The Official Livewire Guitars Thread

Discussion in 'Dealers & Group Buys' started by michael777, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. Jesse11

    Jesse11 SS.org Regular

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    Well unfortunately I have to update my previous comments on this. I have had no contact with Michael since August of 2014 and all my recent attempts to contact him have gone unanswered. He had seemed like a very decent guy and was good to work with up to last August and I'm still even convinced that he started the work on my guitar.

    But now it's clear that he has no interest in either finishing the work which I intended to pay for or return my parts to me that I offered to pay to have sent back to me (in one of the emails I sent recently that was ignored).

    So we have re-opened the Livewire Guitars Scam Facebook page. If my money and parts are down the drain, hopefully we can at least prevent others from the same fate. This is a public group, so please feel free to join and add your story.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/333240050207598/
     
  2. Webmaestro

    Webmaestro Ibanez Fanatic Contributor

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    Well, I don't think anyone else WILL suffer the same fate, because he's stopped accepting new work, right? That's one thing that's pretty clear.

    Last time I talked to him (over a year ago), he had just made this decision to take his buisness in a different direction. He said something about no longer taking customization requests and only doing the kinds of mods HE wants to do. Of course, to do that, you still need a source of guitars to mod, so I'm not sure I understand what this new business is that he's created. I know he moved into a new space, got new equipment, etc... yet he's no longer accepting jobs. *boggle*

    This is where I worry the most. He's still selling customized Ibanezes (on ebay), so he's getting guitars from SOMEWHERE. My concern is that it's OUR guitars he's using as the source.
     
  3. Webmaestro

    Webmaestro Ibanez Fanatic Contributor

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    I've finally done it: I've emailed the sheriff.

    This sucks, because I've gone as far as to actually defend Michael/Livewire (in this very thread)... even redistributing his Facebook updates here on ss.org for him (back when he was still actually communicating). I'm still not 100% convinced he's a bona-fide criminal who is intentionally stealing, customizing, and reselling our guitars under a different business name.

    I work with small business owners all day, every day. I design software to help them navigate the complexities of trying to run a business and "do it all themselves." So, I get it. I totally sympathize. Being an entrepreneur is stressful, hard effing work.

    However, you can't completely stop communicating with people who have given you money. That's just criminal, and there have to be consequences for that.
     
  4. Jesse11

    Jesse11 SS.org Regular

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    Theoretically this is correct, nobody would suffer the same fate since he hasn't taken on new work. As far as I know, I'm the last person to do business with him, based on a mutual friend vouching for his trustworthiness.

    I wouldn't accept the "want to do the guitars I want to do" thing at face value. All that really would have done for him is free him from having to deal with any sort of deadlines to customers. But it could be argued that most of his potential customers didn't want the pretty repetitive work he was putting on eBay (which I'm 99% certain is not customer guitars).

    The crazy thing that's come to light in all of this is that of the people waiting for guitars from him, most of these are "done" in a traditional sense. Rather than taking on jobs to swirl guitars, do inlays, mods, etc, he took on jobs to build entire guitars, which entailed sourcing parts. Some of these guitars sat for years, finished but waiting for parts. So you end up with a bunch of unhappy customers over something that he was at best going to make a few percent on (reselling sourced parts).

    Getting back to why he said he was going to stop taking custom orders, what he did was take money from a bunch of people for projects, most of which included sourcing parts. He took that money to try to finish other stuff, with the idea that he'd recover enough financially to finish everything. That hasn't worked out and now he's vanished off the face of the earth.
     
  5. Jesse11

    Jesse11 SS.org Regular

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    In a way, Michael is a victim in all this as well. It's his wife Katie who is the real criminal.

    The thing is that Katie has a drug problem. She was entrusted to "run the business" while Michael did the work. She took the money he was earning and bought drugs. Michael wasn't aware of this until they were dead broke. Everything which has followed has been an attempt to dig out of that mess while protecting his wife. That said, he was still complicit in taking money from people and not using it for what it was intended for (building guitars for them).

    In a way I feel bad for the guy. His wife has ruined his life and his business, on top of leaving a bunch of other people ripped off.
     
  6. AxeHappy

    AxeHappy SS.org Regular

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    Well .....
     
  7. oracles

    oracles Australian in Canda

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    I'm not sure posting the details of the guys personal life on the internet is the best way to go. I understand the frustration involved in the situation, I'm no closer to achieving any resolution than most in here, but there's no need to go and publicise the mans private life.
     
  8. MrTeatime

    MrTeatime SS.org Regular

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    :eek:

    How many people here still have guitars with him?
     
  9. ddcmiller

    ddcmiller SS.org Regular

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    I have two bodies from MAI guitar and two rg550 necks that he was swapping fretboards on and was only supposed to be 4 months. It is approaching 2 years this July.
     
