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Overcharged on casting


#1

Hi all,

I recently placed a large casting order with a company who shall
remain nameless. Dealing with them was such an unorganized
nightmare…Missing invoices, invoices with the wrong counts,
invoices that did not reflect what I ordered, not returning phone
calls, waiting weeks for quotes, not even getting a quote until they
had already started the order and all this with a very tight
deadline on my end.

It was my first time having this done and in the end I was able to
meet my deadline for my catalog order and am looking forward to more
business. In the meantime I am being charged by the casting company
for finish work that I explicitly told them I did not want done…
almost totaling $750. They charged me for desprue and finish. Both
of which I said no to. They did desprue everything but nothing was
finished anyways???

As it stands, I do not want to pay for this work and I don’t feel I
should have to. I have emails from me to them indicating very
clearly what is to be done and what is not. Their resolution is to
split the costs. While I understand their position…I still don’t
want to pay.

I still don’t even have full invoices for everything sent to me. I
have requested this and have told them that I will only discuss the
charges when I have an invoice with full documentation of all
current charges and payments made. Am I being reasonable??

Is this a common practice with smaller companies and am I going to
continue to have problems with unorganized casters? Friends have
told me that most casters are quite unorganized and that you will
need to train them, so to speak, to meet your needs. Is this true?

This seems ridiculous to me. There must be reputable casting
companies that do not charge an arm and a leg. I paid $12 per mold
and they made 31 molds for two ring designs. The $12 mold charge
seems good, but 31 molds??? Is this normal??? I was only financing
for one mold in each size, 10 sizes in one design and 5 sizes in the
other. Granted it’s not that much and I can do the $$ difference
but…31 molds??? Can this be right???

What were some of your experiences when you first started casting?
Who would you recommend that will provide good service at reasonable
costs?

Please…any advice is helpful. I do not wish to burn my first
bridge but I am a newbie and feel that perhaps I am being taken
advantage of.

Shauna Gilardi


#2

Shauna

It seems obvious that you did not deal with Professionals. This is
not normal for a professional casting company. Quotes should be the
same day they receive the order or at least the next day. Large
Quantities of casting should be turned around in a week or so. Here
we turn around smaller quantities next day. Professionals maintain a
high degree of integrity and do what the customer orders, only what
the customer orders. If you needed 10 molds of one ring and 5 of the
other that’s 15 molds, not 31. simple math. If you said no
desprueing and no prefinishing that’s what you should get. You must
receive a clear and detailed invoice of total charges. It is only
proper. Firmly but professionally demand it. Did you receive back all
the molds? they are yours, you paid for them. Is there 31 of them?
$12 is on the very low side for good molds.

If you are sure your ordering was clear, then its their
fault. You do not need to pay for work you did not order. Was there
any room for error or interpretation in your order? did you change
quantities, specifications or anything after the order? It does seem
that there is some miscommunication somewhere. Since you say this is
your first order of this type, is it possible there was some
confusion in the order?

After reviewing the invoice, Send a certified letter, return receipt
to the Owner of the company. detail what you ordered versus what you
received with supporting documents and follow up (after you receive
the return receipt) with a phone call to the owner. Hope fully this
will resolve it.

If not, Find out if the company is a member of MJSA, JBT etc.
Contact the organizations they are affiliated with and file a
complaint. File a complaint with the BBB. and do not be afraid to
mention the company here on Orchid, Just stick to the facts and avoid
any derogatory comments and you have nothing to fear. You may save
someone the problems you experience.

The best way to place an order is to write a letter detailing your
order and then place your masters in envelopes with specific
instructions and a sketch of the piece enclosed on the envelopes as
well. Keep a copy of the details for yourself all together with you
shipping etc… Call the day you expect the order to
arrive at the caster, and go over it again with the caster if they
dont understand even the slightest detail. hope it works out.

Thomas Cavagnaro
Cadsmithing


#3

Hello,

Your description of the events seems like a real hassle. I do have a
few questions and some advise.

