Re: Pre-orders, pro or con.


Al, that is actually theft by deception and considering the amount a felony in most jurisdictions. You could have filed a criminal complaint against him and a civil complaint and regained your money. Dealers don't have that option unless they go to the extent of having every person who pre-orders execute an enforceable contract.

Rich Orr

-----Original Message-----
From: Al and Patricia Westerfield <>
To: STMFC <>
Sent: Wed, Mar 21, 2012 5:55 pm
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Pre-orders, pro or con.

Many years ago when I worked for a company and had actual money to spend I
pre-paid for several very expensive locos from a dealer who will remain
nameless. An Erie triplex and L-1 0-8-8-0 camelback. The dealer never ordered
them. After waiting well after others received theirs I asked the dealer where
mine were. He said they hadn’t come in yet. I called the importer who told me
all had been shipped but he just happened to have a spare triplex that had come
back from being repaired. I sent the importer the money and confronted the
dealer. The dealer reached into the bottom of his rotating counter and pulled
out a wad of bills. He peeled off over $1,000 for me. This is how he conducted
business? I never went back. He soon went out of business. But I did get the
L-1 from another source. – Al Westerfield

Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 2:47 PM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Pre-orders, pro or con.

The problem is, it is the dealer who gets stuck. The manufacturer has been paid.
The distributor has been paid. Neither will take the product back. The customer
who pre-ordered declines to take it. The person with the least available cash is
stuck -- the dealer. This might not be so much of an issue with a freight car.
But how many $500 locomotives can the dealer he left holding that he will likely
need to sell at a loss (no one pays retail and most are not even satisfied with
25% off list any more) and stay in business? Thus the need for a pre-order
deposit in selected cases -- when burned once. The non-refundable deposit allows
the dealer to sell the amount of the deposit below cost and at least break even.
Otherwise, he is out of business.


-----Original Message-----
From: Anthony Thompson <>
To: STMFC <>
Sent: Wed, Mar 21, 2012 1:17 pm
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Pre-orders, pro or con.

Rich Orr wrote:

As a small vendor (not a LHS), I buy directly from two
manufacturers . . . I do selectively require deposits on orders. I
have been stuck with large numbers of items from individuals who pre-
ordered and then declined to accept the items. Usually
locomotives. Anything they order now requires a non-refundable
But notice the problem here. The locomotive comes in, it's panned

by somebody somewhere (rightly or wrongly), and the prospective buyer,

who of course had no way to know what would be delivered, declines to

accept. I don't think this is unreasonable behavior. If those who are

"selective" (not saying "picky") find themselves having to pre-pay for

reservations, some will simply drop out, as some posters have

observed. That's a loss of customer, because they don't decline EVERY


That said, I have no sympathy for the reservation holder who, on

arrival says, "sorry, I changed my mind." That's unreasonable, even

though I realize the dealer has no way to distinguish it from the

buyer who finds the product unacceptable.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA

2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705

(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail,

Publishers of books on railroad history


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