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PROTOTYPE Putters, Deal gone awry


ThirdCut
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I haven't seen many threads about the custom putter maker PROTOTYPE Putters, and unfortunately I'm here to report a negative experience with them. Drew (the owner) is a great guy, he's very friendly. He was communicative and enthusiastic while working with me in what I wanted in my putter, but as soon as I paid he essentially dropped off the face of the planet. From reading other threads, this is a pretty standard experience. However, everybody else got their putter. I really want to give him the benefit of the doubt, and I understand that these putters are probably just his side job and that everybody can go through some rough patches. However, the lack of communication and the false promises are really not a good way to do business.

 

After a bit of discussion on the details of my putter, I sent payment on April 8th. I was told that the putter would be completed and shipped out 3-4 weeks later. I heard nothing for 3 weeks, at which point I emailed Drew to see if he had any updates. He replied 4 days later (May 2) that there had been "a few small delays with the machining," and that it would be completed within 1.5-2 weeks (what is odd about this is that he doesn't really machine the putters, I'm fairly certain he receives blank putter heads, mills the faces, does stamping and finishing but no machining). After this, I received no communication for 3 weeks. On May 24, I send another email asking for an update. I did not receive a reply after a couple of days, and at this point I'm pretty antsy so I send him an email again on 5/28 (essentially 4 weeks after he stated the putter would be complete within 1.5-2 weeks) letting him know that its not really acceptable to have such a lack of communication. He replies the next day, saying that he is sorry, he promises it will be done in 2 weeks, and that he will provide more updates. The next day he sent me a few pictures of the putter blank with the stamping completed, but no finish yet. So at this point, I'm starting to really not want the putter anymore, but I figure that I will still probably receive it at some point. Wrong.

 

On June 21, more than 3 weeks after I had last heard from Drew (and more than a week later than his promised completion date), I still had not heard from him. I'm fed up, so I decide to open a dispute with Paypal. I send him an email letting him know what's going on, and let him know that I would appreciate if he could resolve this situation peacefully and just give me a refund because I'm not waiting around anymore. He doesn't respond to that email for a couple of days, so I decided to escalate the paypal dispute into a claim on June 25. Again I sent him an email letting him know what was happening, and that I still hoped we could resolve everything smoothly. He finally replies on June 27 (4 full weeks since last communication) saying that "unfortunately my funds are frozen, my bank is in the negative and I have no money to refund you."

 

So here I am now, not sure what to make of all this. If it's true that he's really going through a rough patch, I can definitely understand that and would want to help the guy out. I can also understand if he was too embarrassed to let me know earlier about the problems he was experiencing, and that being why he wasn't able to get my putter done. It's almost sad in a way. But when you are a business owner, conducting business with random people over the internet through your own website, you need to have some basic standards and follow through on them. I understand this is a risk you take as a consumer when you do business outside of the bigger putter companies.

 

I don't want this putter anymore - the experience has left a bad taste in my mouth and I've moved onto other things. I would really like to get my money back. However, I'm not sure if paypal will even be able to refund the payment if he has no money in his bank account. Heck, I'm not even sure if the guy is telling me the truth (I would like to think he's not a liar). If he's really struggling that bad, I would be happy to eat the cost just to help the guy out. But at this point, I just can't take him for his word.

 

What course of action would you guys take from here? (the status of the paypal claim is still awaiting response from seller, he has until July 5 to respond)

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I have dealt with Drew in the past. He actually lives only a few miles from my neighborhood. I saw his add on eBay and was intrigued. I was fascinated with a Toulon Atlanta shaped putter and being lefty, figured I would never see one come to retail. We emailed, texted and called back and forth for about a week. He seemed really excited like you said and I felt pretty comfortable with him. Right before I sent the funds, I thought to myself, why didn't I look up this guy on golfwrx. I ended up doing some research and got a bit turned off. He was sending putters then but the whole thing with blank heads and him just grinding them a bit turned me off. I also thought after seeing some pictures, that they just didn't look like a finished product. Almost looked like I could do a fairly comparable job if I was grinding myself. I ended up not going through with the deal and he still to this day 6 months later will send me texts asking if I'm interested again.

 

I'm sorry you lost out on your putter. I'm pretty sure you will get your money back no matter what. PayPal will take his account further into the hole or will reimburse you out of their pocket and go after him on their own. I think that's the insurance you get when you use PayPal.

 

Denny

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My understanding is that you'll get the refund the money from PayPal whether there is money in the sellers account or not.

 

I'm curious how you got the reference to use them to begin with?

 

There is a wealth of knowledge on custom shops here (both negative and positive) as well as other putter specific sites and I don't think I've ever seen Prototype when I was looking at having one built (which I never ended up doing after weeks of looking)

 

Best of luck to you

 

Edit* did my own research so I wasn't hypocritical looks like they used to be active on here at one time. But to hell of a company using the name prototype for making it easy to search for reviews

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Doesn't this sound like another putter company commonly seen on wrx?

 

Genuinely interested in this reference, do tell.

 

OP, escalate the claim and get your money back. I wouldn't worry for two seconds about the negative effects on someone who conducts business like this- shoots you a sob story when it looks like he is going to get even further over his head. PayPal will find the money somewhere and refund you, then deal with collecting from him later. Trust me, PayPal isn't going to go broke refunding you.

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Doesn't this sound like another putter company commonly seen on wrx?

 

Lack of communication is killer. Sorry OP and I hope you get your money back.

 

Lord:

 

They are up and posting again on Instagram. So maybe they took a break? Or learned a few things along the way.

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Folks. Im referring to Machine putters. In the putter section, there was a long thread regarding people having to wait - sending money and not receiving putters, etc...the company filed BK and has emerged. Sounded like a mess to me honest. Machine is up and running now - I even ordered one thru a dealer and had no issues.

 

To be clear - Im not bad mouthing anyone here. Just sayin the OP story sounded similar to some of the stuff I was reading about Machine in that thread I mentioned.

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Wow, that's a dumpster fire of a situation, OP. The last putter I sent out only took 11 days to come back (record time, I know). But even then, I couldn't wait to see it! I hate that you were let down several times by the same guy. That sucks. Get the PayPal refund and don't worry for a second.

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(will swap 58 for 60 and a Vokey for the 2-iron as needed)
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