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Old 06-26-2007, 04:57 AM   #1
Don Howard
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Ripped off by Punisher's Customs

I am one of the people in his now infamous CrowdBuster build. I paid in full for my CB 3+yrs ago. And long before I started being vocal on message boards about it, Lee Kinney had chosen to ignore my attempts to get an honest status of this project.

His continued and deliberate refusal to communicate with me has led me to conclude that he never intended to complete this work and that it was all a scam. Probably his most elaborate to date by the sheer size of it.

I know that Lee has 1) a computer, 1) internet access, 3) time to email people - because others have been getting emails from him. I know that my spam filter is not going to block his emails. And I know that he frequents many of the same boards I do, where he could send me a PM. I have sent him emails and PM's - and they have gone unanswered.

The whole long saga has been one of him only updating people when someone hassled him a bit. And then we would get a sob story about how he has no money/time/etc, is having to work multiple jobs to support his shop, is eating ramen, has no personal life, etc. These were often effective in getting many to feel sorry for him. When he grew tired of some folks being more insistent (RamboPreacher comes to mind) he had the wonderful fortune to have his whole message board *whoops* go away. How incredibly convenient! And he long ago lapsed back into silence when I tried to get an update on this long suffering project.

I was in the group of customers who were silently waiting for a long time. I actually did feel sorry for the guy at one point, and was hoping that all he needed was some more time and all would be right. I feel duped, because as been shown by others he has had time and money to pursue other projects - like the race motor he just built for his car. That motor was not some duct tape and spit junkyard rebuild to get some ramen eating guy back on the road. He spent a lot of money and time on it - money and time he has long been claiming he doesn't have.

Others have paypal him money for postage (because he always claims he has none whatsoever) - and then had to go after him through paypal when he then chose to take their money and go back to his business as usual of doing nothing.

His run and hide actions, his refusal to deal honestly and fairly with people, his deliberately vindictive actions towards his customers, they all add up to him being a thief.

Lee - as I have stated elsewhere, I want either my product or a refund. It is that simple.
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Old 06-26-2007, 05:31 AM   #2
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considered legal actions?
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Old 06-26-2007, 07:36 AM   #3
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I'd contact the local police or a lawyer.
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Old 06-28-2007, 04:07 PM   #4
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On a side note, I used the Whois.org information on his website to contact his administrative contact, Michael Guslick. His email address is: mguslick@MATRIXPM.com

However, since contacting him he refused to give me Lee's phone number, I said I would report the website for invalid Whois information to ICANN. At this point, Lee emailed me asking me who I was. I told him, "They call me the punisher."

Michael then emailed me back and told me that he was going to be "nice" and forward my message to Lee, but since I was such a dick about it (I mean, I really was), he wasn't going to. Funny part is, if he didn't forward my email to Lee, why would Lee be emailing me in the first place? And, why would he do so and ask why I am "harassing" Michael?

Now if you run a Whois query on Lee's website, he's had it moved to a privacy service so he can't have any of his information posted. I believe Michael is still the website admin, so feel free to flood him with emails, especially since that appears to be his work email.

No, I've never dealt with Lee or even sent him any markers, or even seen his website until a few weeks ago - but I did this to help people who are caught in this conundrum with him. What else can I say? Spread the word.
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Old 06-29-2007, 05:08 AM   #5
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WOW.
This isn't the first time I have run across Lee's name and Punisher Customs on a message board.

Never seen anything positive.

It's a shame that someone with such obvious talent could be such an immature d-bag.

Now I am pretty sure that if it was a mail order type sceanrio you can file a claim at your local court and have a summons sent to him.
I think he has to appear and if you are found to be in the right they can issue a warrant for him and order him to pay you up to triple back (depending on your state punative damages may differ).
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Old 06-29-2007, 07:08 AM   #6
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apparently someone got ahold of his sister's number and called her and threatened her when she wouldn't give his phone number. While i like his work but dont care for the "time frame" i think that whoever did that should get the **** kicked out of him.
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Old 06-29-2007, 07:36 AM   #7
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It doesn't help matters that Lee is now working a full time job, because airsmithing wasn't paying the bills. And he is no longer taking any new orders, and is trying his hardest to get caught up on the orders he has, and believe me, he's got alot.
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Old 06-29-2007, 08:12 AM   #8
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How many orders' does he have that it takes him a couple years to get each one out the door? I'm sorry, but working full time is no excuse for holding on to people’s stuff for years on end. At the very least he could shove it in a box and send it back to them, which takes minimal effort.

