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VAN DIEMEN will NOT return my Lomo anamorphic lens


Adnan Siddiqui
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I feel your pain and then some.  With caveats.

In 2014 I sent a set of Leica Summilux-R's.  In 2015 I sent an FD to complete the set.  About 1 month ago, the final lens in my set was delivered.  The rehousing work is stunning, beautiful and the set is without peer.  However, it took almost 6 years.  In the process of rehousing this set, I learned the harsh reality of rehousing - no matter who you choose to do the work, it's CUSTOM and slow and about the fastest jobs are 2+ years.  TLS/P&S/Van Diemen - nobody will tell you but it's all 2+ years, and there will be delays and lack of information and you will be bumped down the list when a friend/bigger dp/bigger name needs work before you.  That's how this works.  I hate it, but it's the reality.  We can be upset about our investments, nickle-and-dime, yell on the phone - but when someone with a bottomless wallet and household name comes in and says, "hey can you do me a favor and work on my set of lenses - I need them ASAP" - what do you think happens?  Our place in line stays the same and they get added to the top.  Happens at all the custom shops.

Rehousing is a hobby.  Vintage lenses are a hobby.  That's the ONLY mentality you can have because it's how things are.  I learned that in year 2.  I was planning on using my leicas for a project and the deadline came and went and I used other lenses.  We can complain about all the business and money lost but until the glass was finished and in hand, I'd be foolish to pretend to count on them for professional use.

Christopher was always kind and understanding on the phone even when I was boiling mad.  He's a man in his 70's who seems to want to walk away from the business when it's in good hands.  And along the way he lost his engineer and other techs.  And a pandemic hit.  And it's increasingly difficult to find people who can actually do this work - which is why we have such few and expensive choices for this type of lens work.  If I found a local shop that could do the work they do I would have used that shop.  

I understand that my "place of zen" is only possible because I now have all my lenses in my hands, completed.  And I was ANGRY at times for the lack of information, the lies about progress, the endless timeframe, the same story over and over for YEARS.  But honestly, screaming and suing isn't going to get the end result we want - excellent work on our lenses at reasonable prices.  I had to keep reminding myself of that - escalating wouldn't help anything.  Was I willing to torpedo my project to feel like a boss and scream and make them rush to finish?  Everyone in the world is into vintage lenses, rehousings, update work - and there are really only 3 places to go.  All of them take years.  Van Diemen may be the smallest and slowest.  Until more people work their way up the engineering chain and start getting into esoteric lens work, this is how things are.  

 

 

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  • 2 months later...
On 1/25/2021 at 11:04 AM, Jaron Berman said:

I feel your pain and then some.  With caveats.

In 2014 I sent a set of Leica Summilux-R's.  In 2015 I sent an FD to complete the set.  About 1 month ago, the final lens in my set was delivered.  The rehousing work is stunning, beautiful and the set is without peer.  However, it took almost 6 years.  In the process of rehousing this set, I learned the harsh reality of rehousing - no matter who you choose to do the work, it's CUSTOM and slow and about the fastest jobs are 2+ years.  TLS/P&S/Van Diemen - nobody will tell you but it's all 2+ years, and there will be delays and lack of information and you will be bumped down the list when a friend/bigger dp/bigger name needs work before you.  That's how this works.  I hate it, but it's the reality.  We can be upset about our investments, nickle-and-dime, yell on the phone - but when someone with a bottomless wallet and household name comes in and says, "hey can you do me a favor and work on my set of lenses - I need them ASAP" - what do you think happens?  Our place in line stays the same and they get added to the top.  Happens at all the custom shops.

Rehousing is a hobby.  Vintage lenses are a hobby.  That's the ONLY mentality you can have because it's how things are.  I learned that in year 2.  I was planning on using my leicas for a project and the deadline came and went and I used other lenses.  We can complain about all the business and money lost but until the glass was finished and in hand, I'd be foolish to pretend to count on them for professional use.

