Bay Area Rocketry, real business?

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mtnmanak

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On September 7, 2021, I placed an order for two motors (an M2050X and an L2500) with Bay Area Rocketry.

I did get a confirmation email, but in the interim time period, have received no emails or responses to my emails.

I have called many times and left a bunch of messages. Nothing.

Do these guys exist? They did take my money and I am currently out almost $800. This is approaching 90 days and I am going to have to file a dispute with PayPal before long, but wanted to see if anyone knows of any extenuating circumstances before I do.
 

Fattbank64

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I placed an order on Aug 17, 2021. I received half of the order, but it's been the sounds of silence. The vendor's email is full. So, I'm not waiting for excuses.
 

CalebJ

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There are good references to them here at TRF from a quick search. But some disturbing reviews by checking them through Google too.
 

mtnmanak

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I placed an order on Aug 17, 2021. I received half of the order, but it's been the sounds of silence. The vendor's email is full. So, I'm not waiting for excuses.

Yikes. Okay, going to file the dispute with PayPal. Never had to do this before. Hope it works out!
 

DabCat

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He used to come down to Lucerne as a vendor. Something changed and he started not renewing his permit and would vend on private land on the other side of the lakebed. I haven't seen him there for a couple years now. I talked with him a few times, and he seemed like a pretty nice guy, so it's sad to see him letting this happen. Hope everything works out well and you either receive your order or PayPal gets you a refund.
 

Steve Shannon

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On September 7, 2021, I placed an order for two motors (an M2050X and an L2500) with Bay Area Rocketry.

I did get a confirmation email, but in the interim time period, have received no emails or responses to my emails.

I have called many times and left a bunch of messages. Nothing.

Do these guys exist? They did take my money and I am currently out almost $800. This is approaching 90 days and I am going to have to file a dispute with PayPal before long, but wanted to see if anyone knows of any extenuating circumstances before I do.
He exists. His name is Mike Gentile. He’s been around for a long time. I don’t have any insight into his current status. Hopefully he has stayed healthy.
 

mtnmanak

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He exists. His name is Mike Gentile. He’s been around for a long time. I don’t have any insight into his current status. Hopefully he has stayed healthy.

Well, I certainly don't bear him any ill-will, would just like to get my products or my money back.
 

6inchmonster

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Well, I certainly don't bear him any ill-will, would just like to get my products or my money back.
As far as I can tell he is not in great shape these days.

Tho I quit buying from him a while ago. Way too many ignored calls and emails (after taking money), way too much delay.
 

Bill S

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Definitely get your money back asap then. Stuff happens, maybe he is not physically able to run his "business" but continues to take orders. Seen this with other hobbies.
 

TheTank

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3 months? Yikes... I'd dispute it ASAP. For mail order, I have always had great communication from Sirius, Wildman, and Buy Rocket Motors. Even the pre-order deal from Balsa Machining would have been faster than 3 months.
 

mtnmanak

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I would file the claim with paypal ASAP. I've had to file several over the years. Always have the $$$ returned to my account in 48 hours or less.

I did file the claim with PayPal. The response from them is that I should give the seller time to respond. I will give him until early next week. Personally, I would love to have my motors, so if he sends them out, all good. I won't do business with him again, but I will be happy to drop the matter.

If he doesn't respond by the beginning of next week, I will take the next step with PayPal to have them settle it.
 

ThirstyBarbarian

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Mike is a real person, and he is the main on-site vendor for LUNAR, TCC, and SARG, which are the clubs I fly with, and some other west coast clubs. Prior to covid, he was having some serious health and mobility issues, and in my opinion, he should have already retired. I haven’t seen him in person in close to 2 years, but I can’t imagine he is doing any better now. He was supposed to be at a TCC launch last weekend. I did not attend, but I can ask some friends if he made it if you like, just to see if he is still kicking.