And if it’s a legitimate problem, why not update people and correspond with them? Nope, shady dealings come with shady business.
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Old 06-29-2007, 08:24 AM   #9
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One sick day off from work could be spent sending everything back, c'mon that's no excuse. Heck, do it on 4th of July, or Christmas, or any holiday you get off, if it solves your problem. And like gen said, the least he could do is reply to people's e-mails and messages telling them what's up (without being a jerk, which really worsens his problem.. why not talk nicely and try to win people's patience over to you? He's obviously taking out all his frustration on people who paid him to do work.)
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Old 06-29-2007, 03:21 PM   #10
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Alright, lets do a bit of math here.

Lets say each Crowdbust takes two weeks when you have all day to work on your airsmithing. So, you would be able to get 26 crowdbusters done a year.

Now, lets see, if you go to work around 7, and get home around 6, which is about average for a full time job. That leaves you a couple hours a day (maybe)to do airsmithing. So, one would assume that it would take at least 6 weeks to do a Crowdbuster. So, now you are getting about 8 out a year.
On top of that, you have a bunch of other airsmithing custom projects to work on. So, with all of those, you are looking at 3-4 Crowdbusters a year.
Ok, now you have random repairs you get asked to do. Now, that definatly kicks you down to 3 crowdbusters a year.
Now, you've got the parts you are making to actually keep your shop open and to pay the bills, so you are down to 2 Crowdbusters a year.

So, you have probably 100 CBs ordered, so, he's gonna be working a while.
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Old 06-30-2007, 04:28 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paintballer798 View Post
On a side note, I used the Whois.org information on his website to contact his administrative contact, Michael Guslick. His email address is: mguslick@MATRIXPM.com

However, since contacting him he refused to give me Lee's phone number, I said I would report the website for invalid Whois information to ICANN. At this point, Lee emailed me asking me who I was. I told him, "They call me the punisher."

Michael then emailed me back and told me that he was going to be "nice" and forward my message to Lee, but since I was such a dick about it (I mean, I really was), he wasn't going to. Funny part is, if he didn't forward my email to Lee, why would Lee be emailing me in the first place? And, why would he do so and ask why I am "harassing" Michael?

Now if you run a Whois query on Lee's website, he's had it moved to a privacy service so he can't have any of his information posted. I believe Michael is still the website admin, so feel free to flood him with emails, especially since that appears to be his work email.

No, I've never dealt with Lee or even sent him any markers, or even seen his website until a few weeks ago - but I did this to help people who are caught in this conundrum with him. What else can I say? Spread the word.
I am pretty sure that bothering his webmaster will not be useful. His hosting appears to be through Haveblue who by my experience is good people. While HB has a certain amount of loyalty to Kinney, he DOES NOT deserve to be harrassed for his friendship. His hosting is a service.
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Old 06-30-2007, 12:27 PM   #12
Don Howard
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There are only 20 crowdbusters in the build.

It is easy to feel sorry for him with his family being threatened . . . but it is also a good example of how his lack of communication hurts him. On other boards I have been attacked pretty vigorously because Lee finally posts and tells that story - so in a fine ex post facto fashion I became the bad guy for spending the previous few days attacking him.

sorry - I am not the bad guy. I didn't know about it, and it was his lack of communication that had me going after him. If he had been making an effort, people would have known about it and his other issues, and he wouldn't get flamed so much. I am not condoning the jacktard threatening his family - but I am also not gonna be a convenient scapegoat for his fanboys either.

I have considered legal actions. Just as he has. I still hope he does the right thing. And he did finally send me an email yesterday. It simply said:

Quote:
Coming as soon as possible.
I have asked him for more info - he has not responded yet. It is progress, but it also make Lee sound like an AIMbot
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Old 07-01-2007, 05:28 AM   #13
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Did he ever give a deadline back when this started? He makes it sound like everyone knew it would take many years. (more than 3)

Exactly when did he stop communicating with you?

How did you pay? Postal money order?

At what point did he stop being "friendly"?

Have you noticed work being completed that came in later than your work? Links?

Is there a list of Crowd buster customers somewhere? Has anyone considered making a list on a forum somewhere where each CB customer lists name, date of deposit and size of deposit?


I note he made a recent statement-

Quote:
I saw there was another nifty thread here recently as well as a couple guys who chose to follow me to the ONE place on the .net I go when time allows.

Seems these two fellows have issue with a motor I built for my car. Not that I owe anyone an explanation but what the fu4k...right?

