Lament after buying study plan

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by Wellydeckhand, May 20, 2006.

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  1. tomas
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    tomas Senior Member

    Thanks!

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. WestVanHan
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    WestVanHan Not a Senior Member

    FWIW about 8-10 years ago I was curious of the BR designs (but luckily was smart enough to realize I could buy a slightly used production boat that was nicer,better looking,etc for less) and emailed BRG asking the approximate fuel consumption of 2 or 3 boats at 9 knots or so.
    The curt and somewhat rude reply was that I should buy the study plans at $40(?) each if I wanted to know.

    I emailed the Aussie guy,and received a very nice reply with the info I wanted and some extra tips. We exchanged emails,and he mentioned he was travelling in my area-so I advised him of places to go and see. I'd have met him if I wasn't on holidays at the time.
    I have since sent 3 or 4 people his way and I know that at least one has bought plans and had built.
     
  3. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Like I said, call the folks and get a feel for what you're dealing with. I met with a client today for the first time. I've known him for about 10 years and he's taken delivery of his second set of plans from me, this time a full up custom. We've spent countless hours on the phone over the years and many emails, but we'd never met, until today, when his 'honey do" list brought him within 2 hours and he made a side trip. He wouldn't have if I had Bruce's disorder.
     
  4. tomas
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    tomas Senior Member

    What an odd sequence of actions: sells the business, attempts a re-start (possibly bootleg) version of the same thing in the States, doesn't offer anything genuinely new, doesn't have an alternate plan when things don't go as expected, exhibits questionable business practices and is less than professional with inquiries and potential customers - essentially sabotaging his own efforts in a down economy. How not to do it.

    I'm beginning to feel bad for him.
    Something is wrong.
     
  5. BPL
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    BPL Senior Member

    Have you found any documented facts or recorded documentation to back up your story yet tomas?

    You say he "sells the business".
    What were the detailed terms of the sale? That's the fact that's missing.

    You say "possibly bootleg."
    After 20 years, why is this not documented with a legal document if true?

    The real story must be much more complicated and messy than you are making it to be or one side would produce the documentation and settle it.
     
  6. tomas
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    tomas Senior Member

    You've avoided my question every time: would you do things the way he has done them, assuming he has every legal right to do so and the Oz business is in the wrong?
     
  7. BPL
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    BPL Senior Member

    No definitely not. I'd have a secretary, a good people-person, whose job would be to handle customers who weren't yet paying me. My secretary's job would be to win them over. Leads are worth money. And I'd surely have facts ready to document my claims before accusing someone of something.

    You lose credibility when you can't produce the facts to back up what you claim.
     
  8. tomas
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    tomas Senior Member

    You're distorting my posts. I would not have solicited clarifying comments without the sense that something was wasn't quite right.

    I knew nothing about any legal issues prior to my question about the controversy. Something smelled a bit off but I initially didn't post anything negative. Why?

    I don't know if this will actually benefit anyone but here's how windows of doubt, distrust and suspicion developed for me, excluding knowledge of any legal questions/rumors.

    Almost two years ago, when I caught the boating-bug, I was woefully boating-ignorant. I didn't know what a transom was. I didn't know how fast a modern Trimaran could be. Foiling sailboats were unknown to me. I was essentially unaware about fiberglass and epoxy construction. What the hell is 'bearing away'? Skeg? Trawler? Bilge? What are those? It appears that I could build a boat. What kind?

    Searching, I found the BR website last year via Google ( I had no knowledge of the Oz site and business).

    It looked a bit shoddy - my first reaction. Does he care about quality? It gives the impression that he is the man behind all the designs offered. Later, well before this thread, I learn that it isn't exactly true. It's vague. Is that illegal? No, but it begins to smell a bit. He doesn't have a forum for customers nor does he have a blog. This does not inspire confidence nor trust. Then I notice that there is no indication of how old the reviews and build activity is. All the photos appear to be old, pre-digital and scanned later for the website. I almost concluded that the site is fake but later dismiss this as an overreaction on my part, but it still seems odd. This did make me uncomfortable enough to the point that I stopped considering his products despite an abundance of positive comments from customers plastered throughout the BR website pages. My gut response was to distrust. Not good for business. Comment?

