Beware @Michael B Caro

redalertdt

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Sadly, today I disputed the charge of $1,285.92 made to @Michael B Caro for battery cells.

The purpose of this post is to completely and accurately reflect my experience of trying to buy cells from forum member Michael B Caro, so that others might know what to expect. We have only interacted via the messaging system of this forum. What follows is a complete transcript of all of our communications:

kenryan
July 6, 2021
Hi Michael,

I want to build a 24 volt battery approximately 280 amp hours. Do you have a line on Grade A cells for accomplishing this?

Michael B Caro
July 6, 2020
Hi Ken,
To build a 24v battery you will need 8 cells.

Cells are shipped DDP (all shipping, taxes and fees are paid to your door) with bus bars and hardware. Most cells come with stud terminals, and some give you choice of M6 or M8 studs.

8 New CATL Grade A commodity cells:
271ah $1,027.40
280ah $1,062.36
302ah $1,151.60
310ah $1,183.80

8 CATL from EV packs. These cells were top quality cells that made the cut to be used in EV packs for Tesla and the like. But, the packs sat in the warehouse a bit too long, or became obsolete when a design change was made. The packs were then disassembled, and the cells thoroughly tested. The cells that passed all of the tests, which was almost all of them....a few being damaged in the process of the packs being disassembled, are wrapped in PVC wrap and studs welded on. They should be sold as "used" cells, even though they were never actually put into service. I see these as being a step above the commodity grade cells:

271ah $1,033.39
280ah $1,050.98
302ah $1,112.28

CATL cells will often come from the factory with slight swelling. This is not a problem. The cells should be in a pack under some compression and always have a BMS attached when charging or discharging them.

8 New true grade A Ganfeng 277ah cells. These will test 285ah to 290ah and are all form a batch manufactured on 5-30-21. They come with a factory test report on a random sampling of cells from that batch. Sample report attached.
$1,199.99

kenryan
July 6, 2021
Thanks Michael. Regarding the Ganfeng 277 can I assume no swelling with these cells? Do they have stud terminals? M6 or M8?

How much would shipping be to Anchorage, Alaska? (8 cells)

Michael B Caro
July 6, 2021
The Ganfeng would not have any swelling, and you can have your choice of M6 or M8 studs.
My quotes do include shipping, but I will have to check to see if there is any kind of a shipping surcharge when shipped to Alaska.
What is your specific zip code?

kenryan
July 6, 2021
Zip code is 99517

kenryan
July 7, 2021
Did you figure out Alaska shipping? Zip 99517

Michael B Caro
July 7, 2021
should have it tonight

kenryan
July 10, 2021
Don't forget about us up here in Alaska.

Michael B Caro
July 10, 2021
My main supplier does not ship to Alaska, but I have a request in for shipping rates with two of my backup suppliers. Pesky weekend getting in the way now though so it may be tomorrow night before I get answers.

kenryan
July 11, 2021
Thanks for the update.

Michael B Caro
July 12, 2021
ok, to your zup code in Alaska:

8 New CATL Grade A commodity cells:
271ah $1,047.65
280ah $1,095.25
302ah $1,155.99
310ah $1,228.65

8 New true grade A Ganfeng 277ah cells. These will test 285ah to 290ah and are all form a batch manufactured on 5-30-21. They come with a factory test report on a random sampling of cells from that batch. Sample report attached.
$1,248.32

kenryan
July 23, 2021
I'm ready to pull the trigger on 8 new true grade A Ganfeng 277 ah cells. M8 studs and busbars. What's the next step?

Michael B Caro
July 23, 2021
Send me your address to ship to, phone number, and email address.

Payment is by:

Venmo--- @Michael-Caro-19

PayPal "to a Friend"
or
PayPal Goods and Services if you pay the PayPal fee
My PayPal is cbm2@hotmail.com

I have a Square account for my advertising business and so I can take credit cards but, again if you pay the processing fee

kenryan
July 23, 2021
(name)
(street address)
Anchorage, AK 99517

(telephone number)
(email address)

I would like to pay by credit card.

