Richards Guitars

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I have seen a few reviews on here talking about Richard of 'Richards Guitars' from Stratford Upon Avon and there seems to be very strong and polarised opinions of him. 

I wanted to relate my experience as a cautionary tale. It has been appalling and I have found him to be volatile, erratic, unstable and highly unprofessional. Others on here have described him as a "drama queen". I'd say that is putting it mildly.

More importantly, he has just shamelessly helped himself to nearly 200 pounds of my hard earned cash. It's a very long and tortuous story (see Trustpilot for the full horror). In short, I arranged to return a guitar to him that had a faulty nut. He agreed to refund me - first of all offering a repair which I declined. So far so good. After two months with the guitar in his possession and no refund I emailed him to ask what the hell was happening. He incredibly said he didn't know who had sent him the guitar, even though the return was all arranged by courier and with email exchanges. He then went on the offensive and tried to claim it had been damaged in transit and I had messed up the set up so badly that he was owed twenty percent of the sale price. Incredible. That he had not raised any of this until I pressed him over my money is startling. After a series of bizarre and vaguely unhinged emails (in which he said I must "listen to his wrath") he 'agreed' he would refund me 80 per cent of the money I had paid him - justifying stealing £194 from me as 'compensation' for 'the damage' I had caused to his precious instrument. 

Please beware.

  

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  • mgawmgaw Frets: 2161
    I have heard other people wonder if he is well mentally, 
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  • equalsqlequalsql Frets: 2684
    So when it was returned he didn't bother to contact you about the damage.. Did you buy it using a credit card? 
    Why did you wait so long to chase down the refund?
    (pronounced: equal-sequel)   "I suffered for my art.. now it's your turn"
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  • DLMDLM Frets: 1423
    I'll allow my assistant to present our assessment following years of due diligence on forums and Google.

    Ms. Spears? If you would?


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  • GassageGassage Frets: 18443
    Right,

    This guy is a tool.

    STAND your ground- do not agree to the recharge. Did he arrange to collection courier?

    Has he provided proof of damage?

    Was that proof provided contemporaneously (i.e' within a few days?)

    Under the distance selling regs he is obliged to give a full refund provided you REPORTED the issues within 14 days.

    Donald Trump has spoken movingly about 7-Eleven. It reminded him, he said, of the way Americans came together in 1941 after Pearl Necklace.

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  • GassageGassage Frets: 18443
    By the way, no review on trustpilot?

    Donald Trump has spoken movingly about 7-Eleven. It reminded him, he said, of the way Americans came together in 1941 after Pearl Necklace.

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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 11997
    mgaw said:
    I have heard other people wonder if he is well mentally, 
    No he isn't. I bought a few guitars from him in the past when he was good humoured and easy to deal with. He's had some personal problems and then a nervous breakdown .. he closed his guitar business for quite a long time. When he returned he wasn't the same .. not sure if he's on meds or something.
    My pump-action drivel gun is smoking hot today!
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  • stevengarsidestevengarside Frets: 77

    Thanks for the input everybody.

    An update. When the guy decided - in the end - to give me my refund probably on the strength of the TrutPilot review which he called "blackmail" I thought I would give him a break by removing it myself (though he had already approached them to remove it). What a mistake that was!

    Despite wanting to draw a line under it he has nevertheless continued to send me abusive emails in which I am accused of "destroying his children's future". He even made some bizarre and quite frankly scary threat saying he is currently "making a video about me" and that he will "make me famous" and that I should "watch out for it" in the next few days. All the while banding about phrases like "scumbag" and "vile" which seems to be his stock-in trade and what he confuses with "first-rate customer service" and "wanting to make people happy". 

    I have no doubt, despite being banned from this forum, he'll be monitoring these comments and there will be some more fall out. Any more of it and I'll be contacting the police. I have never actually been scared of a retailer before. It's a novel experience.       

