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PostPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2020 4:47 am 
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I am sorry to say I have had a very bad experience with a V Pipes 'purchase' just recently.
So, Oxter Shuffler be very careful.

In July 2019 I got in contact with the maker, struck a deal and sent a deposit of 449 Euros to
the bank account he gave me (Same one as on the website) I was told delivery would be in 20m to 25 weeks.
In January I sent an email asking about progress and was told he would be ready to invoice in another week or two.

After a few more weeks I emailed again but the message was rejected. It happened a few days later again. I had been blocked.
As this was Covid 19 and Madrid was getting a hammering I eased back but, I wrote a letter to the address associated
with the bank account. A few days ago the letter came back marked 'Desconocido inconnu' - which a Spanish friend translated as
'unknown and incommunicado'.
Looks like I have been swindled out of 449Euros.

So busker sean you might tell your friend that Costro my not be making at the moment but is happy to bank money
from trusting fools like me before he mentions his lack of production.
I am about to contact the bank to see if they can help get my money back. (Fat chance there, I'd say). I am also going to write to the police in Madrid.
Maybe the international element of this behaviour will raise some legal eyebrows.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2020 5:53 am 
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buskerSean wrote:
A friend of mine spoke to Ramon in March and he said he wasn’t making at mo.


I just checked Mr Castro's site. It still looks open for business. In fact he is using images of well respected players on there.
Jarlath Henderson is the first face you see. If he is not making at the moment he should take down his bank details and avoid
the possibility of buyers getting the false impression he is still in a position to do deals.
He should be straight with people and say he is not making anymore pipes.
Meanwhile my hunt goes on.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2020 6:33 am 
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Hi y’all
Great site you have here with so much information for newbies like me.

Been playing whistles and guitar for about 4 years and wanted to try out the irish pipes but with new borns in a small condo not possible to get a real set so decided to get vpipes instead which I ordered last fall and received in March.

Great instrument and progressing really fast.

before buying I looked at the thread here to see if these were legit and I haven’t had any problems with them.

Every time I’ve written with questions to the guy (Roman) he’s been great. No problems getting in contact and he replies real fast, a day or so at the most...so if liam learner is having problems I can write to the guy. Don’t think he’s trying to scam as he’s been around since 2010 … and someone would have mentioned it before now…


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 18, 2020 9:39 am 
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Thanks for the offer American Pi(per).
Feel free to ask Mr Castro why he he has stopped making pipes and blocked emails from people he has taken deposits from.
I am not going to even offer a guess as to why he would stay in tuch with satisfied customers while at
the same time leaving a baited trap online for people to send deposits when he has no intention of
supplying pipes.
Also ask him why the mail sent to his address (on his site) was returned by the Post Office as undeliverable - 'inconnu' - incognito.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2020 7:21 am 
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Hi y’all

Well, any folk transfers any bucks to a bank account without dealing with the business first shouldn’t be allowed nowhere near internet…
...No intention of supplying pipes? after 10 years in the biz? ain't any mention of it in these forums!!

I have a feeling you ain't being square here...

Wrote to Roman couple hours ago and wanted to paste email thread here but ain’t allowed by moderators.

1) I asked (but didn’t say why) and Roman doesn’t know any Liam Lerner

2) Asked if he’s stopped making. He’s at redesign stage to upgrade. Covid causing looong delays. He’s adding folk to a waiting list for when design is finished.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2020 4:49 am 
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Hi again everybody.
Thank you American Pi(per) for your curiously aggressive reply.
For someone who claimed to barely know Mr Castro you felt the need to open with an insult about my intelligence, my honesty and
a totally inaccurate spin on the details of my post.

I will deal with your post point by point;

1) My name is not 'Liam Learner' no more than your name is 'American Pi(per)'. Did that really need to be pointed out?
('Learner' piper, geddit?!)

