True Quality CleaningStraight talk about caring for fine garments & household textiles from an expert who calls it like it is. In plain English.

Strong arming the service provider using serial online negative reviews

UPDATE (12-21-2012) TO OUR ORIGINAL POST (10-26-2012).

On Friday, December 14, 2012, Shelle Turf presented her case in court before an impartial arbitrator of fact. The judge, after fully evaluating and weighing all the evidence presented, including personally examining the tote, awarded Shelle Turf NOTHING. Case dismissed.

On Friday, December 21, 3 months after posting her malicious, ul, defamatory reviews, Shelle Turf suddenly deleted her Yelp and Citi Search reviews, leaving similar Google, Yellow Pages and Pissed Consumer reviews in place.

(ORIGINAL POST (10-20-2012)

When you read an online negative review, it's human nature to look at the "facts" provided by the reviewer and then to immediately draw a conclusion about the merits of that review.

This post addresses such negative reviews and discusses the dilemma faced by long-established businesses that have been subjected to a coordinated attack of serial negative reviews by a single reviewer operating under their own name as well as pseudonyms.

The best way to respond to such anonymous and quasi-anonymous  reviewers is to connect all the dots for you and to expose their objectives, words and actions to the disinfectant of bright sunlight. And the best way to illustrate this problem is to examine an actual case.
On August 16, 2012, Shelle Turf of Scottsdale, Arizona brought in a 6 year old, soiled, oil-stained, scratched, scuffed, torn, ink stained, musty Louis Vuitton brown monogrammed coated canvas Battignoles Horizontal Tote with natural cowhide leather trim. She asked us to clean the tote (inside and outside) and to repair a small tear in the brown monogrammed coated canvas (to the extent that a tear in a coated canvas handbag can be "repaired").
SHELLE TURF'S MULTIPLE NEGATIVE REVIEWS
In order to put Shelle Turf's objectives, words and actions into their correct context, it's important to understand the time lines involved:
Drop off of tote: August 16, 2012
On August 16, 2012, Shelle Turf brought in a 6 year old Louis Vuitton tote with natural cowhide leather trim. She asked us to clean the tote (inside and outside) and to "repair" a small tear in the brown monogrammed coated canvas.
Return visit #1: August 30, 2012
Shelle Turf returned on Thursday, August 30, 2012 to pick up her tote (return visit #1). We had not completed all the work because the tote was, at that time, still in the final stages of deodorization to remove the musty smell.
Return visit #2: September 6, 2012
Shelle Turf returned a second time to pick up her tote on Thursday, September 6, 2012 at about 3:30 p.m., camera phone in hand, accompanied by her daughter as a witness (return visit #2).
As I was not present on 9/6/2012 (I'm constantly in and out of our facility on Mondays and Thursdays servicing our retail store clients), she requested that I call her on Friday, 9/7/2012. I called at about noon on 9/7/2012.
Return visit #3: September 7, 2012
Shelle Turf returned a third time to pick up her tote on Friday, September 7, 2012 at about 4:30 p.m., camera phone in hand, accompanied by her husband as witness.
Within a few hours of leaving our facility on September 7, 2012, Shelle Turf had posted 4 online reviews (reproduced below - word for word) ...
1.  REVIEW ON YELP BY "SHELLE T"
Worst work ever (Posted 9/7/2012/Updated 9/9/2012)
Brought LV purse in to be cleaned and repaired. Purse not ready when promised and was told another week. When I went to pick it up it was in horrible condition and the repair was NOT completed and owner Stuart Bloom totally denied that he knew of any repair. Funny on my ticket they wrote up it clearly states to do a repair on a small cut. He is not to be trusted and he even got so made used f word. I'm not done with this guy yet. Hope he likes publicity ... Plus he has my bag, would not give it to me unless I signed paper saying work was completed and satisfied. NOT! He even was going to give me the bag back if signed paper and not charge me. I refused to sign his note.
If you are thinking of bringing your expensive purses in here to be cleaned or repaired, ask him to see the Turf Louis VuittonVertical Battignoles bag that he would not return to me unless I signed a form stating it was completed and repaired and are satisfied with results. Of course I refused (plus was giving to me if I signed a form stating at NO CHARGE). You will change your mind unless you want a crap job like he did on mine. I saw a lady walking there last week carrying at least 3 lv bags and 1 channel and another one and she asked me if they do good work. She changed her mind fast and turned around.
2.  REVIEW ON GOOGLE BY "SHELLE T"
Quality poor to fair (no specific date other than "reviewed a month ago")
Went to pick up LV bag that was to be cleaned inside and leather cleaned and repair. Totally freaked out when saw the condition of the bag. It now needs to be re-leather and LV charges over $900 and plus the bag was just recently discontinued. What a crappy job. I wouldn't give this bag away free to anyone, they wouldn't want it now.
3.  REVIEW ON CITI SEARCH BY "SHELLE T"
(9/7/2012)
Would not ever recommend this place to anyone. The man Stu totally made my daughters LV purse in awful condition. It was brought in to be cleaned and repaired and when we saw it, refused to pay and take it. Off to small claims court on Monday and contacting my friend at channel 12 news to do a little segment on this business owner who also lied to me. BBB, FTC and Az General Attorney. The bag was just recently discontinued and cannot even be replaced. Louis Vuitton said they can re-leather the bag for over $900. It didn't need re leathering when brought it in to him and now it looks like total crap. I wouldn't be caught dead carrying it in the condition it is now. Thanks Stuie.
4.  REVIEW ON YELLOW PAGES BY "SHELLE.TURF"
Think twice before getting your ... (9/7/2012)
Think twice before getting your expensive LV. Gucci and Channel bags cleaned or repaired. My bag is now in such bad shape I wouldn't even be able to give it away. Stay tuned for further action on Mr. Stuie!
In addition, Shelle Turf posted another "review" one week later:
5.  REVIEW ON PISSED CONSUMER  BY "SHELLE"
October 2, 2012
Oh my gosh, I am in process of small claims with this little man, Stu. I brought in an LV bag to be repaired and cleaned. I went back 2 weeks later to pick up as stated on receipt to be ready. Stu told me that it was in some stage of getting their fumes out. Told me to come back in a week. Went back in a week and Stu saw me walking in and flew out as quickly as possible to avoid me. Girl told me that bag not ready and showed me it and I freaked out. Looked worse than brought it in and still were not repaired. He even told me that in order to repair would have to un stitch the stitching inside the bag and put a patch on slit and glue it. Girl tells me the glue in on order. BS. I called him and freaked out and he told me he knew nothing about ANY repair and it clearly states repair slit on receipt. He lied several times to me. He still has bag and would only give it to me if I signed paper saying I was ok with it and he was NOT going to charge me the 92 bucks. Said no way, why would I pay for purse he wrecked. So I will be taking him to small claims court. Check out court sites online to see ALL the complaints. (Note to reader: Shelle Turf links the word "complaints" to a list of suits filed BY RAVE FabriCARE AGAINST other parties over a period of 24 years.)
