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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Bottom Line: I purchased an Audemars Piguet Diver on Timezone based on a PM describing the watch as being LNIB ("Like New in Box" as per TZ standards), and as having "warranty remaining". The watch I received was over-polished and the warranty had expired one month prior. I asked Eric Shiao for a refund based on the misrepresentation, and he will not give me one.

I've been stiffed by Eric Shiao (a.k.a. Eric Hsiao) (socalbreeze) on Timezone, Watchnet, and watchuseek. Unfortunately, I disregarded negative reviews I read about this seller on Watchnet, choosing to side with Eric's response rather than the original grievances. BIG MISTAKE.

I purchased an Audemars Piguet from socalbreeze (Eric Shiao / Eric Hsiao), who sent me a Private Message (PM) through Timezone offering his watch as being in LNIB ("Like New in Box") with "warranty remaining." When I received the watch, I found that one of the lugs had been so severely over-polished that it nearly cut into the 5 o'clock lug screw opening. The angles had been altered by the polishing and the lug was completely asymmetrical with the other three properly polished lugs. More importantly, the seller's PM and advertisement on the TZ Showcase promised that the watch had plenty of warranty left. However, the warranty card that I received had expired a month ago.

When I called the seller after receiving the watch, he seemed unconcerned about the over-polished lugs, but was surprised to hear that the warranty was expired. After that first conversation, the seller was completely unresponsive for three days, ignoring my numerous phone calls, emails, and text messages. It wasn't until I posted the situation on Timezone that he immediately responded, saying that he was out of town with his family and wasn't able to respond. Quite the coincidence that he was very accessible right up until the sale, MIA during numerous attempts to address the situation, and then suddenly available again when his reputation was on the line. In any case, he claimed that the deal was done, and implied that the expired warranty was irrelevant as the watch kept proper time. As anyone knows, the value of a watch is affected by whether it has a valid warranty or not; I'm sure Eric was aware of this as well.

The watch was NOT LNIB ("Like New in Box"). More importantly, he was legally obligated to refund my money when he breached his own expressed warranty stating that the watch had "warranty remaining." At this point, I'm considering legal action, something I strenuously tried to avoid.

If you want to save yourself your well-earned money and a lot of head/heartache, heed the warnings and avoid Eric Shiao / Eric Hsiao / socalbreeze / [email protected] /
On watchuseek : https://www.watchuseek.com/member.php?u=43971

Regards,
Marc McNamara
TZ username: marcmc
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Re: BEWARE: Read before dealing with Eric Shiao (a.k.a Eric Hsiao), socalbreeze on TZ and watchnet,

Have you compared it to another AP diver? How big is the difference?

With regards to the warranty, it's possible that there was time left when he posted the ad.

Either way, sorry to hear about your predicament. Maybe you can take it to AP for proper polishing. It'll cost you but at least you'll get it back good as new.

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Re: BEWARE: Read before dealing with Eric Shiao (a.k.a Eric Hsiao), socalbreeze on TZ and watchnet,

Check the last picture, it is of the 9 o'clock side of the watch and shows the normal amount of metal that should surround the screw hole. Then compare to the overpolished pics and you'll notice that removing more metal will only make a very bad situation much worse.

As for the warranty. The pic of the warranty card shows that it expired in February of 2013 (AP has a 2 year warranty), then compare to the PM which he sent me on March 14, 2013 or the sales advertisement on March 6, 2013. Both of which came about after the expiration of the warranty.

The pics were all taken by me upon receipt of the watch. I could not have imagined when making the deal with Eric that he would have misled me on both counts (condition and even more shockingly on the warranty).

In any case, to make matters worse, he refuses to refund my money despite his error.

Cheers,
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Re: BEWARE: Read before dealing with Eric Shiao (a.k.a Eric Hsiao), socalbreeze on TZ and watchnet,

sorry to hear about this...but I can understand how that would make the watch useless...I couldn't wear it and enjoy it and as far as I know,,,the only fix is a new case...what in the world was someone thinking??? scratches on the case vs. getting out the dremmel and taking a mm or two off the case? Even deep scatches wouldn't have affected the value that much...
 
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Re: BEWARE: Read before dealing with Eric Shiao (a.k.a Eric Hsiao), socalbreeze on TZ and watchnet,

Oh I see. Hmm...still I suggest you take it to AP so they can make a quick assessment and...I hate to say this, but also to check if there's anything wrong on the inside.

I don't understand what could have possessed a guy to mod a case like that. Only thing I can think of is if there was a huge dent and a ton of metal had to be buffed out.

