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The Great Baron Hats Experiment

jimmy the lid

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,647
Location
USA
BanjoMerlin said:
I looked at the Visa merchant info and the Baron's legaleze seems to address three specific issues. It looks like a lot of work went into being sure they were not in violation of any merchant requirements.


8. If your establishment has policies regarding merchandise returns, refunds, or service cancellation, disclose these policies to the cardholder at the time of the transaction.

That being said, I very much doubt that Visa/Mastercard would allow a Merchant to implement a policy that undercuts the ability of consumers to exercise their rights as cardholders to dispute a transaction. The whole point of the "anti-chargeback" policy is to have a chilling effect on consumers who might want to avail themselves of perfectly legitimate remedies with their own credit card companies. I still think that Baron's policy likely runs afoul of the terms of their Master Merchant Agreement.
 

DanielJones

I'll Lock Up
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4,042
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On the move again...
I think that Eddie Baron that started this business many eons ago is no longer with us from what I remember, but I could be wrong. His shop was bough out by Mark several years back and has become what you see & hear about today. I'd be willing to bet that Mr. Baron, if truly gone, is spinning in his grave at how shabbily his name & business is being treated these days. Word of mouth indeed. It doesn't seem quite fair to his name as a hatter. I don't think he would have done business this way.

Cheers!

Dan
 

BanjoMerlin

A-List Customer
Messages
477
Location
New Hampshire, USA
jimmy the lid said:
That being said, I very much doubt that Mastercard/Visa would allow a Merchant to implement a policy that undercuts the ability of consumers to exercise their rights as cardholders to dispute a transaction. The whole point of the "anti-chargeback" policy is to have a chilling effect on consumers who might want to avail themselves of perfectly legitimate remedies with their own credit card companies.

No question in my mind that the policy is intended to scare customers away from disputing a transaction but part of the process is where the merchant gets to push back. "The order is in process. As clearly stated in our policies, blah blah blah."

Baron Hats is a member of the Better Business Bureau. According to the BBB records, two complaints were filed in the last 3 years. Maybe time for another? http://www.la.bbb.org/Business-Report/Baron-Hats-Inc-13056739
 

ccajackson

Familiar Face
Messages
70
Location
Boston, MA
BanjoMerlin said:
I looked at the Visa merchant info and the Baron's legaleze seems to address three specific issues. It looks like a lot of work went into being sure they were not in violation of any merchant requirements.


8. If your establishment has policies regarding merchandise returns, refunds, or service cancellation, disclose these policies to the cardholder at the time of the transaction.

12. Keep customers informed on the status of their transactions.

13. If the merchandise or service to be provided to the cardholder will be delayed, advise the cardholder in writing of the delay and the new expected delivery or service date.

I'm certainly no lawyer, but #13 may be your "Get Out of Purgatory Free" card. If you have documentation of multiple delays and missed reschedulings, I would hope Visa/MasterCard would side with their cardholder.

Any legal-type Loungers able to support that option?

Good luck!
C-C
 

handlebar bart

Call Me a Cab
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2,623
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at work
DanielJones said:
I think that Eddie Baron that started this business many eons ago is no longer with us from what I remember, but I could be wrong. His shop was bough out by Mark several years back and has become what you see & hear about today. I'd be willing to bet that Mr. Baron, if truly gone, is spinning in his grave at how shabbily his name & business is being treated these days. Word of mouth indeed. It doesn't seem quite fair to his name as a hatter. I don't think he would have done business this way.

Cheers!

Dan

Dan, cool pictures in the other thread and nice to see you around again :eusa_clap

When Mr Baron sold his name he likely signed a contract with Mark stating that he can't go pick his name out of the mud no matter how many mudpuddles Mark drags it through.
We have seen a few Barons defenders come and go but I don't believe we have ever seen a Barons hat picture posted by any of them. He must be the only 'hatter' that we haven't seen represented. Can't blame him. If I was Mark I wouldn't want my product or character to be directly compared to our resident hatters, the shortcomings would likely be fairly evident.
 

Vic

One of the Regulars
Messages
169
Location
Los Angeles
BanjoMerlin said:
This is the type of language we see from companies who miss their delivery schedules with alarming regularity and then deliver a product that does not even come close to being what the customer ordered.