In order to understand the NATURE of Shelle Turf's complaint and the ROLE played by these "reviews" in a larger scheme to coerce the funds necessary to replace all the leather trim on her Louis Vuitton coated canvas handbag, consider this simple analogy...
Assume that
* you owned a 6 year old dress that was trimmed in natural cowhide leather,
* the leather trim was soiled, oil stained, scratched and scuffed,
* you concluded that you have 2 options: (a) have the dress cleaned in the hope that the cleaner might be able to improve the overall condition/look of the leather trim, or (b) pay the dress manufacturer over $900 to replace all the leather trim,
* your cleaner was able to significantly improve the overall condition/look of the leather trim but was unable to restore the leather trim to "showroom new" condition, and
* the cleaner has over 40 "before" and "after" photos to document the improvement achieved.
If this was your dress, would you thank the cleaner for their efforts to achieve the best results that were technologically achievable, or would you
1. refuse to pay for the cost of the cleaning, or
2. sue the cleaner in Small Claims Court for over $1,000 - the price you allege that you could sell the dress for on the open market IF the leather was in excellent condition, IF there was no half inch long tear in the dress, IF there were no ink stains on the lining, IF it didn't have a musty smell, and EVEN THOUGH identical dresses (in far better condition than your dress was when you brought it in for cleaning) are widely available on line in the price range of $350 to $550, or
3. file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau demanding that the cleaner pay $900 to have all the leather trim replaced by the manufacturer, or
4. file a complaint with your State Attorney General's Office demanding that the cleaner pay $900 to have all the leather trim replaced by the manufacturer, or
5. post at least 6 negative "reviews" of the cleaner's work on on-line review sites such as Yelp, Google, Citi Search, Yellow Pages, Pissed Consumer and Merchant Circle as part of an anti-RAVE FabriCARE publicity campaign, or
6. make anonymous personal calls and mail anonymous letters to the managers of many of RAVE FabriCARE's high-end retail store clients making false allegations that numerous "complaints" had been filed against RAVE FabriCARE in small claims court, and imploring these stores to "find a new place" to whom they should refer their clients, or
7. contact or threaten to contact major TV stations and newspapers in the Phoenix metro area to "do a segment" on the cleaner, or
8. all of the above.
If your answer is 8, welcome to the world of Shelle and Richard Turf of Scottsdale, Arizona.
THE CONDITION OF SHELLE TURF'S LOUIS VUITTON TOTE
When you cut through all the he-said-she-said allegations made by Shelle Turf and personal opinion smoke screens offered by Shelle Turf in all her reviews, her only serious claim was that her Louis Vuitton brown monogrammed coated canvas tote was in alternatively "horrible", "crappy", "awful", "bad" or "wrecked" condition when she came to pick it up (return visit #2 on 9/62012).
Yet, she provides no specifics or definition of the term "horrible", "crappy", "awful", "bad" or "wrecked"  condition.
If this was your tote, and you believed that a cleaner had transformed the condition of your tote from "excellent" or "good" (I assume) to "horrible", "crappy", "awful", "bad" or "wrecked" condition, wouldn't you know EXACTLY what the specific issues were?
In separate filings with the Better Business Bureau, the Arizona Attorney General's Office and the Maricopa County Small Claims Court, and in a series of bizarre rants in emails and spams to our blog, Shelle Turf does not use the term "horrible", "crappy", "awful", "bad" or "wrecked"  condition. Instead, she claims that we "damaged" her 6 year old tote.
At RAVE FabriCARE, we take before and after photos of EVERY handbag, purse, wallet and backpack brought in to our facility, picked up by our drivers, or sent in to us through the mail so as to document their condition when received and when returned.
You can view 28 before photos and 16 after photos of this tote and read my accompanying commentary by clicking on this link ...
/true-quality-cleaning/2012/9/11/the-hand-cleaning-of-handbags- perfection-can-almost-never-be-attained.aspx.
After you review the photos and read the commentary, ask yourself these 4 questions:
1. Is there any credibility to Shelle Turf's claim that we transformed her 6 year old, soiled, oil stained, scratched, scuffed, torn, ink stained and musty tote to "horrible", "crappy", "awful", "bad" or "wrecked"  condition, or that we "damaged" her tote?
2. How would you describe the condition of Shelle Turf's tote in the "before" pictures? Excellent? Good? Horrible? Crappy? Awful? Bad? Wrecked?
3. Are these 5 reviews legitimate reviews of our handbag cleaning services, or are these "reviews" part of a larger scheme designed to coerce the funds needed to replace the leather trim on her 6 year old Louis Vuitton brown monogrammed coated canvas tote?
4. Will Shelle Turf's reviews have any influence whatsoever on stores such as Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Burberry, Escada, Gucci, Max Mara, Prada and the like that regularly use our cleaning services and recommend us to their clients?
You can post your answers to these questions in the comments section of the post linked to above.
SHELLE TURF'S LACK OF CREDIBILITY
A. FALSE EMBELLISHMENT OF THE "REVIEW"
Shelle Turf wrote a one paragraph "review" on Yelp on 9/7/2012. She doubled down on that "review" by adding a second paragraph on 9/9/2012.
In para 2 of her "review" (posted on 9/9/2012), she tells you that when she left our facility "last week" (the "last week" could only mean on 8/30/2012) and she was, presumably, still in our parking lot, she was approached - out of the blue - by a complete stranger carrying at least 5 Louis Vuitton and Chanel handbags who just happened to ask her if RAVE FabriCARE did "good work". She implies that she answered "no", whereupon the stranger "changed her mind fast and turned around."
This story is, of course, PURE FICTION. Here's why:
When Shelle Turf came to pick up her tote (return visit #1 on 8/30/2012), she did NOT see or examine the tote. I merely told her that we needed more time to complete the deodorization process necessary to neutralize the musty smell. Yet, despite the fact that she NEVER saw or examined the tote on 8/30/2012, she was nonetheless able to tell the mysterious stranger - MINUTES LATER - that we do "horrible", "crappy", "awful", "bad" or "wrecked" work.
I have 4 questions for Shelle Turf:
(a) How could you have possibly formed a negative opinion about our handbag cleaning services if you did NOT see or examine your tote on 8/30/2012?
(b)   How come the parking lot surveillance video showed no such encounter between you and any other person, either on 8/30/2012 (return visit #1), 9/6/2012 (return visit #2) or 9/7/2012 (return visit #3)?
(c) If the evidence that we returned your tote in "horrible , "crappy", "awful", "bad" or "wrecked" condition" or that we "damaged" your tote is so convincing, why did you feel there was a need to blatantly lie in your review?
(d) How could you have possibly formed a negative opinion about our handbag cleaning services as of 8/30/2012 when, just 3 weeks before you dropped off your Louis Vuitton tote, you picked up a Gucci GG fabric handbag perfectly cleaned inside and out?
