UpTheTower@aol.com UpTheTower@aol.com
Mon, 22 Jan 2001 01:47:21 EST

From: WILLIAM COOPER <wgcooper@airmail.net>
Reply-To: wgcooper@airmail.net
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To: Steve <towertalk@contesting.com>
CC: Bill <K4XT@aol.com>, Daniel Manfre <WA2NDP@arrl.net>,
   Robert Vargas <vargasf7@aol.com>, w4pku <w4pku@aol.com>,
   Dave <dave@dbtech.net>

                              ATTENTION HAM RADIO

Twenty years ago I purchased a W51 crank-up, self supporting
tower manufactured by Tri-Ex Towers; it still serves me
well.  However, about six months ago I decided to purchase a
new motorized tower.  After some detective work, I
discovered that the portion of Tri-Ex Towers that
manufacturers towers for Hams was owned by a Mr. Robert
Vargas.  I discovered that the commercial part of Tri-Ex
Towers had been purchased by The Will-Burt Company located
in Orrville, Ohio.  In looking through a twenty year old
Tri-Ex catalog, I discovered my notes when I had spoken with
Mr. Vargas about erecting my W51 some twenty years ago.  I
remembered that Mr. Vargas had been very helpful and
cooperative with me.  So, I contacted Mr. Vargas in early
September, 2000, and he advised me that I should contact
First Call Communications, Inc. to purchase one of his
Paragon towers, which would be a Tri-Ex Tower.

I learned that First Call Communications, Inc. is owned by
Mr. Joel Kornreich located in N.Y..  I also found Mr.
Kornreich's First Call Advertisement in QST.  The three
months of frustration in securing my LM54HD motorized, self
supporting tower from First Call Communications is
chronologically listed below:

September 8, 2000:  I placed an order with Mr. Joel
Kornreich, First Call Communications for an LM54HD motorized
tower, a tilt over accessory and a thrust bearing.  The
amount of the order totaled $3,630.00.  Mr. Kornreich asked
me how I intended to pay for the tower; I gave to him my
MasterCard credit card number, and I assumed that he would
charge my card when he made shipments to me, as is the
custom.  Mr. Kornreich told me the base to the tower would
be shipped to me in two week, and the tower would be shipped
in seven (7) weeks.

September 9:  I received a telephone call from a
representative of MasterCard; this person was inquiring
about a charge to my account for $3,630.00 made by First
Call Communications.  At that moment I thought that it was
highly unusual for my account to be charged for the full
amount in such advance of the shipment.  I started to refuse
the charge, and in retrospect I wish that I had, but I gave
the representative permission to charge my account.
Comparing thirty years of buying ham radio equipment via
credit cards, I had never been charged before the equipment
was shipped.  Therefore, JUST FOR THE RECORD Mr. Kornreich
received full payment from me on September 9 (that is (3)
three months before he shipped the tower to me).

Furthermore, at the time Mr. Kornreich charged my
MasterCard, that account had a zero $00.00 balance;
therefore, any finance charges to that account is solely for
the charge made by Mr. Kornreich.  When I received my
statement from MasterCard, there was a finance charge of
$30.45.  (I would not have minded this finance charge, if
Mr. Kornreich would have sent the payment to the tower
manufacturer when the tower was completed and ready to ship
to me, but he did not!)

November 15:  The base for the tower was delivered to me on
this date - Nov. 15; (9+) nine weeks after I placed the
order - not within the two weeks that he had promised.

November 17:  I spoke with Mr. Robert Vargas, owner of
Paragon Towers on this date, and he informed me my tower was
completed, crated and had been ready to ship to me since
November 6, 2000, but he could not ship it until Mr.
Kornreich paid him for the tower.  I questioned Mr. Vargas;
I asked him if he was sure that my tower was ready to be
shipped.  He invited me to fly to his California plant and
view my tower for myself.

Further, Mr. Vargas stated that he had been informed by Mr.
Kornreich's secretary,  that he (Mr. Vargas) should advise
me that my tower was not complete and was not ready to be
shipped should I happen to call him and make any inquiries
about the readiness of my tower.

Mr. Robert Vargas, who has been associated with Tri-Ex Tower
for the past twenty years has proven himself to me to be a
man of  honor; he has always spoken truthfully with me.  (I
tried calling First Call Communications, but they did not
answer the telephone; this was Friday afternoon).

November 20:  On this Monday morning I called and spoke with
Mr. Kornreich's secretary, Heather, and she told me my tower
was not complete and therefore, it was not ready to be
shipped.  I threatened two things:  legal action and to fly
to New York to see her boss face to face, since I knew my
tower had been completed since the week of November 6, and
since they had been paid in full since September 9.
Heather's only interest during this telephone conversation
was: "Who told me my tower was ready to be shipped?".

December 1:  I spoke with Mr. John Bee, advertising manager
, ARRL, and explained my plight to him, and I explained to
him that through the advertisement in QST by First Call
Communications that other Hams might be experiencing the
same problems as I was having.  Mr. Bee told me that he
would try to help me in this matter.

December 4:  Mr. John Bee left a message on my answering
machine.  His message informed me that my tower would be
shipped within a day or two.  I am very appreciative for Mr.
Bee's interceding  on my behalf, because without his help,
and learning of the problems other Hams have had with First
Call Communications, I might still be waiting for my tower
to be shipped.

I would like to state that during my (32) thirty two years
as a ham, I have purchased between $30,000 and $40,000 worth
of ham equipment.  The majority of these purchases have been
made by credit cards; this is the first time I have ever
experienced a problem with an order or with ethics.

December 4:  I received a telephone message from Mr. Robert
Vargas' secretary, Anna.  She told me that she had received
a check from First Call Communications for payment of my
tower and that it would be shipped to immediately.

December 8:  My tower arrived; it was (13) thirteen weeks to
the day from the day I ordered it - not the (7) seven weeks
that had been promised by Mr. Kornreich.  Had my tower
arrived when it was promised, the hole could have been dug,
the base placed in the hole, the 3.4 yards of concrete
poured, and my tower would be up.  It is not because we have
had so much rain it is impossible to dig, pour, and erect
the tower; in fact, it may be March before I will be able to
accomplish this.

If Mr. Kornreich had paid Mr. Vargas, owner of  Paragon
Towers, the money he apparently owed to him for my tower and
which he (Mr. Kornreich) had in his possession since
September 9, in a timely manner, by tower would have been
shipped during the week of November 6, and I could have had
it installed during the time when our weather was conducive
to tower construction.

Finally is the matter of freight cost.  First Call
Communications' advertisement in the December, 2000, QST on
page 132, under Delivery Times states, "The cost of shipping
a Tri-Ex tower is 50-60% LOWER than other crank-up tower
manufacturers".  Now let's see how that equates.  On
November 15, 2000, I issued a check to the motor freight
line for $155.22 for the shipment of the base of my tower.
On December 8, 2000, I issued another check to the same
motor freight line for $528.87 for the shipment of my
tower.  So, it cost $684.09 for the tower and base to be
shipped to my home.  According to First Call Communications'
advertisement in QST, had another tower manufacturer shipped
my tower my cost would have been "at least 50% more", or a
total of $1,026.13.

QST is above any such misleading advertisements on any of
its pages; therefore, First Call Communications is duty
bound to revise it advertisement.

My comment to my fellow Hams:  "Do your homework well,
before you place an order for a tower, and consider the
ethics of the company with which you are contracting.

Bill Cooper

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