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Well.... fucked

I am about to rant. No blame belongs to anyone in particular, except the obvious, and I was stupid too, but still.

FuckfuckfuckFUCKITYfuckfuckWANKfuckfuckfuck!

OK, so, a few months ago I get contacted by a nice fellah in the US. He wants to print off some Hentacles to sell at US Gencon and could we come to some sort of agreement.

Indeed, as it turns out, we could.

So, we make a deal, he prints a buttload of copies of Hentacle, Sloppy Seconds and Three's an Orgy, keeps most to sell at the con - to see how they do - and sends the rest to me for UK Gencon. From there we see how we do about going further and developing some sort of business relationship.

I get the files sent, eventually, through much trial and tribulation and everything is good to go.

Then he contacts me again and informs me that it is RapidPOD that is supposed to be doing the printing.

'Fuck' sez I, RapidPOD having a deserved rep for being a fly-by-night bunch of fucking jokers under the dubious management of Ken Whitman.

'You watch those bastards' sez I. 'You watch them like hawks. You ring them every bloody day you can and you chase their arses about this because they've left people fucked over before.'

I am assured this will be the case.

Time goes on.

Money is paid (fortunately not by me) the client is assured everything will be ready by Gencon.

Then all goes eerily quiet from RapidPOD, they're 'moving' and repeated phonecalls don't seem to go through.

I start to get nervous, but the client perseveres and finally, after three calls a day for quite a while, yesterday manages to get through to someone at RapidPOD.

Ken's sold up and they don't do cardgames any more, but they've cashed his cheque - which he's unlikely to get back.

So, fucked.

My potential business partner is out of pocket $300+, no cards for Gencon, no cards for me and no way of sorting it out in the time left as the local printer a) charges me a bloody fortune and b) Says they can't promise it in time because they have a lot of work on.

I KNEW RapidPOD and Ken were cockmonkeys but this was too good to pass up and now I'm fuxxored because of the unprofessional fuckmuppet.

Shitcock.

This sort of stress is EXACTLY what I don't need right now.

Comments

( 32 comments — Leave a comment )
twisted_times
Aug. 10th, 2007 09:07 am (UTC)

If I lived in the US, I'd be taking sniper rifle lessons to lend you a hand right about now...

vilenspotens
Aug. 10th, 2007 09:09 am (UTC)
Fuck indeed. Sorry man.
kierthos
Aug. 10th, 2007 09:33 am (UTC)
Your U.S. person needs to threaten to take them to small claims court for the return of his funds, AT THE VERY LEAST. An argument could also be made for breach of contract or loss of revenue due to these fuckmonkeys.
_grimtales_
Aug. 10th, 2007 09:59 am (UTC)
I'll tell him as much, I'm not so familiar with the law over there. Since the company was sold on, who's responsible?

I'd ask you to help out here but its a big job and short notice and more complex (the cards need backprints).
kierthos
Aug. 10th, 2007 10:06 am (UTC)
The new owners, are, I believe, still liable for any debts and obligations of the company. If they weren't companies would shift owners at the drop of a hat to avoid litigation.

Now, the new owners may, in turn, be able to see fuckwit for not informing them of this failure to produce contracted materials.....

Your U.S. guy may want to see about contacting a lawyer.
unquietsoul5
Aug. 10th, 2007 03:37 pm (UTC)
It depends on how they did it. You need to find out if the company was actually purchase or if it when bankrupt.

A common trick in service industry is to sell off assets and declare bankruptcy, and assets can include company name (as a trademark), equipment, client lists/records, office furniture, etc. The new owner takes over the assets but not the debts, the previous owner (If he incorporated and filed bankruptcy) walks away debt free and often with some cash in his pocket (often taking a 'position' with the buyer for a few months) and everyone walks away with a profit, the government with nothing and the screwed customers are screwed. I've watched this done before at a CPA office in the past few years that a friend worked at (the buyer even bought up the remaining time on the office's lease in this case).

So, finding the details of the changeover is important before filing paperwork with the law, if any is possible.
matt_m_mcelroy
Aug. 10th, 2007 11:23 am (UTC)
Make sure to let others know about this. Get on the RPGnet threads where ken has claimed to have fixed all of the problems from last year and let everyone know that this is not the case.

Also, have your US partner report them to the Better Business Bureau. They will be investigated and dealt with.
_grimtales_
Aug. 10th, 2007 11:25 am (UTC)
I'm banned from RPGnet for imbeclic reasons which is why I don't bother going there any more, but feel free to mention it.
matt_m_mcelroy
Aug. 10th, 2007 12:10 pm (UTC)
I can't seem to locate the older threads with RapidPOD details (RPGnet search isn't helping).

