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Old 13 July 2017, 02:16 AM   #1
abs82
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Negative Experience with Max Bankin / International House of Time

Hi TRF,

Unfortunately this is my first post on TRF but I'm not new to the hobby and have enjoyed my time on the forum thus far. By way of background, I'm an attorney with a decade of experience located in NYC (not that that adds to the incident but hopefully - depending on what you think of lawyers! - may lend some weight to the veracity of my post) and knowing that there are good guys and bad guys out there, just wanted to pass along a recent experience I had with Max Bankin and his "International House of Time". Of course, others' experiences may vary, but I think one of the great things about these types of communities is to help inform others about their choices in whom to deal with and since we're not talking about small dollar purchases here, I personally would want to know when someone does or does not live up to their obligations. Therefore, I present the following transaction, in hopes of educating others about my experience - for whatever that may be worth to future members thinking of transacting business with this person.

Last Thursday, July 6, I reached out to Max Bankin regarding a Rolex 16600 without lug holes that he had available on his website. I attempted to place an order for the watch that day but was informed that they were "updating the security features" and couldn't accept payment at that time and I should try again the next day. I confirmed with him at that time that the watch was still available and he assured me that I should have no problem ordering it tomorrow (Red Flag #1). I contacted Max again on Friday, July 7 and was informed that the update was complete and I should try the purchase again at which point I was in fact able to purchase the watch. Following payment, I reached back out to Max to see if he would be able to ship the watch out that day (impatient I know, but I was excited!) and he confirmed my purchase but told me that "we have to take the watch out of the safe, make sure it is up to standards and then we'll ship it out to you no later than Tuesday July 11th for delivery on Wednesday July 12th." They also promptly relisted the watch for sale for a higher price (Red Flag #2).

Looking forward to my new 16600 all weekend, I reached out to Max this morning, Wednesday July 12th (the day the watch was originally supposed to arrive) to find out if the watch had shipped since I never received any tracking information. What happened next may sound familiar to some of you who have attempted to purchase a watch over the internet. When I called his office and asked if my watch had shipped I was told "Oh no, we actually just sold this watch to someone on TrueFacet.com" (Red Flag #3). Huh?!? I paid for this watch last week, it was confirmed in stock and I was told it was just being boxed up for me. How could it possibly be sold to someone else?

First Max told me that he has "such a large inventory" that he can't possibly keep his own website inventory up to date. The problem here is that I specifically called and spoke with him where he confirmed he had the watch when I made the purchase - remember it was just coming from the safe and getting a final once over. When I told him he has another for sale on his website (at a slightly higher price now for some reason) so can't he just sell me that one for the same price to complete our transaction? He told me they don't actually have it in stock but that it what he thinks he can get one for when he goes out to source it. Now, I'm not sure how most people do business but if you're listing something for sale, shouldn't you have it in stock (after all we're not talking about fungible goods here - watches, especially discontinued Rolexes, can't simply be picked up at the local grocery store and swapped like watermelons)? Selling watches on speculation of what you'll be able to acquire one for doesn't seem like a great policy to me. But I digress. I asked if, as a make-good, he could source another 16600 for the same price (which seems to me like the first thing you'd offer a customer if you had an "honest mistake" like this). He said he could try but it might take a while..."a week, two weeks, maybe."

At this point I was pretty upset and felt like he just didn't want my business and making this right wasn't important to him so finally I asked him why no one had at least reached out to me to let me know all of this had happened and instead I had to find out after calling up myself to check on the status of the watch? Max told me that he had his secretary call me. I responded that I definitely did not receive any calls (or voicemails) from his office and I'd be happy to show him my call history to confirm. His response was "well my secretary is the BEST I've ever had and if I tell her to do something she does it! So you must be wrong." So much for the customer is always right! At this point I told him I'd be writing up a review of our transaction...and here it is.

Sorry that was a long read! But for those who are thinking about doing a transaction with this business I hope it at least provides some insight into how another potential customer was treated. This isn't to say you shouldn't buy from Max if that is what you want to do but I think the well worn warning of caveat emptor is applicable.

Good luck to all (and now that I've made my first post I hope to have many more - positive - posts moving forward)!

-ABS
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Old 13 July 2017, 11:52 AM   #2
mikkolopez
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Did you get you money back? I'd demand a refund and I'd take my business elsewhere.

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Old 13 July 2017, 12:48 PM   #3
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What a JackWagon......get your money back and come here and get it from a Trusted Seller. those are available without much issue.
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Old 13 July 2017, 12:55 PM   #4
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Unacceptable. I'd be copy/pasting this to at least Google reviews and their Facebook. I had a car dealer do a similar thing to me and it was not pretty. Wish I still had the email the sales manager sent me.
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Old 13 July 2017, 01:27 PM   #5
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I've learned over the past few weeks to be very, very weary of online stores and sellers on places like Chrono24. The latter provides you with protection, but it's still hit or miss. Case in point, I was looking for a polar 16570 with 3186 movement.

