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  • Writer's pictureCrystal Faircloth

Crystal Faircloth • Buyer Beware

Oftentimes in life, there are things that we absolutely have to buy. We need food to eat, water to drink, clothes to put on our backs, and once in a while, a tool to do a job.

As the economy declines, we shop around for these items at a lower cost online instead of utilizing our local stores and vendors to help our own community flourish and grow.

This unfortunately is where we make our mistake. We whine and moan about needing a place to buy this or needing a place to take our children to be entertained, and when one such business comes to town, we run in the other direction and never welcome our new small business owner with open arms.

Consumers flock to big cities like Wilmington and Myrtle Beach to get their hair cut or their nails done and don't think twice about people like Bri Cliff or Naomi Harrison who have skillsets better than the average overpriced salon.

We were recently on the bad end of the stick of an online purchase. A small shop owner in Jennings Lodge, Ore., promised his YouTube followers that he could build them a high-end chainsaw that would run better and cost less than any machine you could purchase at the hardware store. He claimed to have a three-year warranty that would cover anything on the motor as long as you use AMS Oil two-stroke chainsaw oil only in your 'Old Goat' chainsaw.

The tool, which was normally $1,400 or more, would only cost $950. The only catch was they were hand built, and you would have to wait three to four months to receive it since it had to be put together piece by piece. We scraped up the money, ordered our dark horse, and waited patiently.

Three months in, we checked with the saw shop to see how much longer we had to wait. "Oh, we send our chainsaws out to be field tested for about four weeks after they are put together. They get used and abused before they ever reach you to make sure you have a top-quality tool," said the owner that folks call Papa. "Yours was just sent out, and I'll let you know when it comes back in."

Those few weeks came and went, and we let another month roll by before we checked in again. "It just got back in. It's not running quite right, so I'm fixing it and sending it back out," explained Papa. We began to get a little agitated, but the website clearly stated what the steps entailed about purchasing an Old Goat.

In October, we were told the chainsaw had passed the test, and the shop owner was taking it apart to clean it up, do maintenance, and ship it out to us. On Nov. 7, the tool was finally dropped off, and we went to work on the woodpile. An hour into cutting, bolts began falling out this monster of a machine. The business was contacted, and they sent replacement bolts right out. The wrong bolts, but at least they responded.

"Put Loctite on the threads of the bolts, and screw them down. That should fix the problem," said Papa.

A couple of days later, we headed back to the woodpile again with the chainsaw. Just a couple of cuts in, the diamond plate came off. We had planned to take it off anyway, but it was unnerving considering the circumstances. A few other small complications arose, but we handled them as we went along. It was nothing major. It was what one would consider normal wear and tear according to the business.

This week marked the four-month mark with the Old Goat. On Monday, there was a rattle in the muffler, and immediately, we contacted the saw shop.

"Sounds like there's a bolt loose. Pack it up and ship it back to us. We will have a look at it and go from there," urged Papa.

The shipping cost was in the tune of $100, so we took it apart ourselves to discover that it was a simple $5 fix. We also discovered the machine never had a muffler gasket installed when it was put together at the shop. There was carbon buildup despite the $35 quart of oil we were told to buy to keep the warranty intact, and our stupidity of not buying the chainsaw from a local dealer was beginning to weigh on us.

All week long, we went back and forth with the saw shop just to be shut down and told that we “obviously” used another oil (we sent pictures proving otherwise), and that if we wanted to pay for the shipping, they would “take a look” and “see what they could do.” In the end, we filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and learned a hard lesson.

Buyer beware, and always shop local. Avoid the man on the YouTube video because if what he's saying sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

I urge you to take a look around Columbus County at the many businesses we have here. They are owned by people like Jeff Wright of Tint Wizards. They are worked in by people like Karessa Enzor and Brianna Cliff. They line our city streets, and they are a means of income to people and families who live, play, and work in our area.

Support them, help them, and most of all, be good patrons to their establishments. There is quality when it comes to a higher price. Shop around but do it in your own neighborhood.

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