2)You clearly did not read my post correctly about the 'business' side of things. I struck a deal online with Mr Castro and he
requested a deposit to get on his waiting list. That is standard business procedure. Can you suggest another way?
There is an entire thread on here about deposits - I suggest you read that too.

3) I have been buying stuff online for many years so I am very familiar with the internet and how to use it. But why you
felt the need to open your post with an insult is very suspicious. How close to Mr Castro are you?

4) Which bit am I not 'being square' about do you think? That I didn't strike a deal? That I didn't pay the deposit?
That he didn't acknowledge receiving that deposit in an email? That he didn't send an email telling me he was only
a couple of weeks away from sending the invoice for the full amount because the pipes were nearly ready? (In January).
That after a short time my emails were rejected? That my letter was not returned 'desconocido' and 'inconnu'?
Every part of the process is documented because it all happened by email and bank transfer and I also have the returned letter
on my desk in front of me.

5) There is an old saying. 'There is never a problem until there is one.' You claim there is nothing on this forum about
Mr Castro's business dealings but there is - and you are taking part in it. "10 years in the biz" counts for nothing if the maker
changes his business methods. I sent money to that man (the one you claim to know online) almost a year ago and all
he has done is blocked my emails and returned my letter.

I hope Mr Castro appreciates how good a friend you are to him.
You went online and insulted a stranger on his behalf just because he answers your emails promptly? That is a special kind
of loyalty.
Now, why don't you ask him to check his bank account for July 2019 and observe the deposit. Then ask him why he blocks emails
asking about the dealys in completing the contract.
Then you might tell the intelligent people on this forum why Mr Castro's reputation means so much to an American Pi(per)
who apparently never met the man. (I am certain they will have already worked it out for themselves.)
Or better still - ask him to come on here and explain himself. Surely he has far more
reason to do it that 'you' have?!
Feel free to forward all of this message to him and tell him I look forward to supplying him with copies of all the emails, the
bank transfer and the returned post if it helps to jog his memory.

Finally, the little bit of advertising you did for him at the end of your post telling the piping world this man you hardly know
is "adding folk to a waiting list for when design is finished." is very odd. The most obvious point is the language sounds
very 'un-american' but, leaving that aside, you did not tell us all if he is requesting deposits to get on the list. Is he?
Well, I paid my deposit in July last year and I have told everyone how I was treated after that.
Tell your friend to come out from behind his wall of silence and let people know the exact situation.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:29 am 
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Hi, I'm Josh. Hey man, look, only doing this cos it don't seem fair. Offered to get in contact but you never told me your real name. Ain't accusing you of nothing but nothing doing if your name ain't real.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2020 1:31 pm 
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I had it these forums were to help others out but man, I ain't seeing a whole long queue of folk offering to help you. Just saying.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2020 2:52 pm 
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Money is hard to come by these days, you don't want to be giving it away, a heads up in that respect is always appreciated.

RORY

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2020 3:51 am 
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Hi rorybellows.
It is nice to get confirmation that the members are getting the actual point on here.
I only posted my information to warn others that their money is not safe if they do what I did.

This thread has been read over 3,000 times and I'd love to know how those readers feel about the incredible
dedication of American Pi(per) to the cause of someone he's never met, who lives on a different continent and why he
seems determined to defend a course of action that I have documented at every step of the process that left me
out of pocket to the tune of hundreds of Euros.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2020 6:50 am 
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Hi again American Pi(per).
Thanks for your christian name, Josh. It's nice to have a name to go with the messages.
What part of th US are you based in, Josh? I know quite a few pipers over there. Maybe we know people in common?
That might help to clear up the identity issues you are so concerned about.

You wrote,
Hi, I'm Josh. Hey man, look, only doing this cos it don't seem fair. Offered to get in contact but you never told me your real name. Ain't accusing you of nothing but nothing doing if your name ain't real.

Josh, I think you are getting yourself, your messages and your roles a bit confused. Let me deal with the (very few and irrelevant) points you raised.