And, as for the allegation that I used the F-word in any conversation with her, well, you can draw your own conclusions. To help you assess who the guttermouth is, may I suggest that you re-read all of Shelle Turf's "reviews".
In summary: Is Shelle Turf posting an honest assessment of our handbag cleaning services or is she distorting or even falsifying her claim that we returned her tote in "horrible , "crappy", "awful", "bad" or "wrecked"  condition or that we "damaged" her tote?
You be the judge.
B. CALCULATED DECISION TO FIRST CLEAN BEFORE CONSIDERING REPLACING THE LEATHER
According to her "review" on CitiSearch (see above), Shelle Turf tells you that "Louis Vuitton said that they can 'releather' the bag for over $900. It didn't need releathering when I brought it into them and now it looks like total crap."
Call any Louis Vuitton store in the USA and they'll tell you that they CANNOT provide an estimate for the cost of "releathering" a handbag WITHOUT THEIR REPAIR SPECIALIST FIRST EXAMINING THE HANDBAG.
That's the Louis Vuitton policy. Every Louis Vuitton employee knows that and will tell you that.
So, I have one question for Shelle Turf: How could you have possibly known - on September 7, 2012 - that it would cost over $900 to replace all the leather trim on your handbag?
After all, you left RAVE FabriCARE at about 5:00 p.m. on September 7, 2012 WITHOUT YOUR TOTE IN HAND (see section below titled "Retention of Shelle Turf's Tote"). And yet, just a few hours later, you had already posted a review on CitiSearch stating that it would cost over $900 to "releather" your tote.
The answer, of course, is quite simple: You could only have known that it would cost over $900 to "releather" your tote IF you had received an estimate from Louis Vuitton PRIOR to bringing it to RAVE FabriCARE for cleaning.
Based on all the before photos, it is clear that the most important issue affecting the value of the tote was the fact that the leather trim was soiled, oil stained, scratched and scuffed. The small half inch tear in the brown monogrammed coated canvas, the ink stain on the lining and the musty smell in the interior were secondary issues.
This begs the question: Why didn't you take it straight to Louis Vuitton to replace the leather trim? Why did you, instead, decide to take it first to RAVE FabriCARE for cleaning?
I'd suggest that there are only two possible reasons:
First, if RAVE FabriCARE was unable to return the leather trim to near-perfect condition (cost about $100), you could always ask Louis Vuitton to replace all the leather (cost about $900).
Alternatively, if you could allege that RAVE FabriCARE "damaged" your tote during the course of the cleaning process, you could refuse to pay for the cleaning ("saving" you $100) and mount a campaign of negative publicity in an attempt to coerce RAVE FabriCARE into paying for the cost of replacing the leather trim (costing you $100 for court-related fees). Net cost to you would be zero ($100 "saved" and $100 spent).
In summary: Is it a sheer coincidence that Shelle Turf decided to have the tote cleaned first and was the decision to clean first part of a scheme to coerce RAVE FabriCARE into funding the replacement on the leather trim on her tote?
You make the call.
C. FULL KNOWLEDGE OF LIKELY CLEANING RESULTS PRIOR TO DROPPING OFF HER TOTE
Before dropping off her Louis Vuitton tote for cleaning on August 16, 2012, Shelle Turf had full knowledge of the likely results she could expect from our handbag cleaning services.
First, Shelle Turf dropped off a Gucci GG fabric handbag on July 23, 2012. The handbag was lightly soiled and stained with red dye on the exterior and lightly soiled and stained with ink on the inside.
She picked up her Gucci handbag on August 3, 2012. Apparently, she was pleased with the results. So much so that she returned to RAVE FabriCARE on August 16, 2012 - less than 3 weeks later - with her Louis Vuitton tote.
You can view 22 before and 15 after photos of that red dye-stained Gucci handbag by clicking on this link...
/true-quality-cleaning/2012/10/10/removing-red-dye-transfer-from-your-handbags-and-purses.aspx
Second, at the time she picked up her Gucci handbag and at the time she dropped off her Louis Vuitton tote at RAVE FabriCARE for cleaning, Shelle Turf ...
* viewed examples of completed Louis Vuitton brown monogrammed coated canvas handbags with natural cowhide trim that were awaiting pickup by other clients.
* viewed our "photo book" of completed handbags showing before and after photos of many handbags that we've cleaned, including various Louis Vuitton brown monogrammed handbags.
In other words, based on her personal viewing actual Louis Vuitton handbags that had been completed and her personal viewing of before and after photos of Louis Vuitton handbags in our photo book, Shelle Turf WAS FULLY AWARE OF THE LIKELY RESULTS SHE COULD AND COULD NOT EXPECT FROM THE CLEANING OF HER LOUIS VUITTON TOTE PRIOR TO LEAVING HER LOUIS VUITTON TOTE WITH US.
In summary: Is there any truth to Shelle Turf's claim that she had no idea of the likely results that could and could not be expected from the cleaning of her Louis Vuitton tote? And, consequently, can there be any truth to her claim that we"damaged" her tote?
You be the judge.
D. FALSE REPRESENTATION OF THE VALUE OF THE TOTE
Through all her "reviews", Shelle Turf is attempting to convince you that her reviews are based on principle, and not on the money. But you know, as well as I do, that when someone tries to convince you that it's NOT ABOUT THE MONEY, IT USUALLY IS ABOUT THE MONEY.
In her small claims court filing, Shelle Turf is asking for $1030 plus tax to compensate her for the "damage" to her tote: "The bag would sell for $1030 plus tax if they could releather it."
Fact is, the tote was in relatively poor condition when she first brought it in for cleaning. You can purchase identical Louis Vuitton totes for anywhere from $350 to $550 online. And those totes are IN FAR BETTER CONDITION THAN SHELLE TURF'S TOTE WAS IN WHEN SHE BROUGHT IT IN FOR CLEANING.
Clearly, Shelle Turf believes that if you take a 6 year old, scratched and dented car to a car wash and if you can allege that the car wash damaged your car during the wash process, you are entitled to sue the car wash company for the price that the car would sell for on the open market IF the car was completely restored to like-new condition.
In summary: Shelle Turf asks for $1030 plus tax as compensation for returning her tote in "horrible", "crappy", "awful", "bad" or "wrecked" condition. Yet, her tote was in relatively poor condition when she first brought it in - VERY REASON SHE BROUGHT IT IN FOR CLEANING IN THE FIRST PLACE!
Is it reasonable to claim $1030 plus tax when identical totes - TOTES ARE IN FAR BETTER CONDITION THAN SHELLE TURF'S TOTE WAS IN WHEN SHE FIRST BROUGHT IT IN - sell for a THIRD or HALF THE PRICE on-line?
You make the call.
E. OTHER FALSE NEGATIVE "REVIEWS" USING PSEUDONYMS
As of September 23, 2012, I did not realize that Shelle Turf was a returning client and not a new client. So I'm indebted to Shelle Turf for alerting me to that fact in her email of September 23.
Fact is, Shelle Turf brought in a Gucci GG fabric handbag with brown leather trim for cleaning on July 23, 2012. The handbag was lightly soiled and stained with red dye on the exterior and lightly soiled and stained with ink on the interior. She picked up the handbag on August 3, 2012. She was obviously quite satisfied with the results because she had no hesitation paying for the cleaning by credit card.
You can view the before and after photos of this Gucci handbag by clicking on this link ...
