Complaint: This company came and evaluated my saddle to my horse. They said the flocking needed to be changed from the manufacturer's foam to wool so it would mold better to my horses back. I was assured it would look the same but act differently. I have this in writing. The panels were replaced and it never looked the same. The leather, which is French calfskin was now wrinkled and cracking. The stitching was easy to see and you could see the flocking. I have pictures of this. When I questioned the owner she snapped at me and said yes it did look like that.. No it did not. After expressing my dissatisfaction they said they would pay for the manufacturer to replace the panels and would not refund my money for shabby work. They blamed some third party for the opinion that I had. They then did not pay for the shipping of said panels from France to the US and do not want to pay to ship my saddle to and from the manufacturer here in the USA. The saddle fitter got very nasty.
Desired Settlement: I want to recoup the shipping costs for the panels to the USA and my cost to ship my saddle to and from the manufacturer and the charge they refuse to refund on shabby workmanship...
To Whom It May Concern:
We received a Better Business Bureau complaint via the US Mail on June **, 2013 regarding a repair we had completed
for a client in April 2013. The saddle that was repaired was picked up from the client on February **, 2013. The repair
consisted of removing the foam filled panels of her L'Apogee English jumping saddle and filling the interior of the panels
with wool flocking. The reason for this repair was to have the panels conform to the client's horse's back better as the foam
panels were making the horse's back sore. This is a client we have worked with for the past 4 years with whom we
established a good business relationship. She has been satisfied with the previous work to her saddles and the saddle fitting
advice she had been given for past fitting issues. At the time her saddle was taken to our workshop
to perform this panel conversion, she had expressed concerns about the flt and look of the saddle after
the work was completed. I verbally explained at this February appointment that the original leather
of the panel and the structural look would remain the same, the only difference in the panel would be the malleability
of the surface in contact with the horse's back. She appeared satisfied with this explanation and allowed
the repair to be done.
While the saddle was still in our workshop, the client called very distressed that her saddle would be ruined
and not look the same. My husband, who performs all the repairs of the saddles, gave the client the same explanation
about the conversion process as I had. After given this same explanation, she agreed to let the panel conversion go forward.
My husband relayed the phone conversation he had with the client to me. I emailed her to once again reassure
her that the saddle would not look any different as it had originally but perform better for her horse's
back her and to also arrange a delivery date for the repair. (See attached emails dated Friday,
March **, 2013 to Saturday March **, 2013 - EXHIBIT A)
The saddle was hand-delivered to the client on April **, 2013 . Although she was pleased with the way it fit the horse's
back, she expressed concern about seeing stitching exposed she had not seen before and the looseness of the leather.
I verbally explained to her that the stitching she saw was the original
stitching but she had not seen it previously as the stiffness of the foam panel held the panel tight to the
Saddle's tree and hid the stitching. With the absence of the solid foam interior, the leather was baggier
with the wool flocking material inside. Although she still seemed concerned, she verbally
accepted this explanation and she said would ride in the saddle and let me know how the horse responded.
She did not ride in the saddle at this delivery appointment but would at a time later in the week.
Two weeks after hand-delivering the altered saddle to the client, I received an email on April **, 2013 stating that
the saddle was making a noise. I offered to come investigate the source of the noise and received
an email response back from the client on April **, 2013 asking when an appointment could be scheduled
to come investigate the noise the saddle was now making (See attached email dated April **, 2013 - EXHIBIT B).
I was in Virginia at a training seminar and wasn't able to answer this email until I returned on April **th. I received a
second email on April **, from the client expressing her dissatisfaction with the craftsmanship of the panel conversion
we had done on her saddle. I sent her a lengthy email response back addressing each individual concern
she had expressed in her email. (See attached email dating April **, 2013 -EXHIBT C).
In this email, I offered to replace the conve1ted panels with factory made, original panels in lieu of a refund. In this way,
her saddle would be restored to factory original without her having the expense of doing so. No offer of paying
for the shipping of the saddle to the impotter was made in this offer. I asked that the client
let us know if she would like us to do this or have the impmter have the new factory made panels installed. The US
impmter of this saddle brand was contacted to get the cost for the panels themselves. (See attached email dated April **, 2013 -
EXHIBIT D) We were only quoted the cost of the panels no indication of installation cost on their behalf or shipping charges
were quoted to us at this time. The client responded on April **, 2013 that she would prefer
that the impo1ter have the panels replaced (See attached email dated April **, 2013 - EXHIBIT E). I agreed and let the
impo1ter know that I would be forwarding a payment directly to them. At this point, I was not given
a new quote for more than the $450 originally given by the importer. We received
a bill for $650 which included the panel cost, installation cost and the shipping. (See attached Invoice
from *****-******* Ltd, Imports -EXHIBIT F). The charge was issued from *****-******* on
May **, in the total of $650. I called and spoke with ***** ********, one of the impott owners, on May **, to express
my displeasure at being charged more than was originally quoted. She explained that at the time of the quote, she
had not known that they would be handling the installation of the panel so therefore, the installation
charge and shipping had not been quoted. I agree to pay the installation charge but not the shipping charge
as that had not been part of my offer to the client.