Watch Trading Co., based in Philadelphia and Miami, had one advertised. When I called, it had already been sold. They offered to take a black dial one that they had and swap in a white dial. I instantly started laughing.

Another online retailer based in LA was also offering the watch. I spoke to a sales person and submitted an offer online, which was accepted. They reached out to let me know they'd ship in a day or two as their watchmaker would be checking it over and making sure the timing was good. The watch was shipped as promised, but from Florida. When it arrived, it was a polar, but with a 3185. It also didn't come with the box and certificate that it was advertised with...I was told that would come separately. Anyway, after my watchmaker confirmed it was a 3185, I promptly returned it and have now gotten my refund. In fairness, the owner Paypal'd me $100 for my trouble and they covered return shipping..but I'd likely not buy from them again given my experience.

In the meantime, I reached out to a few Trusted Sellers here. Chase (Au_911tt) happened to have one that he recently took in. I had it in my hands 2 days later and it was exactly as advertised with box and papers, and in even better condition than expected.

Moral of the story...stick to the Trusted Sellers here and you'll have the smoothest experience possible. My experiences with online retailers have been crap, aside from Bob's Watches (they only advertise what they have in stock and all pieces have been fully serviced).
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Old 13 July 2017, 01:58 PM   #6
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Old 13 July 2017, 02:59 PM   #7
abs82
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Originally Posted by mikkolopez View Post
Did you get you money back? I'd demand a refund and I'd take my business elsewhere.

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Yes luckily I did get my money back. I've also heard from other members that they've had similar experiences with him. Clearly he's not looking to build a good reputation and with this hobby I'd say your reputation is 90% of what's most important. Especially if you're a seller!
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Old 13 July 2017, 03:01 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by rolexkidd View Post
What a JackWagon......get your money back and come here and get it from a Trusted Seller. those are available without much issue.
Yes I'll certainly not be dealing with him again. I've had some very nice exchanges on TRF and I'll certainly be dealing with the reputable folks here in the future!

Btw I love "jackwagon" -it's definitely the nicest way to describe his behavior!
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Old 13 July 2017, 03:06 PM   #9
abs82
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Originally Posted by uansari1 View Post
I've learned over the past few weeks to be very, very weary of online stores and sellers on places like Chrono24. The latter provides you with protection, but it's still hit or miss. Case in point, I was looking for a polar 16570 with 3186 movement.

Watch Trading Co., based in Philadelphia and Miami, had one advertised. When I called, it had already been sold. They offered to take a black dial one that they had and swap in a white dial. I instantly started laughing.

Another online retailer based in LA was also offering the watch. I spoke to a sales person and submitted an offer online, which was accepted. They reached out to let me know they'd ship in a day or two as their watchmaker would be checking it over and making sure the timing was good. The watch was shipped as promised, but from Florida. When it arrived, it was a polar, but with a 3185. It also didn't come with the box and certificate that it was advertised with...I was told that would come separately. Anyway, after my watchmaker confirmed it was a 3185, I promptly returned it and have now gotten my refund. In fairness, the owner Paypal'd me $100 for my trouble and they covered return shipping..but I'd likely not buy from them again given my experience.

In the meantime, I reached out to a few Trusted Sellers here. Chase (Au_911tt) happened to have one that he recently took in. I had it in my hands 2 days later and it was exactly as advertised with box and papers, and in even better condition than expected.

Moral of the story...stick to the Trusted Sellers here and you'll have the smoothest experience possible. My experiences with online retailers have been crap, aside from Bob's Watches (they only advertise what they have in stock and all pieces have been fully serviced).
You're absolutely right! And your experience has been very similar to a few of mine. I've noticed that many of these less established sellers don't actually keep inventory. They just post fairly generic details and then when a watch is sold they go out to fellow dealers and try to source the watch. If they're unable to get themselves a good deal they just say 'oops watch has been sold sorry!' There's no repercussions or consequences. Unfortunately this time I'd had enough of the bait and switch and wanted to tell fellow buyers to watch out.
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Old 13 July 2017, 05:15 PM   #10
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Is he a member here?
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Old 14 July 2017, 12:39 AM   #11
abs82
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Is he a member here?
I don't know if he is but I've seen his name/business mentioned a few times on the boards.
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Old 14 July 2017, 01:56 AM   #12
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Is he a member here?
Yes, https://www.rolexforums.com/member.php?u=81499
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Old 14 July 2017, 03:18 AM   #13
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Buyers are the enemy

We made an honest mistake and promptly refunded you. I have a brigade of people who will happily chime in on this so here it comes....
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Old 14 July 2017, 03:31 AM   #14
abs82
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We made an honest mistake and promptly refunded you. I have a brigade of people who will happily chime in on this so here it comes....
You did refund me, which I've noted above. However, your method of dealing was not at a level that was acceptable to me and which has been confirmed by similar experiences other members have had as well. I certainly do not doubt that you have had successful transactions with others but this specific post was about a negative experience I had with you, and your other sales do nothing to change that.

