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Robert Conti materials and experience

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Joined: 24 Apr 2014
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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2014 11:13 pm    Post subject: Robert Conti materials and experience Reply with quote

Caveat Emptor!

I wanted to share my recent experience with Mr. Conti and Mike. Please bear with me this is long but it gets good at the end. Little background about me. Picked up the guitar at 45. 50 now and have played mostly rock and blues for the last 5 years. I like improvisation and it is just me playing for my own enjoyment. Never really thought about Jazz much but then I saw a Jake Reichbart video (amazing player) and thought I would like to do something like that. In a forum I frequent someone said to really learn the whys and whatnot of how music works and to play in a chord melody type of fashion like Jake, that Robert Conti was the guy to learn from. So I watched some free stuff on YouTube. Then I ordered 2 videos, Chord Melody Assembly Line and The Formula in January of this year. I asked for the 35% off deal from Mike which had recently ended and he graciously said he would extend it to me. Well I got them in short order but the Chord Melody Assembly Line DVD was damaged or defective. I contacted Mike and he sent another one ASAP. This one worked fine. He was very gracious. All was well. I spent a lot of enjoyable hours working through those two DVDs. Great presentation, great stuff and Conti has a nice on air persona (to me). As I recall somewhere along the line I ordered a couple of Ticket to Improv DVDs. I watched the first one and let me say that the way Conti plays lead is just not to my taste. He says he is a hard bebop 400 bpm guy, that is where he lives and I guess some like it. I don't find it interesting. Technically impressive sure. But to me it doesn't tell a story like Clapton or Santana with their playing. That is just me. Jazz guys probably get it. I bring that up only because even though I don't care for Conti's lead work, his chord melody playing and methodology are astounding. The Formula is an incredible work. There is a lot of WHY behind it and I love theory. So I ordered his whole Play Pro Chord Melody DVD series. I asked for the discount again they gave it to me. Very nice. Saved me a lot of money. So I ordered and waited and waited and finally the post office online tracking said my order was delivered but it wasn't. So I contacted Mike and Robert and told them and asked if they could chase it down. Meanwhile I contacted the post office (whom I have had problems with in the past and told Mike and Robert that) to try and find it. It eventually showed up out of the blue about 10 after I ordered it. Supposed to be priority shipping too. I paid through Paypal and opened a dispute to protect myself in case something hinky was going on. Seemed unlikely but that was the second order I had a problem with these guys and I have Amazon Prime and get a lot of stuff shipped to me without any problems. That seemed to offend Mike who said I shouldn't have done that (opened up a dispute) because it caused him a lot of paperwork. That was my first uh oh. First you don't tell the customer what they should and shouldn't be doing. Second I am thinking hey Mike you got MY money and I don't have YOUR product. If you had sent me the product and I didn't pay for 10 days or so you think you might some sense of urgency to get your money? Anyway I finally got it and said I would order a couple more DVDs if I could get the code one more time. Heard nothing back. A week or so later I asked again via their website, tried email nothing back. So I tried contacting them MULTIPLE times with no response so I finally said heck with it and told them their customer service sucked in that they weren't responding to multiple requests. I wasn't sure if they were getting my requests via their website or what so I waited until the prices dropped a couple months later (out of the blue no announcement via their email notification service or explanation on their website which looks like hasn't been updated since Thanksgiving of last year if you look at their "current news") and ordered 2 more DVDs. Thrown a lot of business there way in other words. Here is the good part now gang. I got THIS email back from Robert Conti himself. Check it out: I have added a little commentary in parentheses.

Subject: Order #PP-2145469 Advisory
To: "Steve Date: Monday, April 21, 2014, 8:51 PM


According to a transcript of your orders and other
communications, you were charged $3.25 Postage on your first
order for two Source Code DVDs, which were discounted 35%
during our annual "Thank You" sale event. As a
new customer, at no additional cost, you received a
courtesy upgrade to Priority Mail. On January 4, 2014,
you placed two additional orders, both of which were
promptly shipped to you. (Again one was defective. Bob left that part out)

On February 5, 2014, you made a request for a discount
utilizing a 35% coupon code from the previous sale event.
As the webmaster had not yet removed the code from our
shopping cart, Mike was kind enough to extend that
discount as a courtesy, to purchase the Pro Chord Melody DVD series.
Although you were charged only $3.25 Postage for that
order, in addition to the 35% Discount, Mike also extended
another complimentary upgrade to Priority Mail - at no
additional cost to you. (I would hope not Bob since I was told I got priority mail but got it 12 days later after filing a claim with the post office and chasing it down myself. No sense of urgency on your part)

Apparently, you failed to recognize and acknowledge those
courtesies in your highly offensive "Customer Service
Sucks" email, as you stated: " ...I ordered all
five of the Play Pro Chord Melody series and they got lost
for a week even though I paid for priority shipping."
If you will refer to your order invoice, you can verify that
you did not "pay for priority shipping" as
you incorrectly claimed. (Could be. I was pretty ticked off that I kept getting orders from his that were screwed up. I am not saying it was their fault mind you. I am saying you got my money Bob but I don't have your product. Maybe Amazon Prime has spoiled me I don't know)

When you placed your order for the Pro Chord Melody DVDs,
you selected the lowest cost USPS Mail Service. Did the thought ever occur to you, that we did not
lose, or incorrectly deliver your DVDs, and it is not
our responsibility to deliver your DVDs - that error was
made by your local post office? After you received
another 35% courtesy discount and Priority Mail Shipping,
and further causing Mike to incur much paper work as a
result of the unnecessary PayPal dispute (maybe unnecessary to you but NOT to me the customer and when you deal with customers, if you want to keep them that is, you work with them. Your convenience is really not my concern when I am paying you. Hard to believe I know) you then had the
audacity to send another email asking my employees to expend
their time to "...find out..." what your local
post office did with your DVDs. Specifically you stated: "I did NOT receive
the package
of DVDs. . . Can you run this down please and find out what
the post
office did with my DVDs?" You
also asked if we could use UPS instead of USPS to
resend those 5 DVDs to you. (SHOCKING that I actually asked that you look for the product that I paid you for but don't have! The gall!)