Mind if I post a link to this rant?
_grimtales_
Aug. 10th, 2007 12:11 pm (UTC)
Knock yourself out.
(Deleted comment)
jake_richmond
Aug. 10th, 2007 01:41 pm (UTC)
That's some serious bullshit. I'll post this to my blog to help get the word around. People need to know that RapidPOD is still doing this shit.

Didn't Ken do the same thing last year? Not deliver a ton of product, keep the money and claim the company had been sold (or went under?), only to have it turn out that he sold it to some friends or to another company he also owned or something? The man is a menace.

BTW, I totally didn't know that you're the Hentacle guy. Cool! I'm the Panty Explosion guy. Why aren't we best friends?

Jake
_grimtales_
Aug. 10th, 2007 01:46 pm (UTC)
I thought you were trying to avoid that stereotype ;)
jake_richmond
Aug. 10th, 2007 02:59 pm (UTC)
I go back and forth on it.
_grimtales_
Aug. 10th, 2007 03:04 pm (UTC)
Fnarr!
(Deleted comment)
jake_richmond
Aug. 10th, 2007 03:00 pm (UTC)
Thanks!

I love your avatar, by the way.
pmoodie
Aug. 10th, 2007 02:13 pm (UTC)
Shit, that's dire. Bloody cowboys!
_grimtales_
Aug. 10th, 2007 02:21 pm (UTC)
S'right.
shadowjon
Aug. 10th, 2007 02:58 pm (UTC)
professional curiosity
This is a pretty familiar situation for digital printing/POD; companies start up pretty quickly, offer really competitive prices, pull in a lot of work and then fold just as quickly when they can't meet their obligations or afford to upgrade their equipment.

Other than the now departed RapidPOD (a name I'm not familiar with), who else are you using in the UK/US? I've been doing similar work for several years for a large international publisher, often encountering similar problems, and could certainly put some good names your way if you want to try shopping around a bit after this bad experience.
_grimtales_
Aug. 10th, 2007 03:03 pm (UTC)
Re: professional curiosity
Lightning Source if I have the time and spare money but their set up fee is a real offputter. Otherwise Lulu but only for convenience and because of the weak dollar.
twisted_times
Aug. 10th, 2007 04:58 pm (UTC)
Re: professional curiosity

Them thar cowboys are due fer a-lynchin'!

shadowjon
Aug. 16th, 2007 09:58 am (UTC)
a bit of a ramble (1 of 2)
Yeah, Lightning Source are popular, but only really because they were one of the first to enter the market. In the past I have found them to be expensive, unhelpful and incapable of meeting deadlines. There have also been issues in the past with the way they setup titles; if you were scanning from copy or film (not unlikely for older titles where that may be the only material available) they whacked on a huge additional charge and then packed the material off to New Jersey for a fortnight. Delivery also proved to be a pain as they have proved incapable of supplying packing materials to meet a conventional warehouse specification.

Of course none of that may matter to you, I wouldn’t know, and in their defence I haven’t used Lightning Source for a couple of years so can’t say if some of these problems may have been addressed, but I have seen some of their output from that time and am still less than convinced by the quality (although the quality and consistency of digital print is generally variable across the board, so this is a complaint that can’t really be laid solely at Lightning Source’s feet).

Lulu I’m not so familiar with, but the basic idea has been a popular one for a while and it sort of works as long as the content is good. All the usual provisos would apply to work produced at speed from resources provided by producers who are not professional publishers, but with good source material and an understanding of the technological limitations there’s no reason why the result shouldn’t be acceptable.
shadowjon
Aug. 16th, 2007 09:59 am (UTC)
a bit of a ramble (2 of 2)
Depending on your requirements my recommendation would be to look at some of the big hitters coming out of the financial sector. In general they used to specialize in fast-turnaround overnight reporting, but are now starting to recognize that there is another large market out there looking for short-run materials that can be catered to and will help fill the order books. Because they have been used to dealing with financial markets they tend to maintain offices globally in proximity to major cities and know how to be competitive on price. The best of these are also starting to hire account managers from ‘traditional’ printers who now how to handle long-term clients with more complex needs and products than have been produced in the past, and are also using their distribution skills to provide a full mailing service as well.

I would caution you about moving into this sector too rapidly though, since it hasn’t rationalized fully yet; I’ve had two companies who started in financial reporting close down on me in as many years, and have gone through a lot of hassle negotiating with the administrators to get my material back off their servers. This isn’t a big problem in my position, with all the support of a large company behind me, but I wouldn’t want to have all that grief to deal with if I didn’t have the support. Things are leveling off, and its becoming clear who’s here for the long haul, but this volatility is something that is worth considering.