Of course, you (and your "brigade") are entitled to respond on your behalf but I think your response here speaks for itself.

Again, this was only my experience with you. Good luck with your business and hopefully this can be an instructive experience for both of us.

Last edited by abs82; 14 July 2017 at 03:33 AM.. Reason: Typo :/
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Old 14 July 2017, 03:39 AM   #15
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"Buyers are the enemy?" Really? Well, your headline speaks volumes with respect to a purported "honest mistake."
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Old 14 July 2017, 03:45 AM   #16
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"Buyers are the enemy?" Really? Well, your headline speaks volumes with respect to a purported "honest mistake."
Wow, didn't even see that! That's certainly an interesting customer service philosophy. With an attitude like that I'm not sure he's going to need to worry about many more "enemies" looking to make purchases from him.
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Old 14 July 2017, 03:53 AM   #17
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He is actually a pretty respected seller, and well know dealer in the watch world. Many of the TRF 'trusted sellers' do quite a bit of business with the guy. Sorry your deal did not go well, but I would not crucify the guy over a mistake.
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Old 14 July 2017, 04:02 AM   #18
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He is actually a pretty respected seller, and well know dealer in the watch world. Many of the TRF 'trusted sellers' do quite a bit of business with the guy. Sorry your deal did not go well, but I would not crucify the guy over a mistake.


Certainly not looking to crucify anyone! Again just sharing my experience. But if your customers are your enemy I'm not sure what your business model is. Maybe he's a better dealer to dealer guy.


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Old 14 July 2017, 04:12 AM   #19
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I have been buying watches from Max for at least 3 years now and never an issue, very honest, very respectful professional, one of the best guys in the business. The LONG essay sounds like a exaggeration. You got a refund, mistakes happen, no need to bash anyone.
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Old 14 July 2017, 04:20 AM   #20
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Max is a solid seller. I've done tons of deals with him and will still do despite your lengthy rant. Tagging this thread as a "scam alert" is kinda misleading. Nobody tried to scam you or steal your money. Max said he made a mistake and gave you a refund. It's unfortunate that this has happened to you but Max Bankin is NOT a scammer. He's good on my book.
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Old 14 July 2017, 04:24 AM   #21
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Max is a solid seller. I've done tons of deals with him and will still do despite your lengthy rant. Tagging this thread as a "scam alert" is kinda misleading. Nobody tried to scam you or steal your money. Max said he made a mistake and gave you a refund. It's unfortunate that this has happened to you but Max Bankin is NOT a scammer. He's good on my book.
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Mighty grand of you to vouch for vendor but where did OP say "scammer"?
Tried looking for it repeatedly and can't find it.
He is recounting a negative experience he had.
Anyone else' positives don't change his negative
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Old 14 July 2017, 04:27 AM   #22
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Mighty grand of you to vouch for vendor but where did OP say "scammer"?
Tried looking for it repeatedly and can't find it.
He is recounting a negative experience he had.
Anyone else' positives don't change his negative
Look under "tags" at the bottom of the page....
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Old 14 July 2017, 04:29 AM   #23
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Not an exaggeration or rant. Just a factual, detailed account of what happened. Not once in my post did I say I was stolen from. In my view this was more along the lines of a "bait and switch" in that I purchased an item that was first confirmed in stock and being shipped and then switched to it was actually sold. It can't be both. Again, I'm glad there have been folks who have had positive experiences.

They say "buy the seller" and I've found this to be true.
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Old 14 July 2017, 04:30 AM   #24
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Look under "tags" at the bottom of the page....
Ahhhh........learned something new.
I stand corrected. I would agree that is a bit harsh for the circumstances.
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Old 14 July 2017, 04:31 AM   #25
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For every act, there is a consequence. Doesn't sound like a positive experience and, other than a requisite refund, it doesn't appear that anything was done to compensate the "enemy" buyer for the "honest mistake."
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Old 14 July 2017, 04:33 AM   #26
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Look under "tags" at the bottom of the page....
The tag was not included to be inflammatory. I'm not allowed to add new tags and have to use what exists so since I couldn't use "unpleasant experience with a seller who lacked basic customer service skills" I went with that one. In fairness to all involved I've removed that tag as I think my original post and his response speak more than enough than a silly tag. Apologies.

Last edited by abs82; 14 July 2017 at 04:36 AM.. Reason: Typo :/
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Old 14 July 2017, 04:34 AM   #27
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Ahhhh........learned something new.
I stand corrected. I would agree that is a bit harsh for the circumstances.
It's been removed, now...
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Old 14 July 2017, 04:34 AM   #28
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It's been removed, now...
Yes it has, as I noted above.
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Old 14 July 2017, 05:10 AM   #29
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I have bought several watches from Max over the past few years and Max has always gone above and beyond! Max is truly one of the good guys!
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Old 14 July 2017, 05:40 AM   #30
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I have bought several watches from Max over the years and I've always had a good experience in dealing with him. He's a great guy in my book and I'll continue to do business with him.
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