Chiff and Fipple Forums

Availability of VPipes
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Author:  Liam Learner [ Thu Jul 30, 2020 3:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Availability of VPipes

Thank you kkrell for the technical information.

I don't see how the status of my emails could have changed from 'all being accepted' to 'all being rejected' in an instant but,
even if Mr Castro did not receive them, where is the invoice for the balance of the cost price that was promised in January?
Why has all communication stopped? Why has he not being in touch with me, his customer, since then?
Why did someone called American Pi(per) come on here to throw around insults and then vanish again?

I am looking into why the letter got returned from Madrid. So far my enquiries have found no trace of Vpipes at the address on their site.

But, in the big picture, the undelivered emails are only a small thing.
Mr Castro took my deposit and closed all communication with me. He is aware of this thread and has been in touch with the moderator.
All he has to do is engage with me (or with the thread) and he will eliminate the need for guesswork and conjecture.

Author:  kkrell [ Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Availability of VPipes

I do agree that the customer is due further communication efforts by the vendor. I hope that any errors, omissions or misunderstandings will be rectified.

Author:  rorybbellows [ Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Availability of VPipes

sh*t happens.


Author:  kkrell [ Thu Jul 30, 2020 5:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Availability of VPipes

rorybbellows wrote:
sh*t happens.


But then you wipe.

Author:  awildman [ Thu Jul 30, 2020 2:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Availability of VPipes

This is why i use PayPal....there is recourse for getting my money returned.

Author:  Liam Learner [ Fri Jul 31, 2020 1:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Availability of VPipes

Thanks awildman for the post.

Unfortunately on the Vpipes website, in the Payments section, the credit card option is no longer working
and the Paypal option is not working. The only way to pay was by bank transfer.That should have made me suspicious.
But I was blinded by the fact the company had been around for so long and that well known pipers like Jarlath Henderson and Cillian Vallely were happy to appear on the home page of the site.
I certainly know what I will do in the future.

Author:  awildman [ Fri Jul 31, 2020 1:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Availability of VPipes

Not trying to beat a man while he's down. I have just heard so many stories similar to yours over the years that i prepare for the worst. The makers involved have been everything from well known, established makers to new makers. And then there are the trades/partial trades/wheeler dealers. The buyers involved not always above reproach either.

There is a good portion of the forum members that feel makers should be left alone, that craft/art should not be rushed, or that poor communication and poor business acumen are acceptable.

I, personally, just choose the CYA methods because i try to learn from other's mistakes. Doesnt always work, ive been burned occasionally in various dealings in life.

Author:  Liam Learner [ Sat Aug 01, 2020 9:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Availability of VPipes

Thanks again for the post awildman.

I would count myself amongst the people who appreciate craft and understand you might have to wait for it.
There are dozens of potential hold-ups along the way to making a full set of pipes. And that's before you get to
the dark arts of reed-making. God knows how anything comes out the other end of that ordeal. Hats off to all the makers
that keep us supplied.

But assembling electronic components is not the same thing. If you have been making the same electronic instrument
for 10 years then, apart from the availability of parts, there is nothing to go wrong. Televisions, computers and toasters
are assembled every second of the day and the process is usually seamless. What could cause a 7 month delay?

But, as has been said on here, customers deserve at least to be kept informed.
They are also entitled to get their money back if the maker decides to stop trading before he supplies them with their pipes.
Stringing people along with 'pipes ready to go out in two weeks' and then blocking their emails smacks of something more than
just a problem with the final balancing of the drone reeds.

PS. Don't worry about kicking a man when he's down. I regularly contort myself into a position where I can kick my own ass
for trusting a guy in another country with 449 Euros of my money - without a safety net.

Author:  awildman [ Sun Aug 02, 2020 5:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Availability of VPipes

No worries. If you're ever in Kansas, id be happy to share some tunes with you.

Author:  Liam Learner [ Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Availability of VPipes

Kansas is not on my travel list at the moment but your are officially top of my list of potential tune partners in that wonderful part of the world.

Author:  Ramon Castro [ Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Availability of VPipes

Good afternnon all, I have been informed of this thread and initially asked Jason, the moderator, to post the reply that is found below as I would be off-shore for a spell. However, him doing so would be in contravention of the Forum rules, a situation which I understand. So I have registered solely for the reason of posting it myself but I will request for my account to be deleted after this issue is solved.
I understand that this is a much longer post than the norm and my intention is to try and clarify the issues at hand but I feel I must adequately lay out my position where serious accusations have been made against me personally and also against vPipes by an anonymous forum member.

