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4/22/14

Beware: Domari Nolo Defense Consulting

Tribe -

Have not done this before, but also haven't had such a massive failure and apparent outright rip-off from a company, either. A cautionary tale follows.

The Full Story:

Back on November 1st of 2013, we placed an order for a jacket from Domari Nolo Defense Consulting for testing and use. Seemed like an interesting product available in the Pencott patterns and was being promoted by a couple different gun blogosphere outlets.

The order was placed as an anonymous, general consumer. We used an alias e-mail to place the order. We didn't approach the company as a blog looking for product samples to review, and expected no preferential treatment over any other customer. 

The product was purchased out of pocket and cost $99 and change.

At the time of purchase, Domari Nolo advised of a 3 week wait due to the handmade nature of the product. No big deal, right?

6 weeks passed - twice the wait time - and so we thought we'd reach out for an update.

Chris Bianchi, one of the guys at Domari Nolo and apparently the one responsible for sewing the jackets, responded on December 19th:

Your XL is scheduled for production this weekend.  It will take about two days to round out the lot size I do batches in, and will mail likely the 26th.  I'm busting my butt, and appreciate your support.  I hope you really enjoy your CLFP- one of the first 8 in our XL size.  Any feedback and other input you have is much appreciated!

You will get an email with a tracking number when we set up your shipping.

A month passed with no tracking number or jacket, so we sent another follow-up e-mail on Jan 21st.



Chris responded on Jan 25th:

It is finished.  I could come up with some big flowery reason you don't have it, but it's simply because I didn't thread the shock-cord and put it in a box.  I'll print up your label and have it in the mail Monday.  I really appreciate your patience... We have some really big developments as a result of SHOT show, and my lead time is coming down significantly now that I was able to get some help sewing.

Again, weeks passed without a shipping notice or jacket that was supposedly only waiting on shock cord.

On Feb 10th, we sent a 3rd follow-up e-mail and received no response. On Feb 14th, we sent a 4th follow-up e-mail, checking to see if the jacket had been sent or was still with them.

Chris responded on Feb 17th:

Yes,  it's still here- will be mailed this week- we are getting caught up, finally.  You'll get a shipping notice email.


Three more weeks passed. Fed up with getting the run around and our desire to own a product from Domari Nolo long since passed, we requested a refund on March 7th and received no response.

On March 16th, we again requested a refund and voiced our frustration.

Chris responded on March 17th:

I completely understand, it is entirely out of my hands the amount of delays that have occurred.  We've had all types of difficulties with restructuring and shipping. 

I had read your email but did not reply do to being away from my home office on personal matters, I will not only issue a refund as soon as possible (this week), I will also compensate you for your patience.

I appreciate your candor and patience in this matter, I am sorry we could not service your account expediently.


Again, nothing happened. No refund.

On March 28th, we followed up again with the request for a refund.

Chris' partner, Mark Thompson, replied to the e-mail on March 29th. Here is an excerpt:

As you can see Chris is not able to keep pace with demand. I thank you for your patience and support. I regret that we as a company have failed you on this purchase. We are restructuring to avoid this mistake ever happening again.

He promised to issue a refund if we provided the original invoice and a PayPal address. We did.

A few days later, Mark replied that he'd had a problem sending the refund through PayPal and needed us to confirm the PayPal address provided.

We did.

Since then, there has been no refund issued and Chris, Mark and Domari Nolo aren't responding to e-mails. We've sent multiple follow-up e-mails but have received no response.

In the meantime, Domari Nolo Defense Consulting has pulled their website (http://domari-nolo.com/) and apparently deleted their Facebook account.

They aren't responding to e-mails and they've apparently dropped off the map.

Our Take
Now, these guys don't seem like bad guys, and they've at least provided samples to others in the gun/survival blogosphere. They were professional in their communications, and I don't think this was any kind of planned rip off. It seems like they could not handle the production of orders coming in and got caught in a cycle of making excuses for falling behind and things continued to crash and burn from there.

But...not once did they proactively reach out and provide an update on their production issues. We clearly received multiple rounds of excuses and kicking the can down the road. And now, Domari Nolo seems to have vacated the premises, disappearing without note or announcement.

And this from a company whose motto is apparently:

"To live in the most moral and ethical way possible, and accept personal responsibility for our own actions and outcomes. Staying always at the ready."

Really?

At this point, we're out $99, a dozen or so e-mails and a bunch of wasted time following up with this company and these guys. It sure does not seem like we'll get that jacket or a refund at this point, does it?

So, we wanted to share our ordeal and bring it to the attention of the tribe and the survival/preparedness/gun community in general. Maybe some of you have been similarly ripped off.

Maybe someone reading this is great buddies with the Domari Nolo guys and can help resolve what very much looks like a couple guys running off with $100 of our hard earned cash.

Or, maybe it will help prevent others from getting similarly screwed over in the future.

Takeaways
Outright rip offs like this give a bad name to small gear makers in general and leave a bad taste in the mouth. We've had great experiences and all have been worthy of confidence. That's something that we've come to expect from the community, but, unfortunately, that's not always going to be the case.