/true-quality-cleaning/2012/10/10/removing-red-dye-transfer-from-your-handbags-and-purses.aspx
Now here's strange coincidence #1:
On September 23, 2012, Shelle Turf sent me an email (subject title "Maricopa County Justice Courts") asking why RAVE FabriCARE had so many complaints filed against our company and listing all the lawsuits in which RAVE FabriCARE was a party.
Apparently, Shelle Turf doesn't understand the difference between a plaintiff and a defendant (here's a clue: OJ Simpson was a defendant). She also doesn't know that many of our clients have charge accounts, and that, over the past 24 years, RAVE FabriCARE has filed suits to recover monies owed by clients who default on their open accounts.
And here's strange coincidence #2:
On September 23, 2012, an unknown person, using the name karma-is-the-name-of-the-game, posted a negative "review" on pissedconsumer.com entitled "RAVE FabriCARE - Damaged My Gucci Purse". The reviewer provided no information about the nature of "damage" to her Gucci purse. Instead, the reviewer directed readers of the review to "Check out Maricopa Court Justice Courts for all complaints against this place."
Could this unknown reviewer masquerading under the name "karma-is-the-name-of-the-game" be Shelle Turf?
And here's strange coincidence #3:
On September 23, 2012, an unknown person, using the name kellykarma, posted a negative "review" on merchantcircle.com, entitled "Damaged expensive purse."
Again, the review provided no information about the nature of the "damage" to her purse. Instead, the reviewer directed readers of the review to "See Maricopa County Justice Courts for list of many complaints" and pasted a list of 28 case numbers extracted from the courts' website directly into the review.
Could this unknown reviewer masquerading under the name of kellykarma be Shelle Turf?
And here's strange coincidence #4:
On September 23, 2012, an unknown person, using the email address lsilver2@aol.com, spammed our blog no fewer than 8 times in an attempt to alert readers of our blog to all the complaints filed against RAVE FabriCARE in the Maricopa County Justice Courts, adding, for emphasis, the "high-end stores must not know about all the complaints on the court website."
It appears that, just like Shelle Turf, karma-is-the-name-of-the-game and kellykarma, this spammer also doesn't understand the difference between a plaintiff and a defendant.
Another interesting fact is that the spammer used the email address lsilver2@aol.com. I'd bet that Shelly Turf has a family member with the name "L. Silver".
Could this unknown spammer masquerading under the name L. Silver be Shelle Turf?
In summary: On September 23, 2012, Shelle Turf sent me an email mirroring the content of a negative review posted on pissedconsumer on September 23, 2012, mirroring the content of a negative review posted on merchantcircle.com on September 23, 2012, and mirroring the content of multiple spams to our blog on September 23, 2012.
Is this just a series of unrelated coincidences or another calculated false attack on our reputation by Shelle Turf?
You be the judge.
F. ANONYMOUS DISSEMINATION OF FALSE INFORMATION TO OUR RETAIL STORE CLIENTS
On September 24, 2012, Shelle Turf mailed a printout of a list of 28 lawsuits she alleges have been filed AGAINST RAVE FabriCARE to many of our high-end retail store clients.
This list is identical to the list Shelle Turf references in her false allegations identified in (D) above.
Before inserting the printouts into their respective envelopes, Shelle Turf hand wrote a note on each printout as follows:
XYZ Store Manager:
Here's info on Rave Fabricare Cleaners that you refer clients to. You may want to find a new place to refer them to, as this is posted all over the internet!
Not being satisfied with the mere mailing of this list to the managers of our retail store clients, Shelle Turf called each one - anonymously - to urge them to stop doing business with RAVE FabriCARE.
There are a number of points to consider, including:
(a) The printout is a list of cases filed BY RAVE FabriCARE (as plaintiff) AGAINST former clients (as defendants) who have defaulted on their accounts with RAVE FabriCARE.
(b) The handwriting on the envelope and on the printout belongs to Shelle Turf. (The handwriting on the envelope and on the printout is exactly the same as the handwriting on the Small Claims Court documents filed by Shelle Turf).
(c) The envelope has no return address and the note does not identify the name, address or contact number of the author.
In summary: As part of her negative publicity campaign, Shelle Turf mailed anonymous letters to our high-end retail store clients making the false allegation that 28 complaints had been filed AGAINST RAVE FabriCARE over the years for "horrible", "crappy", "awful", "bad" or "wrecked" work.
Are these the actions and words of a rational individual? Someone who would provide you with a fair presentation of all the facts in an online review?
You make the call.
RETENTION OF SHELLE TURF'S TOTE
When Shelle Turf returned the second time to pick up her tote (return visit #2 on 9/6/2012), she arrived camera phone in hand, accompanied by her daughter as a witness. When she returned the third time to pick up her tote (return visit #3 on 9/7/2012), she arrived camera phone in hand, accompanied by her husband as a witness.
When she returned the second time (return visit #2 on 9/6/2012), this was the FIRST TIME she had seen her tote since dropping it off.
You should, therefore, ask yourself this question: If her only prior experience with RAVE FabriCARE was positive (her Gucci GG fabric handbag), why did she bring a camera on BOTH occasions? Why did she bring a witnesses on BOTH occasions? Unless, of course, she was planning to find fault with the cleaning BEFORE SHE EVEN ARRIVED TO PICK UP HER TOTE -- IRRESPECTIVE OF THE RESULTS ACHIEVED.
On both occasions (9/6/2012 and 9/7/2012), Shelle Turf threatened to sue RAVE FabriCARE for "damaging" her tote (code for "give me a check, now!") . As I was not personally present on 9/6/2012, she returned on 9/7/2012. On 9/7/2012, Shelle Turf demanded the return of her tote. I gave her 3 options as a pre-condition for returning her tote:
(a)   Pay for the cost of the cleaning, or
(b)   Sign a form evidencing satisfactory completion of the work, whereupon we would, as a courtesy, waiver the cleaning cost, or
(c) Send me a letter detailing, in specific terms, her allegations that we "damaged" her tote.
She declined all 3 options.
So the question is this: Why not return the tote to her custody and await the inevitable filing of the lawsuit and court hearing?
The answer is simple: Based on her overall conduct and repeated verbal threats on 9/6/2012 and 9/7/2012, I anticipated that Shelle Turf would be filing a lawsuit to coerce RAVE FabriCARE into paying for the replacement of all the leather trim on her 6 year old Louis Vuitton tote. Did Shelle Turf really believe that I would be so naive as to return her tote to her and trust her not to "tamper with the evidence" prior to court hearing?
CONCLUSION
In April 2013, RAVE FabriCARE will celebrate our 25th Anniversary. Over the past 24 years  I've been exposed to many dry cleaning-related scams. And this case has all the attributes of a scam. As they say, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and smells like a duck, then, in all probability, it's a duck.
How can I help you?
To comment on this post, please use the comment section below.
To ask a question relating to any of your garments or accessories, please email us.