I've had this car for close to three years. It's a cheap little Dodge Neon, kinda fun to drive. Being a tinker by nature and unable to leave anything alone I immediately started digging up bits and pieces for it. I'm a pretty good bargain hunter when it comes to stuff for a car of motorcycle and I amassed over time a nice collection of parts, none of which have been purchased in a year. All were scrounged up used of off ebay. I've had them sitting around waiting for the day I'd get to/have to rebuild the engine. Well, that time came unexpectedly and I did so, utilizing the parts I've had sitting on the shelf for a couple years. I enjoy building stuff like this and documented the process for the hell of it on the owners group.
Truth be told, my dad loaned me the money for the rebuild machining and engine kit so I'm still money down on it.

It's not a top fuel dragster, it's not an SCCA track car. It's a cheap little dodge neon that i happen to enjoy. That however is NOT allowed apparently since it indicates an existence outside the world of paintball. Well kids, that's a tough one.

I'm still working a 'day job', the second one didn't work out so after next week I'm back to only one 50 hour a week job. That's ok, it'll give me more time in the shop to get your precious toys done. I really do want to, it's important to me to do so for a few reasons but I'll not go into anything other than I'm sick of paintball. I'm sick of trying to make people happy and never being able to do so. I'm absolutely guilty of taking on too much, I freely admit it. I tried to make a living building toys for rich kids who want to haggle to walmsrt prices and can't possibly wait for the project once it's under way. I'm tired of it. I'm done, I'll build no more custom guns for anyone other than myself or a friend.

I hate this but here's the deal. If you can't wait and feel the need to drag this mess into other forums that have nothing to do with paintball, track my family members down, show up at the shop (I don't do tours) or anything else even remotely intrusive I will be forced by your actions and my own lack of funds to file bankruptcy and I'll wash my hands of the whole thing. End of story. At this point I don't care what you think of me, it has no bearing what so ever. If just one guy pops up somewhere they don't belong then I'm done.

This isn't a threat, this is a promise.

It's not what I want to do but if this goes any farther I will. I have the papers filled out and filed here at the office. All I need to do is add a signature and turn them in. Please don't make me do this but understand that I've got people here in the real world that depend on me and I'll not let things get so far out of hand that someone who matters to me has a problem because of this.

I'm still working on your guns, every day even if it's only a few hours between day jobs. Soon I'll have more time to do so. I'm asking everyone to be patient so I can get this done with. Please let me make good on these projects, it's what I really want to do.

I've pleaded for patience to no effect. I've become a grouchy ******* when I used to be a pretty nice guy. Being a nice guy got me overloaded. I'm done asking. I've been threatened, slandered, called a thief and far worse. One individual damned me to hell for not being done yet. Kid....it's your hell...you go!

For the last time, I'm sorry and I'm doing my best. Please allow me the time needed to get finished.

Has he recently or in the past indicated a timeline? any particular year that he may be finished?

Don't you know a little bit about Dodge Neons? Isn't the work he has done and the parts he has bought been excessive from your point of view as a former Neon enthusiast? I mean far and beyond a commuter right?

If you had monthly progress reports describing what he is doing on your work, would that be enough to buy the time he needs to finish up?

Do you feel that you are being ignored when others who have much less at stake are getting mail? If so, do you believe it's because you paid in full and he has no future payoff to actually do your work or even stay in touch with you?

Lastly, how likely are you to have your opinions changed about your transaction with Lee by people who have nothing invested except of love and admiration for the airsmith of the gods? Can people who have nothing invested in or with Punisher's customs do anything to repair his image with you? Do you have an ounce of sympathy left at this point for the plight of someone who cannot meet obligations?
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Old 07-01-2007, 08:12 AM   #14
Don Howard
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On March 22, 2004 - Lee stated the original completion date as June 15th of 2004. That date has since been abandoned and revised At present no completion date is being stated by Lee.

His communication has always been sparse. I have moved twice since I paid for the crowdbuster. In the second instance I sent him multiple emails, which he never replied to, about my new address. I had to track him down on message boards to notify him of that move. I have never been a pest - just occasional emails or PM's or posts - often months apart.

I paid by check.

He has taken on and completed other projects since the beginning of the CB build. I do not think that is indicative of him deliberately ignoring the CB project. Does it show poor planning? Yes, and to his credit he has admitted as much.

I would say he stopped being "friendly" when he stopped responding to polite requests for the status of the project. Simply put, it is rude behavior on the personal level, and unprofessional on the business level.

I do not have a list of crowdbuster customers.