If you were doing 2 rings, one in 10 sizes and one in 5 that is 15
pieces, right? If so then pay for 15 molds. If they desprued your
work then pay them for that. Go through line be line and figure out
what you ask for and only pay for that. If you still haven’t received
all invoices but have received your goods just tell them that you
will pay them when they get their invoices together as you are
concerned by the lack of documentation for just what they did and
didn’t do.

I would think that if you got your details together and spoke with
the book keeper and or owner you should be able to resolve this. I
can guess who this is. I do have to say that I think that $12 a mold
is cheap. It sounds to me that you are being over billed perhaps
because they are billing for their mistakes. Possibly because their
prices are not really what they should be, are these cold or hot
molds? Cold molds yes, maybe that price, not hot molds.

I get the impression that they may have finished the goods becuase
the casting were poor and they resolved the problem by finishing
themselves. THis is just an assumption. I looked at your web site,
are these the rings with the gallery stype bezels? that wouldn’t cast
very well if they weren’t on top of their game. By the way, did you
send them models in the sizes you wanted or did the make them for
you. if they sized the rings did you pay them for that?

I use a company in Ca called Quackenbush Productions Goldsmiths in
Grass valley CA. theri number is 530-274-2777 They are very
professional and very easy to deal with. You won’t get any run
around, they are organized. I had over 100 oz of gold cast over a
couple of years and never ever had a problem excepting the occasional
bad cast. I was never billed for bad casts by the way. I will say
that you won’t get $12 molds, but you get what you pay for. With them
it is quality and service.

Good luck, D


#4

Racecar casting has treated me very professionally even though I am
a small account for them. They taught me lots about production
casting so I could be a better designer for casting. As long as I
have my end nailed down, order numbers, sizes and finishes then they
are timely and accountable. Not only are they good at the business
end they are fantastic casters.

Sam Patania
www.bahti.com


#5
Is this a common practice with smaller companies and am I going to
continue to have problems with unorganized casters? 

Shauna, I will give casting companies a bit of a break. They (we) do
work for other people that is not always straightforward, and it can
take inventiveness to get results, sometimes. Just because someone
makes a wax or a model doesn’t mean it’s really castable. And we get
students calling about having casting done and around 80% of the
time they just don’t show up.

That being said, business is business. If you contracted for 15
molds, you should pay for 15 molds - BTW, I charge $25+ for a
vulcanized mold. If you said no finishing, there should be no
finishing - if they did it anyway, then that’s free TYVM. There’s no
inherent reason why casting companies should be or are any different
than any other business. It’s the company, not the industry…

PS There is a large casting place based in Chicago that’s been
having issues of late… Not that it matters…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#6

Shauna -

Though I can’t speak for casting services (yet), let me speak up on
my understanding of communication - this was how we did it in
military aviation [long version]:

Communication requires three steps (unless under emergency
conditions)

  1. I make a request

  2. You reply with your version (understanding) of the request

  3. I confirm (and close the connection if all is consistent)

Without these three actions, communications did not occur, and the
resulting actions will most likely be wrong. (This does not apply to
rules of communications under emergency conditions!)

If #2 does not reasonably match #1, then the communication was not
satisfactory, and should be so noted in #3; further negotiations
should follow, patterned on the communications rules.

If #3 does not occur, then communication is not satisfactory, and
further actions are required by both parties.

Sounds to me like the vendor (#2) did not respect the third
requirement, and acted with an improper understanding of the message.
If you did not “close” the communication, then it should have meant
the vendor should not have begun casting until you had agreed to what
they understood.

[short version] They screwed up.

OK, I know there’s no good advice here, but hopefully it will give
you courage to plant your feet & deal with this as a strong person.
Challenge the communications process (keep good records, photos,
etc_) and work towards an equitable solution. Equitable means all
parties bear a responsibility to communicate properly, and will
accept negative consequences if they fail.

Own up to what you are responsible for; hold them accountable for
what they are responsible for.

best regards,
Kelley


#7

Hello Shauna, There is not enough for me to have an
opinion about the charges. 31 castings and 31 molds could easily cost
750. The rest of it is obviously ineptitude and you should definitely
"burn that bridge". There are several good casting companies on
orchid that will treat you right. Be sure you get all your molds from
these turkeys before you call them turkeys. Everyone is not like them
so be of good cheer.

