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Update On Gold Menuki From Ginza Seiyudo


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#1 BulletSprinkler

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 07:10 AM

So i took these menuki to the 2017 jssc token kai and submitted them to shinsa, and unfortunately they failed. The pink slip confirms they are cast, and so did many people i consulted with at the show.

I am beyond irritated. I would have expected more from a store in the ginza district, especially one as well known as seiyudo.

20170806_183912.jpg


Jay


#2 mywei

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 10:50 AM

What's the return policy for Seiyudo in these cases?
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#3 Fuuten

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 03:12 PM

In some if not most cases, it can be helpful to discuss a guarantee on authenticity with a dealer.. And what Matt said.


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#4 Curran

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 04:36 PM

He does enjoy a certain mixed reputation. People who have said avoid him, since said he is okay. Others have flipped the other way.

 

The hot/cold has been enough that I haven't dealt with him in the past 2 decades. Often thought of it. Often stopped myself.


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#5 BulletSprinkler

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Posted 07 August 2017 - 06:45 PM

Seiyudo has told me their policy is no returns, they will not accept it back.

Jay


#6 Hamfish

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 12:59 AM

well, i feel sorry for you.

 

that is a very underhanded way to do business.

 

but to all those people who read the forum, the potential lost future customers will more then make up for your sum of money

 

 seiyudo, I hope you read this.


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#7 Tanto54

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 01:30 AM

Dear Jay,

 

If they sold it to you as antique, then that's illegal fraud both in the USA and Japan (because they surely knew).


Regards,
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#8 Stephen

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 01:39 AM

what was the wording of sale? did you ask if they were cast?


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#9 Guido Schiller

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 02:33 AM

what was the wording of sale?

 

The original sales page is still up: http://www.seiyudo.com/me-060916.htm

 

And here is their return policy, i.e. no return of items without kanteisho / fittings: http://world.seiyudo.com/rule/


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#10 vajo

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 04:36 PM

The menukis look very good.

 

But is gold cast now fake? 

 

In their return policy they write if it's fake you can give it back.

 

Refund Guarantee for Japanese Swords

When the purchased Japanese sword should turn out to be a fake, you will be refunded, under the conditions that total amount of refund shall not exceed the purchase price and that we will provide no extra services.

Refund guarantee is not applicable to the followings:

  • a sword with an “expert certificate”, but later it is regarded as a fake by another expert’s opinion,
  • a sword with no “expert certificate” at the time of sales,
  • Items sold on a commission basis,
  • sword accessories such as tsuba, sword guards,
  • a sword with a mark of “for Iai”, a martial art of drawing real sword; and
  • items sold at auctions..

Edit: I understand that this is only possible when it is a fake sword.


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#11 Brian

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 04:53 PM

They don't even list them as antique. Just "menuki"
With no certificate
So they are going to get you on that every time. Think taking it further will be pointless, and a reminder to people to get clarification that stuff is antique.


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#12 NihontoCollector

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 05:04 PM

I assume unless he made any specific statement - like a certain periode - that can be proven wrong the seller delivered what he sold ... if it was just for a set of Gold Menuki the buyer got what he bought: Gold Menuki.

 

I can understand the buyers frustration though


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#13 Okiiimo

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 06:02 PM

I've purchased from Seiyudo and had a positive experience. I'd buy from them again even with knowledge of this transaction (although I might be a bit more careful).

The menuki looks a very nice to my inexperienced eye and would look classy mounted. The conflict is that the item after shinsa did not meet the expectation of the buyer that the item was a traditionally made.

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#14 John A Stuart

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 10:41 PM

Same thing for me, another vendor though and he did sell as antique. $2000 down the drain and I protested, but, could not provide proof of a negative to win. John



#15 Ken-Hawaii

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 11:19 PM

Nope, writing off Seiyudo as not worth taking a chance on. Lots of other places to buy that stand behind their merchandise! :steamed:  Might have just saved myself some real pain!