    For comparison, I had the opposite impression to the Glen-L website despite the slightly dated/amateurish appearance. I don't distrust them. Why? They offer less than exciting products but they have an active forum for customers and the owner and staff constantly are present, offering help and answering questions. The owner has an active, helpful, informative YouTube channel. They constantly stand by their products and appear very credible. My initial encounter is to trust them.

    I'm potentially the type of customer that Bruce Roberts should attract for consideration of his product line. Instead, his website alone is a turn-off to my ignorant, unbiased mind. This occurred last year.

    Last year, I eventually found this forum last year as I searched for ideas on what kind of boat I want to have (I had some silly notions about a personal SWATH or power foiler from Wikipedia). I stumbled onto an occasional random negative post about Mr Roberts as I began to read through old threads. A few were outright ridicule. I wondered why. This adds blips of distrust on my radar. I do also encounter a couple of positive comments but they reference older builds, nothing recent. In contrast, I don't stumble onto anything negative about Glen-L though. In fact, there are smatterings of recommendations/advice by veteran forum members to newcomers to consider their plans. Am I comparing BR designs to Glen-L designs? No. I'm contrasting the effect of their respective internet presence/profiles on the minds of customers searching for boat ideas and considerations. This registered and my suspicions grew. The only positive blips were a couple of Craigslist ads I found for used BR boats, although they were much older builds.

    Present day. I find the negative comments by others in this thread to be credible and consistent with my now biased view, which I blame on Mr Roberts. If you are right about the legal aspects, that would be good, as they are not trivial, but they are not the whole story. The comments add to the mosaic of doubt that he's allowed to develop in my mind. It isn't about the administrative things you wrote about. It's about a completely different attitude and professional conduct. That's why I wanted to know if you would do what he did.
     
  9. BPL
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    BPL Senior Member

    The story about him yelling on the phone I find credible. There's a business name he yelled at that's verifiable. That's not good business and I wouldn't do that.

    The story about him sending a nasty email because he thought the plan was bought from a competitor I find credible. That's also bad business. I'd have a secretary deal with those and convert those to my customers. He spent money for advertising to get leads and then turned away potential customers when they called. They are leads that could have been converted to business. That's how I'd do it *if I had the legal right to do it.*

    I don't find your "bootleg" and some other comments credible. Every time I ask if you can find any documentation for one of them, you come back with no documented facts.

    That's the 20-year pi$$ing contest Mannie B said and you only add pi$$ to it unless you have facts. Something about the relationship/franchise/transfer/sale/contract (what was it?) was a terrible mess or one of the sides would offer documentation that they're right.
     
  10. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    BRI did not sell it's rights until BR had been in the states for a decade. His idea, which I stated was fairly noble, was to develop building groups, shared building spaces, etc., so a coop could be accessed for building BRI yachts. Unfortunately, his timing was off and the building craze had fizzled by then. I'd imagine there were other aspects we don't know about, but enough financial issues where at play, to cause BR to sell off the most valuable asset he had, the rights to his plans. Devastating, but probably predictable, particularly in hindsight.

    The terms of the agreement will remain under the watchful guard of the NDA, as most all civil settlement do. Your persistence at it's contents is perplexing, if not legally naive. A quick search of the trade publications in the early 90's will resurrect the published statements in regard to what has been actually disclosed. I remember reading them at the time and have had this discussion more then once, but if you want to do some digging, it's not hard to find. Of course if I was BR, I would flood the net with alternative BR narrative, so these old documents are buried deep in the search list, on your search engine. A common tactic to hide stuff you don't want to come up on the first few pages of a search.

    Again, the simple end to the disinformation is some research and a couple of phone calls. You'll find the calls as I've mentioned. It's the personalities involved, as well as the business practices. The web sites are a good indication, with one simply stating what is what, in a concise and frank way, while the other has flashing text, huge letters and doesn't note any legal standing, like the other does.

