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Old 07-09-2003, 05:06 AM   #1
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Birchwood Reference problems

Good day,
I've been attempting to have a caravan, (or trailer), acquired and restored for a telly production campaigne in Australia.
I've asked on another site for references for a Birchwood Beauties who had offered their services to sell me a Spartan Manor- which sold for less than half the amount they were asking, and to restore said caravan in their shop.
I'm still looking for that one satisfied client to come forward.
We're terrified of the US system of attorneys and courts- we know that an investment of the amount we're making can get tripled in court costs, should there be a problem.
Its an enigma to my team here- we've heard nothing but complaints from clients and others regarding Birchwood Beauties, and have no idea why they would not be jailed or their business dismantled.
Can anyone establish a vote of confidence for this company- and someone with direct experience, not a friend sticking up for him out of friendship.
Thank you in advance for any assistance.

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Old 07-09-2003, 06:05 AM   #2
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Spartan Manors

I have not dealt with Birchwood, but just wanted to let you know that last February, DonMar RV in Lynchburg, SC, had about 20 Spartan Manors, in various states. They also had many other old aluminum trailers in a huge field. You might get a real deal on one there. I cannot help you with where to get it restored, but a good carpenter locally could do most things. Don's number is 803-453-5011 and here is his address:
DonMar RV
268 Pudding Swamp Rd.
Lynchburg, SC
Good luck,
Richard Vroom

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Old 07-09-2003, 07:00 AM   #3
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Vintage Vacations

Have you talked to Craig Dorsey at Vintage Vacations? He does some fantastic restos. Look him up at: go to the restoration shop page...

Good Luck!
Jason & Veronica J.
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Old 07-09-2003, 07:15 AM   #4
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Re: Birchwood Reference problems

Originally posted by austreampete
Its an enigma to my team here- we've heard nothing but complaints from clients and others regarding Birchwood Beauties, and have no idea why they would not be jailed or their business dismantled.
Hi, and welcome to the Forums!

I confess that I've never heard of Birchwood Beauties, and what I know about Spartan trailers would fit into a clearance light!

I can tell you though, that generally the only thing that shuts down a business in the U.S. is either attorney's fees and court costs that are outrageous, huge settlements, or a lack of business. In order to successfully sue someone it takes big dollars to merely initiate the suit. And then, in this internet age, there is almost always an unlimited supply of international "someones" who are willing to part with their money, regardless of a companies' reputation or without checking their reputation.

If you hear nothing but bad things about a company, don't continue to look for someone who has something good to say. You're wasting your time, and looking for problems if you eventually retain them.

Find someone else with a good reputation. You'll be much better off in the long run.

Best of luck.

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Old 07-09-2003, 08:01 AM   #5
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How about Iowa Boys. If you are looking specifically for a Spartan there is a Spartan Trailer Coach group on Yahoo which is pretty active. I've seen quite a few for sale there.

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Old 07-09-2003, 09:27 AM   #6
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Hi guys-
Vroom- Those aren't Manors that Don has- I called up there the other day, and was told that they're all big'uns- IM's and the like.

Austreampete- maybe you can share the clients replies?
I too have heard terrible things about this man. He supposedly runs a flashy internet site and lures folks in, and is an old hippie who has never done any of the work himself, and can't hire or keep qualified help. His last "worker" just called a friend of mine looking for a job- he was being paid by being allowed room and board in a raggedy old trailer behind the shop.
I hear that the scam works to the effect that he gets a large deposit up front, and then the trailer sits dormant. He spends that and then waits for the next "fish" to cough up a deposit.
We buy these trailers for pleasure and relaxation, not to add stress and be ripped off. What a shame that these poor folks have had the bad luck of getting taken on this kind of ride. Pisses me off.
Vintage Vacations does appear to do a very nice job, but I hear they have quite a long waiting list. Good luck- Mate!
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Old 07-09-2003, 12:52 PM   #7
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Good day:
I won't forward the replies from the clients at this time, as they expressed the need for anonymity until they retrieved or resolved their properties from the dilemma.

I can say that the owner sent me a letter that was so long, that he could very well have polished a trailer in the time it took him to write me.

He did include a photo of a trailer that was polished at his shop- but admitted it was done by a crew he brought in from out of town- and I must say- it was a bad job. Shiny- but it had the look of being heated by an orbital buffing machine at a very high speed- very wavy, if you know what I mean- the metal was actually distorted.

He gave all the excuses he could muster- his shop was too small, he had no power, he had to move, his neighbors complained. On and on.

I also was contacted by a client who said he has never seen his trailer- bought it and had them pick it up, and paid a $10000 deposit- well over a year ago, and hasn't been given adequate reasons for its delay.

