Ampro/America's Pride Lifts

History of a nightmare, or how America's Pride does business
In mid september of 2007, I ordered a 2 post 10000 lb lift from America's Pride in Seekonk Ma and paid via bank check. The first lesson
in all of this is always pay via credit card, although it will not always protect you I have found out. Prior to paying they spoke as if they had them in stock, although I will not swear they said such a thing. After receiving my check they told me it would be 12 business days, then never returned another phone call for 5 months.
When in mid October I had received no lift and had spent hours on hold and calls to my salesman [Steve Smith] went unreturned, I finally told the receptionist that I was going to call the Mass Attorney General. You see, part of the attraction, besides a nice website with lots of helpful pictures, was that they were in my home state, so how bad could they be. Oh brother!
their BBB listing was revoked on 1/7: http://reports.bosbbb.org/Boston/Public/Reports/BrandedReport.aspx?firm $193
If the link dies they had 111 complaints in the 36 months preceding 3/1
Well, some minutes later I got a call from someone saying they were the sales manager[ did not get the name] who quite belligerently 'read me a letter' that said that they had had supply problems since July [what happened to 12 days] and since people had pulled orders and canceled credit card transactions, they had been forced to change bank accounts[hello, fraud alert] and had no lifts, no money to pay for lifts, and no firm idea when they would have either. Very big attitude, like he somehow deserved my money.
Numerous unanswered phone calls, and a great habit I had never seen in a real company; since they had call ID , they would not answer the phone, just put me straight to hold.
So I called the AG, filled out the online form, filled out the online form for the BBB, picked up the forms for small claims[but didn't file] and contacted the Seekonk police dept. This was, in the end, the key. I emailed and spoke to one of the detectives there, and he said he would stop in, as it wasn't the first time he had heard this, but was under the impression that they always come through in the end.
http://www.seekonkpd.com/Roster.htm
Actually not a bad site for a small town PD. Det P. Was a great help in the end.
Fast forward a bit, some life intervened in my chasing these guys down, beginning of January I started calling again. Same drill. I saw a craigslist posting with a familiar story line and emailed[one of the people getting this missive] and, yes he had eventually got a lift.
So I did a roadtrip, and got down to Seekonk and checked out their office at 75 County Rd. Hah! Not so much as a sign at the address listed. No mailbox, nothing. Big sign for "Mike's Dojo" Mike would be Mike Nees, proprietor of America's Pride. DOJO appears to be upstairs and the offices of AMPRO in the basement. I didn't go in, didn't want to cause a fuss just yet.
http://i99.photobucket.com/albums/l317/t92006/DCP_0466.jpg
On the way, I called and scammed them into telling me their warehouse address, which, by the way is 13 Conduit st, Central Falls RI
What a dump
http://i99.photobucket.com/albums/l317/t92006/13conduitst.jpg
the place defines 'bombed out'
http://i99.photobucket.com/albums/l317/t92006/peek3.jpg
http://i99.photobucket.com/albums/l317/t92006/peeking.jpg
bottom left is a stack of lifts
Sorry for the clarity, truck driver was nervous and I was trying not to get chased
So I call again, on 1/29, and take notes to show how they treat me:
call 11:45, on hold 31 minutes
redial straight to hold
hand up redial answered, hold 9 minutes
redial, straight to hold
redial, answered straight to voicemail
hangup redial hold 2 minutes
hangup redial,
Answered, and it is actually the infamous Becky, who holds the secrets of who will get product. Wow.
I am told that i will get a call on Friday[this is tuesday] to say what day next week my lift will ship. I'll be holding my breath. When I come in Wed there is a message on my answering machine from Det. P of Seekonk PD, saying that he had been in to talk with them, and telling me essentially the same story. I am beginning to feel some glimmer of hope.
Friday comes, no call by 3pm, I call, and miracle of miracles, I am put through in a businesslike timeframe to Becky. It is pretty amazing what little visit from a nice man with a badge will do for people's telephone skills. She tells me Wednesday my lift will ship. Needless to say, i will believe it when I see it. She will call me with a tracking number on Wed.
Of course, no call by 4 pm wed, so I call, again told I will have to wait jut a few minutes, and less than 3 minutes later she is on the line. no number yet, but she will call me later from her cell, which of course does not happen.
Thursday, 9:26 AM, for the first time since September, America's Pride calls my office. She gives me a tracking number. Which does not work on Yellow's automated phone system. Arghh
A person at the freight company clears it up, and yes, a package has shipped. Box of rocks? Old tennis shoes? We will find out.
Of course, then Yellow proceeds to juggle the shipment[of course, how could they not] and a 80 mile trip takes till Monday.
http://i99.photobucket.com/albums/l317/t92006/lift.jpg
Of course the shipping frame leaves about a half inch too short to fit a pallet jack under it, probably the same everywhere, Chinese pallet jacks are probably shorter.
So from the bill of lading, this is a National Auto Tools NT9 floor plate lift. Go to their website and it is a 9000 lb lift, available for 300 bucks less, probably would have had it in September! NAT paid the freight too, must pay their rent to Ampro in lifts.
So it is setup and runs, has a car up on it as I type. Has some of the nice features that made me decide on the lift in the first place, but it does not have the wheeled carriage that was originally listed[website apparently has changed] Lesson number two, when you are beginning to doubt a company, save copies of their web pages. I plan on chasing them for the 300 bucks. What the hell.
Now, I consider myself a intelligent consumer, I saw no complaints online when I placed the order[although I did not openly solicit them] Perhaps it was my own arrogance and being sick of people telling me I must buy the most expensive item to get a serviceable product.Hell, my main use for this will be to lift cars less than 2000lbs! the BBB still listed them as acceptable even a month after I ordered. They had an ebay identity[auto-lift-king] had crappy feedback , but very small sample. They still have items listed there and on Amazon.
The saddest thing about it is that I was in no real hurry. If they sent the lift I ordered with some kind of normal customer service I may just have waited. After all, they had much better info online than anyone. Everyone shows just one stock photo of a generic 2 post lift, not real close up pics like AMPRO did. How about trusting the customer, saying, hey we can't get things till January, throw us 500 bucks and we will order on for you? Many would pass, but with a good product, some would not. I run a business, sometimes I have supply issues. They appear unable to act honestly. If I had not enlisted the authorities, would I have a lift at all, even an overpriced cheapo lift? I don't really know.
--------------------------------------
So I found out a lot of fun info.
http://rejournal.com/ne/sections/salesandleases/SL/Sept.pdf
Mike Nees bought the warehouse, for 400k at the same time as having no money to ship lifts
He or his associates own the building on County St in Seekonk, some company called 'real relief LLC' address the same has some financial dealings, putting money in, taking it out, I cannot tell, since I am not an expert on registry of deeds documents.
Mr Nees appears to live in neighboring Rehoboth, but I cannot confirm that.
associated websites:
www.fridgesolutions.com scam? dunno
http://www.sea-plies.com / trouble? dunno
www.americasprideonline.com shady? yup
www.carliftswarehouse.com ditto www.hvacplace.com honest? maybe?
www.liftsUSA.com scammers? you decide
www.e-paintbooths.com dishonest? can't say
http://www.e-pipebenders.com / caution
http://www.e-tirechangers.com / caution
http://www.e-brakelathes.com / be careful
http://www.wasteoilheat.com / might be a waste of money
http://www.e-circleoflife.com / do you really want to wait?
http://www.conveniencerefrigeration.com / be careful
http://www.gorillahammers.com / don't be a gorilla
http://www.uniwashers.com / caution
Any way watch out for Ampro lifts!!!!!!
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