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Hatters beware

Art Fawcett

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3,717
Location
Central Point, Or.
I hate to start a thread like this but feel it's important that nobody else gets taken by this dealer of Cuenca panamas.
Here's the story
Last year when Panama Bob went out of business I lost my best supplier of raw body panamas that I had come to count on in a pinch. He had developed a network of suppliers in Ecuador but had what I considered a flawed business plan in that he took deposits on hats for clients, then had to search for the hats through his network. Over the years I had also block many of his higher end hats and all went well for a long time. Unfortunately, dealing with the people of Ecuador proved difficult as he would order hats of specific crown and brim dimensions but what he got didn't match his orders , not a problem in the US but a big problem in Ecuador. So, he kept having to try to sell hats that were not ordered trying to get the hats that WERE ordered.

This lead to his downfall in the business and you know the rest of the story.

Now, last September I started looking for a new source and found one that seemed to be legitimate on Facebook under the name "Yamilets Export" owned by Mario Cardenas Cordero and placed an small order to be sure of his grading system to know what I would be getting for my money. In the initial contacts that I was a hatter, blocked many hats for Panama Bob, and did not want finished hats, just bodies. The first order for a few hats went well. I was nervous because the procedure is to send money bank to bank in advance but it was fine, I got finished hats but I overlooked that thinking there may be something in translation that I didn't accomplish.

Once the first went well, in Jan this year I wired another $1780 for a second order and went on vacation. By the end of Feb I sent an email inquiring about the order and was told " it takes time to weave" which I thought was strange since he was a supplier, not a weaver, but gave him the benefit of the doubt so I gave more time. By April I was starting to get concerned and that's when the ball dropped.

I was told that he had sent my hats...to Panama Bob. I came unglued and asked why he would send them to Robert when I had paid for them and he accused me of BEING Panama Bob and would not send my hats until Panama Bob had paid what he owed Cordero.
I reached out through friends to Panama Bob and he texted that he HAD had dealings with Cordero, that Cordero was the main culprit in his demise as a business and that this is a common practice in Ecuador. Making good on the first order but stealing the second. Bob tried reaching out through his brother-in-law in Ecuador but to no avail.

Here it is Aug 20th, I've missed the entire season and have no hope of ever getting my hats unless Cordero wants his reputation restored. From where I sit he is a thief plain and simple. Doing business in Ecuador seems to be risky at best so I wanted to share my experience with all of you hatters out there. Please be careful who you deal with.
 

RJR

Messages
10,622
Location
Iowa
I really hate to hear this,Art.It does confirm to some extent what happened to Bob but also says that a legitimate hatter probably can't make a deal with a reliable supplier.
 

Art Fawcett

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3,717
Location
Central Point, Or.
I'll keep looking but it sure puts a bad taste in ones mouth. I've sent 4 times that to China for my wheat straw plait without a hitch. I don't believe that this is country wide Bill, just this one crook. I don't want to paint a broad brush
 

DJH

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,351
Location
Ft Worth, TX
To be honest,Art, I'm not surprised. Robert had told me that trying to do business in Equator (unless you had the resources of Brent Black) was a nightmare.

I hope you come up with a solution because your Panama hats have always been among the very best - but your milans are not too shabby either. [emoji1]
 
Last edited:

Art Fawcett

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3,717
Location
Central Point, Or.
To be honest,Art, I'm not surprised. Robert had told me that trying to do business in Equator (unless you had the resources of Brent Black) was a nightmare.

I hope you come up with a solution because your Panama hats have always been among the very best - but your milans are not too shabby either. [emoji1]

Thank you Sir, I'll keep plugging away. It isn't the end of the world just damned annoying
 

LuvMyMan

I’ll Lock Up.
Messages
4,560
Location
Michigan
Thank you Sir, I'll keep plugging away. It isn't the end of the world just damned annoying

Geez. This is a sad ordeal to have happen. For some of us, even just one hat deal going bad is a hardship enough, and cause to walk away from any further business with that particular hatter. But for you to have to suffer this is almost a sick thing. It sure sounds like the "source" just decide they needed a new set of hubcaps on their pickup truck and kept your money.

Hope you can recover from this well enough to keep your customers all happy. Everyone knows you make top shelf hats and you keep things above board honest at all times. Maybe the "source" will consider to make things right with you? After all, you are well known in the Hat Making world and that alone should make them rethink taking you to the cleaners!

Our prayers here are with you.
Cindy
 

tropicalbob

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,956
Location
miami, fl
I'm really sorry to hear about this. I was wondering what sources of redress might be involved in such a case. I can't imagine a country like Ecuador, which relies so heavily on foreign trade, would put up with this. I hope it works out for you.
 

Alive'n'Amplified

Call Me a Cab
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2,032
Location
Atlanta, GA
Thanks for the heads up, Art. We just sourced some Panama bodies through Miami (by way of Ecuador). It took a while to get them, and our source wasn't even sure when he'd get them. It was a real toss up. You practically have to go there in person for a few weeks to select the bodies, place the order, and ensure delivery.
 

Art Fawcett

Sponsoring Affiliate
Messages
3,717
Location
Central Point, Or.
I'm sure that it did have an effect Allen but not in this particular case. As I have expanded my efforts I've discovered I'm not alone with this dealer. Seems to be a source of pride, who can scam the best sort of thing. I'm investigating as I write Tropicalbob, who knows where it will lead?
 

FedOregon

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,134
Location
Oregon
Art, my wife is from Ecuador and her family still lives there, mostly in Guayaquil. Unfortunately, counterfeit, fraud, bait and switch, etc., are very common there. Counterfeit drugs, even in hospitals, can be deadly.

My wife and I have been discussing a small business where we import various items, and my main interest has been Panama hat bodies and, perhaps, finished hats. We generally go down there every year, but only my wife is going later this year.

The picture I have for my avatar is from a tour we had of a nice hat factory in Cuenca. Those are stacks of bleached bodies waiting to be made into Panama hats. We are planning a side trip to Manta and Montecristi next year. Unless I had a solid bond with an honest, trusted friend in Ecuador, I would only do business face-to-face. Even then, I would hand carry my goods back with me. Losses from theft at the post offices down there can be a real problem as well.

I'll let you know if we get any inventory and you can inspect it prior to purchase. It may be some time off into the future, so I hope you can solve this dilemma beforehand.

All the best,
Doug
 

FedOregon

I'll Lock Up
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5,134
Location
Oregon
Has the April 16th earthquake had a role in any of this? The epicenter was closer to Montecristi than Cuenca but it appears to have had a major impact on the country.

Montecristi did suffer real damage from the quake, being about 100 miles from the epicenter. Cuenca, not as much, and transportation and tourism in Cuenca is back to normal.
 

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