[Nightmare ] Porsche Boxster Convertible Top from Auto Top Factory LLC

17 06 2014

First, before I begin this sad tale, let me say that installing a new convertible top on a Porsche Boxster is not as scary a task as it sounds. Pelican Parts quotes it as a 16 hour job I think, in their online tutorials. It’s not. Maybe 8 hours worst case scenario, and probably closer to 3 or 4 if you’re familiar at all with how it all fits together.

Now, when selecting a top to buy DO NOT USE Auto Top Factory LLC out of Van Nuys, California. While the quality of the top may be average the owner is a pathelogical liar and if you run into any defects or problems with your top they WILL NOT back you up but will rather lie to you continually, make promises they don’t keep, and eventually stop answering your emails and avoiding your phone calls entirely.

This gem of a guy goes by the eBay user ID of autotopfactoryllc  and while their feedback rating may not look too bad, there’s a reason for that: he’s a sneaky little bastard that knows the eBay timelines for refunds and feedback, and carefully makes sure that he’s your best friend by promising you the world until those dates have gone by. Then, good luck getting a phone call answered. And, if you’re lucky enough to get him on the phone after that expect to have him pretend he can’t hear you and hang up.

If you’re interested in the gory details, here they are:

April 14th, 2014
I purchased a replacement convertible top for my 1999 Porsche Boxster from Auto Top factory LLC on eBay. paid $319.00 via PayPal. The company offers a six (6) year warranty against manufacturer defects.

18 April 2014
I received the top and installed it that same weekend.

20 April 2014
I discovered that, due to incorrect manufacturing, the guide straps that guide the top into the roof channels during closing had torn away from the top (the guide straps were sewn the wrong way around with the rubberized side facing inwards which would not allow the straps to slide along the roof frame bars as intended)) and thus my top would not close without having two people outside the car during closing (to manually guide the top into the roof channels).

23 April 2014
I contacted the company and they were very apologetic and offered to send me a replacement top right away or to help me fix the issue. I agreed to try and fix it first rather than spending another day or more removing the old and re-installing a new top (again).

29 April 2014
The company sent me replacement guide straps and a needle and thread, which used – per their instructions – to sew the new straps onto the roof fabric.

Unfortunately this solution did not work as my sewing skills are far from factory-precise and the new straps caused the roof fabric to be too fat to fit into the channel and thus still required two people outside the car during closing to manually guide the roof fabric into the channels, plus when closed it now has bulges along the roof line due to the fat new straps having being sewn in by hand.

6 May 2014
I emailed the company again and told them that I would like to accept their offer of a replacement top.  I received no email reply.

8 May 2014
I called the company and spoke to Liza Dekirmendjian. Liza then told me that they would replace the top only after I removed it and shipped the old, defective one back to them. I became upset due to the fact that I had spent the last two weeks screwing around with this top trying to correct the defects and that I could not remove the top from my car that is parked outdoors and wait two weeks for a new one to arrive, especially as we were entering the rainy season. The owner, Hutch Dekirmendjian, then came to the phone and apologized to me. He told me that customer satisfaction is their prime concern and that he would send me a new top right away, along with a pre-paid shipping label to return the old one in the same box once I do the new install. In order to compensate me for the hassle he also offered to upgrade the top to a glass-window version. I accepted his offer and he promised to ship the new top no later than Monday, May 12th.

13 May 2014
One day after I was promised it would ship, I received an email from Liza saying:
“Hello Grant.
Per your conversation with Hutch, we will be sending you a new top for your Boxster. The tops are in production and should ship out no later than Monday. We will probably expedite the shipping to be sure you receive it quickly.
Thank you.

This was the very last email I ever received from the company, even though I emailed them six times since asking about the status of my shipment.

Note: This was day 30 since purchase, and also the final day that I would be eligible to file an eBay claim against them for a misrepresented item. At the time I did not realize it but I am now sure this delay was very calculated from the start, as you shall see below.

13 May 2014
I replied to Liza’s email asking why it had been delayed when Hutch had promised me it would ship on the 12th. I received no reply.

19 May 2014
I emailed asking for a status update on the shipment. I received no reply.

20 May 2014
After numerous attempts, I finally reached Hutch by telephone. He was very friendly and said they’d been out of stock on the glass windows, but he had them now and would be shipping my top right away. He also offered to throw in some double-sided tape and a defroster cable to make up for the delay.

2 June 2014
After still having received no shipment, I emailed asking for a status update on the shipment. I received no reply.

3 June 2014
I emailed asking for a status update on the shipment. I received no reply.

I placed at least one dozen phone calls (likely more) during this same time period but the phone was never answered (and no voicemail or answering machine picked up).

5 June 2014
I finally reached hutch by telephone. Again, he was super friendly and apologized for the delay saying that he went to Vegas this time as a reason for not having sent the package (huh?). He promised he would go right now and package it up and send it to me. He also offered to throw in a headliner as an added bonus to make up for the delays. I, being skeptical, asked him to clarify that he would send the shipment that very day. He replied that yes he would. I asked him to call me back or email me with the package tracking number. He promised that he would post the tracking number to eBay that night and would also email it to me.

Needless to say I never received a tracking number, nor any email from him.

9 June 2014
I emailed both hutch & Liza asking for the tracking number. I received no reply.

10 June 2014
I began calling by phone every day, and many days as many as 5-10 times a day. The phone would just ring and ring.

11 June 2014
I called from a friend’s phone (with an out of state number) and Hutch answered. I said hello and verified that it was him. He said yes. Then I told him who was calling and he suddenly said he couldn’t hear me and hung up. I called back and, of course, the phone simply rang and rang. I called about 6 or 7 times until I gave up.

13 June 2014
I called from another friend’s phone with an entirely different area code, and Liza answered. I asked to please speak to Hutch. She asked who was calling and I said “Grant”. Hutch came to the phone and said “Robert?”. I said “No, this is Grant Boshoff”. He then did the same routine as before, saying “Hello? Hello? I can’t hear you?” and hung up. Again I called back numerous times but it rang and rang as usual.

14 June 2014
I open a case with eBay, but because it is over 30 days from purchase all they will do is facilitate communication between us but will not enforce any action whatsoever. In my communication I stated a very brief description of the above and stated that all i wanted was simply a working top as promised numerous times. Hutch replied back saying that I was demanding a refund without being willing to return the top first and that they refused to speak to me any further about it.

So, I figured I’m not getting the replacement and to just cut my losses, post negative feedback on eBay, and move on. Well, guess what, the 60 days had just elapsed so I was unable to post negative feedback. Annoyed yet?