His recent outburst shows his contempt for his customers. He ignores people, is shocked when they get angry, and then plays the martyr. He has been roundly criticized for his lack of communication for some years now. If he had ever purchased a clue and started making a real effort to keep people updated, he wouldn't be in as deep of a mess as he is in right now.

The only timeline in regards to the CB's has been "as soon as possible." This has been the case for a couple years now. He will not give a date of completion, nor will he state reasons for the delay beyond the usual "I have no time/money/etc." statements of his.

Yes, I do know a bit about Neons. If people desire, I can produce bona fides to that. Suffice to say I have been published when it comes to ringing performance out of them. His rebuild is not of the "oh crap I gotta keep my commute running" variety. And a lot of people have missed the point in it being brought up. It flies in the face of his constant refrain of having no money/time/etc. Some have suggested that it was his money, not ours (his customers) that he spent. Well - he made his money off his customers. He has taken money from a lot of people, and not followed through with either product or services.

Yes, if Lee could manage to provide timely updates - and show actual progress and evidence of effort - that would certainly suffice. A single, terse email is no evidence of him being serious.

I believe I was ignored at first because I had been patient by and large. Now it is because I have of course made his famous sh!t list.

I have formed some opinions of those who have waded in to defend him. I do not try to fathom other peoples motivations. It is clear that to a vocal group any complaint against Lee is automatically and solely a personal attack on him. He will always be the selfless victim in their eyes. I know I have said some spiteful things in response to them. The only person who can repair Lee's image is Lee.

I am about out of sympathy - I am glad you brought it up. Many have quietly expressed support and sympathy for the plight the I am in with so many others in regards to Lee. Some have shown none at all towards those who do feel ripped off by Lee, and have preferred to simply be vindictive. I do still have some sympathy for Lee - and while many of the drooling fanboys will never believe it, my sincerest hope is that he does stop digging a deeper hole and climbs out of the mess he is in. I want the best outcome for everyone - which would be for Lee to fulfill the obligations he has.
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Old 07-02-2007, 05:43 AM   #15
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as much as I feel for the guy.. he can't keep posting these threats and think that it's going to do any good.

For your own protection, take screenshots of Lee's post about Bankruptcy, save the files in html format.. record dates, take a picture holding a newspaper with his post included in the photo. Do whatever you can to record it so that he can't remove it. This is grounds for several criminal bankruptcy fraud violations.

A few that come to immediate mind are 18 U.S.C. Section 157, possibly 18 U.S.C. Section 1341 for mail fraud on those individuals who sent (supplied) him with a marker to modify, 26 U.S.C. Sections 7201-7203 if he hasn't reported profits from sales on his income taxes.. there are a few more I'll have to dig them up in my bankruptcy law course textbooks.

Declaring bankruptcy at this point in time would do more harm to him than good. Not only will he see all personal assets liquidated, he could face jail time for fraud.
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Old 07-02-2007, 06:06 AM   #16
Paintballer798
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warfinge View Post
I am pretty sure that bothering his webmaster will not be useful. His hosting appears to be through Haveblue who by my experience is good people. While HB has a certain amount of loyalty to Kinney, he DOES NOT deserve to be harrassed for his friendship. His hosting is a service.
I'm not sure what WHOIS you use, but last time I checked he's moved to private WHOIS under Domainsbyprivacy.
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Old 07-02-2007, 01:06 PM   #17
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is this the same as punisherspb.com?
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Old 07-02-2007, 03:46 PM   #18
warfinge
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Not related to http://www.punishers-customs.com/

Two totally different businesses.
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Old 07-03-2007, 11:21 AM   #19
Don Howard
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I have been trying to get more info than "as soon as possible" from Lee. He just replied to one of my followup emails . . . here is his reply, with the body of my message underneath:

Quote:
As soon as there's more to tell I'll do so.

> #4
>
> Lee, what is left to be done? What is the time frame we're talking about
> here?
>
>
>
>
DagNasty, thanks for the advice - I appreciate it. I am doing what you suggested.
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Old 07-03-2007, 06:27 PM   #20
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I can't see him declaring for bankruptcy, it ruins his credit which F's with his personel life too.

He may say he's working 2 jobs (now he says he's down to one) but that's no excuse it's his responsibility to his customers to get what he promised them.

From what I saw in this thread if he can find time to build an engine he should find time to put together orders for customers that have been waiting for years.

I'd get ahold of all the other customers that are having the same problem and talk about a lawuit. This is ridiculous.
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