Ripped Off by Dustin Turpin Knives– Deal with Caution.

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Very Poor Experience with Dustin Turpin – Deal with Caution.

I dislike writing this, but since I have tried every other option I know to resolve a dispute with Dustin Turpin (other than legal, and that may have to be next I guess), I am sharing what has happened with the knife community. If nothing else comes of it, perhaps it will at least serve as a warning for others. I am sorry if this post is a little long, but I want to fairly and accurately share the facts of what happened. I have told Dustin that I will be posting this.

My situation started almost two years ago now, around May 4, 2014. I was very interested in getting a Strife and reached out to Dustin. At first, he said his books were closed and he could not help me. But, as we talked, I mentioned that I was a watch as well as a knife collector and that I had a mint+ Rolex Submariner ceramic date (latest version random serial # with some plastics still on the case, all boxes, papers, tags, etc. –market value of between $7-7.5k or somewhere in that general range) I was willing to trade for his work.

Dustin was interested in working a trade (he said he wanted to give to his father-in-law who was into watches). I had planned to sell the Sub as I needed the cash, but this was a chance to get some of Dustin’s work and I was pretty excited about it. After some back and forth about what I wanted, we agreed on a trade for 4 knives in exchange for the Rolex. I would basically be paying secondary prices and not what Dustin would charge direct based on the trade value of the Rolex but those were his terms and I was fine with that as I really wanted some of his work.

We reached the following agreement (all documented in emails): he would build my first knife and ship it to me December 2014. Then I would send him the watch, which he wanted by January 8, 2015. He would then get the remaining 3 knives to me over the following three months (Jan/Feb/March 2015) (he would build approx. one a month). This was fine with me and we agreed to these terms.

Then, when December 2014 came around, Dustin contacted me and told me that he could not build my first knife in December as he promised because he had been too busy and he wanted me to send the Rolex early (before I got a knife from him) so he would have it for Christmas 2014. Below is the exact email from Dustin (I removed only the personal address):

“Hello Dale,

After my mill being down for a couple weeks and family issues I am a little behind on things this month. Fortunately got good news this week and I can breathe a little easier again. Just hope it stays that way.

I really wanted to get that watch for my pops for x-mas. Do you think you would be willing to send it now and I will get started on your first knife in January.

I hate to do it this way, but just the way things have fell into place with everything that has happened this passed month.

I assure you your first knife will be top priority once I am finished with the shop projects I have lined up. Should be ready to start on it towards the end of Jan at the latest.

After that we can decide what other builds you want. Depending on the configuration I will try to complete at least 1 a month until you have all 4. So hopefully this trade will be completely finished by March or April. I still need to make knives for income on top of them so that is the best I can do for a time table.

If this sounds good you can ship the watch to:

Dustin Turpin
Xxxxxxxxx (address removed)
Xxxxxxxxx”


I told Dustin that I was concerned about sending him the watch before getting even 1 knife, but he promised me that I would get my first knife in January 2015 and the rest one per month until the deal was done. After getting his assurance that he would make my knives a priority since I was “paying” upfront in full, I agreed. This was important – I knew that he was busy and so before agreeing to this deal, I wanted to make sure he would be able to stick to his promised delivery schedule and he promised me he would.

I shipped the watch in December 2014 overnight at my expense as he asked, he wrote on December 22, 2014 thanking me for sending the watch and promising to send me a picture of the timascus he was getting for one of my knives (which he never did).

continued below...
 
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As you can probably guess, I did not get the first knife in January 2015 as promised, nor did I get the other knives by March or April 2015. I tried not to “bug” him, even though he had not sent me a single knife and I had honored my end of our deal. When I did ask him what was going on every so often, he gave excuse after excuse about being too busy or too stressed out to work on my knives. In some cases, he told me that he was starting on my knives and they would be done in a week or two but he broke every one of those promises – over and over again multiple times.

I contacted him in February 2015 and got this response:

“I know I am running behind on your knife. I apologize. Been going through a funk with things lately. I do have some Timascus for your knife and will be starting on it this week. I just need to finish up a couple orders first. Will keep you updated.”

He did not keep me updated and no knife. After I did not hear anything back, I wrote again a month later and got this response in late March 2015:

“Since I am behind on our arrangement I planned on starting on two of your Strifes here in the next couple weeks. Just need to finish a couple builds to get caught up on financial obligations.

Was going to build the timascus and normal linerlocks first. hopefully towards the end of April or early May I can knock out the other two framelock builds so we can be squared away finally.”

But again, the knives were not started as he promised above and I got no update from him. I wrote back to politely ask status and got this response on April 14, 2015:

“Yes I planned on starting on your builds this weekend. Hopefully have them finished by the end of the month.”

But once again, despite these promises, no knives were delivered by the end of the month, or anytime soon after. This went on for months and months often with no communication or updates from Dustin unless I tried to contact him first. Then, he would say he was starting on the knives and they would be done soon, as he did above, and fail to deliver or tell me what was occurring. In fact, this went on until December 2015 with one broken commitment after another.
I can understand getting behind on work or having personal/family issues that keep a maker from working or that create delays. Dustin told me at various points that someone in his family was having health issues, that he was having personal problems, that he was short on money, and towards the end of this ordeal his wife got pregnant and had a baby (I sent them a baby present in congratulations). I understand all this and think I have been exceptionally understanding, but in this case, at the same time Dustin was telling me that he wasn’t able to make my (paid for) knives for one reason after another, he was making and delivering knife after knife for other people.

In fact, during this entire year that went by, Dustin built all kinds of new shop equipment posting the details on IG, he designed and built new knife models, he went to the Gathering with a table of new knives to sell, he held auctions for knives on IG, etc. It was very frustrating seeing knives being delivered to dealers, orders being filled, auction knives being made, new models being made for shows, etc., at the same time Dustin kept telling me he didn’t have time to make my knives that I had paid him in full for.

Finally, in December 2015 I got the first knife of the four, the 2nd was to follow immediately after. After multiple texts, etc., I got knife number 2 in January of this year. Now at this point, have waited for a year to get the first half of this order that was absolutely first promised by December 2014, then changed to January 2015. But, at least to his credit, Dustin did eventually fulfill half of his commitment.

Since January 2015, I have told Dustin that I think how he has handled this entire situation was extremely unreasonable – I should not have had to “bug” him to get him to do the right thing and keep his word, which he broke time and time again by promising me he was going to deliver by a certain date and then ignoring that date until asked for an explanation. Right now, he still owes me two knives that he has told me I would have once he had some money for materials. Right after telling me that, in February 17, 2016, Dustin held an auction on IG for a custom Strife. The high bidder was Bill Hall of TriCity Knives at $5,500. Despite my asking him when (just a ballpark date mind you, not an exact commitment) the remaining 2 knives will be done, he has refused to tell me. In March, after I texted him a long message letting him know that I was going to have to make this situation public, he all of a sudden responded by telling me he was working on knife 3. Since March, I have had no further updates and Dustin has not responded to my texts.

At the end of the day, this has been a very stressful and unpleasant situation. Will I eventually get the last 2 knives I paid for in December 2014? I hope so. Honestly, Dustin has told me so many different stories and broken so many promises I don’t really know for sure. Hopefully he will make this right and I will gladly update this post if he does. Again, I have tried to be very easy-going and only recently have I become so fed-up with the poor communication and broken promises that I felt it was important that others in the knife community know how he has handled this (which I told Dustin I would be doing).

Sorry for the length of the post. I guess the moral of the story, as many many people have said before, is that you should never pay upfront. I just trusted that he would do the right thing.

Thanks.
 
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Tim the Wizard

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Unfortunately, this is a trend with some artists. In this case, however, you seem to have been taken for a nice ride. I do hope he finishes the deal with you soon and compensates you for the time.
 
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Can't believe you sent the watch first. The warning signs were there at the beginning.
 
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Can't believe you sent the watch first. The warning signs were there at the beginning.

You are right and it was a bad call on my part. I just assumed he was so high profile that he wouldn't want to risk his reputation by ripping anyone off.
 
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Thanks for taking the time to read the posts. Hopefully will help someone else.
 

palonej

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You are way too nice of a person for this too happen too.......unfortunately, thieves and scammers have an innate sense for finding good people.
Nauseating! I NEVER wish anyone's income harm.......except people like this.
This thread should stay on top till lawfor is squared away.......I have a feeling it will!!
Truly hope DT surprises us and tightens up lawfor.
Joe
 
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The hardest knife for a maker to build is one that is already paid for.

You should meet him at blade or the Gathering and pick the 2 best knives off of his table for yourself.
 

ohen cepel

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Two years and a $7,000 watch?!?! Man, I would be furious and would have gone legal on him a long time ago. Not a legal guy but could be a felony given the money involved.

I hope you get justice out of it. Even if he sent you a pile of knives after this long I wouldn't want them since they would always make me angry just to look at them.
 
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Thanks to all for the support. It has been an incredibly unpleasant experience I hope to never repeat. This is the only maker I have ever had such a thing happen with.
 
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Somebody mentioned artist. That makes sense. A lot of artists and creative people aren't the most reasonable or level headed. Some are complete disasters when it comes to business and critical thinking. What a hassle. Thanks for sharing.
 

braillediver

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The hardest knife for a maker to build is one that is already paid for.

You should meet him at blade or the Gathering and pick the 2 best knives off of his table for yourself.
+1 For the money involved I'd be there with T-shirts and a Sign if he didn't cough up 2 knives to your satisfaction.

There's no incentive for him to make the knives at this point.
 
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The hardest knife for a maker to build is one that is already paid for.

You should meet him at blade or the Gathering and pick the 2 best knives off of his table for yourself.

LOL..................I think that is a very interesting idea........

OP - man, I really hate that this happened to you. There is no way I would have been that patient. I hate to say it; but I would have had to pay DT a personal visit long ago............that is just too much $$$ out there that he has basically scammed you out of.
You can live and learn for $400 or so, but $7000 .................no way to let that go. Hope it works out for you in the end.
 
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I have told him about this post and I hope he will make this right. If he refuses, I guess I will have no choice other than to look into legal avenues. He did respond earlier today via text but I won't repeat his comments here as they don't really help anything.

Please understand that I am not advocating confrontation nor am I trying to harm his rep (I think he's sort of doing that on his own but people can form their own opinions and reach their own conclusions) I am just trying to get the situation resolved and to get the rest of the knives I paid for. Thanks, all.
 

Bigfattyt

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Some one need to link him here, so this maker knows he is doing irreparable harm to his reputation.

In my neck of the woods, felony theft is met at the $750 level.

Taking 7k from some one makes my blood boil. Especially when you can see him still selling knives to everyone but the person who has already paid.


Some one needs to contact his father, and let him know he is rocking a stolen Rolex as well.
 

palonej

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Great point ^^
I wonder how his dad would feel knowing how his 'gift' was procured???
Joe
 
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