On February 17, according to your email, you received your
DVDs, and again, you asked for a discount code.
Mike responded to your email and stated: "the
computer will not allow me to enter that coupon code again,
as it keeps over-riding the input request." (AND....??? You just leave it there? Does that mean you are going to fix it? Get the webmaster to override it? What? Communicate people! Why not just tell me you don't want to offer it to me again because I opened up a Paypal dispute and pissed you off? That is the gist of it right?)

I'm at a loss as to what part of that very clear
response you did not understand. On March 16, you asked
for a discount code, and once again, my employee Steve,
offered to create a discount coupon of 30% with a minimum
order, which you declined. (With a "minimum order". In other words tried to upsell me on ordering an additional product that I didn't want.)

I would urge you to take the time to read our
customer commentaries at:

You will find not hundreds, but a thousand or more comments
citing the stellar level of customer service my team
delivered to patrons-the same customer
service that you received. Moreover,
for your verification, I have included an excerpt from the
world's major jazz guitar magazine:

DW: How do you build such a team of people that provide
customer service that goes far beyond most companies?

RC: One of the key elements is ingredients is to obtain
intelligent people and maintain employment longevity, even
if only part time. I have a few select customer service
people who monitor the website during hours that we have
determined to create peak traffic resulting in customer
inquiries. For these services, I try to use people who are
music students, or perhaps a retired musician who no longer
travels and enjoys this type of work, and of course it is
important to treat your employees well. My Production
Manager, Mike, has also been another cornerstone to our
overall success, as he is on top of every facet of the

Dr. Dave Walker, Just Jazz Guitar Magazine November

(Relevance here? Instead of answering my questions you give some testimonials from other people that I don't care about? I include this because I see Mike did this before. Customer is unhappy. Blame the customer and then tell the customer about the happy customers. Like that fixes anything. Why don't you put a statement on your website saying "We only accept customers who give us good reviews or will be happy with our service no matter what.")

Apparently, you are under the very mistaken impression that
good customer service is fulfilling all of your unreasonable
demands for discounts etc. After all the courtesies
you've received, and contrary to voluminous customer
rave reviews, you make a ridiculous and unjustified
accusation that my "Customer Service Sucks?"

(Right. That was after I sent oh probably 5 unanswered communications to you which I guess you got, the last one of which was your customer service sucks. And this as a cumulation of orders being defective and late and not answering queries.)

As you are more than likely aware, there exists an army of
third class hacks ready to take your money for junk ebooks
and a host of other useless learning products. To the
contrary, my products are globally successful, as the result
of continuously high quality content (as evidenced by your
repeat orders), and as very well documented, unmatched
customer service.
(No need to tell me about the quality of your products sir. I wouldn't order them if they weren't top notch. You Mr. Conti are an outstanding musician. No need to pat yourself on the back. But for us pesky customers and lesser guitar mortals you might consider watching the movie Amadeus. Came out in 1984. Saliere loves Mozart's music. Personally however he thinks Mozart is a complete assclown. I don't think you are an assclown necessarily but I don't think customer service is your or Mike’s thing as evidenced by your below statement. Stick with music and hire a professional staff who are used to dealing with those pesky pain in the ass ungrateful customers and hire a webmaster that will update your website more than once every 5 months)

While we welcome and are appreciative of orders from polite
patrons, I will not allow you to abuse or discredit any of
my employees - especially Mike, as he has been with me over
15 years. Your Order #PP-2145469 is on hold. If you choose
to have that order fulfilled and shipped, I demand that you
send a letter of apology to Mike for your unacceptable
comments. In the absence of your apology, your order will
be cancelled and your charges will be refunded to your
PayPal account.

Very truly,

(So I am reading this thinking let me get this straight. Robert Conti wants me, the customer, to apologize in writing to Mike, the employee, for “inconveniencing” them for the privilege of paying for his product – the 10th and 11th DVD that I would bought from him. Well gang I think you know how that went over. I responded immediately with this:

I could care less about anyone else's experience. MY customer service experience with Mike sucked and now sucks even worse with you. I was prepared to buy more DVDs from you but now I wouldn't buy another DVD from you if you were the last chord melody player on Earth. Apparently in the amazingly thin skinned New York jazz world the customer is not only NOT right but you go out of your way to ensure last you get the last word. I must say I have never come across this particular customer service technique before. Scolding the customer. Brilliant! So not only am I not going to apologize to your rude New York ass but everyone I talk to who is looking for chord melody material I am going to point the other way. I hope it cost you a lot of business. Not that you need it obviously.

Have a nice day,


(AND I got my refund the next day. And that ironically is the best customer service I ever got from Robert Conti and company. And there you have it Smile
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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I ended up lying by the way. I bought another DVD from Robert anyway. He doesn't know that I did but what can I say? When it comes to Chord Melody the guy can PLAY. Very Happy
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