I have addressed the points raised in the general thread in no particular order.

Dear Mr? Liam? Learner?

a) The current situation is that I am at a redesign stage updating component lists and PCB design validations and also almost finished with the Galician version, to be launched as the vPipes-Gaita . Unfortunately, due to COVID many things has been delayed but we are working hard to minimise the delay.
In terms of "not making any more" as noted by another forum user and you becoming the standard bearer of the comment, you are trying to suggest that I am out of business when in fact the complete opposite is true.

b) I have never, over these many years, had anybody sending me money willy-nilly. All the vPipers out there have followed the guidelines I send them, which implies prior contact and freewill agreement between the customer and vPipes. I send the customer details of price, the conditions of the deposit, the deposit amount to transfer by either Paypal or Bank Account. Credit Cards, however, are not accepted as they could be more vulnerable to fraud. The customer then fills in a form where everything is explained and he sends me all his details. The customer always chooses the method of payment. I then confirm receipt of that deposit in writing and, from the moment the deposit is paid, an implicit agreement to the terms set out in the emails has been entered into. I never take deposits when the delivery time is uncertain, such as during this redesign phase. I only request deposits when I have a calendar of about 25-30 weeks, give or take. It is all in writing and forms part of a contract, furthermore every single transaction has its corresponding invoice.
As to your assertion that having my webpage as it is, is a 'baited trap' is absolute nonsense, and I believe you know it as does everybody else.

c) Scamming: I won't go into Spanish fiscal law but I always issue 2 official and numbered invoices, in these 2 cases, one for the deposit (2019 different tax year) ; then one for the final payment (22nd Jan, now in July - different tax period) and having had to cancel them I am now faced with surcharges. I issue official invoices not only for the final amount but also for the deposit and, as international funds are automatically flagged on inspection by the tax authorities, any discrepancy would raise an eyebrow if they were unable to reconcile a paid deposit invoice with the unpaid final amount invoice and would investigate further. That is why I am obligated to put down the customers tax ID’s for full tracking. So, as I’m sure you can see, there is no way to carry out any illegal activity. It would be picked up.
My business hasn't, doesn't and will never need to scam, even if those official controls weren’t in place.

d) As to the comment of having Jarlath, Cillian or anybody else on my web page, I don't see how it is really anybody's business, if they are fine about it then that is all I require. Should I ask also , for example, Jason Rouse to refrain from mentioning the vPipes like he did only a few days ago on radio interviews (The Blarney Pilgrim Podcast episode 59) or posting demos on YouTube?
If anyone on this forum knows Jarlath, Cillian or Jason, please ask them directly, and although I know that Jarlath is very busy indeed as a front line Doctor, I'm sure they won't mind finding a minute to confirm.

e) I can understand that the vPipes is not to everybody's liking; what is these days? But I can safely say that I have a group of faithful followers and I continue to maintain a fluid relationship with a lot of vPipers (vPipes Community), I have no doubt that those vPipers and also revered figures in our music scene who know me from over the years would vouch for me without hesitation; or the members of the Spanish Uilleann Pipes association who have known me for over 20 years. That type of trust and reputation is only acquired through very hard and constant work ethic over many years. Cutting corners might be the temptation for a start-up company with unexpected problems, but for a well established, consolidated and respected company and trade mark such as vPipes to do it, just doesn't add up. I never started out as a fly-by-night company, but rather with a philosophy of permanence, which I am proving year on year.

f) My attention was drawn to this thread and the first thing I must make clear is that I do not know nor have ever come across a Liam Learner, nor do I have anyone registered under that name on my books. Until you reveal your real name it will be difficult to move forward in solving your issues which I am willing to do. Could you be mistaken and taken me for another company? Those errors (we are human after all) are well documented.

g) Notwithstanding, I do have 2 pipers (can't say the names-Data protection) on my books from the time line you describe who suddenly stopped replying to my continued mails, after receiving the final invoice on 22nd January. I had no alternative emails to use but from now on I will be requesting a secondary email to avoid this occurring again thus improving the way things are done.
Having still received no email replies, in February I called the telephone numbers provided by the customers but got pre-recorded messages; one saying it was not a valid number and the other that the number didn't correspond to any O2 user. I also did a search on FB but there were too many with the same names. And exceptionally, when those courses of action proved to be unfruitful, letters were sent by ordinary post on 20th March, a few days after the Lockdown here in Spain, but to this day I have heard nothing back.