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  • builttospillbuilttospill Frets: 148
    Fvck!
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  • TeyeplayerTeyeplayer Frets: 285
    As has been posted above, he is clearly unwell. I feel sorry for the guys family, they have to live with the polarised periods of what appear to be mania and calm.

    I'm pretty sure you can sleep safely at night without worrying about waking to find a horses head in your bed @stevengarside and I appreciate you are flagging up a worrying scenario with a retailer that has almost left you out of pocket. This is good to know if anyone here was planning a Rguitars purchase any time soon.

    However, knowing how much we seem to love Richard bashing on this forum and as you have seen on the other thread this is virtually a fb national sport, I can't help but feel his clear mental illness (sounds like a bi-polar manic episode tbh) deserves our sympathy, rather than our collected ridicule.
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  • digitalscreamdigitalscream Frets: 10401
    edited May 16
    However, knowing how much we seem to love Richard bashing on this forum and as you have seen on the other thread this is virtually a fb national sport, I can't help but feel his clear mental illness (sounds like a bi-polar manic episode tbh) deserves our sympathy, rather than our collected ridicule.
    I'll be honest - I don't think there's any mental illness there. Or at least...Richard himself doesn't characterise it as such, and he's fully aware of how he comes across via electronic communication, and he's comfortable with it. I have some experience of dealing with people suffering from bipolar disorder, and if that were the case then his tone wouldn't have changed when I spoke to him on the phone immediately after receiving a similar email to the one(s) @stevengarside received.

    I'm far more inclined to believe that he's a genuinely nice guy who gets excessively defensive and keyboard-warrior-esque when sat in front of a computer, because he interprets any online criticism as somebody out to get him. It's a common thing for people who aren't very experienced in online communication, because they struggle without the presence of the normal in-person or on-the-phone cues which would indicate otherwise.

    For the record though...it's a little bit frustrating that he keeps telling everyone that he was banned because we (the admins) don't like him or his "radical views" - he wasn't banned for any of his disagreements with people (when people took exception to his hard-sell approach regarding Eastman guitars); he was banned because he threatened legal action against the forum if we didn't delete posts he didn't like, and thus put the continued existence of the forum in jeopardy. If somebody does that, they don't get the privilege of continuing to use the forum.
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • TeyeplayerTeyeplayer Frets: 285
    edited May 16
    I can only begin to imagine how frustrating it is for you @digitalscream you guys put a hell of a lot of time into the forum for us all, so I certainly empathise and I appreciate you being protective of it, it's a great place.

    As I've said before, I've never met or dealt with the guy other than on here, so my assumptions about his mental stability or instability are based upon my experience of that particular illness in people over time, which seemed to be mirrored in his online appearances and extremes. I haven't had the chance to experience the immediate flip that you describe him having when he's on the end of a phone.

    Certainly your description of his inexperience seems fair, although don't his online problems go back a long long time (hence the number of backs he's got up)?

    Anyway, clearly too altruistic me, I'd rather find the best in people at every opportunity.
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  • digitalscreamdigitalscream Frets: 10401

    Anyway, clearly too altruistic me, I'd rather find the best in people at every opportunity.
    Me too, if only because them being genuinely decent usually results in less work for me ;)

    Seriously, though, I've tried to make it clear in all these discussions - I don't think he's a bad guy at all. I did, when I only had his emails to go by, but speaking to him changed my mind on that. He runs a business that's doing quite well, he has a genuine enthusiasm for guitars (or, at least, certain guitars) comes across as a decent chap under the right circumstances. He just hasn't made the transition to the electronic world particularly well...and the tendency for social media to become a "You're wonderful!" echo chamber has probably reinforced that.