Three weeks after paying for the new factory made panels to ***** ******* Ltd. Imports, we received the Better
Business Bureau complaint filed by this client expressing her dissatisfaction with the work we had performed and
looking to re coup the money for the shipping of the panels to the impmter as well as the shipping costs she incurred shipping
her saddle to and from the impo1ter. We had originally charged $675 for the panel conversion done to her saddle which is indicated
in the complaint (See attached Dutchess Bridle & Saddle LLC invoice - EXHIBT G). She agreed to have the panels replace
by the impo1ter for a total cost of $650. As previously stated, this offer was made in lieu of a refund
to ensure that the panels were put back to factory original condition. The disputed amount of $950
is well above what she was
originally charged and we can only assume that the difference between the disputed amount and the purchase
amount reflects the cost of shipping the client incurred. No indication was made in the complaint
as to the discrepancy in these amounts.
Because we deeply believe in our craftsmanship, reputation and the commitment we have to our customer
service, we will issue a check directly to the client in the amount of $50 for the replacement panels indicated on
the *****-******* invoice (See attached copy of check #1678 - EXHIBIT H). We consider
the payment made directly to the import
company for the panels and their installation a refund and will not be issuing any additional monies.
We have felt and continue to feel that this is a fair and adequate resolution to this situation.
Please contact us for any further information or clarification. Thank you for your time and attention.
Your saddle is finished and Iwould like to schedule a delivery date. I could bring it by Monday
morning April ** or would be willing to come by on Wednesday April ** in the morning.
There is no need to panic or get upset. Converting the panel to wool flocking will make your saddle more comfortable to
your horse's back. My husband had to to to Central NYS unexpectedly for 4 days and that threw the workshop into a little bit
of chaos. For my part, I apologize for not getting in touch with you sooner. I was hoping he could get caught up more quickly.
I asked that your saddle get done before several others as you were nervous and upset about the whole process to
begin with. I do my best to return emails and phone calls as soon as Ican but several days may go by before
I can due to my traveling. Iwill reassure you once again that your saddle is fine and that there are no problems
with it. It LOOKS the same as it did but with a much softer, more malleable panel for your horse's back. You will see this
when I return the saddle to you.
I have to say I am very disappointed. You came and saw us 5 weeks ago and you promised me three weeks I would have
my saddle back. I paid you in advance for the work which I have not seen completed. You have my $4,000 saddle
and my money and I have no saddle. This is not good customer service. I email you and Iget no responses. What
am I to think?
I have always paid you for your services and have never had a problem before, so what's up? You tell me to email you
instead of call but you ignore them also.
What do I have to do to get my saddle back? IS there a problem? Itold you I was very nervous about having my saddle taken
apart and you reassured me that it would be no problem but there must be or why would it take so long?
I need to hear from you ASAP. With a date when Iwill get my saddle
My apologies for being able to call you sooner. I have been traveling a lot and returning phone calls can be tricky.
There really isn't any need for concern about your saddle. My husband did tell me he spoke with you and I believe
you mis-understood what he said. The saddle will LOOK no different than it does now but ACT different. The panel will
be very malleable and conform to the horse's back - very nice and soft, and thin through the middle where it is now the
tightest. Iwas concerned myself when I was told that you called because I thought I had done a better job of explaining
to you exactly what will be happening with your saddle and you seemed to understand at the time I explained it. I'm not
sure what has changed between my explanation and now.
I am not always easy to get by phone - email is a little better for me because I can at least answer it once daily before I leave for the day (like right now). If you still would prefer to speak with me, I can try calling you in between appointments on Monday. Thanks!
I have left several messages for you and I have not gotten a return call. I also spoke with your husband
and I expressed my concern about the way the saddle was going to be done and asked that you call me back.
To date I have had no call... The lack of service makes me even more concerned.
Please call me ASAP ... ***
Thank you for your email. I will address each point in your email individually to make sure that every aspect is answered.
I am sorry you are disappointed with the way your saddle looks. We have converted dozens or foam/felt panels
to wool and all have been well received by the clients and their horses.
1. "The stitching never showed before and now it does": The stitching that you saw exposed between the to top of the
panel and the tree was like that even before we converted the panel. The stitching wasn't as exposed because the stiffness
of the foam and felt of the panel kept the panel snug against the bottom of the tree. Foam and felt panels like the one on
your saddle are constructed in the same manner: leather is tightly wrapped around the foam and then surface
stitched to the top felt layer. A brand new replacement panel with foam and felt in it will be constructed in the same exact way.
2. "the leather on the back of the saddle looks crushed not smooth": The leather of the panel is wrapped around the pre-formed
foam interior of the panel which keeps the side wall areas taunt. Because the foam is removed and the leather and flocking
are soft, it is more apt to wrinkle. Some flocking could be added to this area to smooth the wrinkled appearance out.
