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This is a thread I hoped I would never pen. Sadly, after months of failed negotiations as an intermediary I feel that I have no choice for a number of reasons.

The primary reason I am writing is to warn members of the extreme financial risk they assume when deciding to patronize a tailor or other bespoke maker whose business is based in another country. Secondarily, I write to relate the sad tale of a good friend and client upon whom has befallen exactly this misfortune.

Though in all liklihood many of our members who are members of the legal profession will correct my cites, the Uniform Commercial Code nationally, and statute, at least in my home state of New York, convey certain rights upon makers of custom-made merchandise. The primary right with which I am concerned is the right to correct mistakes perceived by the client, as long as such corrections are accomplished within a 'reasonable' period of time. In other words, you cannot turn to me and say that the widget I made for you isn't correct and therefore you are not paying for it. I first have the opportunity to correct the widget and, if I do so successfully, you remain obligated to remunerate me as agreed in the first place. If I am unsuccessful, your obligation to pay ceases and, should my failure have caused you harm, a burden may then fall upon me to pay you in some fashion to compensate you for that harm. Hence, as you can see, both you as the client as well as I as the maker have our recourses.

Now, let us take the case of a tailor whose business is based in London (or virtually any foreign country) and who travels to the United States on a regular basis. You and the tailor meet, you see and like his work, you decide to buy a couple of suits, and you hand over a few thousand dollars as a deposit. Three months later, the tailor hopefully returns and you have your first fitting. The suits are close but need a few adjustments. The process is repeated and, three months later, you have your final fitting which you consider perfect. Your newfound tailor takes the suits back home, makes buttonholes, presses them up and ships them to you. Everything worked out perfectly. But what if it did not? What if you ordered single-breasted, non-canvassed unconstructed suits and received double breasted 'power looks'? Even worse, what if you called a few days later with a detail you forgot to mention ... and the phone was disconnected?

What are your choices? Can you cite the Uniform Comercial Code to get the suit remade? Sure. Does the law of your state apply to a citizen of the United Kingdom who has no assets in your state? Absolutely. But that is all theory. In actuality, you have no de facto recourse whatsoever. Your money is gone and there is absolutely nothing you can (economically) do about it.

I know Darren Beaman to be a talented and able tailor. I know Darren to be a helluva nice guy. Some may remember that I participated in a show with him earlier this year. I got to spend time with him and am truly convinced that he has not only genuine talent, but a strong love for the sartorial arts as well. Unfortunately, those qualities are not sufficient to make a business operate and, as much of a "cottage industry" as the bespoke arts may be, they are still, first and foremost, businesses. There have been a number of threads on this board recently questioning the dates for Darren's next visit and the failings of his "customer service".

Regretfully, as I have come to learn these past few months, the problem is much, much worse than the use of a medical infirmity as a constant excuse and "hard drive viruses" which destroy e-mails as a reason for the complete lack of communication. I have been negotiating with Darren, both through other parties as well as directly for many months, to try to recover any part of my client/friend's approximately $7000 deposit placed one and one-half years ago ... and to recover as well his expensive & rare fabrics which were placed in Darren's hands for the making of future suits. I have been successful not to the tune of even one penny. Not one yarn of the fabrics has been returned. My client/friend received one suit some 15 months after placing his original order. The suit neither fits nor was it made even remotely as requested. My client and friend has long ago requested a refund, and more recently done so in writing. Darren's last statement of almost two weeks ago was "I will take advise on this matter, this week and email you back". No reply has been heard since.

And without a negotiated settlement, what is my friend's recourse? Can he institute international civil litigation? Certainly. Can he win his judgement before spending more than $7000 and the cost of the missing fabrics? Not a rat's chance!

Many travelling makers visit the U.S. Some have done so without incident for decades. It would be nice if that were always the case. Sadly, it is not.

In closing, I began as I started. I am sad and disgusted. This is a thread I hoped to never write. The nicest result I can imagine is my client receiving his fabric and deposit back and my deletion of this message. I don't hold out much hope for that, and no matter which foreign enterprise you are considering commissioning, I advise you all to consider strongly what your financial recourse might be once your hefty deposit boards a plane at an international departures terminal.

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