First off AVOID this seller at any cost. It is highly likely you will find yourself in a similar circumstance to myself. If GB Fans can blacklist this seller please do so.
I had been looking to purchase my first pack through 2017 and did research and spoke with several vendors through the year including Karnivorous Creations, Eric Gunther and even Joe Luna. However due to other projects they had going, some previous reviews or budget aspects I ended up selecting another "builder". That was a mistake. Foster had been posting on some of the GB buy and sell groups on FB. I had inquired a few times on the features of the packs he was selling. This included a Ben of Kent shell for the thrower and pack, Positron Rabid Prototypes light and sound kit. This was not a cheap package deal even without shipping. However I am not wired punny enough to make a pack so I don't mind paying people for their time. After a lengthy amount of messages back and forth I had decided that Foster was the one to go to. His messages were quick and he seemed to know his s tuff and the vids and images of his packs were good, sharp looking and he didn't have any negative feedback I could find anywhere. Even offered a 30 day return policy he had said at the onset.
However it didn't take long for the experience to sour. I ordered and paid for the pack in early May. He had quoted me as late June for it to be completed. This very soon became an unrealistic goal for both of us. After June had passes I had inquired with Foster what was holding things up. There was an issue with the shipping of the shell and other components from ben in the UK. This I after sometime contacted Ben on my own and did indeed find out that the US customs had been holding his shipments because a previous customer of his had been involved in some illegal activity and due to that anyone sending items to him ended up on a watch list and had shipments held. In the meantime I ordered some metal parts from Freeky Geeky to have added on at my cost. Those were all shipped to Foster. I also reviewed some differences in the packs he generally made and the finished product I wanted. For example I didn't want the speaker mounted in the motherboard but contained in the shell. He was adamant that it would not sound right and that it would vibrate. I can admit that with no issue...however there are plenty of fans that have made packs that are in the shell and do not vibrate and work fine. I sent him links to these builds so he could see and thus adapt a similar method as he didn't even have a clue how to do the speaker holes in the motherboard. Again I sent him links to templates and tutorials for that. He again seemed to want to do it his way which meant finding a metal piece one night at work and using it as a template which seemed to work fine frankly. The speaker mounting however was not done with the same effort.
During various times in the process I was beginning to have doubts at how well this was going to end. His messages were hard to understand because he only used a speech to text function on his phone and a thick MA accent didn't help at times so he had to switch to voice clips. However I had asked him for an invoice for the pack, what is consisted of, what costs were broken down. He sent me a picture of a piece of cardboard with the total cost written on it in marker. Seriously. I'm not sure if he knew what an invoice was or just didn't understand my messages so I ended up making one...I had to make an invoice containing all the information from shipping to parts etc. and costs. I had also included the delivery time and had him read it and make sure everything was on the up and up. He didn't send any notes back concerning date of delivery.
Meanwhile the shipment was still delayed. Knowing my Paypal coverage only lasted so long I gave the notice that I needed it by November tops in addition to planning to move. Ben had been in contact with me keeping me as apprised as he could from his end and explaining there were new methods he was looking into shipping items to the US so this would not happen again to others. I will say at this juncture Foster had been in good communication but I was becoming more stressed this item would indeed be a nightmare purchase which was everything I had hoped to avoid...sadly it did indeed become that.
When Foster finally got the parts from Ben and got to work on the build I had thought things were going well at first. He seemed to be making progress with images and updates. Small hiccups would happen and he would need to order a new this or that but generally nothing major. I had requested that Foster make the pack in an area where there wouldn't be smoke wafting around it as he's a smoker and if not ventilated well that can find it's way into the paint and actually cause the pack to smell of tobacco. He had said it wouldn't be a problem and would make it in a place where that wouldn't settle into the paint process. We also discussed several items I wanted different from other general pack builds. I was looking for a G2 packs and thus the fittings and cable would be different and these did not seem to be an issue but he would keep coming back to asking me if I wanted to 'upgrade' it to a GB1. I had to keep declining this.
The build kept progressing and November was closing fast and so being concerned I arranged a video call with him. I was given the usual lip service about how things were great here and here but he needed this or that. The metal booster tube, PPD were physically needed but he'd nearly finished the thrower, etc. Then came the dreaded issue we as buyers all cringe hearing and sellers hate hearing other sellers use in threads. Personal Problems.
First off I understand LIFE happens. Does to me in my Job too. Foster's issues however seemed to escalate more and more and despite the pack being "finished" we now had issues getting it shipped to me. It was supposed to be mailed this day and that and then when I would contact him asking if it was completed I would get another personal issue causing the delay. Now I won't state the personal issues but I will say he didn't even have a means of transportation to get the pack to the UPS office. When I asked him how he planned to get it there he had said he would just wear it to the UPS depot and ship it from there. That strike anyone else as odd? I should say at this point while Fosters technical skills with invoices were not a big issues, I needed him to know how to build a pack, not send invoices but those small issues compiled and more and more became the image of a guy who bit off more then he could chew. He wasn't used to making packs for paying people who were not friends, not used to having delivery dates or having people have requests for things he was building. When he told me he made a pack for Mike Brewer who is another blacklisted seller I did get anxious but Foster wasn't Brewer so I would let him have his own reputation to make.