Unfortunately, many negative reviews lack context. This is particularly the case where reviewers have only provided "facts" that support their position, have selectively omitted "facts" that are non-supportive and even contradictory, have distorted or even falsified the "facts", and have substituted opinion for "facts."

This post addresses such negative reviews and discusses the dilemma faced by long-established businesses that have been subjected to a coordinated attack of serial negative reviews by a single reviewer operating under their own name as well as pseudonyms.

The best way to respond to such anonymous and quasi-anonymous  reviewers is to connect all the dots for you and to expose their objectives, words and actions to the disinfectant of bright sunlight. And the best way to illustrate this problem is to examine an actual case.

On August 16, 2012, Shelle Turf of Scottsdale, Arizona brought in a 6 year old, soiled, oil-stained, scratched, scuffed, torn, ink stained, musty Louis Vuitton brown monogrammed coated canvas Battignoles Horizontal Tote with natural cowhide leather trim. She asked us to clean the tote (inside and outside) and to repair a small tear in the brown monogrammed coated canvas (to the extent that a tear in a coated canvas handbag can be "repaired").

Our discussion of Shelle Turf's tote is organized as follows:

1. Shelle Turf's multiple negative reviews

2. The condition of Shelle Turf's Louis Vuitton tote before and after cleaning

3. Shelle Turf's lack of credibility

a. False embellishment of her Yelp Review

b. Calculated decision to first clean before considering replacing the leather

c. Full knowledge of the likely cleaning results prior to dropping off her tote

d. False representation of the value of her tote

e. Other false negative "reviews" using pseudonyms

f. Anonymous dissemination of false information to our high-end clients

4. The reasons why we retained Shelle Turf's tote

5. Conclusion

SHELLE TURF'S MULTIPLE NEGATIVE REVIEWS

In order to put Shelle Turf's objectives, words and actions into their correct context, it's important to understand the time lines involved:

Drop off of tote: August 16, 2012

On August 16, 2012, Shelle Turf brought in a 6 year old Louis Vuitton tote with natural cowhide leather trim. She asked us to clean the tote (inside and outside) and to "repair" a small tear in the brown monogrammed coated canvas.

Return visit #1: August 30, 2012

Shelle Turf returned on Thursday, August 30, 2012 to pick up her tote (return visit #1). We had not completed all the work because the tote was, at that time, still in the final stages of deodorization to remove the musty smell.