3. "it makes a noise that it never did before": Since I do not know what this sound is, I can't addressit's possible source. We have
never had a complaint of a "squishing" sound coming from a saddle after it's been converted so unless I saw you ride and listened
for this sound, I really can't address this specific issue.
4. "the flocking shows": Unless there is a puncture or tear in the leather of the panel,the only way to see the flocking is to lift the flap
and dig into the flocking slit cut in the felt. The felt top layer of the panel is different than the flocking itself and are not
the same thing.
5. "Ivisited a friend today who had her saddle reflocked 2 days ago and you cannot tell the difference.": Not knowing what brand of saddle
your friend has, I can not address this issue on a specific level either. An already existing wool flocked panel is constructed differently
than a panel constructed with foam and felt. I don't know how your friend's saddle was reflocked either - was it just touched up or was it taken
off the saddle, all the old wool taken out and all new wool put in? Either way, most people would not be able to tell the difference between a saddle
that hasn't been flocked and one that has been unless someone who knows about flocking points
certain aspects of it out.
6. "You said you could do it and I believed you but this is not what I consider quality work.": Considering that we are saddlers with 20 years
of saddle construction, repair and fitting expertise, I consider our work to be top notch and some of the best in
the industry. We have been complimented by top saddlers and professionals in the this industry for the quality
of our work. Other professionals and colleagues send their work to us to do on a regular basis. It is my opinion that
something was said to you by someone else that made you second guess the entire prospect of converting the panel and no matter how it
turned out, you weren't going to be happy with the job. Icompletely disagree that the quality of our work is lacking and will stand by
our thoroughness and craftsmanship.
7. "Please tell me what you are going to do about this... I do expect it to be done in a timely manner. If you have to put it back the way it was
fine and I will get another saddle but this is not what I want my saddle to look like.": We have been in contact with L'APogee about getting a
replacement panel for your saddle. They have informed us that you have also been in contact with them as well. I will offer to either buy a
factory made foam/felt replacement panel directly from L'Apogee, take the converted panel off and put the old style foam/felt panel
back on OR pay L'Apogee directly to have them replace the panel and you can send the saddle to them. You can choose to have us replace the
panel or have L'Apogee replace the panel at our cost but we will not refund the cost of the wool panel conversion.
I am extremely disappointed and frustrated that other people's un-educated, un-knowledgeable opinions continue
to override the years of craftsmanship and expertise I have built in my profession. I stand by my analysis of your saddle's
fit and the solution I presented based on the success we have had with it. I will continue to stand by this successful solution
and use it with other fittings. Once you have decided whether or not the panel will either be replaced by us or L'Apogee,
we are no longer offering our services to you. You will need to locate a fitter that can better suit your needs in the future.
Please let us know your decision. Thank you!
Better Business Bureau:
I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint *** *******, and have determined that my complaint has NOT been resolved because:
[Your Answer Here]
I made several phone calls and emails without response. The additional monies are transportation and insurance during shipping. I still paid a lot of money for poor workmanship. The stitching was showing and the leather was wrinkling and cracking and you could see the flocking. They still got paid from me so I am out the money and my saddle even though it was returned to original condition still does not fit my horse. So I spent a lot of money and do not have a saddle that fits.
I am still looking for a refund of the money spent. I should have known when they wanted payment up front that if there was an issue I would never see my money or have any control about refunding the money after they did such a poor job on my saddle. It is a very expensive item, $4200 new which it was when I got it, so this repair compromises the integrity of the saddle. Next time I will charge such an item so I have better control if there is a dispute.
I did not look the same at all. I have pictures and the manufacturer saw it all.
She also blamed a third person for making me feel the way I do. No, if you saw the saddle you would know why I was so upset.
In order for the BBB to appropriately process your response, you MUST answer the question above.
To Whom It May Concern:
We received a third letter from the Better Business Bureau via US Mail on July **, 2013 regarding a complaint from a client
we did work for.
We submitted documentation on June **, 2013 detailing the transaction and the solution that we gave the client. As previously
stated in the submitted documentation, we dealt directly with the saddle company from which the client initially
purchased her saddle. In lieu of issuing a refund back to the client, we contacted her saddle brand's distributor and arranged
for her saddle to be returned to factory-new condition. We felt that this was the most expeditious way
to get her saddle returned to the condition she wanted it in. She agreed and the saddle was shipped to the distributor. I did not offer
to pay for the shipping to and from the distributor nor was it asked for by the client until several weeks after the fact. The total amount
of monies paid to the saddle distributor for the repair and the shipping of the repair pmt equals the total of the invoice originally paid to
us by the client. Any refund given to the client would have been used to pay for the repair by the saddle's distributor. We will not refund
money to the client in addition to the money that was paid to the distributor for the repair of her saddle.
It is acknowledged in the third letter we received that she has had her saddle returned to the condition it was in before we worked on it.
She has also cashed the check we sent her (as noted in the originally
BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved