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Bad Michael Sastre, River City Sheaths

Discussion in 'FEEDBACK: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly!' started by Bill Roberts, Jan 21, 2020.

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  1. Bill Roberts

    Bill Roberts

    31
    Jan 21, 2020
    EDIT added March 11 2020: Knife and sheath finally received today after many months of no communication despite sheath said to be ready last October. Still no communication other than automated e-mail with tracking number. But it is my knife in same perfect condition, and with sheath fitting perfectly. It took over a year since payment, and extreme frustration, but ultimately I did receive it. I do suggest that anyone considering work from Michael Sastre consider seriously the below facts, though. I really wish all this hadn't happened because he has done some fine craftsmanship over the years I understand, and I am now pleased with this particular sheath.

    I'm a complete believer that you work with a supplier first, to the last possible moment, before ever saying anything publicly. And for small things, you don't say things publicly even then. I also ordinarily, never before in my life, would start an account to lead off with an account of a vendor problem.

    That's outweighed by the fact that I do NOT want other people to ever have to experience what I have in this case. A nightmare, and could have been worse with a unique or highly valuable knife, as he requires you to send him your knife to make the sheath. He is even known for making sheaths for Bagwell Bowies. Can you imagine if this had been a Bagwell?!? Thankfully not but I liked the knife I sent very much, and it's gone, long gone, at this point it's not rational to expect I'll ever see it again.

    Put bluntly, Michael Sastre, despite claiming my knife and sheath are ready (there was a fit issue previously) since October -- he was paid in February -- and despite receiving return shipping money then, continues to hold my property. He's ignored entirely 11 polite and patient e-mails from me.

    Only on an e-mail saying that I had been polite and patient as long as possible but now he must return my property in 7 days or I will file postal fraud charges did he reply, promising to mail the next day. He did not, and has ignored e-mail since and does not answer the phone.

    In the months after originally contacting him I found old posts of people who had had incredibly long waits from him but did eventually get their sheath and their returned knife.

    For anyone searching in the future, here's someone (me) who has been ripped off entirely and simply ignored by this guy. Not because there was some tremendous amount of work needing to be done that he couldn't get to, but because he just isn't getting my property to the Post Office despite his promises and all the time involved.

    It's gone beyond negligence

    I hope that this saves one person (or more) from losing their knife and their money and tearing their hair out over such treatment.

    FURTHER EDIT MARCH 12: Michael e-mailed me this morning and we had a very positive exchange. Only the broad reasons of health and family and not checking e-mail were given, but more detail is not my business and not my problem. A real shame it came to so much trouble, not reasonably justifiable, but there is a good feeling of resolution all around I believe.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2020
  2. Jsega51

    Jsega51 Gold Member Gold Member

    Feb 11, 2015
    Sounds like your knife should be considered stolen property if you’ve requested it back and that request hasn’t been met.
     
    Bill Roberts likes this.
  3. Bill Roberts

    Bill Roberts

    31
    Jan 21, 2020
    I agree but I believe it is difficult to get police departments to do anything about petty theft cases (as they would technically consider it) especially out of state. And there's a tendency when there was any kind of business transaction, to want to call it a civil case. If wrong on that, I'd be glad to learn it.

    I might be, because this one does differ from the usual in that I don't just not have the item I paid for from him, which could arguably be civil, but he continues to hold onto an item that's indisputably mine, the knife which I am beyond doubt entitled to have back.

    Thank you!
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
  4. WValtakis

    WValtakis Hand Engraving, Anodizing and Embellishment Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    May 29, 2004
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  5. Bill Roberts

    Bill Roberts

    31
    Jan 21, 2020
    Thank you!

    That didn't do any good it turns out. According to the site, Sastre was on this forum at 9:09 AM yesterday but I still have no contact from him.

    As he's ignored every e-mail of mine but one since October (the one where I demanded return within 7 days or I would have to file for mail fraud and PayPal fraud, to which he responded immediately with promise to mail the next day but did not so so) it's not surprising he ignored this as well, despite the alert you provided.

    He also, by the way, ignored my wife who e-mailed him herself twice as she was becoming so upset at our loss. That really frosts me. Regardless that it's between him and me, ignoring a woman in legitimate distress is the lowest class especially as all he has to do to make good is go to the Post Office or even just put the stamped box in his mailbox for pickup.

    As I still want my knife back, and the sheath too as I paid for it though at this point I expect I will buy one from Panther Concealment Systems as at this point I have zero basis for confidence in anything Sastre says at all, I am not yet filing the PayPal fraud because if he doesn't have the return shipping that may be his excuse for not sending at that point. But frankly it seems clear this guy has flat stolen my knife and money, is generally going to ignore near everything sent to him, and so I will soon file for that as well, in addition to soon calling the police local to him for theft of my property. He most certainly has been informed he is not authorized to keep possessing my property and was given a clear and reasonable deadline, and he was paid the return postage. That money, as of now, is defrauded from me as well.

    Mike Sastre: If you're reading this, put my knife and sheath in the mail, Priority Mail which I paid for, and that's all I want from you. Not any statements you're going to do it. I need my property in my hand. If that happens I will add that to this thread, if you care about that which seems unlikely. I cannot believe anyone who wants to stay in any line of business would do as you have, so I assume you have chosen to bow out and decided to go out by stealing my knife and defrauding me of my money.

    Absolutely unbelievable. When ordering from him, I understood him to be very highly respected. Perhaps his craftsmanship deserves it but not his actions and certainly not his doing as he says.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2020
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  6. wroughndt

    wroughndt Platinum Member Platinum Member

    Oct 31, 2011
    It does seem a little weird that he knows about this thread but is ignoring it....
     
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  7. jux t

    jux t Gold Member Gold Member

    819
    Jan 10, 2018
    If that’s all true, then it’s definitely surprising considering what I know of his reputation. I’ll be watching this thread for sure and I hope it’s a misunderstanding of some sort.
     
  8. Thomas Linton

    Thomas Linton

    Jun 16, 2003
    Not "stolen." Breach of bailment/breach of contract = civil matters not criminal, unless a pattern of behavior supports a finding that he never had an intention of performing his side of the deal. This is why places like this are so great - a way to gather information showing a pattern of not performing his part of the deal. Mail Fraud can result in serious time in federal prison: "shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both." I would try everything possible to burn his posterior.
     
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  9. AntDog

    AntDog Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Apr 3, 2001
    Seen countless negative threads about this individual who I used to respect... and he’s still allowed to post here.

    That’s been puzzling to me for a while.
     
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  10. Gastonknife

    Gastonknife

    Dec 15, 2008
    Looks like he does this kind of stuff quite a bit.
    OP - hope this works out for you.

    I for one would never deal with him after all the similar complaints I've seen.
     
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  11. Bill Roberts

    Bill Roberts

    31
    Jan 21, 2020
    Thank you. I had suspected civil (assuming just my case) and you've added to my knowledge.

    From other replies, it looks like this is a pattern though. If I do not hear from him shortly I will research past threads and see if I can document it is a pattern, in which case perhaps I can get somewhere filing it as criminal.

    I started the PayPal process. It turns out the way PayPal does it is that first a message is sent to the recipient. If I am lucky, it might be worth it to him to make the trip to the Post Office to avoid losing his PayPal account.

    That said, I am wondering if there is more to this.

    When I received the knife and sheath, I could not single-hand draw the knife, as it is designed for, without the sheath coming out with it, solidly attached. I did not measure, for example by hanging a weight, how much force it took to separate the knife and sheath, but it was nothing small. 10 pounds? 20 pounds? Something like this. Certainly far more than needed to securely hold the knife in use including upside down or running about, for example. I hoped it would improve with multiple draws but that wasn't the case. I e-mailed him about it and he said it was probably technique; I said I'd try more and did, with same result. He then said to send it back and he'd examine it, adjust as needed, and return it.

    He claimed months later in October that it worked perfectly and needed no adjustment and he was going to return it unadjusted, and would provide a video of him drawing it himself. With that video never happening, I instructed him to return it regardless, do not wait on the video. Never a reply from him, other than the one immediate reply promising to mail the next day after I said I'd file as mail fraud if not returning within 7 days, which he hasn't.

    Perhaps -- after all what he has said otherwise hasn't been true -- it wasn't true that it needed no adjustment, and he has been procrastinating because it's messed up and maybe he keeps telling himself he'll fix it mañana and then send. That's the only semi-rational explanation I can come up with, though no proof. Simply failing to ever get to the Post Office after all this time despite it reaching this point is way outside the rational.

    I require my knife back regardless if I have to adjust or even file the sheath myself for secure but draw-able fit or toss it as a loss of $120 or so and nearly a year's time.

    Anyway it looks like it was already understood by many that this is someone not to do business with. Is that maybe so set in stone he doesn't even see the point of replying or semi-salvaging himself by posting that he has in fact put it in the mail?
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2020
  12. Thomas Linton

    Thomas Linton

    Jun 16, 2003
    A snake, no doubt.
     
  13. Gastonknife

    Gastonknife

    Dec 15, 2008
    OP, you probably should have been provided a little more info/been clearer when you first posted regarding that there was an initial shipment, fit problem, and then a return shipment back to him. I don't think most people realized (myself included) that he had previously completed the sheath and sent it and your knife back to you months ago. Now I won't say that those details excuse him by any means, but it does add a bit more color to the conversation here.
     
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  14. SpyderPhreak

    SpyderPhreak Rocketman for hire Platinum Member

    Apr 13, 2004
    Yeah, what's up with that? o_O :thumbsdown: To make matters worse, he's an OG, and a Maker/Craftsman here. No bueno.

    @Boru13 @knarfeng @rycen @RevDevil

    Hopefully that helps.
     
  15. Bill Roberts

    Bill Roberts

    31
    Jan 21, 2020
    While I didn't give the 11 month detail by detail account, I don't feel I omitted fitment being involved, as the original post did say:

    That's completely accurate. It was intended to make clear that there had been a fitment issue causing the knife and sheath to "not be ready" for him to return, or not cleared by him as ready to return, prior to October. I was not in the post blaming him for anything from February to October (though I certainly could as he promised far faster.)

    Dragging in the February - October problems wasn't what I was choosing to object to or others to be cautioned about. It was already on the Internet that he can be slow. As to the fitment, my point wasn't to complain about that either.

    If somehow that were extenuating for him then I should have made it clearer but I don't see how it is.

    The only it might would be that if I had sent it back to him unsolicited, or against his advice, in which case I could be a PIA and that was a cause of poor service.

    But not so, he insisted on the return:

    I sent it July 31.

    And in October, after having politely checking in about once a month with no response at all for any of them except the one proceeding this, he wrote:

    On January 9 after the final demand to receive within 7 days he wrote:

    Which is the last I've heard from him.

    So if completeness is required, that's it and I hope that provides full clarity.

    The fitment is an entirely different issue which wasn't what I wanted to alert people to and which I don't think in any way extenuates his saying he was going to return my property, getting paid to do so, and not doing so.

    On the fitment issue, just conversationally, I have very quick hands, judging from what people said when I boxed amateur, and I'm pretty explosive, doing a lot of explosive lifts in the gym. It's quite hard for me to credit that most people or even more than a modest percentage would be able to do it more suddenly than me, and I was being as sudden as possible. Slowness of draw is not credibly the problem. It is a fact that using two hands, a surprising and considerable amount of force was required to separate the knife from the sheath, way beyond what seems reasonable for retention. What I say differs from what he says on that and let's leave it on fitment as "he said vs he said, who knows," I have no problem with that.

    I'm not saying the knife could not possibly be drawn single handed with the sheath remaining in the pants (it has no features on it to snag anything, by the way, the only feature is a stud to keep it from sliding under the belt but not from coming up) but it would be ridiculously and unacceptably easy for a self defense draw to fail. It was useless to me, the purchaser. But that matter is not what I am disputing. On that one so be it, products don't always live up to what is needed or your expectations, live and learn and move to the next thing.

    The issue is of him keeping my property long after being paid to return it, ignoring requests for return, and responding to final demand -- for the first time given as demand, before always very polite and even deferential -- for return with false statement he was going to do so the next day, but still keeping my property and ignoring all communication since. I apologize on the repeat of the issue for those who have already that but I want to be clear that that is it, rather than fitment.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2020
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  16. Boru13

    Boru13 Super Moderator Staff Member Super Mod Moderator

    Apr 25, 2000
    Mike hasn't been on the forums since Thursday.

    I just sent him a message directing him to this thread, if there's no response other options can be considered.
     
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  17. SpyderPhreak

    SpyderPhreak Rocketman for hire Platinum Member

    Apr 13, 2004
    :thumbsup:
     
  18. Hale Storm

    Hale Storm Kydex Whisperer Gold Member

    Sep 18, 2013
    I wonder if he even has your knife anymore.............

    OR, has he not shipped anything out in MONTHS?
     
  19. Bill Roberts

    Bill Roberts

    31
    Jan 21, 2020
    The time that he shipped out was July (EDIT: June 27. July is correct for receipt but not sending.) I returned at his instruction then for the adjustment and have been mostly ignored ever since. By the way, he had said originally when sending that he took so long because adjustment took longer than expected, so apparently adjustment's been an issue from the beginning.

    Or do you mean has he not shipped anything out to anybody in months? I don't know.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2020
  20. Hale Storm

    Hale Storm Kydex Whisperer Gold Member

    Sep 18, 2013
    Hmmmm. The adjustment took so long, or longer than expected? I've built hundreds, maybe thousands of sheaths and holsters and various other items using kydex, holstex, and boltaron at this point. I've had the same requests from customers only a few times since I started in 2012. Sheath either too tight, or too loose. I can't ever remember it taking more than 30 minutes or so to make adjustments and get it right. Never had to adjust any of them more than once too.
    Not trying to bash the guy but his sheaths don't look like they are anything special that couldn't be done by most competent kydex guys, myself included.

    I'm gonna call BS on the adjustment part.
    I'll also say I think he doesn't have your knife anymore (he won't be the first one to steal a members knife by selling it when hit with hard times and the need for cash).

    Or maybe he has fallen ill and can't respond? Doubtful since it seems he's done this before and this is just more douche bag behavior. I wish you well my friend. I hope he at least gets you your knife back even if he doesn't respond here.
     
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