Return visit #2: September 6, 2012

Shelle Turf returned a second time to pick up her tote on Thursday, September 6, 2012 at about 3:30 p.m., camera phone in hand, accompanied by her daughter as a witness (return visit #2).

As I was not present on 9/6/2012 (I'm constantly in and out of our facility on Mondays and Thursdays servicing our retail store clients), she requested that I call her on Friday, 9/7/2012. I called at about noon on 9/7/2012.

Return visit #3: September 7, 2012

Shelle Turf returned a third time to pick up her tote on Friday, September 7, 2012 at about 4:30 p.m., camera phone in hand, accompanied by her husband as witness.

Within a few hours of leaving our facility on September 7, 2012, Shelle Turf had posted 4 online reviews (reproduced below - word for word) ...

1.  REVIEW ON YELP BY "SHELLE T"

Worst work ever (Posted 9/7/2012/Updated 9/9/2012)

Brought LV purse in to be cleaned and repaired. Purse not ready when promised and was told another week. When I went to pick it up it was in horrible condition and the repair was NOT completed and owner Stuart Bloom totally denied that he knew of any repair. Funny on my ticket they wrote up it clearly states to do a repair on a small cut. He is not to be trusted and he even got so mad used f word. I'm not done with this guy yet. Hope he likes publicity ... Plus he has my bag, would not give it to me unless I signed paper saying work was completed and satisfied. NOT! He even was going to give me the bag back if signed paper and not charge me. I refused to sign his note.

If you are thinking of bringing your expensive purses in here to be cleaned or repaired, ask him to see the Turf Louis VuittonVertical Battignoles bag that he would not return to me unless I signed a form stating it was completed and repaired and are satisfied with results. Of course I refused (plus was giving to me if I signed a form stating at NO CHARGE). You will change your mind unless you want a crap job like he did on mine. I saw a lady walking there last week carrying at least 3 lv bags and 1 channel and another one and she asked me if they do good work. She changed her mind fast and turned around.

2.  REVIEW ON GOOGLE BY "SHELLE T"

Quality poor to fair (no specific date other than "reviewed a month ago")

Went to pick up LV bag that was to be cleaned inside and leather cleaned and repair. Totally freaked out when saw the condition of the bag. It now needs to be re-leather and LV charges over $900 and plus the bag was just recently discontinued. What a crappyjob. I wouldn't give this bag away free to anyone, they wouldn't want it now.

3.  REVIEW ON CITI SEARCH BY "SHELLE T"

(9/7/2012)

Would not ever recommend this place to anyone. The man Stu totally made my daughters LV purse in awful condition. It was brought in to be cleaned and repaired and when we saw it, refused to pay and take it. Off to small claims court on Monday and contacting my friend at channel 12 news to do a little segment on this business owner who also lied to me. BBB, FTC and Az General Attorney. The bag was just recently discontinued and cannot even be replaced. Louis Vuitton said they can re-leather the bag for over $900. It didn't need re leathering when brought it in to him and now it looks like total crap. I wouldn't be caught dead carrying it in the condition it is now. Thanks Stuie.

4.  REVIEW ON YELLOW PAGES BY "SHELLE.TURF"

Think twice before getting your ... (9/7/2012)

Think twice before getting your expensive LV. Gucci and Channel bags cleaned or repaired. My bag is now in such bad shape I wouldn't even be able to give it away. Stay tuned for further action on Mr. Stuie!

In addition, Shelle Turf posted another "review" one week later:

5.  REVIEW ON PISSED CONSUMER  BY "SHELLE"

October 2, 2012

Oh my gosh, I am in process of small claims with this little man, Stu. I brought in an LV bag to be repaired and cleaned. I went back 2 weeks later to pick up as stated on receipt to be ready. Stu told me that it was in some stage of getting their fumes out. Told me to come back in a week. Went back in a week and Stu saw me walking in and flew out as quickly as possible to avoid me. Girl told me that bag not ready and showed me it and I freaked out. Looked worse than brought it in and still were not repaired. He even told me that in order to repair would have to un stitch the stitching inside the bag and put a patch on slit and glue it. Girl tells me the glue in on order. BS. I called him and freaked out and he told me he knew nothing about ANY repair and it clearly states repair slit on receipt. He lied several times to me. He still has bag and would only give it to me if I signed paper saying I was ok with it and he was NOT going to charge me the 92 bucks. Said no way, why would I pay for purse he wrecked. So I will be taking him to small claims court. Check out court sites online to see ALL the complaints. (Note to reader: Shelle Turf links the word "complaints" to a list of suits filed BY RAVE FabriCARE AGAINST other parties over a period of 24 years.)

In order to understand the NATURE of Shelle Turf's complaint and the ROLE played by these "reviews" in a larger scheme to coerce the funds necessary to replace all the leather trim on her Louis Vuitton coated canvas handbag, consider this simple analogy...

Assume that

  • you owned a 6 year old dress that was trimmed in natural cowhide leather,
  • the leather trim was soiled, oil stained, scratched and scuffed,
  • you concluded that you have 2 options: (a) have the dress cleaned in the hope that the cleaner might be able to improve the overall condition/look of the leather trim, or (b) pay the dress manufacturer over $900 to replace all the leather trim,
  • your cleaner was able to significantly improve the overall condition/look of the leather trim but was unable to restore the leather trim to "showroom new" condition, and
  • the cleaner has over 40 "before" and "after" photos to document the improvement achieved.

