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Are My Expectations High or is This Poor Craftsmanship?

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by Backslider, Sep 6, 2017.

  1. Sep 6, 2017 at 12:24 PM
    #1
    Backslider

    Backslider [OP] Thirsty...

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    Dropped my headlights off on July 17 to have a retrofit done. We agreed upon the work to be done and a price. The headligfhts were supposed to include sequential switchback strips.

    After over a month and me constantly having too check in (he told me 4 days after he received parts) I finally received word that they were complete. He also sends me pictures of the RGBW halos on in a few different colors. I ask if he can send me a picture of the switchbacks and he says "I'll talk to you about the sequential LED strips when you pick them up."

    I told him that rather than pick them up and be surprised I would rather know what was going on right now. He told me that the sequential switch backs did not work the way he had expected, and did not fit into the housings properly. Keep in mind, before we started anything he said he had done multiple tundra headlight retrofits and assured me that everything was going to turn out perfect. Rather than calling me when he 1st had the problem, and planning with me where we should go from there, he just put everything back together in sealed up the lights. I told him that this was not acceptable to me as I was trying to avoid having different colored led strips and halos. A big part of the reason I went the route that I did was so that all my color temperatures would match.

    Hes told me you had done everything he possibly could and that he would give me back the money for the switchbacks. He said he was not aware of a product on the market that would work in place of the platinum DRL led's. 2 minutes of googling led me to a product from dynamic diodes that was a direct fit replacement for the LED strips in these headlights. After showing this to him he reluctantly agreed to swap them out. He told me he could have them done in a day or 2 after receiving parts.

    2 weeks later when I had not received an update or my headlights I started to get a little frustrated with this guy. I tried to call him but just as every other time I tried to call him he did not answer the phone. I left him a text telling him I would like to get a status update and didn't hear back for 4 to 5 hours. After 45 hours I sent him another text telling him that I would pursue other means to get my money back if I needed to do so. At this time, he magically received my text and was able to respond. He told me he was out on a bowhunt and had very limited cell phone coverage. I find it very interesting that he finally got my text message when I started to get a little frustrated and threatened to pursue my money through legal matters if needed.

    Verar a lot more details that I haven't included here due to time constraints. This was a very long process that literally took about 45 days longer than he originally said it would. This company was more expensive than sending my lights out, but I thought that because they were local it would be worth the additional cost in case I ever had issues I could use the warranty service and not after ship my lights out to another state.

    I finally picked the lights up today. They are covered in silicone all around the lenses. He said that he uses a vacuum tester to make sure the lights are properly sealed, and that's why there are some specks of dust inside the housings. I find this very hard to believe considering there are clearly holes in the silicone behind the projector itself that would prevent the housing from being airtight.

    Also he was very liberal with the silicone all around the lenses. Anyone out there with headlight retrofits, is this normal? I can see specks of dust inside the lenses. Where he used color match paint on the side markers I can see imperfections in the paint. I can see beads of silicone leaking out from around the shrouds on the projector lens. It also seems to me that he used way too much silicone around the lenses. In fact it seems like this amount of silicone would be more likely to catch on something in peel off, resulting in a Broken seal.

    I spent around $1100 on these. Did I just get completely ripped off?

    It's kind of hard to capture some of the dust inside the lens. I'm also having a hard time capturing on camera the bumps in the color match paint on the side markers. I'll try to get some better pictures when I'm stationary.

    20170906_122112.jpg 20170906_122109.jpg 20170906_121737.jpg 20170906_121756.jpg 20170906_122142.jpg 20170906_121756.jpg 20170906_121812.jpg
     
  2. Sep 6, 2017 at 12:26 PM
    #2
    Backslider

    Backslider [OP] Thirsty...

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    Sorry for the typos. This was dictated and my voice to text apparently isn't very accurate.
     
  3. Sep 6, 2017 at 12:36 PM
    #3
    Vendeta2k

    Vendeta2k Distinguished Member Of The Cement Club

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    I'm no expert by any means.....ripped off doesn't even begin to cover it.......
     
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  4. Sep 6, 2017 at 12:39 PM
    #4
    Backslider

    Backslider [OP] Thirsty...