Christopher was always kind and understanding on the phone even when I was boiling mad.  He's a man in his 70's who seems to want to walk away from the business when it's in good hands.  And along the way he lost his engineer and other techs.  And a pandemic hit.  And it's increasingly difficult to find people who can actually do this work - which is why we have such few and expensive choices for this type of lens work.  If I found a local shop that could do the work they do I would have used that shop.  

I understand that my "place of zen" is only possible because I now have all my lenses in my hands, completed.  And I was ANGRY at times for the lack of information, the lies about progress, the endless timeframe, the same story over and over for YEARS.  But honestly, screaming and suing isn't going to get the end result we want - excellent work on our lenses at reasonable prices.  I had to keep reminding myself of that - escalating wouldn't help anything.  Was I willing to torpedo my project to feel like a boss and scream and make them rush to finish?  Everyone in the world is into vintage lenses, rehousings, update work - and there are really only 3 places to go.  All of them take years.  Van Diemen may be the smallest and slowest.  Until more people work their way up the engineering chain and start getting into esoteric lens work, this is how things are.  

 

 

Thank you for the response.  I can understand that a process can take long, but I do NOT agree with being lied to.  Had Christopher been upfront (honest), I would have the option to accept or decline.  But that was not the case.  I'm now 2 months shy of a 3 years wait and devastating loss of revenues.  

Just like your experience,  Christopher was indeed "always kind and understanding on the phone even when I was boiling mad."  But that does feel to me like the characteristics of a CONMAN.   

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Update: It took a while but I have made the webpage and intro youtube video about my awful experience with Van Diemen.  

It will be followed by more videos.  

https://vandiemenlenseshorribleservice.com/

While I am at a major loss, I hope this webpage and videos will help others make an informed decision before they ship off their lenses to Van Diemen lenses.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

Have you secured an attorney to handle this? Or are you just going to try to put a dent in this business the grassroots way, while possibly committing libel? Again, another case for hiring an attorney just to ensure you are making your website above bar.

Phil Forrest

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With due trepidation about getting involved in this sorry tale:

I asked a few questions about this whole saga at the end of last year - not because I want to query anyone's account of what's going on, but simply to confirm my understanding. I didn't get an answer and when I chased up those questions, the chase was voted down. Adnan, if that was you, I would point out that all I'm doing is trying to figure out what's going on here, and little red down arrows aren't going to help anyone. I'll repeat the questions here.

I have no relationship with Van Diemen and all I know is based on the discussion in this thread. I hesitate to get involved, but since this seems to be an ongoing problem I'll try to pour a little oil on troubled waters.

Please confirm my understanding:

- lenses were submitted to the company who predicted a 90-day turnaround

- The company presumably encountered problems with the conversion and things took at least nine and a half months [now considerably more than that] longer than expected.

- The customer decided to cancel, but the company had already started work, and wants to charge a fee to return the lenses to their original state.

Without making any comment on who's right or wrong, is this summary correct?

P

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On 5/9/2021 at 1:17 PM, Philip Forrest said:

Have you secured an attorney to handle this? Or are you just going to try to put a dent in this business the grassroots way, while possibly committing libel? Again, another case for hiring an attorney just to ensure you are making your website above bar.

Phil Forrest

I have contacted multiple law firms to handle this matter, but I have been advised this case has better chance in personal court.  

Committing libel: I have provided direct communications with Van Diemen since June 2018.  If everything stated here is a fact, then it is not libel...especially since I can prove it with a paper trail. 

This whole issue is a matter of what is considered 'reasonable service time'.  Van Diemen email states 'within 90 days' to complete service.  If the service is completed in 2 years, that is not reasonable.  Furthermore, I have emails from forum members who are in the same situation as I am.  In my opinion, this is a pattern and should not be considered  a coincidence.  

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On 5/9/2021 at 3:13 PM, Phil Rhodes said:

With due trepidation about getting involved in this sorry tale:

I asked a few questions about this whole saga at the end of last year - not because I want to query anyone's account of what's going on, but simply to confirm my understanding. I didn't get an answer and when I chased up those questions, the chase was voted down. Adnan, if that was you, I would point out that all I'm doing is trying to figure out what's going on here, and little red down arrows aren't going to help anyone. I'll repeat the questions here.