 

Ken

 


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#16 Okiiimo

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 12:38 AM

If I may ask the OP. What was the price paid for the menuki? Was the price was at shoshin level or modern reproduction level. Shoshin price would imply intentional deception.

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#17 BulletSprinkler

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 03:51 AM

1000 USD


Jay


#18 Mark

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 03:39 PM

Am i missing something?

 

I know this is related to swords maybe not fittings  but   It seems to say they offer refund but the exceptions seem to exempt ALL swords sold from refund

 

Refund guarantee is not applicable to the followings:

    a sword with an “expert certificate”, but later it is regarded as a fake by another expert’s opinion,
    a sword with no “expert certificate” at the time of sales,

 

so if it HAS a "paper" you can't return it, but if it DOES NOT have a paper you can't return it,   so is there a return/refund policy?


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#19 raymondsinger

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 03:49 PM

I was wondering when someone would catch that :). Seiyudo.com is one of the few shops in Japan selling swords online with NTHK kanteisho (most preferring to sell swords authenticated by the NBTHK). If you do purchase one of their swords with another organization's kanteisho (or an earlier Kicho, Tokubetsu Kicho, etc) and, for example, send to the NBTHK, then you have no ability to return the sword if judged to have a false mei.


Am i missing something?

I know this is related to swords maybe not fittings but It seems to say they offer refund but the exceptions seem to exempt ALL swords sold from refund

Refund guarantee is not applicable to the followings:
a sword with an “expert certificate”, but later it is regarded as a fake by another expert’s opinion,
a sword with no “expert certificate” at the time of sales,

so if it HAS a "paper" you can't return it, but if it DOES NOT have a paper you can't return it, so is there a return/refund policy?


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#20 vajo

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 08:45 PM

Ray could it be that NTHK Shinsa say authentic and NBTHK say fake. Wow, thats ugly.
So what proof is shinsa worth then.
crazy.

Chris S. 

 


#21 Darcy

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 08:55 PM

About his lack of guarantee on already papered blades: If something has papers it is a settled matter between the buyer, the seller and the item, and its papers. Everyone is agreeing to honor what is on the papers.

 

As long as the papers themselves are not fraudulent, then basically you are kicking a hornet's nest if you're going to go around and expert shop for opinions. 

 

I overheard a French scuba dive instructor telling his students once, "Trouble is the only thing in the world that you are guaranteed to find if you go looking for it." This applies in matters of opinion.

 

If you are a Christian and you go to the Mosque to ask about the nature of God or vice versa, don't run out screaming "everything I ever learned was a lie!" You have to know when you go in that your closely held beliefs might be doubted or actively questioned and you need to be ok with that.

 

One sword I sold a long time ago had two old opinions from high level experts universally regarded for their expertise, plus it was Juyo, plus it had Tanobe sensei sayagaki, and my client went expert hunting, and found a mediocre western guy who nobody would listen to other than "well that is an interesting somewhat informed opinion" and took his opinion over those other four experts. He freaked out. He never bought another thing from me because in his mind, I was selling fakes. 

 

I'm sorry but no, your mediocre western guy with a drinking problem is not anyone you should take over the Honami + NBTHK Juyo + Tanobe sensei + one other high level guy. The problem here is knowing who is reliable, and who is not. Four top Japanese experts are not going to be trumped by one mediocre guy I can't even call an expert. Say, let's use me. If I am going to challenge one of the good Honami judges, don't listen to me. If I challenge Tanobe sensei, take Tanobe sensei's opinion and tell me my thoughts are intriguing and bear further study. If all of those are on the same side of the fence, and I am on the other, nod, smile and back away... slowly.

 

If you shop for opinions, you will end up with a library of opinions. It's up to you to sort them out and discard the bad, keep the good, or try to find some kind of overlapping consensus between them. And if you are very fragile, or gullible, don't go shopping for opinions.

 

So that is all about the "no guarantee if it's already papered and another expert craps on it" and why it's there.

 

...