Thanks.

Michael B Caro
July 23, 2021
Would you like the link to our Square account sent to you by email, by text, or both?

kenryan
July 23, 2021
Email is good.

Michael B Caro
July 23, 2021
should be sent yet this afternoon some time

[automated email with invoice for $1285.92 and link to pay received]

kenryan
July 25, 2021
I just submitted my payment. Thanks! Do you have an estimate as to when they might ship?

[automated email showing payment successful received]

Michael B Caro
July 26, 2021
I got the payment, but there is a problem.
The supplier just told me tonight that she made a mistake and they actually can not ship to Alaska. They usually ship to the Lower 48 and then the cells are reshipped to Alaska (this is the same way I did it when I had to send 160 cells to the Bahamas). Obviously, that is going to cost more for shipping than what she quoted me. However, because she made the mistake, they are going to cover whatever the extra shipping is.
So, I am going to check quick and see if there is a better way to do that than to have them come to me and then reship, but if I do not find anything in the next day or two I will have her ship them to me and then I will ship them to you.
I asked her to get them ready to ship so that they can go out as soon as I give her the first address for them to go to. I am hoping to find a forwarder in California to forward them on to you as that will be the fastest way to get them to you.

kenryan
July 27, 2021
You are a prince! Thank you.

kenryan
August 10, 2021
Michael,

Just FYI my physical location is fenced off, so I definitely must have tracking information on my package in order to open for delivery.

kenryan
September 21, 2021
It's been 2 months since I ordered. I am just checking in for an estimated arrival time.

kenryan
October 19, 2021
It has been 3 months since I ordered. I am just checking in for an estimated arrival time.

kenryan
October 20, 2021
Michael, you have to at least respond with a couple of words.

Michael B Caro
October 20, 2021
Sorry, I have personal crap that kept me from doing much of anything for a time and during that time a supplier, not the one your order was with, shipped a whole lot of cells that were not packed well at all. LOTS of shipping damage. So lots of emails and messages when I was out of touch and so .....long story short I still have over 3,000 emails/messages have not been able to get to. I finally drew a line and just started trying to keep up with the ones that came in from that day on.

Most of those that ordered the Ganfeng in the lower 48 have received them already. Let me get with that supplier tonight and see where your tracking number is and if they can get their shipping forwarder to tell us where they are right now.

kenryan
October 21, 2021
Thank you Michael.

Michael B Caro
October 21, 2021
Ok I spoke with the supplier, and they reminded me that they gave me a quote on and took the order, and then found out that they did not have a shipping channel to Alaska. They were supposed to be finding a forwarder in CA they could send the cells to and then the forwarder would ship them to Alaska. That never materialized and they canceled the order.
I have 16 Ganfeng in Michigan, and I can have my daughter check tomorrow and see how we can ship them to Alaska and what they that would cost us.
Sorry that this appears to have fallen through the cracks, but hopefully we can get it done anyway.

kenryan
October 21, 2021
FYI I ordered 8 cells.

Michael B Caro
October 21, 2021
oh ok. I thought it was 16 for some reason.
That will help only having to ship half of what I though we would have to.
I will let you know what we find asap

kenryan
October 29, 2021
Any progress?

kenryan
November 6, 2021
Any progress on finding a shipper to Alaska?

kenryan
November 10, 2021
I guess it is time to request a refund. That or place a chargeback on the transaction. Too bad things have gone so poorly.

kenryan
November 11, 2021
Michael, if you don't get back to me very soon, I will have no choice but to place a chargeback on the transaction. I really don't want to do that, nor do I want to communicate my experience publicly, but if you force me to I will. Ignoring me is simply unacceptable.

EDIT: UPDATED NOV. 20

Michael B Caro
November 19, 2021
I had not had a chance to open your last couple of messages until today.
We had no luck finding any kind of cost effective way to ship to Alaska. My daughter will push the refund through today.