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    Yeah.. I don't know what to do. I should post the text conversation I've been having with this guy over the last two months.

    I am trying to contact him now but he isn't answering or responding to texts.

    I feel like we will end up in court, which I absolutely will do if he doesn't respond in a few days.

    @eledobleu , you are a pro at this. What is your opinion?
     
  5. Sep 6, 2017 at 12:50 PM
    #5
    Backslider

    Backslider [OP] Thirsty...

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    Yeah. Almost 2 months ago.

    I didn't mention it in my original post, but when I picked up the lights he pretty much dropped them off and left. He didn't really give me a chance to look them over in his presence.

    I'm not going to install them. I'm trying to work with him now to get this resolved. I paid $275 for the brand new lights (not from this vendor), and $1052.24 for parts and labor. I honestly feel like he should give me my money back and he can just have these lights. This is a registered LLC in my state, called HID Retrofit.

    He did respond to my text saying "every retrofitter seals things up differently, if you look at my lights I usually use silicone."

    There is so much silicone that it peels right off.. =\

    I'm really frustrated with this experience. After nearly two months of waiting for these lights I pick them up and they're total garbage. On top of all that, they aren't even tested working because he says he doesn't have the ability to test them.

    He seemed so professional going in to this, and the company's FB page shows a lot of what appears to be really good work.. Now that I look really closely I don't see any customers singing his praises on his page though.
     
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  6. Sep 6, 2017 at 1:00 PM
    #6
    Backslider

    Backslider [OP] Thirsty...

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    I don't think I should do a charge back - it will ruin my chances of winning a lawsuit if it comes to that. I think I'm going to work with him to attempt to get a full refund + the cost of the headlights, and he can keep his work. If that doesn't work out I think we're going to small claims.

    I really want to see what other retrofitters say before I proceed, but I really feel like these are just total garbage. =(
     
  7. Sep 6, 2017 at 1:06 PM
    #7
    easleycrawler

    easleycrawler TOYOTA ADDICT- SSEM #78

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    That is some pretty shitty work. Sorry.
     
  8. Sep 6, 2017 at 1:08 PM
    #8
    csuviper

    csuviper Moderator Staff Member

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    Looks like a home DIY not professional company.
     
  9. Sep 6, 2017 at 1:16 PM
    #9
    JC303

    JC303 Same same but different

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    This sucks. I hope it ends well and you get your money back.
     
  10. Sep 6, 2017 at 2:21 PM
    #10
    nowayout

    nowayout New Member

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    With the way he is avoiding you do you really think he will give you your money back that easy? Why complicate your life with court when you can just call your credit card company? I'm trying to find out why you want to go that route.
     
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  11. Sep 6, 2017 at 2:42 PM
    #11
    MotoTundra

    MotoTundra The Ocho

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    -TRS Mini D2S Retrofit on TRD Pro Headlights (Apollo 2.0 Shrouds, 35w XB Ballasts, 5500k Bulbs) -Baja Designs Squadron R Sport Aux lights. -TRD Pro Grill -TRD Rear Sway Bar -BakFlip VP Tonneau w/BakBox -Dipped wheels & bumpers -Iron Cross HD steps -Undercover Swingcase -SunTek Paint Protection film -Tinted glass -Bedmat -OEM Towing Mirrors
    Hmm. . . I hope leo chimes in, I'm curious to hear his thoughts I think he knows better than us.


    I sealed my housing and lens back together with retrorubber from TRS, but since they are for me and I don't care mind, I smeared some silicone around the gap between the lens and housing for added insurance. I did clean it up though. I also used a different method to seal where you can access the bulb.


    No one sees where you access the bulb so it's function over fashion.

    Is that the best method? I don't know.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2017
  12. Sep 6, 2017 at 2:42 PM
    #12
    Backslider

    Backslider [OP] Thirsty...

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    I don't initiate a chargeback because I am well educated on the matter and have been through a similar process before. The National Consumer Law Center is very clear that a chargeback is to be made against fraudulent charges - not for instances where you are unhappy with the quality or otherwise dissatisfied with a legitimate charge. The charge was legitimate and agreed upon at the time it was made.

    This is a matter for Small Claims Court.