 

In terms of the various other no-returns this guy has, myself, the only no-return I have is if someone puts me into a long term payment plan. This guy is getting an interest free loan from me and sometimes it goes for one year. I am not going to have them take one year to pay, keep the sword off the market, pay their interest for them, then have them receive the sword, send photos to ${WESTERN_SWORD_DEALER_OF_CHOICE} who tells them "It has a flaw, it's obviously junk, return it and I will set you up with a REAL SWORD." If you want an inspection period and don't have the money, get a loan from someone else, buy it, inspect it, return it and return your loan. But if I am paying your interest for one year, sale is final or else we agreed to a back-out clause in advance that satisfies your need to return it and my damage in locking something up for one year.

 

But otherwise, this guy is understandably trying to protect himself from:

 

1. buyer's remorse

2. westerners going to amateurs, idiots, drunks or competitors to get opinions and then return a perfectly good item

3. standard honest disagreement among experts freaking the buyer out out

4. mickey mouse cheap purchases that he made $50 profit on becoming customs headaches, taxes, paperwork headaches, would rather that this buyer just never buy and doesn't care if he loses the buyer because it's not worth the trouble

5. return of swords that might not pass customs rules and get destroyed on return

 

So they are not unreasonable things to ask if you are running a high volume / low price, and low-to-mid quality type of shop. 

 

You can't give white glove ass kissing "the customer is always right" type of service with that business model when experts constantly disagree and you have saboteurs, competitors and the uninformed all lurking out there to render their opinions on your merchandise. Even honestly given, as I say, those opinions can disturb your customer if your customer is not mentally prepared or adequately understands what opinions are.

 

The last point is about fraud.

 

Fraud is not someone sold something and then someone else said it's fake so he has to go to jail. 

 

Fraud is about someone's intent to deceive you.

 

If the dealer say, is someone with a close relationship to a sword organization, and normally papers all of their things, and then there is this one thing with "papers" from an "expert" that nobody ever believes, and this one sword has a signature that looks pretty bad, no modern papers, just these old "papers" from this "expert" and then this dealer paints this "expert" as being highly regarded and presents the whole thing in the air of authenticity but carefully dances around ever actually voicing his own opinion, then very likely this person has tried to paper the thing, it failed, and he's dumping his mistake on you.

 

If you can prove that he KNEW it was no good and he sold it with this air of authenticity, now you have a fraud case. 

 

People who do this thing think that there is fine print that says "as long as I didn't say it's legit it's the buyer's problem" and no, that doesn't protect you. If you paint it in an air of authenticity, dodging and using cover, while you know it is not authentic, you are committing fraud.

 

So in the case of these menuki I say to begin with:

 

1. just because the NTHK says they are cast doesn't mean they are cast

2. just because some of us say they are cast doesn't mean they are cast

 

People write to me all the time and I say, "this is my opinion and I could be wrong." I mean, it should be frigging obvious that it's my opinion and I could be wrong. Same with the NTHK flunking these, you are not Moses going up the mountain and just got the truth recorded on some tablets. You solicited and got an opinion.

 

You can send them to the NBTHK still. Now if they flunk them and everyone flunks them that you know, then maybe yes, they are cast. But still, everyone could be wrong. Not likely but it could be. Those are OPINIONS unless someone says "well, here is the sprue and there is the seam from the mold and here are photos of 10 others cranked out by the same mold."

 

So don't go running in panic just yet. 

 

3. If you bought something that was not papered and you had no assurance from the dealer that it would paper, you cannot be freaked out when it doesn't paper. You speculated. You lost.

 

4. If this guy is liquidating stuff that failed papers and pretending to not know, he did do something bad, but you have almost no way of knowing this or proving it.

 

When you buy something unpapered, if you didn't get a guarantee, then the price should be a speculative price.

 

The problem that western buyers make when they are buying cheap unpapered / green papered / lost papered / fake papered "but trust me it's authentic" good deals from Japan is that they think that it comes with all of the backing that you get from one that is legitimately papered.

 

Plus they want the upside: I have people ask me to get a discount, plus get a Juyo guarantee. They will return the blade if it doesn't pass Juyo and they will keep it if it does. To that I say well, in that case I will submit it myself. I will get the price you're offering if it doesn't pass and if it does pass I will keep the upside for me. 