Yup...:eusa_clap
 

OT1899

Familiar Face
Messages
80
Location
Texas
This is unbelievable ...!

This information is great! In the same manner that members sing the praises of those who deliver a great customer service experience, we need to share the scoop on the bad apples as well. So, thanks for sharing. I have looked at their website before and am glad I never ordered from them. Also, after reading this thread, you can bet I will never do so. My hat buying dollars will be spent elsewhere ... like with Art Fawcett, Optimo or some of the others mentioned favorably on this site........
 

EVEN-STEVEN

One of the Regulars
Messages
254
Location
SoCal
The Place is a Dump

Never purchased a hat from them, but I did have them replace the ribbon on a cheap Milan, a simple enough task at which they failed miserably. They reluctantly rectified their error, after which I exited the premises post haste.

Avoid Baron's at all costs.
 

DanielJones

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,042
Location
On the move again...
handlebar bart said:
Dan, cool pictures in the other thread and nice to see you around again :eusa_clap

When Mr Baron sold his name he likely signed a contract with Mark stating that he can't go pick his name out of the mud no matter how many mudpuddles Mark drags it through.
We have seen a few Barons defenders come and go but I don't believe we have ever seen a Barons hat picture posted by any of them. He must be the only 'hatter' that we haven't seen represented. Can't blame him. If I was Mark I wouldn't want my product or character to be directly compared to our resident hatters, the shortcomings would likely be fairly evident.

Thanks Bart! Yeah it has been a while. There have been a few life changes that have gotten in the way lately. Nice to pop in again and deliver my two cents.

I know what you mean about the defenders. One in particular came out of the woodwork to defend Mark around 2008, and was gone in a flash. Touting their quality & showing a couple of pics but you couldn't tell the quality from the pics. He didn't last all that long anywhere. You're right, I don't recall seeing too many of their hats represented here in the past several years. Probably the only thing that keeps them afloat is the movie industry. If they relied on our hat community they'd be a memory by now. I suppose that they can be useful and serve as a warning to the newcomers to hats.

Cheers!

Dan
 

Pompidou

One Too Many
Messages
1,242
Location
Plainfield, CT
I'm sure someone could take that clause to the state - the attorney general's office, maybe, and see if this is even legal. The government doesn't take kindly to businesses that abuse the public, especially in the current environment. Take it to an elected official, and you'll see something get done, I wager. Incumbents are hurting these days. Corrupt business is one of the top scapegoats. This company isn't big enough to have lobbyists. You can bet heads will roll.
 
Messages
11,580
Location
Covina, Califonia 91722
The above policy on chargebacks is the type of thing that a business puts in place only AFTER several nasty disputes.

Any company that then posts such policies simply is advertising that they have to have this type of policies to "protect" themselves from irate customers. But it is advertising that there are problems occuring a lot and too often. (Too often to be just problem customers also.)

Other threads document the fact that few of us have had timely, excellent and trouble free service dealing with Baron Hats so it seems logical to arrive at the concept:
1-BH operational systems are failing creating endless trouble for themselves
2-BH are unable to assign blame to themselves
3-BH are unable to produce or repair items in a timely fashion
4-BK will not be responsible for their shortcomings
5-BH can't give true and correct information as to delivery times

It appears that their level of professionalism has continued to sink, they are unable to provide decent customer service and when the customer is exasperated and looses patience they find that Baron Hats now attacks they the customer. This sets up the situation that there can't be reconcilliation or satifactory conclusion.

Buying a hat should not be a battle with an adversarial company.

They need a business manager to put in place order, organization and policies that will help make for better customer service and facilitate better work for more timely delivery.

I have heard rumors that they still do a fair amount of work for the LA and Hollywood show biz industry. It is said what happens is they drop everything to do those Hollywood orders so all other customers suffer at that time.