1) When did you offer to contact me, Josh? I must have missed that. But, much more informative would be why you, a person who never met Mr Castro, needs to know my name to be able to help me. And why do you want to help Mr Castro while Mr Castro himself remains silent.

2) What 'don't seem fair' to you, Josh? The fact that I was conned out of 449 Euros or the fact that I want everyone to know about it?
You seem to think me telling people what happened is the part that is not fair and you seem OK with the idea that Mr Castro has my
money and never sent me any pipes - and blocked me from enquiring about it all.

And, Josh, by the way, you did accuse me of something. You implied I was too stupid to be allowed near the internet and that I wasn't 'being square' (In other words dishonest) because your 'friend' rode off into the sunset with my money after telling me he could sell me some pipes.

If you really want to help please contact Mr Castro and ask him a very important question for someone who is selling expensive items internationally. Why will he not come out and communicate with his customers? You said he is in the redevelopment stage of the process and he has nothing to sell at the moment, so why not put that on his website? I just looked at it a minute ago and his bank details and Paypal details are there ready to accept money from all over the world - even though he has nothing to sell! Is he still taking deposits a year after he took mine and failed to send me anything? Is he taking money for a product that is still in the design stage?

Finally, Josh, the next time you and Mr Castro get together (online, of course) you could ask him if he is OK with me posting the relevant evidence on here. I will contact the moderators and see if it is allowed.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2020 3:58 pm 
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Looks like Amarican Pi(per) has lost contact with Mr Castro so there is no way I can move this any further along on here.
Thank you to the members who contacted me privately and I will watch out for your messages in the future.
I do intend to keep an eye out for Mr Castro and I will keep you posted if there are any more sightings.
Good luck to you all with your piping.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2020 4:50 pm 
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Liam Learner wrote:
Finally, Josh, the next time you and Mr Castro get together (online, of course) you could ask him if he is OK with me posting the relevant evidence on here. I will contact the moderators and see if it is allowed.

Publishing private correspondences is a particularly thorny issue, so it is prohibited in the forums UNLESS the mods have reliable indication of consent by ALL parties, and that includes the subjects of third-party references (CCCP 18 covers this in less detail, but Admin agree that for ethical purposes, the principle has to apply broadly). We must be satisfied enough to give our OK, and it's easy to see how this task of getting the necessary degree of consent can become monumental, so it's always better to just give the general story in your own words and rely on your powers of persuasion, same as anyone else. Another issue with publishing private correspondence is the question of veracity; even when done in good faith, there's always going to be someone to challenge it because it's second-hand (and therefore subject to revision), rather than a communication coming straight from the horse's mouth. It's best if we avoid such needless tangles and distractions from the outset.

The problem with grievances and third-party counter-arguments is that it can be anyone's guess as to what the the truth really is; sometimes it's like Rashōmon, if any of you know that movie. This is why we encourage the principal parties in any issue to have their say directly, rather than through the filter of intermediaries; besides, it makes a much stronger case.

Where publishing private material seems crucial for the sake of offering evidence, mod review still applies. In that case we will have to decide how and if the matter of consent is to be met, but frankly, it's better if you can do without, and we will do our best to assist in finding better approaches.

I don't think Ramón Castro will object to my divulging that he was in contact with me soon after this thread began, and that I've explained the above to him in generalities - it's been a very pleasant series of exchanges, BTW - and although he's averse to social media, I've nevertheless encouraged him to sign up anyway so he can address this issue himself, which I think would be the best outcome for all; if there's simply a misunderstanding, that should be sorted in short order. I hope we'll hear from him. If he prefers to work with Liam behind the scenes, that's good too.

Although I didn't specifically ask, I have every reason to believe that Mr. Castro's in good health.