Given that my repeated attempts to contact these customers were unsuccessful and as time was of the essence, I had no option but to move down the waiting list and sell those vPipes to next Pipers in line. There are 2 reasons for this
1) All batteries start to degrade the minute they leave a factory and it wouldn't be best practice to sell a vPipes that has been waiting around without having the freshest batteries installed.
2) Until I receive full and final payment for the units, I have to finance them.
The vPipes for me is more about a social function and role and not my main area of work and I would prefer it, if on top of it alit l, didn't cost me money or cause too many headaches.
Once, and if, I finally manage to contact these unresponsive customers, I will be in a position to return the deposits as the articles are no longer available. In over 11 years, on a sad occasion this once happened, I managed to trace the family of a young piper on my list and I donated the deposit monies to a charity at their request.

g) I most certainly can understand your frustration at losing that amount of money, and I must say, it takes a lot of hard work to save up. I do, however, believe that you have gone about it completely the wrong way and jumped to erroneous conclusions. Your exposé smacks more of a playground tantrum rather than an adult and serene exchange. Please do not take offence as none is intended. I must also come out in defence of poor Josh who I think got the hot potato in this instance. I've never met him but have written over the course of a year and we do get on well, like with so many other vPipers. I am thankful that I had someone there willing to help out and who knew I wasn’t on or used any forums. I can't help but feel sorry that you should be incapable of believing that some of us can have friends, even online, who will stick up for them completely altruistically. I knew nothing of the intervention until just recently when Blackie informed me of this thread.
Basically, I don't need anybody to fight my battles and I certainly don't have to hide behind anything, not even false names. It's just that when it comes to vPipes side of things I never joined Chiff &Fipple and have never followed it or any other social media except Facebook for vPipes, not for lack of wanting but rather lack of time.

h) Anyway, be that as it may, Mr Learner, I don't know your true identity and yet you attack me personally and accuse me of blocking you. I am left with the question, however, as to why on earth you didn't use an alternate email address, one that I hadn’t “yet blocked”, (you are computer savvy as you suggested yourself) or ask someone on the forum if they had recently contacted me? Or even have tried through Facebook, after all, you seem to now know my activity on it. It is a shame that rather than try to find out what the problem in communicating was, you became ‘Judge and Jury’ and directly went off on an false attack with your invective diatribe. You have, in black and white, labelled me a swindler/thief/liar. Serious accusations from an unidentified forum user. Also your completely uncalled for attack with rather snide remarks on Josh who was simply trying to help and who knows I don’t participate in forums. When he offered to contact me on your behalf, you didn't tell him your real name so you knew that the effort wasn't going to get anywhere. Only you know why you did this.

Indeed, if you wouldn’t mind posting a photograph of the envelope so that I can take it up with the relevant postal authorities here because obviously something has failed. When did you send the letter? Was it registered? I receive quite a lot of important snail-mail so it is good that this has been flagged.
And also I need the exact dates on which you say you contacted the banks and what channels you used (so I can write to them about their lack of action). They as much as other financial institutions have the means to and should contact the parties in a problematic transaction, precisely to protect against any illicit activities.
If you are one of my clients, you could also post a full copy of the deposit invoice, that would solve the mystery in an instant at the same time demonstrating that what I said above about invoices and legitimacy is absolutely true.

Please understand that I am under no obligation to explain any of the above to you as I don't know your true identity but as you can plainly see I have nothing to hide.

I really do hope, Liam? Learner?, that we can clear this up and that if you prove to be one of those two unresponsive customers I can issue the refund of your deposit and at least you won’t be out of pocket although I understand that you will continue to be bitter with this unpleasant experience. I won't, however, be drawn into an endless argument or playground dialectic fisticuffs and the following posts will necessarily be to directly solve the issue in an instant as I will be travelling again in areas with little to no internet.