  10. Webmaestro

    Webmaestro Ibanez Fanatic Contributor

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    FYI, contacting the Brevard County Sheriffs Department is pointless. I was acting on a suggestion to contact Agent Michael Thomas, but I got this response from him:


    Mr. [My Lastname]:

    Your complaint is civil in nature, meaning you would need to file a civil claim against Livewire Guitar in Civil Court to recover your losses or property.

    If you feel your case is criminal you would need to file a report with your local law enforcement agency.



    Bleh. I can barely find time to feed myself dinner some nights, so I sure as hell don't have the time and energy to pursue an out-of-state civil claim. And what the hell are MY local (Arizona) authorities going to do?

    At times, our legal system baffles me.
     
  11. Jesse11

    Jesse11 SS.org Regular

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    On principle I completely agree with you. I have known what I know for a long time and have not posted any of it publicly. I'm down to my last card and this is it. I'm trying to get some response, ANY response from Michael. I'd gladly work to get all of this personal info off of the internet if I could just get a response.

    My last conversation with Michael was in August (phone conversation). He was actually working on my guitar at that time and was calling me for clarification on something. I sent an email in December updating some detail but got no response. With the holidays and everything I forgot about it until I saw this thread with the post that everyone needed to contact Michael immediately about their projects. So I did that.

    Here is the totally polite email I sent on February 11th.
    I received a pretty immediate response, which I'm pretty sure was written by his wife:
    That sounded reasonable to me and I responded saying so and that I was looking forward to the pics. The weird thing here is that Michael's "shop" is his garage. Why would he not be there until the next day? Anyway, I took him at his word and even sent a polite follow up the next day when he would be supposedly at his shop.

    I have never heard from him since. No pics, nothing. Regardless, I remained completely polite. Here's what I sent on March 12th:
    I let that day come and go, which I knew it would and then sent this email on March 14th.
    Was I being impolite or unreasonable? I also attached a number of pictures to help identify the parts, since at this point I assumed I was dealing with Katie, who would probably need help to identify my guitar. As I'm sure you can now guess, that Wednesday deadline came and went like all the others.

    So what would you have me do at this point? The local police have told everyone they can't help and Michael/Katie will not respond to my completely polite correspondence or even my offer to pay to ship my stuff back. You'll also notice that I didn't even ask for my deposit back!
     
  12. Webmaestro

    Webmaestro Ibanez Fanatic Contributor

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    Whoa, I never saw anything from Michael where he asked us to contact him. Damn, I feel like I've missed a key opportunity to at least get my parts back (which I would've totally requested, had I known it was an option).
     
  13. ddcmiller

    ddcmiller SS.org Regular

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    It's not an option and never was.All of us have asked for our stuff back as is no refunds and offered to pay the return shipping. I think we or at least most got the same response. Send me your shipping address and I will get your stuff out tomorrow. Well almost 2 months now and tomorrow still hasn't come.
     
  14. Webmaestro

    Webmaestro Ibanez Fanatic Contributor

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    Well, on the other hand, I actually called (and talked to a woman I assume was Katie) about a year ago and gave them my new address, because I had moved since sending my guitar. I guess I have as good a chance as any.

    Then again, knowing he was ASKING for people's shipping addresses doesn't give me a warm fuzzy. Makes me worry that he possibly lost mine. :wallbash:
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2015
  15. Jesse11

    Jesse11 SS.org Regular

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    Now that I think about it the contact Michael now thing was on the Facebook group. There were three or four people who actually got guitars, but they were already swirled and cleared for often years. They were waiting on parts that had been paid for. They got the guitars minus the parts they had paid for.
     
  16. oracles

    oracles Australian in Canda

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    Didn't one guy actually get sent the wrong parts in his guitar?
     
  17. Jesse11

    Jesse11 SS.org Regular

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    It was the pickups. He sent down Bareknuckles and got back something like a Crunch Lab/Liquifire set.
     
  18. Webmaestro

    Webmaestro Ibanez Fanatic Contributor

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    Yeah... probably MY Crunchlab / Liquifire set :wallbash:
     
  19. ddcmiller

    ddcmiller SS.org Regular

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    Ok I heard back from my local sheriff and assistant DA yesterday. Apparently they are all in agreement with brevard county and agent Michael Thomas, that this is not theft and it is a civil dispute because of the contract (work order) stating and "estimated" completion time. And, because they can not prove that Livewire guitars set out to defraud us or to steal our property the Carballo's essentially can keep our property for the rest of their lives even though we have requested it back. I am going to contact my lawyer this week and see what it will take to do a civil suit and what it will cost. I do know my mom took a guy to small claims court and won but has never seen a dime. She was told that even though she won the courts can't force the guy to pay she would have to take it to the next level of court action and that wouldn't guarantee any money either. Hopefully this would not be the same.
     
  20. Webmaestro

    Webmaestro Ibanez Fanatic Contributor

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    Sometimes, our justice system makes me :wallbash::wallbash::wallbash::wallbash::wallbash::wallbash::wallbash:
     

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