    If I were to initiate a chargeback, illegally, and it was refused by my bank, I have now soiled my own reputation in this matter and tarnished my name to a Justice Court.
     
    Wvmoonshiner, G-man, Quebec and 5 others like this.
  13. Sep 6, 2017 at 2:46 PM
    #13
    Backslider

    Backslider [OP] Thirsty...

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    Yeah, it's not just the silicone that bothers me.. In fact, that's the least of my concerns. I am unhappy with the amount of dust inside the housings, which is hard to capture on pictures but very visible when viewing with your own eyes. There is also silicone smeared on and around the shrouds, peeking out from around the projector lens, etc.

    I'm a bit disappointed that he claimed to check for air-tightness with a vacuum mechanism, but that clearly wasn't the case here as my silicone has HUGE HOLES in it that are not air tight.

    Also, and again it's very hard to see in images, there are a lot of obvious imperfections in the color-matched paint on the side markets and shrouds.

    I feel that when you are spending nearly $1100 on something like this it's reasonable to expect it to be professionally done. Particularly when an LLC or other company is representing themselves as professionals.

    I would personally never feel comfortable giving a customer something that looked like these do. =(
     
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  14. Sep 6, 2017 at 3:04 PM
    #14
    MotoTundra

    MotoTundra The Ocho

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    I hear ya. It doesn't sound like quality work. I hope you get it straightened out!
     
    Backslider [OP] likes this.
  15. Sep 6, 2017 at 3:21 PM
    #15
    r4z0r51o

    r4z0r51o have fallen off the forum, but I’m still alive.

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    Oh wow ... I don't know what to say.

    For the $,$$$ you paid, you should have received a nicer product. Best of luck in getting this resolved!
     
  16. Sep 6, 2017 at 3:22 PM
    #16
    Black Wolf

    Black Wolf Addicted to petrified wood apparently

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    I calibrate laboratory grade vacuum/ torr instruments at work. High end testers. I'm really curious as to what method he used and with what vacuum tester. Vacuum testing requires a perfect seal to the UUT...unit under test. Not tricky at all with proper test equipment and methodology. By way....WAY TOO much silicone seal. Same with soldering. Too much results in a defective solder/seal.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2017
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  17. Sep 6, 2017 at 3:39 PM
    #17
    PermaFrostTRD

    PermaFrostTRD New Member

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    I literally know zero about retrofits.

    But those look terrrible.
     
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  18. Sep 6, 2017 at 3:51 PM
    #18
    csuviper

    csuviper Moderator Staff Member

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    Shop vac lol
     
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  19. Sep 6, 2017 at 3:52 PM
    #19
    ColoradoTJ

    ColoradoTJ So there I was.... Staff Member

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    I hope you get this taken care of man. No luck lately for you huh?

    I am most shocked at the price. I never knew that headlights would cost this much. After my Dodge experience with headlights, I at least test drive a vehicle that I plan to purchase (not necessarily the vehicle I plan on buying) at night now. Been doing that for years.

    I'm just shocked at the 3rd gen lights. I was so happy with the visibility of my 2nd gen Tundra at night. Hell, for that matter, there wasn't much I didn't like except the lack of a limited slip differential.
    Yesterday/this morning I drove 8 hours in the dark, with fog from the western slope of Colorado. Total confidence in visibility. I understand why you want the retrofits, and demand a quality job.
     
  20. Sep 6, 2017 at 4:01 PM
    #20
    Black Wolf

    Black Wolf Addicted to petrified wood apparently

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    Craftsman I hope although I prefer the Binford 1000 super duper vac.....
     
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  21. Sep 6, 2017 at 4:03 PM
    #21
    tomsinamerica

    tomsinamerica New Member

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    so forgive me but i'm pretty sure our housings aren't airtight despite what we think. On the back of them, there are 3 breather ports, or at least i think there are. Moisture needs to get out somehow... if you replaced your lenses on a super humid day, that moisture has to get out somehow and it gets out through the 3 ports.... so vacuum testing is kinda pointless...

    Also.. even if i'm wrong... vacuum testing would suck air out, not push dust in... That's just shoddy workmanship.... **makes mental note... keep dust out of opened headlights lying on kitchen table**

    just my 2c
     
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  22. Sep 6, 2017 at 4:08 PM
    #22
    Tacogrande

    Tacogrande New Member

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    Is 1100 a normal price for headlights?:eek:

    You know what they say about a guy who uses too much caulk...hes a hack job.
     