I’m grateful to Mike for being our on-site vendor, but honestly, I only buy from him in person, face-to-face. I’ve found purchasing through his online store unsatisfactory. I’ve also found he does not respond to email. The only way to reach him is phone. He doesn’t keep his inventory up to date, so you never know if the thing you purchased is really in stock or not. Sadly, my guess is he doesn’t have your motors, and you should just get your money back.
 

mtnmanak

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Mike is a real person, and he is the main on-site vendor for LUNAR, TCC, and SARG, which are the clubs I fly with, and some other west coast clubs. Prior to covid, he was having some serious health and mobility issues, and in my opinion, he should have already retired. I haven’t seen him in person in close to 2 years, but I can’t imagine he is doing any better now. He was supposed to be at a TCC launch last weekend. I did not attend, but I can ask some friends if he made it if you like, just to see if he is still kicking.

I’m grateful to Mike for being our on-site vendor, but honestly, I only buy from him in person, face-to-face. I’ve found purchasing through his online store unsatisfactory. I’ve also found he does not respond to email. The only way to reach him is phone. He doesn’t keep his inventory up to date, so you never know if the thing you purchased is really in stock or not. Sadly, my guess is he doesn’t have your motors, and you should just get your money back.

That is too bad and I hope he is not in a dangerous health situation!

I can't abide bad online business practices and he should really shut down his site (or at least not take sales) if he can't fulfill orders, but I sincerely hope he is not in an imminent health crisis.
 

Bat-mite

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I think we all agree that while it is tragic to have poor health and the inability to manage your business, you also need to have a business plan that mitigates those risks by having someone shutdown the web site and/or be able to login and refund orders.
 

ThirstyBarbarian

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I verified a Mike Gentile sighting. He was at the TCC launch on Saturday. So he is alive and still doing business. If he’s not getting back to you though, just get your money back. There’s no excuse for that.
 

mtnmanak

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I agree. I will give him until Tuesday to respond to the PayPal inquiry. PayPal says I have until February 22, 2022 to complete the dispute, so giving him a few days after Thanksgiving seems like a fair thing to do. If I don't get a response or see a shipment, I will tell PayPal to get me my money.
 

ThirstyBarbarian

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I have seriously mixed feelings about Mike. I really appreciate having an on-site vendor. It’s so valuable to have a vendor at launches. I always get something from him. But his online store has always been sketchy, and that’s very annoying. He tries to encourage people to buy through the store and pick up at launches to save time, which is a great idea in theory. But in practice, he does not always have the items you purchased, so that can be really annoying if you bought something you were counting on. The online inventory has always been an issue, and that’s not health related.

I have a lot of sympathy for the health issues. His knees are very bad, so there are mobility issues. And in general, he seems very unhealthy. If I were in that shape, the last thing I’d want to be doing would be driving a trailer across the country, sleeping in a truck cab, eating road food. There are some physical demands to being a vendor.
 

ThirstyBarbarian

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I agree. I will give him until Tuesday to respond to the PayPal inquiry. PayPal says I have until February 22, 2022 to complete the dispute, so giving him a few days after Thanksgiving seems like a fair thing to do. If I don't get a response or see a shipment, I will tell PayPal to get me my money.

Good plan.
 

ThirstyBarbarian

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Well, it took three weeks to resolve, but PayPal finally refunded my money. They gave it that long for the seller to respond to their inquiry and he never contacted them. So, I didn't get my motors, but I did get my money back.

I’m glad you got your money back.

Incidentally, in the meantime, my local club had its first launch, and BAR was there as the local vendor. So they are still in business. But honestly, Mike did not look good. He seemed kind of spacey to me. And his wife was there, helping to run things, and from what he has said in the past, his wife wanted nothing to do with the business, so it seems to me something is wrong if she has agreed to be involved. Personally, I would only buy in person, or call to verify the items are in stock before ordering online.
 

mtnmanak

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I’m glad you got your money back.

Incidentally, in the meantime, my local club had its first launch, and BAR was there as the local vendor. So they are still in business. But honestly, Mike did not look good. He seemed kind of spacey to me. And his wife was there, helping to run things, and from what he has said in the past, his wife wanted nothing to do with the business, so it seems to me something is wrong if she has agreed to be involved. Personally, I would only buy in person, or call to verify the items are in stock before ordering online.

Thanks for the color on this, appreciate it. Obviously, I won't buy from them online anymore, but I do truly hope he and his family are okay, although it doesn't sound good from your description. Things ended fine for me on this one, no harm done - will pray for Mike.
 
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