Additionally, some folks who appear to be quite knowledgeable about the caravan industry in California, wrote and gave very firm warnings- "he's never done a trailer" and "you'll lose your money and will never see your trailer again" these type of statements really scare me- how can someone get away with this- here they would be in prison- its a crime.

I appreciate all the insight- and yes Vintage Vacations does have a long waiting list- I'm considering having a friend open a small shop in Hayward Cal, just to complete my series of projects and to offer service to these customers who've been waiting for this other shop for so long to get theirs. And do so with no extra profit. I'd just like to see them get theirs done- they seem so nice, and its a depressing thought to think that he was trusted to give their caravan a new life and then spent their deposit money. Cheers.
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Old 07-10-2003, 06:39 AM   #8
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that guy is trouble.

I made a few calls around to some of my contacts in California, and they concur that this "trailer restoration shop" is not on the up and up. They've all heard bad things and are disappointed with what he's doing, and there appears to be no end in sight. Hopefully it won't affect the guys like Dorsey and Sue Murphy and also Steve Butcher- once this fool collapses and all these clients have realized what they've thrown their cash into, its going to leave negative tastes in many a mouth for the trailer industry.
You're right about "warped metal" as it is usually caused by inexperienced detail shops that burn it to the point of expansion, and once the metal is expanded- it won't hold its original shape.
Its very gallant of you to try and solve these folks problems- but at this point, you should probably just take care of your own- his customers are probably going to be spiteful as they remove the broomstick from their backsides. Very honorable of you though- good to see people still care!
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Old 07-10-2003, 01:42 PM   #9
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Another Vote for Iowa Boys.
Sue and Mel, very honest straightforward people who never hesitate for a second to go way out of their way to help whether they will make any money off you or not.
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Old 07-12-2003, 08:38 AM   #10
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This is really insane!

I'm perplexed by how much bad news surrounds this person.

He has listed his previous career as a "world class photographer", and is supposed to be working on a "black and white coffee table book" of his works.

Unfortunately, one of my team here, also wondering what kind of person does this type of con game- ran a search on google- scott,lockwood,photo and the only thing that came back was an entry on a pet lovers forum called for goldfish admirers.
Has this person lived in fantasyland his entire life.

He would be imprisoned and possibly beaten here, as we have no choice but to hold people to their word- its a small country and we have nowhere to hide or find victims as this person has obviously done.

Perhaps the USA has gotten too big- and while its still a wonderful place, it offers thieves and liars an opportunity to slither betwen the cracks and places to hide, as well as unsuspecting victims in great supply.

I still am receiving negative e-mails regarding him.

Is there anything that can be done to stop him?
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Old 07-12-2003, 10:08 AM   #11
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Cool Wasn't there a guy in Nigeria...

...who wanted to buy a trailer? Sounds like we outta introduce him to Scott! They'd make a perfect pair!
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Old 07-16-2003, 07:21 PM   #12
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Funny! But I...

...wouldn't let him know how the scam works he may actually try it!

And I watched the Wheel Estate special on History Channel tonight- very nicely done! But one thing was missing- the trailer wizardry of Birchwood BS! How can they neglect to mention the all knowing trailer scam king of Northern Cal, with his rich, illustrious background steeped in world class photography, and "streamline moderne" as he labels it?

I heard more good dirt on this thief today- seems his worker who was living in his trailer out back, was from Colorado, and he's either quit altogether or is trying to go to work for a competitor, or open on his own- lovely! Another guy without the wherewithall to keep his doors open honestly.

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Old 07-16-2003, 09:50 PM   #13
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I emailed him asking for more info...

...and pictures of completed restorations. He told me that he was "just finishing up" his "first restoration," and sent three small blurry pictures of a mostly shiny trailer.

Outside only, no interior shots at all.

It's a little hard to see who would be suckered in to that deal, frankly. Sorry if there's anybody here who has been.
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Old 07-17-2003, 03:20 AM   #14
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I've gone by there when...

I was out there picking up a trailer. Its got a bunch of old trailers around- some decent stuff but nothing great, and absolutely nothing going on. Looks more like trailer storage- especially if this idiot can't keep help.
I also remember somewhere that his first one is some little 17' Plumrose- aka canned ham, and it sounds like its been there for 1.5 years.
Anyone who's done work on there trailer knows how long things take, and for a 17'er to take that long its a joke and supports all the bad things that have been said about him. The bad thing is, if and when he does finish it, he'll be waving it around in triumph- "look at me! look what we did" and try to sweep the dirt under the rug so he can sell more cons to others.

Good work drboyd. Maybe some others can contact this idiot and help expose him and push him away from the serious trailer industry.

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