If this was your dress, would you thank the cleaner for their efforts to achieve the best results that were technologically achievable, or would you

  1. refuse to pay for the cost of the cleaning, or
  2. sue the cleaner in Small Claims Court for over $1,000 -- the price you allege that you could sell the dress for on the open market IF the leather was in excellent condition, IF there was no half inch long tear in the dress,IF there were no ink stains on the lining, IF it didn't have a musty smell -- EVEN THOUGH identical dresses (in far better condition than your dress was when you brought it in for cleaning) are widely available on line in the price range of $350 to $550, or
  3. file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau demanding that the cleaner pay $900 to have all the leather trim replaced by the manufacturer, or
  4. file a complaint with your State Attorney General demanding that the AG take legal action to compel RAVE FabriCARE pay $900 to have all the leather trim replaced by the manufacturer, or
  5. post at least 6 negative "reviews" of the cleaner's work on on-line review sites such as Yelp, Google, Citi Search, Yellow Pages, Pissed Consumer and Merchant Circle as part of an anti-RAVE FabriCARE publicity campaign, or
  6. make anonymous personal calls and mail anonymous letters to the managers of many of RAVE FabriCARE's high-end retail store clients making false allegations that numerous "complaints" had been filed against RAVE FabriCARE in small claims court (false allegations based on not knowing the difference between a plaintiff and a defendant), and imploring these stores to "find a new place" to whom they should refer their clients, or
  7. contact or threaten to contact major TV stations and newspapers in the Phoenix metro area to "do a segment" on the cleaner, or
  8. all of the above.

If your answer is 8, welcome to the world of Shelle and Richard Turf of Scottsdale, Arizona.

THE CONDITION OF SHELLE TURF'S LOUIS VUITTON TOTE BEFORE AND AFTER CLEANING

When you cut through all the he-said-she-said allegations made by Shelle Turf and personal opinion smoke screens offered by Shelle Turf in all her reviews, her only serious claim was that her Louis Vuitton brown monogrammed coated canvas tote was in alternatively "horrible", "crappy", "awful", "bad" or "wrecked" condition when she came to pick it up (return visit #2 on 9/6/2012).

Yet, she provides no specifics or definition of the term "horrible", "crappy", "awful", "bad" or "wrecked"  condition.

If this was your tote, and you believed that a cleaner had transformed the condition of your tote from "excellent" or "good" (I assume) to "horrible", "crappy", "awful", "bad" or "wrecked" condition, wouldn't you know EXACTLY what the specific issues were?

In separate filings with the Better Business Bureau, the Arizona Attorney General's Office and the Maricopa County Small Claims Court, and in a series of bizarre rants in emails and spams to our blog, Shelle Turf does not use the term "horrible", "crappy", "awful", "bad" or "wrecked"  condition. Instead, she claims that we "damaged" her 6 year old tote.

At RAVE FabriCARE, we take before and after photos of EVERY handbag, purse, wallet and backpack brought in to our facility, picked up by our drivers, or sent in to us through the mail so as to document their condition when received and when returned.

You can view 28 before photos and 16 after photos of this tote and read my accompanying commentary by clicking on this link ...

/true-quality-cleaning/2012/9/11/the-hand-cleaning-of-handbags- perfection-can-almost-never-be-attained.aspx.

After you review the photos and read the commentary, ask yourself these 4 questions:

  1. Is there any credibility to Shelle Turf's claim that we transformed her 6 year old, soiled, oil stained, scratched, scuffed, torn, ink stained and musty tote to "horrible", "crappy", "awful", "bad" or "wrecked"  condition, or that we "damaged" her tote?
  2. How would you describe the condition of Shelle Turf's tote in the "before" pictures? Excellent? Good? Horrible? Crappy? Awful? Bad? Wrecked?
  3. Are these 5 reviews legitimate reviews of our handbag cleaning services, or are these "reviews" part of a larger scheme designed to coerce the funds needed to replace the leather trim on her 6 year old Louis Vuitton brown monogrammed coated canvas tote?
  4. Will Shelle Turf's reviews have any influence whatsoever on stores such as Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Burberry, Escada, Gucci, Max Mara, Prada and the like that regularly use our cleaning services and recommend us to their clients?

You can post your answers to these questions in the comments section of the post linked to above.

SHELLE TURF'S LACK OF CREDIBILITY

A.  FALSE EMBELLISHMENT OF HER YELP "REVIEW"

Shelle Turf wrote a one paragraph "review" on Yelp on 9/7/2012. She doubled down on that "review" by adding a second paragraph on 9/9/2012.

In para 2 of her "review" (posted on 9/9/2012), she tells you that when she left our facility "last week" (the "last week" could only mean on 8/30/2012) and she was, presumably, still in our parking lot, she was approached - out of the blue - by a complete stranger carrying at least 5 Louis Vuitton and Chanel handbags who just happened to ask her if RAVE FabriCARE did "good work". She implies that she answered "no", whereupon the stranger "changed her mind fast and turned around."

This story is, of course, PURE FICTION. Here's why:

When Shelle Turf came to pick up her tote (return visit #1 on 8/30/2012), she did NOT see or examine the tote. I merely told her that we needed more time to complete the deodorization process necessary to neutralize the musty smell. Yet, despite the fact that she NEVER saw or examined the tote on 8/30/2012, she was nonetheless able to tell the mysterious stranger -MINUTES LATER - that we do "horrible", "crappy", "awful", "bad" or "wrecked" work.

I have 4 questions for Shelle Turf:

1.  How could you have possibly formed a negative opinion about our handbag cleaning services if you did NOT see or examine your tote on 8/30/2012?

2.  How come the parking lot surveillance video showed NO such encounter between you and any other person, either on 8/30/2012 (return visit #1), 9/6/2012 (return visit #2) or 9/7/2012 (return visit #3)?

3.  If the evidence that we returned your tote in "horrible , "crappy", "awful", "bad" or "wrecked" condition" or that we "damaged" your tote is so convincing, why did you feel there was a need to blatantly lie in your review?

4.  How could you have possibly formed a negative opinion about our handbag cleaning services as of 8/30/2012 when, just 3 weeks before you dropped off your Louis Vuitton tote, you picked up a Gucci GG fabric handbag perfectly cleaned inside and out?

And, as for the allegation that I used the F-word in any conversation with her, well, you can draw your own conclusions. To help you assess who the guttermouth is, may I suggest that you re-read all of Shelle Turf's "reviews".

In summary: Is Shelle Turf posting an honest assessment of our handbag cleaning services or is she distorting or even falsifying her claim that we returned her tote in "horrible , "crappy", "awful", "bad" or "wrecked"  condition or that we "damaged" her tote?

You be the judge.