Michael B Caro
November 19, 2021
It is done already but it may take 5-7 working days for the refund to show up on your card. At least that is what the processing company says but it is often faster than that
Glad he made it right for you!
 

kenryan

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Joined
Jun 29, 2021
Messages
181
Why? Did you have to engage your credit card company to get a refund? It seems to me that Michael has issued a refund, and you see evidence of it pending.
Yes, I did have to engage my credit card company.

If you read my initial post, you will see that I only filed a dispute because I was being ignored. It was not until after I filed a dispute that a credit was supposedly issued.

As of yesterday, that supposed credit had not been applied, and the dispute was still active, and there was no evidence that I saw of a credit having been submitted. This is on my citi banking website.

Without the pressure of having disputed the charges, the vendor could have continued to ignore me and I would have had little recourse.

That is the answer to your question as to why I am glad that I used a credit card.
 
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AER

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At this point it seems those of us who did not pay with credit card or other insurance against fraud and getting ripped off........... we can just go pound sand. Merry Christmas :/
 

ereams65

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It might be time to start a new thread of who is left holding the bag at this point. 8 months is a long, long time. Sorry for everyone involved.
 

SajgZi

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I am opening a paypal dispute right now. 8 cells, $828.40. Ordered in Feb 2021.

Edit: since it was more than 180 days the dispute was automatically closed. this is why I used goods & services. wtf paypal?
 
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A.Justice

Swears he didn't start that fire.
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What he COULD do is take out a loan for the amount owed back to customers (if he can get it, but loans are pretty easy to come by these days), issue refunds, and make monthly payments in the future.

I'm sure that some people would even be cool with a few partial refunds (totaling 100% of your sale, of course) over a few months, rather than ghosting indefinitely, and getting a refund who knows when.
 

MikeL219

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What he COULD do is take out a loan for the amount owed back to customers (if he can get it, but loans are pretty easy to come by these days), issue refunds, and make monthly payments in the future.

I'm sure that some people would even be cool with a few partial refunds (totaling 100% of your sale, of course) over a few months, rather than ghosting indefinitely, and getting a refund who knows when.
I really wonder how much in the hole he is. A couple of hundred members buying anywhere from 4 to 32+ cells. Scary to think about and I wish he had weighed the risk there.
 

AER

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Messages
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What he COULD do is take out a loan for the amount owed back to customers (if he can get it, but loans are pretty easy to come by these days), issue refunds, and make monthly payments in the future.

I'm sure that some people would even be cool with a few partial refunds (totaling 100% of your sale, of course) over a few months, rather than ghosting indefinitely, and getting a refund who knows when.
Oct. 18th he told me"....I am hoping I can figure something out and if I can not I will probably end up pulling money out of what is set aside for payroll for my advertising company guys and hope that ad sales stay strong enough to meet payroll. If not, and not enough cells that I have in stock move, I will have to take out a personal loan." But of course, he dropped off the end of the earth now and wont respond to anything and that was before the 30 days had passed from the alibaba claims. Sooooooooooooo, apparently that was BS too
 

MrM1

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I am opening a paypal dispute right now. 8 cells, $828.40. Ordered in Feb 2021.

Edit: since it was more than 180 days the dispute was automatically closed. this is why I used goods & services. wtf paypal?
You only have 180 days to file. Your window closed back end of Aug early Sept
 

Hedges

I See Electromagnetic Fields!
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A business can fail without there being fraud.
Payoff to creditors follows some order, with things like payroll and secured creditors coming first.
Customer deposits and payments are further down on the list.
One tech company I was familiar with closed its doors unable to pay accrued vacation. That is a no-no.

When dealing with a government regulated monopoly (e.g. PG&E) I was annoyed to find that our deposits for service were technically last in line. But, what they did was work through the large quantity of small claims and settle those first, including my $200 deposit. They eventually emerged from bankruptcy paying all creditors in full (early 2000's)

PayPal and Credit Card protections are the best you've got (and the merchant has) for these situations. That is what has made a large market available. Some 40 years ago, most retail transactions were paid by check. Mail order, they wait for your check to clear, no protection for you.
 

sunshine_eggo

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Yes, I did have to engage my credit card company.