From a consumer/shopper point of view
I'd recommend steering away from makers and small companies without a strong established record or a willingness to only take partial payment up front, remainder upon deliver. We will be more cautious with who we deal with in the future, and will be hesitant to deal with any kind of unproven custom gear maker going forward.

Gear makers and small businesses reading this
 In this day and age, each and every seemingly random customer has a voice. They may (and likely do!) have a blog, YouTube channel, Twitter feed, are active on forums, etc. Don't make promises you can't keep. Don't accept payment for products you cannot deliver. If you screw someone over, expect them to use their voice and share the crappy experience you put them through with other potential customers.

Domari Nolo
We'll still be happy to get our money back and will post an update to this blog post if one is provided. Contact us at teotwawki.blog@gmail.com to work out the details.

What's your take? Anyone have similar experiences with Domari Nolo? Anyone have a jacket (CLFP) delivered? More background info or details?

13 comments :

  1. Their YouTube channel is still there, to include Mr. Thompsons' personal channel. Maybe raise the question there as well?

    ReplyDelete
  2. That sucks, man! From a tweet I found it looks like the guys at Snake Hound Machine (@snakehoundm) might know them personally. Perhaps they could get you in touch with them.

    Hope you get your money back.

    ReplyDelete
  3. If you payed with paypal file a claim with them
    Sayi g you never received your order it will take about a week but they will reverse the charge from that company an u will get your money back one reason I love pay pal
    Ivd had to use it several times for this very reason all of a sudden poof the company doesnt exist any more

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The transaction is too old for PayPal to touch - they have a 45 day window for when they will get involved. Works for eBay, not so much with 'custom' gear where a 6-10 week wait can be the norm.

      Delete
  4. To me it doesn't sound slick enough to be a genuine scam. Most likely your $99 was spent long ago running the business. Presumably they drastically underestimated their overhead, so while the costs for making the stuff looked like they would make a profit, they probably drove themselves deeper in the hole with each order they took. Unfortunately it happens all the time with start-up businesses -- ironically, frequently when their product becomes popular. All the more reason to be cautious when it comes to new manufacturer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's my vibe from the whole deal - some variety of inability to fulfill orders, money gets blown, disputes between business partners and the thing falls apart.

      Delete
  5. One of the gear blogs just had a post about one of the principles of the company distancing himself from it and walking away. Tried to find it but cant find the link at the moment.

    ReplyDelete
  6. $99 ?? That really shoots the prepping on $40 a week right in the foot. Thanks for the heads up on these guys. And you're right, it does hurt other small businesses when people do stuff like this.

    ReplyDelete
  7. AnonymousMay 24, 2014

    I've had the same experience with them. Ordered in Nov 2013, a promise to deliver in Jan 2014, then no response since then.

    The CLFP seems like a good product at a good price (rare for Pencott camo). Hopefully they will deliver, but at this stage I'm not holding my breath...

    ReplyDelete
  8. Problem with UW Gear and Domari Nolo
    Same tale here: Asked UW Gear to buy their Pencott gear, John Ammon directed me to Domari Nolo as their international Agent with the words: "ordering from them would be the same as ordering from us". Ordered and paid Chris Bianci/Domari Nolo by PayPal for US$562 in January,by March no goods...started mailing...responses first, then break down of communciation in April. Paypal useless protection after 4 weeks.
    Went back to John Ammon at UW gear who directed me there to his Partner, he Claims now: "Domari Nolo is their own corporate entity and we are not connected to them in any way."
    UW Gear and Domari Nolo are just fraudulent companies cheating customers out od hard earned Money. I strongly recommend to avoid both companies as dishonorable, unstrustworthy and just downright criminal.
    Having a friend sort out legal Action for me, recommend the same to everyone else being owed and with a problem with UW Gear / John Ammon and Domari Nolo / Chris Bianci.

    ReplyDelete
  9. AnonymousJuly 19, 2014

    Chris Bianchi is a fraudulent POS valor thief. Currently in jail.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bet you wouldn't say that to his face harry...... He is in jail thus why all his contact with his customers stopped.. It's easy to talk shit when he can't knock your teeth out.. As for his customers he will make the clfp orders when he gets out... yes this sucks yes people have been inconvenience. But a valor thief no.. The man served end of story.. until you provide documentation saying otherwise. Shut your face..

      Delete
    2. Chris is a piece of shit. And a scammer. Yes he did serve but guess what it's a small fucking world and when Chris is talking about places he has never been and things he has never done it is pretty god damn easy to fact check those things. Mr hero should keep his lies a little bit closer to the vest. Especially when he is in earshot of others that served.

      So Chris, if that is you posting, go back to your hole with the money you have stolen from your customers. And be on notice - people know you fucked up buddy. Anything in the future with your name attached to it won't make it. Best of luck scumbag.

      Btw your statements like "To live in the most moral and ethical way possible..." and "...and we intend to lead by EXAMPLE.." are really not worth shit when they come from the mouth of a thief and a liar.

      Delete