After several 'give you my word I'll ship it tomorrow' voice notes and still not getting anything due to the personal issues happening more and more frequently at one time putting his care in the hands of others and leaving his wife to have to mail me the pack. She had followed the directions I had given Foster to pack the proper way more then he usually might have because this was going to Canada and couriers do not care if things are dropped, banged around or clipped. I sent her the funds for the shipping and she sent me the tracking number. I'm not sure had Foster not been otherwise occupied if I would s till be waiting for it. It's December at this point. Due to the shipping delays from the UK the Paypal protection has long expired and frankly I wanted to give the guy a shot because that delay wasn't his fault.
When I opened the door the day the pack arrived...on it's s ide with a sticker that said otherwise and I took a picture. driver seemed confused as to why but we'll get there. I take the huge box downstairs after putting my CC into the drivers machine for duty. Not cheap. I open the box and am met with more questions and concerns then excitement. from May to late December to get this...I should be excited right? I turn on the switch...sounds go on...no lights...OK. I undo the hex screws seeing what might be soda or something on the board, shell and thrower. I remove the shell not even knowing how things are hooked up and find a loose cable...and the LED power meter and battery are loose and held to the board with hot glue...so is the speaker and I mean A LOT of hot glue. I managed to find out where the cable was dislodged from and this is from a guy who DOES NOT know a lot about these things. Now we have lights but the speaker even at quarter volume rattles something fierce. The paint was also flaking and was gobbed in some places.
I do a video with the issues and send them to Foster along with my thoughts on how the hot glued items could have been better secured. He responds but just tells me how to do those adjustments to the items in question. Never once offers to repair it, have it refunded, returned. Just tells me how to drill a hole in the board to secure the LED power meter. He thinks the spots on the shell and such I noticed might be Frebreeze...what? Getting closer to the pack to look at other items guess what I smell? Paint mixed with tobacco. I shouldn't be surprised because he'd sent vids with the pack to demo things while he was smoking at the time but at that point I just wanted the thing to get sent. So it seems he didn't remember my request or seem to want to follow it ( an angry voice message from him later stated he would smoke where he wanted in his home and shop ). Classy. Having the pack and responses from Foster being less then helpful I asked local prop guys I knew who made other items but not packs. They said they could help with some aspects but that it wasn't a project they would have a lot of know how to fix. I reached out to Ben of Kent again to see if there was anything he could suggest. Ben, bless him didn't understand that I had already spoken to Foster about the issues but didn't get anything helpful so Ben contacted him and told him to essentially make it right. Foster sent me a tirade of angry messages about how I should not be contacting HIS vendor about my pack issues and I had micromanaged the build and that it caused all the issues it had.
I explained that the angry messages he was sending were why along with his own personal issues he shouldn't be in the prop business. He said often that it wasn't a business it was a hobby. I don't know what he thinks having a page with the word SHOP in it and taking money for a service are... After going back and forth for a while he said he would agree to get the pack to the standard where it should have been if I paid to ship it back to him. I thought about it but considering how long it took the pack to get to me I didn't think I'd see the pack or the money again so I decided if I was going to have it repaired I would have Eric Gunther or Mike Nelson do it and began talks with them. In the meantime I put the pack up on Ben's page with his permission and some other places for sale in the event in the meantime someone wanted it. From the images and condition it was in the responses were 500 bucks or just comments making fun of it or myself for buying a POS in their eyes. Ben to his credit has been a real friend through this. He allowed me to post the pack there and said if he wasn't behind on full builds himself he would have done it for me just because of the crap I got stuck with.
I told Foster I had plans to sell the pack and would not need it sent to him for repairs. After posting it up for sale he responded to it on my marketplace posting with another angry bout of messages. I responded during this time in the fashion I thought was correct. Facts are not his friend and me having kept every message we had traded did not seem to do him much help. Ben of Kent saw this and not only banned him from the groups he runs but also blacklisted him as a buyer for his products. I've blocked his page and his personal prop shop page as well. Thankfully a local member of my GB franchise learned of my issue and hooked me up with a local guy who has been correcting, replacing, repainting and fixing the pack for me. Foster even drilled the frame wrong so even if I had worn it, it would have broken, the local guy here found that as well other things that were just glued on or not the correct fitting. NOTHING on this pack was done well.
Am I putting more money into this then I wanted? Hell yes! Am I happy I'll have the pack I wanted in the first place at the end built better and locally for issues and concerns? Hell Yes! Do I think Foster and his faux prop shop should be avoided even if he does get another shell supplier? HELL YES!
I take full responsibility for choosing him. That was a mistake and I'm paying for it. Literally. PLEASE if you are a new buyer in the pack field and can't make one yourself DO NOT BUY from this guy. He's an angry simpleton frankly. His personal issues which as tempted as I am to voice here are due to his inability to manage himself in any professional manner. I'm only thankful he used glue instead of bolting and screwing things oddly enough because I would have had to buy a whole new pack with what needed to be pulled apart and stripped off for the local guy to fix. I take ownership of my error but even if it costs me more money, if it helps get him blacklisted here and having others go through this who may not have the extra funds to repair the issues he causes then it's worth it. This experience is everything I had hoped to avoid and that's with doing research and messages en masse.
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