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Thread: Disappointing Living Water experience

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    209

    Default Disappointing Living Water experience

    In the fall of 2019 I ordered some Living Water strings, directly from Ken Middleton.

    Life was busy, so it took a while for me to notice that they hadn't shown up.
    I contacted him in November and after a couple of emails (I never received a reply to the first two I sent) he said he would send the order again.
    (We double-checked my address - which came from Paypal, which I use a lot and know is correct)

    Lots of life stuff happening, mostly sad unfortunately - and the other day I realized that the strings still had not shown up.

    I did all the usual things; ask the neighbours if they'd seen them, enquired at the post office (I had done all those things before emailing him the first time, too) but nothing turned up - so I emailed Ken again.


    This time, he replied that he had sent me the strings, that mail never goes missing in the Netherlands (I wish!) and that there was nothing he could do for me.


    I've met Ken a few times in person at various ukulele festivals etc, and he always seemed like a nice guy, so his response surprised me.
    There could, of course, be all sorts of things going on in his life as well.

    The order was for 4 or 5 sets of strings, so not a huge fortune - but still a rather disappointing experience.

    I'm not quite sure what to do now.

    I trust he did in fact send the strings; but Dutch mail is (increasingly) not perfect, and I suspect the same goes for UK mail - I've also heard stories about the Brexit kerfuffle causing chaos in various ways.

    Still, I paid for the strings, and one or two of my ukuleles are very much due for a change (and good fluorocarbons are not easy to find here).
    The whole thing just makes me sad and, as I realize in writing this, a bit anxious as well.

    Does anyone here have any recent experience with Ken?

    For anyone reading this: what would you do in my place?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    U.K.
    Posts
    974

    Default

    What would I do in your place?

    Well I’d talk to Ken direct and accept what he says as being the complete truth. I’d accept that occasionally things do get lost within the mail and that mail between the U.K. and the Netherlands isn’t without a small element of risk - errors happen and your item might be stuck in Brazil.

    In Ken’s position I’d be wondering whether you were an honest buyer, not everybody is. I’d also be thinking that once I had posted your items I had fulfilled your order (loss in the post is at the buyers risk and not within the seller’s control). Short of some expensive tracked post I don’t see how this issue can be resolved for you. In your shoes I’d give up and buy from within Continental Europe, someone there will stock Martin fluorocarbons and they’re good strings. This forum has many members in Continental Europe so if you make a new thread asking where you can buy fluorocarbon strings from (within CE) then I feel sure that you’ll get many helpful answers.

    I mean this in the nicest possible way: Stuff happens, it’s how we manage it that matters. Time to let the matter rest and move forward in another way.

    For what it is worth I have no connection to Ken (he’s not one of my mates).
    Last edited by Graham Greenbag; 02-23-2020 at 05:29 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    3,524

    Default

    Yeah, really not much you can do, stuff happens, things get lost in the mail. Ken is a straight shooter. The best outcome would be for them to eventually show up in your mailbox, which could still happen, and I hope it does.
    John

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Location
    Finland
    Posts
    167

    Default

    I have ordered Living Water strings directly from Ken fairly recently. If I recall correctly, I ordered two sets of soprano and one set of concert strings but the shipment only had one set of soprano strings. I contacted Ken immediately, he was very receptive and sent the missing set right away. As opposed to the first shipment, however, this one took ages to arrive. I asked Ken to double check that he sent me the missing set of strings. He offered to send it again if it didn't show up in a week or so and fortunately it did. It took something like three or four weeks so definitely an issue with the postal system. My experience with Ken, however, was flawless and I think he's above board. Frankly, I cannot fault him for not sending you a third shipment when the issue indeed seems to be with the postal system. If I were you I would first inquire your local postal service and ask if they can do anything. They should be liable to some extent as well so maybe ask them for compensation for failing to deliver your shipment.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    1,718

    Default

    I usually order LW strings from Uke Republic, but did order directly from Ken within the last year some time, (I've lost track of exactly when), and got the strings promptly. (Faster than from Uke Republic, to my surprise, since I'm in the US.)

    That said, I wouldn't be surprised if Brexit might be complicating things, though.

    I understand too well how life events can make it hard for us to focus on small things like a string shipment, but I would think that from Ken's point of view, it doesn't sound like a good plan to keep shipping you strings. You were, unfortunately, not within the window of time to make use of any protection that PayPal offers, then asked for the strings to be reshipped, which he appears to have done. Then you asked again. If Ken doesn't know you, he could easily think that sounds suspicious. How much of a loss should his small business take?
    But, from your point of view, you've taken a loss, too.

    If you were to talk with Ken and try working out another shipment, maybe there would be another way to ship to you?
    The regular mail service in my area is unreliable, so when I can choose another option, (UPS, FedEx), I do so. Not always possible, and maybe that would increase the cost too much, though.

    A few years ago, I ordered some hammered dulcimer hammers to give a friend for Christmas. Fortunately, they had been sent with tracking information. They were sent via regular mail, and stalled out at one postal site. After several weeks of no movement from there, the seller agreed to reship to me, if I'd return a set if I ever got that original set. Months went by...and then one day, they showed up. I did send them back, (at my cost - but the shipper wasn't to blame either), so at least their business didn't have that loss. It's hard for small businesses to eat the cost of a loss. But, it's also hard for the buyer to have to eat the cost of it, too.

    Anyway, maybe, months from now, they'll finally show up. You never know.

    I hope that the sad events are behind you, and life will now allow you to focus on minor things, like ukulele strings.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    West Midlands GB
    Posts
    2,081

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    Ken is completely trustworthy. You have my sympathy, but the problem must be with the postal service.

    John Colter

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    London
    Posts
    412

    Default

    This has nothing at all to do with Brexit!!! Nothing has changed, nothing will change until December at the earliest - there are no changes to export regulations or postal services in any way, shape or form.
    Kamaka HF-3DC - Kamaka HF-2LD - Kanile'a Custom 5 string Super Tenor - KoAloha Special Issue Tenor - Pono MGTP5-PC

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Posts
    1,718

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Counter View Post
    This has nothing at all to do with Brexit!!! Nothing has changed, nothing will change until December at the earliest - there are no changes to export regulations or postal services in any way, shape or form.
    Oops. Sorry. I have enough trouble keeping up with things in my own country, and didn't realize that it wouldn't effect things yet.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Upper Hale, Surrey/Hants border, UK.
    Posts
    6,315

    Default

    From past experience, Ken Middleton is 100% trustworthy, unfortunately not all postal services are, but having said that, mine arrived within a few days of placing my orders here in the UK.
    Trying to do justice to various musical instruments.

  10. #10

    Default

    I'm sure both parties—buyer and seller—are trustworthy and this is most likely a case of small packages getting lost in the international shuffle, but why not put tracking on the shipment(s)? It would have gone a long way to putting both parties minds at rest, and might have pinpointed where the problem is occurring.
    __̴ı̴̴̡̡̡ ̡͌l̡̡̡ ̡͌l̡*̡̡ ̴̡ı̴̴̡ ̡̡͡|̲̲̲͡͡͡ ̲▫̲͡ ̲̲̲͡͡π̲̲͡͡ ̲̲͡▫̲̲͡͡ ̲|̡̡̡ ̡ ̴̡ı̴̡̡ ̡͌l̡̡̡̡.___

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