My experience is with repair renovation:

They did a fine job on my dad's Borsolino but it took 2-3 times longer than promised.
Second, I had a hat brim trimmed and a ribbon put on another hat. The guy who took the order left and they had no paper work with my hat that ID'ed it as mine nor what I wanted to have done. I had waited a long time to come in since they are habitualy slow only to find out, when I came in they had cut the brim but did not do the ribbon. Several delays later and they finished the hat, it turned out fine but the aggravation of having to go back to get them to do what was wanted and specified clearly is a lack of professionalism.
 

cookie

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,927
Location
Sydney Australia
Lando said:
Below is from the Baron Hats Return Policy Page:

CHARGEBACK POLICY

IMPORTANT: Customer agrees, accepts and understands that because of the nature of custom orders, we can not accept refunds. In additional any and all unauthorized “Chargeback’s” shall be treated as a violation on the customers contract which they enter into when they “click through” to order their merchandise. Customer agrees, accepts and understands, that if they should instigate an unauthorized Chargeback on any orders, they shall be in violation of said contract, and Baron Hats has the authority to seek any and all remuneration from said customer, including, but not limited to our billed time to address said Chargeback, and any and all staff inter-company or attorney fees to defend said action from the customer.


No way that would stand up in modern Trade Practices law.
 

BanjoMerlin

A-List Customer
Messages
477
Location
New Hampshire, USA
cookie said:
No way that would stand up in modern Trade Practices law.

It would get pretty deep. If a court were to determine that all that stuff is part of a Contract between buyer and seller it would be difficult to break. Seller would only need to show that the work was in process to demonstrate that they were fulfilling their end of the contract.

There are a couple of good holes in Baron's terms. First, "If a hat is crafted and delivered, the customer accepts these terms and conditions." Second, "Please be aware that unless specifically noted, custom hats, and other special hats take between four to six weeks to create."

It has been MUCH longer than six weeks since the order was placed and the hat has NOT been delivered. Baron is technically in default of the terms of the contract but if a lawsuit was filed they would most certainly ship something that looks like a hat. That would bring the Satisfaction Guarantee into play and they could rework the hat three times and tell the buyer to bug off.

If it was me, I'd file a complaint with the BBB and my credit card company.
 

jimmy the lid

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,647
Location
USA
BanjoMerlin said:
It would get pretty deep. If a court were to determine that all that stuff is part of a Contract between buyer and seller it would be difficult to break.

The so-called "policy" is much more in the nature of a contract of adhesion, and I doubt very much that it would be found enforceable in the event that the consumer could demonstrate lack of good faith performance. In essence, the terms of the "policy" place the consumer in the position of never having any kind of meaningful recourse for non-performance by Baron's.

There is also a practical aspect to it -- the notion that a court would actually enforce the attorneys' fee provision in the face of non-performance by Baron's is fairly ludicrous. That means that Baron's would actually wind up paying for attorney time to address a dispute of its own making -- which, in the end, would cost far more than simply refunding the purchase price to the customer. That makes it less likely that, as a practical matter, Baron's would ever really follow through on their threats.

From the consumer side, I do think that pursuing remedies through the Better Business Bureau and the credit card company certainly makes sense, as BanjoMerlin suggests.

The whole thing is appalling...

Cheers,
JtL
 

Lando

Practically Family
Messages
587
Location
VT, USA
I received email tracking numbers this morning from Baron Hats.

Of course this isn't like the last time they emailed me a fedex tracking number and then the fedex site kept saying the item was never provided to be picked up, because they had made the wrong hat so they say. This time, the fedex tracking numbers say that something was actually picked up. What timing, don't you think. Well, the experiment continues. Soon as they arrive I will take pictures and post so we can all give them a good once over. My hopes are non existent on this one.

Thanks everyone for looking over that return page and offering your ideas.

In the last year or so I have bought a lot of different hats, trying out various different hatters that have been mentioned here on the lounge. I was going to write a big post talking about the experience and mentioning details of the interactions, coupled with some photos of my purchases, and I still may, but I just wanted to state something ahead of time. I have bought from Optimo, Adventurebilt, Worth and Worth, Beaverbrand, Peter Brothers, Vintage Silhouettes, and Baron Hats and only one of them has given me trouble that made me not want to deal with them again. All these other hatters have done nothing but up front solid honest business with me and I would buy from them again anytime and in fact still have orders with them.

Customer Experience with Baron Hats: F
I hope the quality of their hats is better.
 

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