    Worth mentioning that I did tell him all of that on the phone, and suggested that forums (in general, not just this one) weren't really the right place for him because he wants to stay happy and struggles to do so in the face of criticism or disagreement, and he agreed that I was probably right.
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • TheGuitarWeaselTheGuitarWeasel Frets: 2757
    A while back I PMd another trade forum member who shall remain nameless ... and who has since been banned ... when he started to be a bit of a 'silly billy' re criticism. I basically told him that this place is a 'pub' rather than a shop window, and that to some extent a thicker skin was needed. I said that this is a great place to find customers and get feedback from them, but don't expect it all to be positive. He ignored me ... as you say @digitalscream some folks really can't get used to forums ... sad but true.
    Professional pickup winder, horse-testpilot and recovering Chocolate Hobnob addict.
    Oil City Pickups  ... The Guitar Weasel blog

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  • TeyeplayerTeyeplayer Frets: 285
    I basically told him that this place is a 'pub' rather than a shop window, and that to some extent a thicker skin was needed. I said that this is a great place to find customers and get feedback from them, but don't expect it all to be positive. 
    Great analogy and wise words there. Have a 'wisdom'.
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  • digitalscreamdigitalscream Frets: 10401
    A while back I PMd another trade forum member who shall remain nameless ... and who has since been banned
    Oh, I rather think we know who that might be :D
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • capo4thcapo4th Frets: 2857
    Appalling level of service from Richards Guitars I would repost your review so that other people know what they are getting into with this joker. What an absolute fuckin liberty! 
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  • I had some dealings with Richard before he moved his operations to Stratford and my initial impression was that he was a decent guy. He made a big thing of getting valuable setups done on guitars before they were sent out so that they were in A1 condition. I bought a guitar for my son and I'd say it was OK but nothing special. This was just after he'd had a falling out with his guitar tech and employed the guy's assistant instead. I'd also given him one of my guitars to fit a new set of pickups and change the wiring and that was a fiasco. The wiring wasn't done correctly then the pickups didn't work properly, then he fitted the pickups in the wrong locations and finally fit the pickups in the right location but the wrong way around. After all that, it was eventually done correctly and he gave me a hard case as compensation, which was fair enough but I haven't used him since because to me, the errors were all very basic and he was clearly employing someone who didn't know what they were doing. This was obviously some years ago now and I knew far less about guitars so it was even more surprising that I could spot errors that seemed to pass them by. I've met him once since then, when I called in at Stratford and took a look around his shop. Some of the Cort guitars were quite nice but not really my thing and on the whole it was all a bit specialised. He was still quite pleasant to speak to but I've always found him a little 'odd' that I can't really describe.
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  • sw67sw67 Frets: 37
    Reading this tread you could be describing a guitarist we had in the band. He used to send ranting emails and text messages and in the end turned everyone against him. It was a character flaw that got worse the more we disagreed with him.I picked up a 97 telecaster from Richard a few years ago and he was a pleasure to deal with. He did take a week to set up and deliver but the guitar was perfect and well packaged. 
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  • RocknRollDaveRocknRollDave Frets: 4193
    My mate bought a guitar from him just yesterday, but it's got to be set up so he won't get it for another week. Hope it's all good....

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  • BRISTOL86BRISTOL86 Frets: 560
    Glad you got it sorted in the end OP but I wouldn't think twice about reporting the entire episode to the police. Completely unacceptable. 
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  • DominicDominic Frets: 2224
    Why would you think the police were interested ? No fines to collect here 
    This is a civil matter but even if there was provable criminal intent ( v difficult to prove intended fraud in any case )the police are rarely interested
    A few years ago a  colleague paid £117,000  of her life savings to a builder who did 2 weeks work and then disappeared having done no more than £5000 pounds of work ; He was an individual not a ltd company in liquidation with a history of similar behaviour.
    Trading standards,Police,C.A.B. and a solicitor all failed to do anything effective .
    But whatever you do ……don't drive at 57mph in a 50 mph zone because you can guarantee that you will be brought before the full force of the Law to account for your disgraceful criminal behaviour.
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  • DLMDLM Frets: 1423

    Despite wanting to draw a line under it he has nevertheless continued to send me abusive emails in which I am accused of "destroying his children's future". He even made some bizarre and quite frankly scary threat saying he is currently "making a video about me" and that he will "make me famous" and that I should "watch out for it" in the next few days. All the while banding about phrases like "scumbag" and "vile" which seems to be his stock-in trade and what he confuses with "first-rate customer service" and "wanting to make people happy".