I have no relationship with Van Diemen and all I know is based on the discussion in this thread. I hesitate to get involved, but since this seems to be an ongoing problem I'll try to pour a little oil on troubled waters.

Please confirm my understanding:

- lenses were submitted to the company who predicted a 90-day turnaround

- The company presumably encountered problems with the conversion and things took at least nine and a half months [now considerably more than that] longer than expected.

- The customer decided to cancel, but the company had already started work, and wants to charge a fee to return the lenses to their original state.

Without making any comment on who's right or wrong, is this summary correct?

P

 (1) One lens was submitted for conversion with a predicted 90-day turnaround. It completed in about 2 years. 

(2) Two lenses were submitted for servicing (repairs).   One lens was serviced, and the other lens was sent back in the same condition as before (but Van Diemen demands payment for it regardless) 

(3) Van Diemen accepted Paypal for 50% upfront deposit. 

(4)  Van Diemen refuses to remove charges for the lens that (in my opinion) is not serviced and I have provided them before and after photos (immediately upon receiving and inspecting lens)

(4) Van Diemen demands wire transfer only (no Paypal, no credit card).  I refuse it because I have reason to doubt their service, as it is evident in (4) (unacceptable servicing while demanding payment).  

 

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This is going to be a long, long journey for you Adnan. Like I mentioned somewhere here last year, my case took 4 years and ended up with VD claimed that he has sent my already lens but without any tracking number and no way to track it.

I hope you can get this solved before 2023.

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 5/13/2021 at 9:18 PM, Thanavorakit K said:

This is going to be a long, long journey for you Adnan. Like I mentioned somewhere here last year, my case took 4 years and ended up with VD claimed that he has sent my already lens but without any tracking number and no way to track it.

I hope you can get this solved before 2023.

It is now June 2021 and we are 3 years into this.  The latest update from Van Diemen is "We reserve the right to start charging storage and interest if this is not resolved promptly and has to be taken further."

Van Diemen accepted Paypal to reel me in and now want cash and are threatening me with storage and interest charges. 

When I showed concern about sending a wire transfer and about retrieval of my lens, Van Diemen says "The guarantee that you will receive the lens is my word"

LOL

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  • 3 weeks later...
Posted (edited)
On 6/7/2021 at 5:20 AM, Attila Somos said:

Guys stay away from this Company it is a real nightmare absolutely unreliable unprofessional service 

I have the same experiences with them go to TLS UK much better service

NIGHTMARE.....NIGHTMARE....NIGHTMARE....

My experience with Van Diemen is the worst customer service experience of my life....GUARANTEED!!!! 

I finally found an associate who will be traveling to Surrey and I requested to have them retrieve the lens and pay via Banker's cheque or cashier's cheque, Van Diemen has declined that as a viable option, stating I have to wait 2 weeks before they can release the lens.  A Bank's cheque is a guarantee of the funds availability and that the cheque will not bounce!!

But leave it to Van Diemen to complicate it! 

FURTHERMORE, they are complicating my attempt to pay cash stating they have to meet bank regulations, "to prevent Money Laundering attempts." (email, June 14, 2021)

WTF!!!! 

Edited by Adnan Siddiqui
grammar mistake
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  • 4 months later...
On 6/22/2021 at 12:04 AM, Adnan Siddiqui said:

NIGHTMARE.....NIGHTMARE....NIGHTMARE....

My experience with Van Diemen is the worst customer service experience of my life....GUARANTEED!!!! 

I finally found an associate who will be traveling to Surrey and I requested to have them retrieve the lens and pay via Banker's cheque or cashier's cheque, Van Diemen has declined that as a viable option, stating I have to wait 2 weeks before they can release the lens.  A Bank's cheque is a guarantee of the funds availability and that the cheque will not bounce!!

But leave it to Van Diemen to complicate it! 

FURTHERMORE, they are complicating my attempt to pay cash stating they have to meet bank regulations, "to prevent Money Laundering attempts." (email, June 14, 2021)

WTF!!!! 

Man. I feel sorry for your pain. How did it go? Did you end up getting the lens back?? 

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