cut the bullshit".

Also, there's a point where textual communication does nothing, you have to make a phone call. You can resolve shit that is unresolved after hours of typing with a 5 minute phone call. Pretty much anybody under the age of 30-32 (my generation) fucking hates phone calls, to the point it's a pathological fear. A phone call is way more, "I mean business" than any amount of emails or instant messages or texts. I mean, I get it, pretty much everyone under the age of 40 would rather do everything with text rather than phone calls, but you can resolve shit a lot faster with a phone call, it's easier to come across commanding that way.
 

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When the seller is encouraging the buyer to just do a chargeback, I think you can 100% kiss the refund or order fulfillment goodbye. :lol:

Perhaps the real question is why the boutique metal guitar business attracts so many sociopaths.
 

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Who would have thought that some no name from fuck knows where would have turned out to be a bulkshit artist
 

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Hates Richie Kotzen
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When the seller is encouraging the buyer to just do a chargeback, I think you can 100% kiss the refund or order fulfillment goodbye. :lol:

Perhaps the real question is why the boutique metal guitar business attracts so many sociopaths.
The barriers for entry are low, the demand is high, and it's relatively easy to earn your degree from the Bernie Madoff school of Luthiery. Besides, no one actually wants to become a metal luthier, basically it's what happens to guys who buy a bunch of power tools trying to go into business building things only to realize that no one in their right mind would trust them with power tools. At that point your only option is building metal guitars.

The risk for repercussions for scamming are also low. No police are going to take a case like that, you would get laughed out of small claims court if you try to explain why you gave $5k to a guy you never met to build a guitar called "the impaler", and most people won't go for a charge back because it is too embarrassing to explain.

Lottery tickets, casinos, and Nigerian Princes with access to email are all safer and saner ways to divest yourself of money than indepentent metal guitar builders.

I'd be willing to bet at least one or two of the shittier luthiers are actually money laundering fronts for organized crime. Independent metal luthiery is the perfect front for money laundering. I mean, it's the perfect crime. No one is going to look too closely at some dude charging $3k for knock off Warlocks he "builds" in his guitar.

I mean, guys like the "Guitar Porn" scammers like Mehtab are pretty bright at getting money out of idiots, but the real potential is turning it into a front for money laundering for organized Eastern European crime. If you're an Eastern European crime boss and you need to get rid of like, $40k you made from a particularly lucrative month of human trafficking and cock fighting, independent luthiers are the perfect place to keep it. Those dudes are going to hold on to your deposit for like 3 years and eventually refund it. The risk of them actually building the guitar you paid for is incredibly low.
 

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Obsessed by day glo Green
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if he is in the USA contact the better business bureau. I did, with a patrick simms issue, and my neck was in the post the very next day.
 

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Bowes Guitars
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If I cant hold it first I dont want it in most cases. Seen too many of these storys to try that unless it was someone I trusted and/or was near me so I could unleash my wrath lol. Brian on here is one Id still like to have but I think his pickups take his time now, other than that... no dice.
I still build but on a super small level now. Just 1 or 2 at a time with no deposits and no set end time. :) That way i can work on my own schedule and the client already knows what kind of timelines they're in for.

Elysian is the one who went into building pickups!

From that pic - the neck is mounted slightly off center to the right. Too many of these guys bite off more than they can chew right off the bat because it's nice to see repeated bank deposits of 500-1000+. Then they're using funds from newer builds to buy the parts for the older ones because they already blew the deposit money on whatever. More than likely, this guy saw lutheiry as an easy way to make cash because he can totally make guitars.

The only time I ever had to use the "my family is going thru a crisis" as a valid excuse was when i was dealing with my dad nearly dying of two forms of cancer. My friend who was buying the guitar got pissed off about the amount of time and threatened "to expose the bullshit to other clients". I let him know he was my only client, told him to piss up a rope, immediately refunded all his money, ripped thru his guitar in under a week and gave it to another friend as her wedding present.

Guitars take 30-50 hours to build. My only excuse is that my full time job eats up so much of my time to the point that getting home and building guitars is just not something I look forward to often. Someone who says it'll take 9 days to build a guitar probably isn't lying, they're just being optimistic about the host of other guitars that they'll need to knock out 100% perfect until they get to yours. Unfortunately that's not what happens. Ever.
 
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