 

People don't understand that they can't both pass the risk to someone else (if it's bad, you eat it) and keep the upside for themselves (if it's good and I underpaid, I keep it). They ask me this all the time in various ways. 

 

And the additional thought to this is really, you know if you go and buy that green papered Kiyomaro for 2 million yen and pat yourself on the back and then recommend the dealer to other people as giving "good value" or you bought the green papered Shinkai for 1.5 million yen from the guy who said "I believe it is legitimate! It's great! Masterpiece! No returns / no guarantees!" then you kind of get what you deserve because you're being a fool.

 

In the case of unpapered tosogu you are accepting a degree of risk. The price needs to reflect that risk. If you think there is no risk and you are just a smart shopper who got a good deal, then I have a bridge to sell you in New York. If you paid full price on something not adequately backed by experts on a no guarantee basis, I have some real estate to sell you in Florida.

 

What is preventing buyers from being smarter is greed. The desire to get a bargain is greed. Because it's the idea of getting something for less than it's worth, and that being the central figure in the decision to buy or not, and this is a pervasive thought in our hobby.

 

Your mom probably told you if it seems too good to be true it probably is. 

 

So don't stick your neck out if you don't want it chopped off. That's what I want people to see and understand, that when they go to the "good value" seller who has the no return policy, with no papers / green papers, they're taking on a lot of risk and they should understand the conditions under which they are buying. I think if they really understood the conditions, they would choose not to buy.

 

The thing preventing this from happening is that they want to believe they got a sweet sweet deal. Reality is not kicking in. I shake people now and then and I know I seem like an asshole for doing it, but I want people to key on these no-guarantee sales with no-papers/green-papers and to see them for what they are. But I can't police the market and I can't protect everyone from their own greed and gullibility.

 

I have guys bitching about high prices on things like my Rai Kuniyuki which is Tokuju and mint condition. They want to buy that topmost top edge bleeding thing for the price of something that is junk and they don't understand when I won't do it. Good things cost a lot of money to get. Junk is cheap. If someone is going to sell you something that seems great for a junk price you need to very carefully assess what you're doing.

 

In this case, with mumei gold menuki, I would just say try again with the NBTHK before making any decisions.

 

If they flunk it outright, melt them and bring them to the dentist next time you need fillings and wear it in your mouth as a reminder. I read that gold is still the best material for crowns.

 

...

 

I took both sides here because there are two sides: the low cost vendor is trying to protect himself from his customers because he knows who his customers are. As well, he knows why his cost is low and why he can sell it low. Customs are not so aware of that, and customers if they wise up can make better decisions and understand the risks they take with these guys. I particularly get headaches when obviously bad things from such a vendor get posted to this website to grand applause as it furthers this idea that these are smart or risk free purchases instead of massive baited traps waiting to spring shut on someone's head.

 

...

 

Now I will wrap it up with what I know.

 

I posted here about some menuki the NBTHK gave me a "reserved" opinion on. I sent those to the NTHK and like your menuki, the NTHK said they were cast. I don't believe they are cast. I am setting them aside for now before I decide what to do with them next. So I am in the exact same boat as you. 

 

I might bring them back to the origin, I might not. If I am going to spend $100k with the source, I may then say "plus take these back" and make sure there is sugar with the vinegar. Or I may just eat it. I don't know. I know I took a risk when I bought them. 

 

Sometimes the NTHK will paper stuff the NBTHK will not. I know a high level sword the NBTHK flunked that the NTHK accepted with no problem. I know that the NBTHK will accept some stuff the NTHK won't: my menuki they didn't assess a final judgment. They may still accept them. If I do get NBTHK papers and I sell them, I will do it with full disclosure that the NTHK flunked them. It's not worth it to me at the end of the day to be subject to someone's ire and lose my reputation over a pair of menuki. 