    It's one thing to get jammed up and be forced to sell your pride, but most everyone I know that's gone through (I lived through the dark years of the late 70's too) this, has sucked it up and found a way to purchase back what they've lost, entered into a symbiotic relationship with the new owner or just plain moved on. This is telling of the actual constraints of the agreements contents, which we can only hazard a guess at, but indeed suggestive enough to warrant educated opinions on the matter.
     
  11. tomas
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    tomas Senior Member

    I clearly wrote that if you're correct about the legalities, that would be a good thing but you ignored that. Are you deliberately doing that?

    Do you trust Mr Roberts as a business man?

    I'm still predisposed to believe PAR because Mr Roberts created doubt in my mind and PAR's posting history on this forum.



    I'm going to step out of this repetition. I don't want to win an arguement with you. I wanted to focus on how I became biased since it's the flip side of unfairly accusing someone of misconduct.

    Allegations without facts isn't good. That's a valid point. Independent allegations from different sources begin to take on credibility if someone's reputation is already tarnished due to prior behavior patterns. Do you disagree with this general statement?

    If your history creates doubt or suspicion, don't be indignant later when we become prone to believe individuals that come forward with more serious allegations.

    That's the lesson from this story.

    You seem to want to repeat what I've already understood and conceded and win some kind of argument while missing something which is also important.

    Of course you can choose to not publicly support an accusation without documentation but I would consider you to be dishonest if you claimed to not begin to doubt in your private thoughts, someone's version of events if they have a questionable history. You would not be human if you didn't.

    I can repeat this again in a different way but no one will benefit.

    I'll continue to respond on generalities but not another round of documentation, etc.


    Why don't you instead ask PAR about his vicious lies?
    Aren't you accusing him of something terrible?
     
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  12. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Your understanding of civil agreements seems naive at the very least (BPL). Very few will go through without a NDA of some sort. What was Micheal Jackson's settlement with those that sued him in the early 90's. Lots of speculation as to the terms and amount, but nothing, from either side has come to light in 2 decades. This is typical and usually required, before any agreement can be closed.

    A very large percentage of civil cases are settled. There are several reasons, but mostly it's expense, the desire to not be cross examined and the wish the details not be made public, so the parties can recover. This is why a NDA is usually insisted on. Both parties benefit from this and can sweep things under the rug with time and move on.

    Because you haven't found any details, doesn't mean they don't exist, it just means you haven't found them.

    I've had someone else selling my plans and though I didn't need to "settle" I did get the company to stop, at considerable cost to me and them (they went bankrupt), partly because of my actions, but also of others in the same boat.

    Again, I remember the published statements, from both sides, so I don't have a desire to look up anything and yes, I would imagine it's buried deep, which would be the prudent thing to do, if your plan is a disinformation campaign, once the non-compete clause was served, as appears is the case here. The "way back machine" might be of some help. Try BR in 1993 and 1994. Back issues of the trades would also be a place to look.

    It would seem that in my typing this - a BPL post was deleted - one I was addressing with this post. He did ask where the "verifiable documentation" could be found and that he was a good "searcher". The sale of the plan rights are public record. Of course, these are buried in the archives of which ever state handled it (California I think). You can wade through the microfiche in person or the digital versions on line. Also the BRI site does note this sale, though I'll bet details and specifics are restricted by the NDA (typical), so you just get the statement, which interestingly enough, isn't mentioned on the BRG site. The only mention of this on the BRG site (in huge, bright text) is about what is clever wording, dancing around suggested theft or pirated plan sales. Now, in honesty, BR has (like many of us) has experienced pirated sales and this could be argued the justification, of the harsh text on the sight, but considering his world wide rep in this regard, likely just a cover story for his business practices and personal issues.
     
  13. tomas
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    tomas Senior Member

    BPL, am I a petty lynch-mob lemming for believing this last sentence?
     
  14. BPL
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    BPL Senior Member

    And you or tomas haven't provided facts to back up your claims. I think the story is incomplete and more of a mess.
    Neither side apparently wants people to see the actual documented facts.
    No links to facts on the BRI site either.
     

  15. tomas
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    tomas Senior Member

    I also read the now deleted post.
    Let's accuse him of something sinister.
     
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