    @Dominic It's more this, I think. ^^
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  • TonyRTonyR Frets: 620
    ...this place is a 'pub'...
    In that case I'll have a pint of Leeds Pale then please! ;)
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  • fftcfftc Frets: 211
    Dominic said:

    But whatever you do ……don't drive at 57mph in a 50 mph zone because you can guarantee that you will be brought before the full force of the Law to account for your disgraceful criminal behaviour.
    Quite right too.
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  • ChalkyChalky Frets: 4509
    I've met Richard at his shop a few times and bought a guitar that insisted on setting up before leaving the shop.  He is one of those people who:
     
    is very enthusiastic, and gets disappointed when others don't share his enthusiasm

    can be very critical, and gets disappointed when others don't share his critical views, and gets very irritated or downright annoyed when they counter or criticise his views

    is sure of the self-image he wishes to project, but lacks the self-awareness of how others see him

    feels he is doing most things right and cannot understand how the world seems to take a different view.

    I get the feeling that his customers, myself included, have never met the real Richard. Maybe he read too many of those "How to be successful" books.



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  • celentiumcelentium Frets: 167
    I do feel sorry for him. The amount of stress he causes himself must be horrific at times.

    If money was no object, he'd be better off employing someone to take care of his internet presence for him so he could stay away completely and just enjoy selling face to face and over the phone, which he seems to handle well.
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  • english_bobenglish_bob Frets: 1839
    celentium said:
    I do feel sorry for him. The amount of stress he causes himself must be horrific at times.

    If money was no object, he'd be better off employing someone to take care of his internet presence for him so he could stay away completely and just enjoy selling face to face and over the phone, which he seems to handle well.

    I spoke to him years ago, not long after he'd started Richards Guitars- he'd closed Regent Guitars a year or two earlier, which was a much bigger business that employed several staff. He felt at the time that he'd been let down by the people he hired to manage various other parts of the business (part of the reason he'd wound it up, he said), so he was loath to hire anyone to work for him again- he did have a luthier stashed in a back room who did setups and repairs, but that was pretty much just because he couldn't do it himself.

    I suspect this is the reason he doesn't have someone else handle the online stuff, although I agree it would probably add years back on his life and make his wife and kids much happier.

    Don't talk politics and don't throw stones. Your royal highnesses.

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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 16239
    english_bob said:
    I suspect this is the reason he doesn't have someone else handle the online stuff, although I agree it would probably add years back on his life and make his wife and kids much happier.
    Or he could try having a thicker skin.
    I do have a degree of sympathy for him though.

    I am the juice of four limes.
    Trading Feedback
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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 11997
    celentium said:
    I do feel sorry for him. The amount of stress he causes himself must be horrific at times.

    If money was no object, he'd be better off employing someone to take care of his internet presence for him so he could stay away completely and just enjoy selling face to face and over the phone, which he seems to handle well.

    I spoke to him years ago, not long after he'd started Richards Guitars- he'd closed Regent Guitars a year or two earlier, which was a much bigger business that employed several staff. He felt at the time that he'd been let down by the people he hired to manage various other parts of the business (part of the reason he'd wound it up, he said), so he was loath to hire anyone to work for him again- he did have a luthier stashed in a back room who did setups and repairs, but that was pretty much just because he couldn't do it himself.

    I suspect this is the reason he doesn't have someone else handle the online stuff, although I agree it would probably add years back on his life and make his wife and kids much happier.
    One of his big pains (he made a long post on his forum) was the fact people would turn up, try and guitar and then buy it cheaper via the internet. His prices were high compared to the major box shifters. He started to upset people who came to his shop.
    My pump-action drivel gun is smoking hot today!
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  • mgawmgaw Frets: 2161
    cant help thinking he would be a lot happier packing it all in and travelling to the highest Tibetan peaks
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