 

In this case, the NTHK and NBTHK did not agree, and I obviously want my menuki to be legit so I want to hold out hope. If they both flunk it I will accept their judgment, even if I don't agree, I recognize that they both know more about it than me. So I can continue to disagree, the same way as some people will disagree that the earth is round or that people landed on the moon. Kind of.


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#22 Stephen

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 10:09 PM

:popcorn:


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                      USMC      DEC 63      APR 73

              "Nothing Fxcks you harder than time"

                        Sir  Davos Seaworth


#23 Hamfish

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 12:15 AM

im not sure if this is a "telling off" at the buyer or the peaple who posted there opinion


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#24 raymondsinger

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 12:26 AM

And my point earlier about a sword being resubmitted to another organization was that there seems to be no way to claim a refund for a fake sword, given his caveats. The rules page contradicts itself, and it would make more sense to have left that line out along with the caveats that follow, and have simply said returns not accepted.
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#25 Curran

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 12:45 AM

Darcy- care to recommend an energy drink?

I have a big exam coming up and would like some of whatever gives you the fuel to crush it like that.


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#26 Tanto54

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 05:12 AM

Dear Darcy,

 

Like many others here, I really enjoy your posts and appreciate the wisdom that you share with us.  I agree with almost all of your post on these menuki, but if you look very closely, you will see the equivalent of "well, here is the sprue and there is the seam from the mold and here are photos of 10 others cranked out by the same mold"  - there are telltale casting bubbles in various places on these menuki, so no real doubt that they are cast.  Jay shouldn't waste his money or time on more shinsa....


Regards,
George M.

#27 Brian

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 08:56 AM

To me, it is also important to know if the dealer is disputing they are modern and cast, or if they are taking the line "we never said they weren't"


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#28 Gakusee

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 09:33 AM

Cast (which might be the case here) or not cast dichotomy aside, the website is contradictory. Or simply put - nonsensical. I am sure a mathematician like Darcy knows it and everyone who has done some logic.
But the issues Darcy raises are valid - one cannot go look for bargains, not ask clarification questions first, not rely on authentication papers (because they do not exist and were not promised by the dealer in the first place) and then with hindsight blame the nonsensical returns policy. Caveat emptor needs to rule upfront.
I also want to raise another point. In our culture, two mutually exclusive concepts cannot coexist and one should prevail. Actually in Japanese culture and subtexts one might be confused and hear that something is possible or something else is possible but without the cultural understanding especially of subtleties (where all detail is cut out due to lack of English knowledge or whatever) we might get lost. Here the dealer did not specify what is an expert opinion, who gives it, who another expert could be etc. But indeed why bother with a returns policy if the buyer did not take all steps to verify what the buyer thought was the case.

I work with the Japanese every day. And every day I witness misunderstandings (not only linguistic but also cultural). Sometimes it is because they do not like saying No for fear of offending / embarrassing / getting embarrassed and we Westerners when we hear "it will be difficult", we raise our hopes and want it to be true or hope it will be true. The fact is when they tell you it will be difficult, that is a face-saving way of saying "do not try and please do not embarrass us by asking us to do it for you".
Here the dealer perhaps knew they would not pass shinsa or did not know. However, my understanding of the situation is that he did not say "antique", "200 years old", " I guarantee they are not cast", " I guarantee they will paper by NTHK or NBTHK and if they do not, I shall take them back".

I am a beginner like most but I tend to seek advice before I buy. Believe me, I do not like what I hear all the time, but I take the advice, do my own extensive homework, ask lots of questions before I buy and then make my own decisions. So far, I have not blamed a dealer and I have bought from Japan and the US.

So, what happened is bad and I commiserate with the OP but both sides here have their issues.
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#29 BulletSprinkler

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Posted 10 August 2017 - 07:32 PM

To me, it is also important to know if the dealer is disputing they are modern and cast, or if they are taking the line "we never said they weren't"

 

GS didn't say anything about them either way, just that they will not accept a return on the item as per policy, and stopped responding to my emails.


Jay


#30 Pete Klein

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 02:39 PM

Zanshin


“It's no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.”
— Mark Twain





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