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Re: BEWARE: Read before dealing with Eric Shiao (a.k.a Eric Hsiao), socalbreeze on TZ and watchnet,

sorry to hear about this...but I can understand how that would make the watch useless...I couldn't wear it and enjoy it and as far as I know,,,the only fix is a new case...what in the world was someone thinking??? scratches on the case vs. getting out the dremmel and taking a mm or two off the case? Even deep scatches wouldn't have affected the value that much...
Agreed, the deep buffing does have a negative impact on the value of the watch, more so than just scratches.

Something that makes me sick to my stomach about the whole deal gone bad is that I wasn't given the opportunity to decide if I wanted to buy the watch in its current state (overpolished and without a warranty). Eric took that choice away from me by misrepresenting it, and I paid an amount that I thought was commensurate with his description, not what arrived on my doorstep.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Re: BEWARE: Read before dealing with Eric Shiao (a.k.a Eric Hsiao), socalbreeze on TZ and watchnet,

Oh I see. Hmm...still I suggest you take it to AP so they can make a quick assessment and...I hate to say this, but also to check if there's anything wrong on the inside.

I don't understand what could have possessed a guy to mod a case like that. Only thing I can think of is if there was a huge dent and a ton of metal had to be buffed out.

Sent from my GT-N7100 using Tapatalk 2
Not only must there have been one hell of a dent, but how do you say a watch has a warranty when it was already expired? He and I even had a long conversation where he encouraged me to send the watch to the AP service center before the end of the 2 year warranty to get the complimentary 3rd year of warranty (only possible if sent prior to expiration of 2 year warranty). I thought he was a real watch brother in arms for suggesting that knowing that would have added value to the watch for a buyer. Thinking back on that conversation, I'm in disbelief that he would lead me on like that. To the point that when I told him the warranty was expired, he should have stepped up and at least offered a refund and apology.
 

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Well, unfortunately, there are a lot of sellers like that. They'll tell you everything you want to hear, make you feel as confident as possible and most of it turns out to just be lip service so they can get the item sold.

We just have to be absolutely vigilant. In my country, 90% of the deals are done at the service center. That way, you're sure of what you're getting. Of course, that is far less inconvenient but sometimes those types of measures are necessary.

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well, unfortunately, there are a lot of sellers like that. They'll tell you everything you want to hear, make you feel as confident as possible and most of it turns out to just be lip service so they can get the item sold.

We just have to be absolutely vigilant. In my country, 90% of the deals are done at the service center. That way, you're sure of what you're getting. Of course, that is far less inconvenient but sometimes those types of measures are necessary.

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Agreed, seems like these days an increasing number of folks are sacrificing integrity for short terms gains, a real shame really. I thought watches were supposed to be an enjoyable hobby? Do your research and buy the seller!

Lorsban, an in person deal would have been ideal as I would have easily uncovered the very misleading true nature of both the watch and seller.
 

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Yeah, but it all starts with knowing what to look for. My first trade got me scammed into getting a fake speedmaster.

Weird thing was it kept breaking down on me and when I took it to the local Omega center, they checked it out and said it needs a new movement and dial. But they wanted to charge me a ton so I decided to try other makers. When I took it to another guy he called back after a week and said it's fake.

I couldn't believe him cause why would omega give me a quotation if it was? Apparently it was a really good copy. A friend later showed me a site called Sino watches and there it was. Watch, box and all. Damn.

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Yeah, but it all starts with knowing what to look for. My first trade got me scammed into getting a fake speedmaster.

Weird thing was it kept breaking down on me and when I took it to the local Omega center, they checked it out and said it needs a new movement and dial. But they wanted to charge me a ton so I decided to try other makers. When I took it to another guy he called back after a week and said it's fake.

I couldn't believe him cause why would omega give me a quotation if it was? Apparently it was a really good copy. A friend later showed me a site called Sino watches and there it was. Watch, box and all. Damn.

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That's quite a buyer beware story Lorsban, almost perfect fake Speedmasters! I'm sorry you had that terrible experience. Luckily these days buyers have forums like this one where they can share experiences both positive and negative, and ultimately help others make more informed decisions.
 

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That's quite a buyer beware story Lorsban, almost perfect fake Speedmasters! I'm sorry you had that terrible experience. Luckily these days buyers have forums like this one where they can share experiences both positive and negative, and ultimately help others make more informed decisions.
Exactly.

It's just safer to expect the worst in these kinds of things. I mean, money doesn't grow from trees afterall.

