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Discussion Starter #1
OK, I've read through the 4 pages of posts, including a few good ideas and a lot of rant and vitriol, that followed the Cygnus announcement. That's great for venting frustration but it doesn't move things forward much.


This thread will be specifically limited to concrete actions we can take to obtain credit card chargebacks and/or legal actions that are feasible against Cygnus and/or specific individuals within Cygnus.


For example:


1. Credit card actions: Sample letters, phone call scripts/strategies that are getting people refunds or the promise of a refund. What have you actually written/said to your credit card companies that appears to be working?

The next item should be addressed by lawyers only!


2. Specific legal recommendations for individual or group action, including proposals to actually handle the legal work involved and estimate of cost thereof. Group action preferred!


Are there any of you here who are lawyers who would like to lead the legal charge? Speak now or forever keep your peace! :)


3. Where is the supporting documentation, here on AVS and in other places, and links or "how to get" information, that will help others document delivery promises and false statements.

PLEASE NOTE: We have a thread running for venting, ranting and debating the merits/demerits of Cygnus/VISR, etc. DO NOT DO THAT HERE, PLEASE!


I am going to ask Alan G. to help me keep this thread on track by deleting posts which do not follow the ground rules!

Quote:
Don't get mad, get even!
Let's roll up our sleeves, pull together and salvage what we can from this debacle.


Dan Houck
 

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I dunno if this is appropriate for this thread or at this juncture but here are a few things I would suggest in terms of strategy.


We hire a lawyer to find out the following:


1) Whether Mr. Kelly has made any mistakes and broken the protection offered as a corporate officer. I remember being very careful with that when I was an officer of a company.


2) Whether there is the possibility of linking VISR and Cygnus in this legal action.


3) What if any criminal violations should be reported and to whom. A successful criminal procecution will likely help any civil case.


The reasons for 1 and 2 is that Cygnus probably has little or no assets remaining. If we can't recover our costs (both legal and the original pre-buy) there's little need to proceed forward.


I'm willing to pony up a little cash to help this move forward...enough for an hour or two of a lawyers time anyway. :)


It might be helpful to get a Dunn and Bradstreet done on Cygnus and VISR. It would tell us a little about their financial standing (if any) and any pending suits (if reported to D&B). D&Bs are iffy on small companies but generally most business loans require them.


I think that the best we should hope from the lawyers in this forum is a recommendation of a lawyer in the correct district (and where that might be...) and a rough guess of how much we might need to accomplish this initial analysis. They probably are not able to represent us unless we happen to live in the same area. =)


We may also want to consider moving this out of the AVS forum. No sense in dragging AVS deeper into this in case Cygnus/VISR got frisky. I'm sure Alan's lawyer would thank us if we went somewhere else. :)


Rob, would you have the resources to provide a forum at your site if necessary? Here is better but I'd understand if Alan would want it to just go away...


Nigel
 

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Folks,


There are measures that can be taken easily and cheaply, with and without a lawyer, that may help the situation.



1. Credit cards: When you submit a claim to your credit card company for a fraudulent charge, it is sent to the bank that handles the credit card for the vendor. Cygnus has such a bank somewhere. As the bank starts to see a pattern, they will become alarmed. This may mean putting pressure on the company, siezing their checking accounts, etc.


Everyone who files a claim with his own credit card company will have the opportunity to get a file through to that bank.


I have been in this experience before with a failed Internet company. It was not long before the bank figured out what was happening, and everyone got their refunds. The bank that is sponsoring Cygnus ends up being responsible, and they become a creditor from Cygnus.


Cygnus and Shawn have created an unusually public and complete record of their transactions, thanks to the Internet.


A company like Cygnus is very dependent on its bank relationship. Without it, they cannot run credit card charges, process payables or receivables, or basically stay in business. Get your bank mad at you and you are in trouble.


Credit card companies can come down very hard on vendors when they conclude that there is a pattern of abuse. With the failure of .COM's, this has become a real priority for banks.


In order to maintain the integrity of their cards and operations, banks will spend a lot of money to resolve these issues, and they will not hesitate to put the offending company into a legally difficult situation.


2. State agencies, BBB, and FTC: You can file complaints with all of these cheaply. They also look for patterns.


3. Letter from a lawyer: When you consult an attorney in something like this, the typical action is that the lawyer writes a letter to the companies and demands specific performance or a refund. This is inexpensive, and often gets wonderful results.


It is just possible that there are honorable (or at least cagey) people at Cygnus who are not fully aware of this situation. In any case, if Cygnus has resources, a letter from a lawyer may help to move this forward.


Several posters have suggested that Shawn has probably run all of this through an attorney. I doubt it! That doesn't seem to be his style. And no attorney would suggest that Cygnus can avoid responsibility by transferring assets to VISR, or that he can avoid responsibility to his customers and banks.


---


I encourage everyone to believe that there is a solution to this problem, and to trust the legal system and consumer protections we have in place to help with this problem without creating a lot of expense or inconvenience for the customers. This is not that different from any number of other problems that happen with mail order and Internet transactions.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Rob and Nigel:


Excellent, this is what I am hoping will happen with this thread. Nigel, it may be the time for legal action will come shortly, but I tend to agree with Rob that there's a lot we can do before that.


Rob, you get the Award of the Week for that incredible compilation. I would appreciate receiving it. my email address is:

[email protected]


FYI, I posted this to Paul James of ViSR:


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Respectfully, Mr. James:


I am one of the many Panamorph pre-buy customers who has yet to receive the lens I paid for some 10 months ago despite numerous promises of delivery from Cygnus. I read your summary and dictated settlement for dealing with the delivery problem and suggest to you two things:


1. Many of us bought with the understanding we were paying for a product, not participating in an open ended R&D program. If you will review the representations made on the Cygnus web site at the time of my purchase and later you will see that it is represented as a sale of a real item as opposed to a participation. At the time I bought, the lens was in prototype and it was represented manufacturing was to start shortly. This implied argument that we bought participation in R&D, not a product, simply does not hold up for the great majority of the pre-buy customers.