Tom Arnold


#8

Shauna,

If there were only one problem, I would probably consider paying them
for the work they did (i.e. despruing but NOT finishing) and consider
carefully if I wanted to use them again. With multiple problems,
including serious invoicing and customer service issues, doing work
you did not approve, and shipping product you did not order, using
the service a second time would not be an option for me. The comedy
of errors you described is just not excusable. If the workmanship was
OK, I might still pay them something just to avoid the hassle, but I
certainly would not use them again or recommend them to anyone else.

I suspect you are being taken advantage of, not so much because you
are a newbie, but because you are a foreigner, and perhaps because
you are a “small” customer. It does seem to be a fairly common
practice to provide “added value” and try to charge for it. The
thinking seems to be that you can be nagged into paying the extra
charges one way or another, especially if returns are difficult or
expensive.

I don’t know about the casting business, but when I cut slabs for a
client, I often spend more time making sure everything is understood
and approved, including a complete estimate, than I spend with the
saw. To me, getting the order right is at least as important as
doing the work well. If your experience is in any way common, maybe I
should think about offering a casting service. :wink:

Steve
Gems Evermore
http://www.gemsevermore.com


#9

Thanks to everyone who responded to my issue. All your advice was
appreciated and I have taken some of it and decided to send a
certified letter requesting my molds and explaining why I will not
be paying for the finish work. I am also sending copies of the
emails that outline my correspondence with one of the owners where I
very clearly indicate what work was to be done. I even spent the
time to correct all the invoices. If you can believe it, there were
even things they forgot to charge me for. Of course, I adjusted for
the issues in their favor as well.

I have since connected with Cranston Casting in RI and received some
quotes yesterday. The price differences are unbelievable even with
an elevated mold cost. I would have saved over a thousand dollars
with Cranston. I think that Perhaps I was a bit negligent in
shopping around for better prices. I was on such a tight schedule
and, of course, I had already sent out my models to this other
place.

I think I will also invest in a small scale in order to weigh my
models. I was able to send pictures of the pieces with the weights
to Cranston and get quotes within 24 hours. How great is that. No
more sending my models out and then waiting forever.

This first order has been a huge learning experience for me and I am
even grateful, in a way, for the mistakes made. Now I am that much
more equipped to maneuver my way through this process in the future.

I wonder if one of the more experienced members of Orchid might be
interested in writing an article outlining the business end of
dealing with casters. While I think us newbies have an idea most of
the time as to what the basics of the casting process is, we become
outsiders as soon as our models are released into the hands of
another. Buyer beware issues, quality control, and details of the
process from the casters perspective could be very helpful in
helping new bridge jewelry designers reach that next stage. Having
an understanding of what to expect from your caster and what they
expect from you would certainly be worthy of publication somewhere
in the plethora of jewelry magazines. Maybe an ambitious casting
company could even create this as a small pamphlet used
as a marketing tool for new clients to better serve both parties
during the process.

Anyway… Thanks again to all who responded. I am forever grateful
to the orchid community.

Shauna Gilardi


#10

I have to agree with Sam Patania’s words. Racecar Jewelry has done
brilliant work for me over the past several years, even with
difficult pieces. And I’m a small account.

Amanda
Amanda Fisher
http://www.afmetalsmith.com


#11

Racecar Jewelry and Daniel Grandi, are incredible Orchid supporters.
They have superb ethics, and do quality work, all the time. Anyone
looking for a reliable casting house, need not look any farther.
racecarjewelry.com

Hugs,
Terrie


#12

Hello Orchidland,

I “ditto” Terrie’s statement about Racecar Jewelry and Dan Grandi.
It’s good to have such an honest guy do your casting. Not to mention
that he is a wealth of knowledge that will help you prepare your
models for casting so that the results are what your want!

Judy in Kansas…er, Colorado for now. Wish I’d brought more
sweaters!