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"I remain not entirely convinced of it." - Nano


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 3:10 pm 
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So, Mr Castro has come out of the shadows but not fully into the sunlight. It seems he has been in touch with the Moderator.
First of all, his claim to be 'averse to social media' is nonsense. Vpipes.com has its own active Facebook account and Ramon M Castro has his own personal Facebook account, with 775 friends – many of them deeply involved in Irish Traditional Music.
I wholeheartedly agree with the moderator when he said the very simple way forward is for Mr Castro to come on here and explain what happened. If he is too shy to do it then someone else from Vpipes could come on and do it for him.

It was pointed out by the Moderator that private correspondence is not allowed on here so I will give an exact run-through my attempt to purchase pipes from Mr Castro and his company 'Vpipes.com'. I will do it in my own words with just a few exact quotes from Mr Castro. You will see what actions he took to get a deposit from me and later his 'assurances' that the pipes were almost ready. Then you will see the messages from me that were blocked.
You can decide for yourselves who has been 'fair'.



In early July 2019 I sent an enquiry through the website vpipes.com.

19th July I got an email from Mr Castro. Two main points (along with the price) ; First of all
 “If you are interested in going ahead please let me know so that I can put you down on this waiting-list and keep you informed of progress.  I am aiming to be able to deliver vPipes that are reserved now, in about 20 to 25 weeks as they are made only to order.”

And second point,
Please let me know if you want to go ahead to reserve you a set  or if you wish for me to delete you from the list as I will be closing orders soon.

25th July I got an email with a very official looking set of bank details along with instructions about import duty and tax responsibilities.
25th July I replied giving the information he requested for his tax declaration in Spain.
25th July I received an acknowledgement of my message and I was asked if I was using Paypal.
25th July. I said no – it was a bank transfer.
26th July. Mr Castro said he would tell me when he received the money.
4th August I had to send a message to see if the money had arrived.
5th August I was told it had,

“Sorry about not confirming.
Indeed, your bank payment deposit of 449Euros came through on the 26 July all perfect and
correct.”
5th January 2020 (20+ weeks after the order). I sent a message with a general query about the delivery date and wished him a Happy New Year.
7th January I got a very reassuring reply
“Happy New Year also.
I wrote to you just before Christmas letting you know that I would be receiving your vPipes during the beginning of January.  I am expecting to receive it either this week or next so all systems go....!!!
I'll get you invoice ready for the remainder and send it to you when I get back to the office over the next few days.”
9th January. I thanked him.
20th January. I let him know I was still around.
20th January. Another reassurance,
“I haven't yet sent your invoice as I have been away from the office although over the next few days I shall be in a position to send it.”
26th February. I asked for an indication about a delivery date.
26th February My email was returned “Undeliverable” with this message
“Delivery has failed to these recipients or groups:
Ramón M Castro (ramonm@vpipes.com)
Your message wasn't delivered because the recipient's email provider rejected it.”
28th Feb. I asked why my messages were being rejected.
28th Feb. Another “Undeliverable” response.
2nd March. I asked again about the rejected emails.
2nd March another 'Undeliverable' message.
11th March I wrote an old fashioned letter to the company address on the Vpipes website
Conde Duque 2, 28015, Madrid.
18th June My letter was returned by the Post Office 'Desconocido Inconnu'.

There you have it. I now, openly ask Mr Castro to tell all of you his version of events.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2020 9:45 pm 
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Email messages are usually rejected as "Undeliverable" at the point of the web hosting machine or network, not the intended recipient's website. There should be additional information in the "Undeliverable" response that provides a reason, such as a 550 code. Host providers make an effort to head off messages perceived as SPAM, for instance. I've had outgoing messages blocked (even to my family), sometimes due to SPAM being sent from another account on the same server hosting my site, and have to get it cleared from the current blacklist. The email you list here in C&F is a Hotmail account, which is often subject to similar blocks. I now use SPAMHERO for identifying SPAM, and it has isolated 50 Hotmail messages this month (30 day running total), and passed through 3 that were indeed legitimate.

However, I can offer no reason for the postal system failing in it's own delivery.

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