  23. Sep 6, 2017 at 4:48 PM
    #23
    Black Wolf

    Black Wolf Addicted to petrified wood apparently

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    Vacuum testing doesn't suck air out per se. It verifies a good seal..If the Lab standard vacuum tester indicator fluctuates.....compromised seal.. Air will get sucked in with bad seals. Headlight lenses need to be air tight...same with IP rated waterproof light bars for example...If waterproof then air tight...Same difference..You are correct that in most cases the seal is determined by how good the bulb housing makes a good seal. Obviously not a perfect method for everyday civilian automotive use. When you start advertising "meets" military/aerospace specs...that's a whole different story like many high end off road light manufacturers claim...hence IP ratings...Think about it...Aircraft lights have to meet a certain spec criteria with all the changes in air pressure, temperature, let alone space vehicles that leave our atmosphere. Here in CO we can get pretty high up. You will find out soon enough if you have a cheesy product.
     
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  24. Sep 6, 2017 at 4:53 PM
    #24
    mdavis

    mdavis I need a beer.

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    IMG_1779.jpg
     
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  25. Sep 6, 2017 at 4:59 PM
    #25
    Black Wolf

    Black Wolf Addicted to petrified wood apparently

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    Now if only Binford would make a diesel 7000 to put in our Tundras....
     
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  26. Sep 6, 2017 at 5:26 PM
    #26
    Backslider

    Backslider [OP] Thirsty...

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    Or a cock.
     
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  27. Sep 6, 2017 at 5:30 PM
    #27
    nowayout

    nowayout New Member

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    Thanks for explaining. I don't know anything on the matter.
     
  28. Sep 6, 2017 at 6:24 PM
    #28
    Black Wolf

    Black Wolf Addicted to petrified wood apparently

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    I'm personally not big on spending big $$ on aftermarket headlights let alone $1100. Yes, I can attest my OEM lights suck a big one and want to change that. I also understand why getting truly decent retros are cool too. The moral of this story is to sometimes not go with "local" business unless you have seen several actual products.Actual "word of mouth". Like I did with my local "Exhaust Pros". For crying out loud...before I'd spend $1100 small...I'd want them tested on Everest or on the freaking moon. The Moon is not easy but Buzz Aldrin is still alive to get a 2nd opinion.......Just sayin.....another great reason to go with our vendors and personal experiences here. Less chance of fucking up.At least the "odds" are better here.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2017
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  29. Sep 6, 2017 at 6:27 PM
    #29
    Backslider

    Backslider [OP] Thirsty...

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    I did research this guy, including getting a lot of pictures of Tundra headlights he's done. I also meticulously went through his portfolio of completed work. I don't know if I just won the shitty lottery or if all of his work is like this.

    I certainly didn't just dish out $1052 + $275 for the brand new headlights without thinking I understood what I was getting in to.

    We had a clear agreement and clear expectations on both sides.. Once he had my money and headlights everything just went south. =\
     
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  30. Sep 6, 2017 at 6:28 PM
    #30
    eledobleu

    eledobleu retrofitwholesale.com

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    Sucks you have to deal with that. First let me say the Original Panamera Shrouds Clear Acrylic insert is not perfect. DOnt know why but it sometimes have scratches, smudges that wont come off. So that part isnt craftsmanship.

    I do see dirt spots, specs etc inside the housings. But to be honest this is normal. I blow out all headlights with 150psi and somehow specs or dust still seem to get in there. Even OEM lights have specs and dust though you cant see it because of the chrome reflection. OEM lights have lots of defects like scratches on reflector bowl, small imperfections that usually go unnoticed because of the chrome and most people dont inspect the oem lights when they buy a vehicle.

    The clear sealant is very messy. Thats not how the lights should be sealed. And there should be no sealant around the bulb. Very messy job sealing it up.

    But most importantly, If you agreed upon sequential switchback strips then thats what you should have gotten. By you not receiving what you paid for is not good. If he is local then you need to go to his location and give back the lights.
     

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