If you read my initial post, you will see that I only filed a dispute because I was being ignored. It was not until after I filed a dispute that a credit was supposedly issued.

As of yesterday, that supposed credit had not been applied, and the dispute was still active, and there was no evidence that I saw of a credit having been submitted. This is on my citi banking website.

Without the pressure of having disputed the charges, the vendor could have continued to ignore me and I would have had little recourse.

That is the answer to your question as to why I am glad that I used a credit card.

I mis-read your OP, and I was not aware of the extent to which things have gone sideways when I posted. Hopefully, you get your refund.
 

Browneye

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There isn't any point in getting a money-judgment against a person that has no assets. There has to be something to attach to, to get your money.
Just sayin'.
You can send your own letters for virtually nothing - just a stamp and a couple of sheets of paper. I can give you legalese if that's what you need. "You are hereby notified..." yada yada yada. (Usually a waste of time.)
 

Butcher

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Unless the person is dead, it's always worth getting what you are due.

I'm certain I'm not the only only one that was in financial hot water [don't ever buy a flower shop, no matter what the wife says]. When I was in hot water, EVERYONE got a reply and EVERYONE got their money back. Maybe not on time, but they all did. I worked 6 days a week 14 hours a day for three years to make that happen.

It really gets old when people do not live up to their word and for others to encourage people not to pursue them. Good people step up to the plate. They get a second/third job, they work their butt off, they sell their assets, they do whatever it takes. You may have to be patient with them. It's what happens when you are too cheap to spend more money on a bigger company that has the capital to make it right ASAP.

I run a private auto repair shop now. I have had plenty of clients run into issues and could not pay. I've also had several clients come back years later with a fist full of cash to make it right. That's what Michael needs to do and as I stated, unless he is dead, no one should be left hanging. Owning a business sucks sometimes but part of the risk is you may have financial issues. It's not all roses.

I'm certain Will could attest to making things right.
 

Zwy

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There isn't any point in getting a money-judgment against a person that has no assets. There has to be something to attach to, to get your money.
Just sayin'.
You can send your own letters for virtually nothing - just a stamp and a couple of sheets of paper. I can give you legalese if that's what you need. "You are hereby notified..." yada yada yada. (Usually a waste of time.)
Hire an attorney and file for a debtor's exam after you sought and won a judgement.

You would be surprised how they magically come up with the money before heading in court for the debtor's exam, usually the next day after getting served.

I know, I've run a business for 35 years come January 1st.
 

Dzl

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I worked 6 days a week 14 hours a day for three years to make that happen.
That may well be what is happening right now, every week there are people here reporting they have not received replies, or are still waiting on a refund without confirmation or acknowledgement from Michael and expressing their frustration/anger/worry/disappointment. But it also needs to be noted that every week there are also people reporting that they got their refund. From the outside, I've no idea what proportion of people fall on which side of this, and I've no idea what Michael's intentions are. But what I can say--from the outside--I see no evidence so far that he is not trying to do just as you say. But I (and most of the rest of us not directly involved in the situation) don't have the necessary info for even moderate certainty or clarity about anything.
 

Browneye

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Hire an attorney and file for a debtor's exam after you sought and won a judgement.

You would be surprised how they magically come up with the money before heading in court for the debtor's exam, usually the next day after getting served.

I know, I've run a business for 35 years come January 1st.
And I ran a collection agency for 8 years. I knew more about landlord tenant law and FDCPA, and had more court time, than 90% of the lawyers in the country. :LOL:
And yes, most debtors will settle before any kind of court appearance.

If the offending party came on here they could clear up a lot of confusion, no?? (y)
 

Butcher

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Yeah, he could or at least communicate with every buyer. Not replying keeps people wondering and usually they think of the worst.
 
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