From Russia without love
A very peculiar case of long distance tuning
Here at TP we are very customer focused always striving to give our clients to best products at great prices, with long distance tuning its a relatively straight forward process. We confirm the tune level required, customers sends the ECU, we return it tuned. One instance really stands out in our mind, it was very different to the hundreds of others we have done which left us thinking is it fraud, is it a mistake on the customers part, a garage posing as a customer or something else perhaps.
This story starts back in June 2017 with a late night message to my personal Instagram account..
This is not unusual for me as every week I receive messages asking for assistance or advice as I have worked on this platform (45AMG) for over 4 years now. So we message back and forth talking about the issues the setup has and that he is looking for a tune to fix it. I advise that is no problem we work on big turbo cars regularly. At this point I should have heard the warning bells as he advises he would like us to email them the file, this would be a master file and could easily be read or copied so we declined, he advised that it is his own car but and he has a Dyno, the Hardware to read write to the ECU and data logging. He again asks if we do it without mailing the ECU and we decline again.
Shortly after he had agreed to send his ECU and I offered a discounted price to help (what I thought was the owner of a car having issues).
Mid July and the ECU arrived with us, we carried out the work on the ECU and had it ready to send, we tried contacting the customer to varify the address and for various reasons we could not get though and the customer could not contact us, around 10 days later we made contact and requested the customer to confirm the address and phone number.
He did so we dispatched via TNT a day later, As Russia only accepts business deliverys of parcels we asked for confirmation that it was a business and he did confirming it is a workshop.
I then receive communication via Whatsapp from the same person asking for an update etc and advising me that the parcel is returning to England. At this point we had heard nothing from TNT and found it strange that a parcel was returning without attempting delivery or being held at the local TNT office.
Nevertheless it is actually still there in Russia and gone through customs and shortly after they contact the reciever for them to provide their business details for clearance, This does not get provided, then on the 9th of August we recieve a message via whatsapp that the address must be changed as it is incorrect (Bare in mind we have already confirmed this address in July) so we oblige and change the address anyway.
Again he kept stating it is being returned to the UK but we had not requested it and it was not showing on TNT, it was as if someone was trying to make that happen on the receivers side. on the 8th of September we receive a whatsapp message with a UK address to send the ECU to, now at this point we are still trying to deliver to Russia.
This continues with TNT trying to collect the delivery approval paperwork until 18th of September 13:09 where the note from TNT states "Receiver refused delivery. Shipment not ordered" Baffled by this we then request TNT to return the goods (At our cost) which is a lengthy process involving 2 sets of customs.
So 24th of October (Day before the ECU returns to us) comes along and we receive a PayPal dispute by someone else claiming that it is his car (Not the individual on instagram and whatsapp) and we have not delivered the ECU and he has paid for the service etc wants his ecu back(with tune on it) and a refund. We reply back with all the details confirming we did indeed send it and that there were address changes and then a refusal by the reciever.
So we contact the individual on whatsapp and as for an explanation, he says his friend has raised the dispute and he will get him to cancel it
He then changes his story and this is what we receive via whats app
So we are now back to this person being the owner of the car and not the person with the paypal dispute (completely different names) and we are no closer to being paid for the work we have done and extra shipping we have incurred.
We will hold the ecu and maybe the owner will contact us, who knows?
I have no doubt in my mind that this customer will be making a post somewhere on the internet claiming we are at fault, if you see it please let us know or direct us there, Thanks in advance!
We would love to know your thoughts on this !