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How did you pay? If paypal (don't really know they're limits for transactions), you can file through them and avoid legal action.

Or Amex and some of the other cards will also offer fraud protection (I've seen it happen with these kinds of things).

And if it was a wire, you still do have an option with your banks fraud investigations division (or the like).

Sorry and good luck.

E

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Wow, I can't believe he did that. I always thought he was reputable. Did he offer a refund? I would not accept that watch at all. I just bought a bad watch this week but luckily the seller refunded me after I returned the watch. I hope he works something out with you. That is simply WRONG.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Wow, I can't believe he did that. I always thought he was reputable. Did he offer a refund? I would not accept that watch at all. I just bought a bad watch this week but luckily the seller refunded me after I returned the watch. I hope he works something out with you. That is simply WRONG.
Hi Chronogeeky!

He definitely did not offer me a refund, and worst yet he ignored my many attempts at communication and refused to address his falsely advertised watch. To this day he has not made good on the deal. He didn't even make an attempt at rationalizing why he would misrepresent his watch and not offer a refund on those grounds. Had I not been decieved about the actual condition of the watch he was selling, I would never have purchased it. And to make matters worse, he made it clear that it didn't matter to him that I had been deceived by him.

I too thought he was reputable. He has some positive things posted about him as well as some negative. After speaking with him I unfortunately accepted his version of events and went through with the deal. This was a big mistake on my part and I wish that I had heeded the warnings before making a costly mistake. In my experience, Eric Shiao / socalbreeze is not reputable and I hope others don't make the mistake I did and deal with him.

Cheers,
Marc
 

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I had a tough trading experience with him few years ago, but things end up pretty smoothly at last. I hope Eric could refund you the money, it is not worth to pay USD13k for an AP Diver in this kind of condition.

Good lucks.
Darren
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I had a tough trading experience with him few years ago, but things end up pretty smoothly at last. I hope Eric could refund you the money, it is not worth to pay USD13k for an AP Diver in this kind of condition.

Good lucks.
Darren
Darren,

Thanks for posting your unfortunate experience, you are one of many that I have heard from and seen posted online. This is a recurring thing for this guy not being above board with deals.

Forget it not being worth whatever the price is for the condition that it arrived in. People can place whatever their value is on certain things, but for a seller to outright LIE, that is a different matter. Dishonest folks like this have no place on these forums.

Cheers,
Marc
 

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Marc,

Really sorry to hear about this, I hope you can find a way to get a refund. A real shame that a fellow watch collector would be that deceptive just to make a quick buck.

I have to ask (since no one else did) - Did the seller provide detailed photos of the watch prior to purchasing? Hard to imagine that 'polishing' job wouldn't have stood out if proper photos were provided. Most sellers will also provide a photo of the warranty card, especially if advertising the watch with 'warranty remaining'. Did you request a photo of that? Obviously not trying to imply you're in any way to blame for the seller's misrepresentation, just wondering how these things didn't come to light prior to purchase.
 

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As said above, there is a certain amount of accountability the buyer has to take for this debacle. There should've been pics of a valid warranty card, and numerous pics of the watch at all angles for a purchase of this value..especially with cash/wire. If the seller was unable to/unwilling to supply such info, then you should've dropped the deal. If he misrepresented the item in pics (as well as words), then that's a different story.
A lot of people like to bag on paypal, but an event like this is where paypal shines. All you would've had to do was file a dispute, and either he would've had to take the watch back or pay for it to be re-cased (apparently the only fix in this scenario).
If I was dealing with a seller with any blemishes or lack of feedback, I would never send an unsecure payment like a wire. There is just so little recourse that you can take to make things right that its just not worth the risk.
Personally, I hate the idea, but I'd contact an attorney. At $13k, you're beyond small claims jurisdiction. Your watch will need a new case to be as represented originally, and probably isn't worth half what you paid because of the botched repair. In the off chance you're in the military, you can contact your unit's legal rep and possibly get this resolved for free. Otherwise, I'd have an attorney draft up a letter of intent and see where that takes you.
PS - I also left negative'ish feedback on Eric several yrs ago. In my event, I was the seller and he agreed to purchase a Tag I was selling. After asking numerous questions and requesting several pics from all angles, he asked for my email for paypal and stated I'd have payment within an hr. He then vanished for 3 days. When I posted about his dereliction in the feedback section and he immediately paid siting, you guessed it, family stuff or business travel, and life went on. At that point I vowed to never deal with him again. There are too many good sellers to deal with sketchy ones..especially on high dollar items.
 
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