Finally, for any cynics out there, I’m saying all this not because there are companies out there who will offer me discounts or other incentives if I bring them business, but because I want to support independent and specialist publishing. Prices and barriers to access are falling every week as the technology improves, but this will not continue if we don’t work hard to preserve the virtuous circle of new customers who in their turn help to support the producers and keep the market open for everyone.
corone
Aug. 10th, 2007 03:16 pm (UTC)
That is so pants.
Condolences mate, you did all you could.

If it is any consolation we've been screwed about doing Victoriana.
We should be ok for Gen-Con,
but Lightning source couldn't cope with what we needed,
at either branch,
and our back up plan screwed the images and required a reprint.
Fingers crossed there are boxes for us at the hotel!



angusabranson
Aug. 10th, 2007 07:32 pm (UTC)
I thought the Victoriana problem was more to do with a corrupted disc than a problem with Lightning Source.
Still, it was annoying and we did have a problem uploading files to them which meant we had to send the disc in the first place.
still I think the blame is 50/50 on this one and not entirely LS's fault.
corone
Aug. 10th, 2007 07:54 pm (UTC)
No, you are quite right,
it isn't any one person's fault, just a run of unfeasably bad luck.

I think in the long run we will actually have a better product to sell,
even though we are all closer to a nervous breakdown. :-)

With luck, barring any accidents at sea we'll have the books at the hotel on Wed.
Very glad they are not on the plane with us,
the way they seem to be cursed I'm not be sure I'd want to get on the plane! :-)
zigguratbuilder
Aug. 24th, 2007 02:46 pm (UTC)
http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?t=350802

Perhaps a link back here would be in order?
_grimtales_
Aug. 24th, 2007 02:50 pm (UTC)
I can't post on RPGnet because the moderators there are, equally, cockmonkeys.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 4th, 2007 10:33 pm (UTC)
GO TO COURT.

I'm serious. I really am. I had this exact same thing happen and you're protected under Kentucky state law. You can go to small claims court without needing a lawyer and can receive back damages for up to $1,500.

Also, contact the Better Business Bureau and explain the situation. You'd be amazed at how many people haven't bothered reporting Ken and they _need to_. The BBB will try to resolve everything on their end. If they can't then a bad mark goes against RapidPOD.

Ken won't be able to continue doing this if people held him legally accountable for what he's done. Small claims court helps do just that. And he has to shell out money he's already spent to pay you back. I know it won't get you your products in time, but at least you won't be out the money.

I'm sorry for your loss. I'm still furious. If you have any questions you're welcome to contact me by email using the form at http://insomniumgames.com

Good luck.
(Anonymous)
Jan. 8th, 2008 08:58 pm (UTC)
I, too, have been screwed over by Ken. The difference is that I live nearby, know where he lives, know who bought Rapid POD, and can warn others. I wish you the best and I'm so sorry this happened to you.
ext_82328
Jan. 28th, 2008 12:32 am (UTC)
Monkey wrench in the internal workings...
Sadly, I will admit that my boyfriend and I worked for the bald white devil himself for two months the 2007 convention season. He totally fucked us over. My boyfriend was run ragged during the season trying to cover Ken's dumb ass. I'm extremely sorry to any who had contracts with him. Do not work with him ever in the future-- he does not respect anyone's contracts except for his own close personal "buddies". I myself was trying to work as a receptionist, but what can I do when the asshole boss orders me never to answer the phones?
In all likelihood, people were at the office when your buddy called, but shit he didn't even pay his employees and just barely kept his printers running most of the time.
Besides, he still owes us close to $1k in pay.
Seriously, you guys got lucky that you didn't trust him with a bigger order. We moved down there from out of state, had our credit ruined because he never paid us on time, and were living out of a hotel for the whole time we worked for him. If you want to sue him for contract violation or something else, get in line because I can almost guarantee you in the next few years he'll be bankrupt from all the legal battles.
Ken Whitman is a bastard. I'm sorry for what he did to you and your friend, but my god... It's some sort of twisted wonder with all the shit he puts people through why his house hasn't gotten burned down with him in it.
ext_82328
Jan. 28th, 2008 12:40 am (UTC)
Re: Monkey wrench in the internal workings...
One more thing, Beth Ditto, the new owner... she isn't half bad. But she still knew what was going on (or some of it at least) because she worked there at the time and was invested in the company. I haven't heard whether or not they've shaped the place up, but unless they seriously have a lot of stellar recommendations from people you know and respect in the business, you probably shouldn't do business with them. Ken, on the other hand, has a new printing company that he runs out of the hotel that his wife's family owns. He is still doing books and t-shirts, etc, so watch out.
( 32 comments — Leave a comment )