2. Because of the lack of communication and candor at a time when positive action could have averted this situation, the credibility of Cygnus, and hence by association, VSR, is not sufficient such that most of the pre-buy customers, including me, would be willing to accept the dictated settlement. It is not hard to see that it is based on speculative future sales which may not materialize, particularly since the business credibility may be damaged beyond repair by the seriously flawed handling of this situation thus far.


There was a time when candor, coupled with specific and fair proposals to resolve the shortfall, would have been well received, I believe, by almost all of the pre-buyers. That time has passed, unfortunately. I think any reading of the reaction of the last several days on AVS, the direct or indirect source of almost all the prebuy customers, should tell you that your dictated settlement is in serious trouble.


You all need to realize you are not in a position to dictate a settlement, but instead need to negotiate with your customers, who in the final analysis mostly just want to get their lenses. If the cost to produce is twice the prebuy price and hence is uneconomic, you simply need to state so and make a reasonable and fair proposal for sharing the over-run. Tell us what it costs to produce this lens and let's see if we can live with that figure.


The advantage for all of us here is that we know this is a working product. The problem is not the technology, the problem is the cost to produce versus the pre-buy pricing. Why don't you take advantage of the fact that your pre-buy customers are by and large very sophisticated HT people who will respond as adults when treated that way?


Don't continue the past practice of stringing people along with promises of delivery based on future sales that may or may not materialize. Also, consider the possibility that quickly ending this poisonous situation with the prebuy customers, which is about to erupt into credit card and legal attack, will greatly improve the environment for future sales, to the benefit of all.


You need to act fast before this situation reaches the point of no return.


Sincerely,


Dan Houck

AVS Special Member


---------------


Rather than tar the ViSR people immediately with the same brush used for Mr. Kelley, I think we should respectfully let them know the dictated settlement is unacceptable, that we understand there's a cost problem, and we're willing to discuss mutually negotiated and acceptable solutions. Nigel, the fact that Mr. Kelley was not smart enough to accept your more than fair offer does not mean Mr. James is similarly ill advised. Let's give them the chance to see the light here.


Any of us can email Paul James at:

[email protected]


Please! Confine your emails to letting them know the dictated settlement is not acceptable and suggesting alternatives. Let's take the positive approach here with these new people at least until we know if they will respond.


Dan
 

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Dan,


That is an excellent letter.
 

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guys,


This is not on the point of the thread, but you should not be putting all of the information of what info you have and what your strategy is going to be on a public forum that Shawn and anyone else that wants to hide something can read.

Just a thought if you want to be succeed at this. Don't show all of your cards.


kirk
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Rob, you've confused the h*** out of me with this MSN business. I sign up, then I try to go there and it says its a private community. There appears to be no way to sign in even though I have the required approval.


I really think this is a little silly. There's nothing in this thread that Cygnus can do anything about. But if we're going to have a private forum, access to it it needs to be understandable. Please explain how one actually gets in once one has their password approved. When I click on the link to the forum, I get a screen that says I have to be approved. But I already went through that dance and it logs me in--but not to this one.


Please explain in a detailed way how to access this, either by emailing me or on this thread.


Thanks.


Dan
 

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Dan,



I thought that the information that had been posted was very useful, and should be placed back on this board.


Telling people how to get hold of BBB, FTC, etc., can only be useful.


If Cygnus et al. sees this information, so much the better for your purpose. They need to know that people have legal resources and are actively pursuing solutions. It can hardly be a surprise to them that the BBB exists or is scrutinizing their activities.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Exactly, Rob!


Hope you'll return the links here. I never intended for this thread to be a strategy discussion forum. It is a RESOURCE forum to help people file complaints and work with their credit card companies.


But I also want to participate in the MSN forum but can't get in even though I got the email invitation and responded and went and signed in. Would you please email me privately and explain how this works? Thanks.

[email protected]


Dan
 

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Hi Dan,


I abandoned the MSN Communities Forum idea. It was the first one I've tried setting up and it was very confusing and did not work well -- compared to this highly efficient forum software.


Regarding the info, I got two emails last night from an anonymous, moralizing SOB. It angered me so much, that I had to step back and realize that this just isn't worth it. I'm taking the appropriate individual actions to either get my Panamorph soon or to get my money back. But, in terms of a group legal battle, I'd rather spend time and energy with my children.


Looking back at 2500 pages of postings from this AVS Forum regarding this whole Panamorph issue, I'm struck by the incredible divisiveness that this entire issue has had on an otherwise quality online community.


Rob
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Rob:


I couldn't agree more. We seem caught between a rock and a hard place here, now that the actual manufacturer has come forward and said he has a hundred Panamorphs but can't release them because Cygnus has a very big bill owing. Our Panamorphs exist but our money is gone.


Would you please email me the compilation? I am thinking I can excerpt it for my credit card company, who I want to contact shortly about a chargeback.


Thanks.


Got your private mail. Interesting why this guy is so bitter.


Dan
 

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I'm not part of this, but in the past for any transaction that crosses state lines, you can contact the FBI and they will take action. It is best to have names of numbers of affected parties and individuals on hand when you call.


Bob
 

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I was in the third round of the pannie power buy. when I saw the handwriting on the wall, a simple call to my credit card company, and filling out a form stating the facts, resulted in a credit for the full amount charged within 2 weeks of my call. Anyone who charged their panamorph and didn't receive it - just cancel your order, call your credit card company, and follow up with them. you will get your money back in short order.
 
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