I have clearly explained my position and I really need to move on to other things as I am sure you do too.


Ramón Castro (

PS Thanks kkrell for taking the time to explain about emails. It is an area completely unfamiliar to me. Is there a way to check with my hosting service as to what emails were sent/received during a certain period but never got to their destination? Thanks also for your conciliatory tone. As someone else said ‘SH*T Happens’ but I really work hard for that not to be the case when the vPipes are involved.

PPS In relation to the postal address, Mr? Learner? I would expect you made doubly sure when transcribing it on this thread that you had written it correctly. Yes? Well, in fact, the address is crucially missing the TVA., at the beginning of the address line that appears on all my invoices.

Author:  kkrell [ Mon Aug 03, 2020 6:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Availability of VPipes

Ramon Castro wrote:
PS Thanks kkrell for taking the time to explain about emails. It is an area completely unfamiliar to me. Is there a way to check with my hosting service as to what emails were sent/received during a certain period but never got to their destination? Thanks also for your conciliatory tone. As someone else said ‘SH*T Happens’ but I really work hard for that not to be the case when the vPipes are involved.

I'm not sure that any email bounces by your host are available for you to view, and unlikely beyond 30 days. I use a SPAM trap service ( SPAMHERO.COM ) which maintains all messages for 30 days, whether Clean/delivered, SPAM deleted, or Quarantined. It also shows delivery attempts to my own server & any failures.

If "Liam" has kept any of the emailed reports he would have received when his emails failed or were rejected, they often include the code for the reason. Reasons can translate to "mailbox full", or if the sender (or it's hosts) is on a current blacklist (too many messages, too many recipients, possible SPAM keywords, etc.).

BTW, I am Kevin Krell (Los Angeles, California), and might be known mostly by flute players due to the Wooden Flute Obsession CDs I coordinated. Some are pipers, too, Mick O'Brien, Ronan Browne, Kieran O'Hare, Emer Mayock, others. My piping locals are Patrick D'Arcy & Michael Eskin.

Best of luck in accomplishing a calm resolution to this issue.

Author:  Ramon Castro [ Tue Aug 04, 2020 4:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Availability of VPipes

Hello Kevin, once agai, thanks for the information.
I also hope and trust that this will be resolved satisfactorily and soon.
Ahhh, yes indeed, Patrick and Michael, well please pass on my best regards to them both.
I hope all's good over there.
Take care and Stay Sage!! ;-)

Author:  Liam Learner [ Tue Aug 04, 2020 10:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Availability of VPipes

Hi Mr Castro,
thank you for the very long post.

I will reply in detail at a later date, but as you said you want a quick solution let me make some suggestions.

You say you have two customers in my timeframe who paid money to you but failed to get pipes from you. So, let's assume for now it is only two.

A week ago I posted plenty of details to allow you to figure out who I was. I said that you confirmed that my money was received in your bank account on the 29th of July 2019. I posted on here that you confirmed that in an email dated the 5th of August 2019. All you had to do was check your records – bank and/or email – and you would know immediately who I was.

But you did not take that route. Instead you told us all about, Covid 19, battery life, your new designs, your 'followers', and Tax Receipts in Spain – a whole pile of irrelevant stuff that has nothing to do with a transaction commenced in July 2019. Why not just check who I was and contact me? You only have two unfulfilled orders to cross reference against the exact dates I gave you (and quotes from yourself) to confirm which of the two it was.

So, why not post on here a screenshot of the messages you sent me after Jan 2019, especially the one telling me the pipes were ready? Or proof you tried to phone me? And, surely, if you wrote to someone you owe hundreds of Euros to, you would have sent the letter by registered mail – even if it was only to legally cover your own position because you were 'unable' to supply the items that you had accepted money for. Let us see proof of that.

I do not know how to attach a photo on here but I have asked the moderator if he might tell me. As soon as I know how I will post the photo of the returned letter. Btw, 'TVA' is clearly written on it.
If anybody wants to tell me how to do it I'd be grateful.

Author:  Ramon Castro [ Tue Aug 04, 2020 10:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Availability of VPipes

Hello Mr Learner
Thank you for your reply, the contents of which I note.
I cannot disclose either of the two names here for obvious reasons. If you just let me know your name. Simple as that. My request was clear in my first post together with my willingness to help you out.

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