After deciding to get a meerschaum pipe I was pointed (by a co-worker) into the direction of three highly regarded carvers/sellers. IMP, Baki and Altinok. I decided on Altinok because his prices and shapes were more to my liking. I am aware that he carved the Puff pipe for 2010 and likely has some supporters here but I wanted put my experience on the forum because it was so horrendous, that I wanted to give people an idea of what can go wrong.
I ordered a simple pipe from Sinan, just a large brandy lattice (Product #IK10, and was quoted a two month delivery. Well, after a three month wait, I finally received the package and opened it up to find the worst looking meerschaum I have ever seen. The pipe was considerably smaller than ordered, at least half an inch in length and also in bowl height. Instead of carving any lattice work, the person just took a sharp tool and scratched little non-symetrical half-moon shapes and circles around the pipe. There were other things that showed poor quality of work but those were the main problems.
I contacted Sinan and told him about the pipe and he instructed me to return the pipe at my expense, as he did not have a shipping account. I told him I didnít think shipping the wrong pipe back should cost me anything and let him know that I would want to be credited the shipping cost or be upgraded to the extra-large sized Brandy Lattice pipe. He said that he would credit me the shipping cost once he received the pipe and informed me that he could not give me an ETA for the correct pipe because he didnít have any meerschaum to carve, or know when he would be getting any. I was done at this pointÖ there was no way I was going to wait another 4-5 months in hopes of receiving what I ordered three months previously, so I told him to cancel my order and to credit all of the costs back to my credit card, and we would call it even.
On December 27th, I received this E-mail from him:Hi Mike,
I received the pipe today. You were right. The carving was totally different than that of the displayed one. I will talk to my carver and if you like, I would like to make the same pipe you originally ordered. Sure, I will refund the $29.95 return shipping with pleasure. What do you think? I don't want any customers left behind with unpleasant feelings about my business.
Happy New Year!
To date, and despite my attempts to contact him, I have never received another E-mail after December 27th . Toward the end of January, I called my credit card company and filed a claims dispute. The credit card company was able to credit me for the initial cost of the pipe and the shipping; however, they would not compensate me for the return shipping, even though their policy is that I have to return the item to the merchant, before filing a dispute claim.
I have nothing good to say about Altinok, his pipes or his service. Iím sure he has done right for others; however, I will not be recommending him to anyone and I feel strongly enough about my negative experience that I wanted to let everyone know what happened to me, so you would think twice about placing any more orders with him.