B.  CALCULATED DECISION TO FIRST CLEAN BEFORE CONSIDERING REPLACING THE LEATHER

According to her "review" on CitiSearch (see above), Shelle Turf tells you that "Louis Vuitton said that they can 'releather' the bag for over $900. It didn't need releathering when I brought it into them and now it looks like total crap."

Call any Louis Vuitton store in the USA and they'll tell you that they CANNOT provide an estimate for the cost of "releathering" a handbag WITHOUT THEIR REPAIR SPECIALIST FIRST EXAMINING THE HANDBAG.

That's the Louis Vuitton policy. Every Louis Vuitton employee knows that and will tell you that.

So, I have one question for Shelle Turf: How could you have possibly known - on September 7, 2012 - that it would cost over $900 to replace all the leather trim on your handbag?

After all, you left RAVE FabriCARE at about 5:00 p.m. on September 7, 2012 WITHOUT YOUR TOTE IN HAND (see section below titled "Retention of Shelle Turf's Tote"). And yet, just a few hours later, you had already posted a review on CitiSearch stating that it would cost over $900 to "releather" your tote.

The answer, of course, is quite simple: You could only have known that it would cost over $900 to "releather" your tote IF you had received an estimate from Louis Vuitton PRIOR to bringing it to RAVE FabriCARE for cleaning.

Based on all the before photos, it is clear that the most important issue affecting the value of the tote was the fact that the leather trim was soiled, oil stained, scratched and scuffed. The small half inch tear in the brown monogrammed coated canvas, the ink stain on the lining and the musty smell in the interior were secondary issues.

This begs the question: Why didn't you take it straight to Louis Vuitton to replace the leather trim? Why did you, instead, decide to take it first to RAVE FabriCARE for cleaning?

I'd suggest that there are only two possible reasons:

First, if RAVE FabriCARE was unable to return the leather trim to near-perfect condition (cost about $100), you could always ask Louis Vuitton to replace all the leather (cost about $900).

Alternatively, if you could allege that RAVE FabriCARE "damaged" your tote during the course of the cleaning process, you could refuse to pay for the cleaning ("saving" you $100) and mount a campaign of negative publicity in an attempt to coerce RAVE FabriCARE into paying for the cost of replacing the leather trim (costing you $100 for court-related fees). Net cost to you would be zero ($100 "saved" and $100 spent).

In summary: Is it a sheer coincidence that Shelle Turf decided to have the tote cleaned first and was the decision to clean first part of a scheme to coerce RAVE FabriCARE into funding the replacement on the leather trim on her tote?

You make the call.

C.  FULL KNOWLEDGE OF LIKELY CLEANING RESULTS PRIOR TO DROPPING OFF HER TOTE

Before dropping off her Louis Vuitton tote for cleaning on August 16, 2012, Shelle Turf had fullfull knowledge of the likely results she could expect from our handbag cleaning services.

First, Shelle Turf dropped off a Gucci GG fabric handbag on July 23, 2012. The handbag was lightly soiled and stained with red dye on the exterior and lightly soiled and stained with ink on the inside.

She picked up her Gucci handbag on August 3, 2012. Apparently, she was pleased with the results. So much so that she returned to RAVE FabriCARE on August 16, 2012 - less than 3 weeks later - with her Louis Vuitton tote.

You can view 22 before and 15 after photos of that red dye-stained Gucci handbag by clicking on this link...

/true-quality-cleaning/2012/10/10/removing-red-dye-transfer-from-your-handbags-and-purses.aspx

Second, at the time she picked up her Gucci handbag and at the time she dropped off her Louis Vuitton tote at RAVE FabriCARE for cleaning, Shelle Turf ...

  • viewed examples of completed Louis Vuitton brown monogrammed coated canvas handbags with natural cowhide trim that were awaiting pickup by other clients.
  • viewed our "photo book" of completed handbags showing before and after photos of many handbags that we've cleaned, including various Louis Vuitton brown monogrammed handbags.

In other words, based on her personal viewing actual Louis Vuitton handbags that had been completed and her personal viewing of before and after photos of Louis Vuitton handbags in our photo book, Shelle Turf WAS FULLY AWARE OF THE LIKELY RESULTS SHE COULD AND COULD NOT EXPECT FROM THE CLEANING OF HER LOUIS VUITTON TOTE PRIOR TO LEAVING HER LOUIS VUITTON TOTE WITH US.

In summary: Is there any truth to Shelle Turf's claim that she had no idea of the likely results that could and could not be expected from the cleaning of her Louis Vuitton tote? And, consequently, can there be any truth to her claim that we"damaged" her tote?

You be the judge.

D.  FALSE REPRESENTATION OF THE VALUE OF HER TOTE

Through all her "reviews", Shelle Turf is attempting to convince you that her reviews are based on principle, and not on the money. But you know, as well as I do, that when someone tries to convince you that it's NOT ABOUT THE MONEY, IT USUALLY IS ABOUT THE MONEY.

In her small claims court filing, Shelle Turf is asking for $1030 plus tax to compensate her for the "damage" to her tote: "The bag would sell for $1030 plus tax if they could releather it."

Fact is, the tote was in relatively poor condition when she first brought it in for cleaning. You can purchase identical Louis Vuitton totes for anywhere from $350 to $550 online. And those totes are IN FAR BETTER CONDITION THAN SHELLE TURF'S TOTE WAS IN WHEN SHE BROUGHT IT IN FOR CLEANING.

In an attempt to determine the value of Shelle Turf's tote, I sent 28 "before" photos of the tote to three of the largest online resellers of Louis Vuitton accessories.

I informed each one that I was considering selling the tote and asked for their best offer. Alternatively, if they were not interested in an outright purchase, I asked each one whether they would consider taking the tote on consignment.

Verdict? Not one would make a purchase offer and not one was interested in taking the tote on consignment.

For all practical purposes, the tote was worthless when Shelle Turf brought it in for cleaning.

So I called an independent insurance adjuster and posed this hypothetical question: If an insured owned a 6 year old, soiled, oil-stained, musty Louis Vuitton tote and that tote was damaged by fire or flood, what would the payout be under a typical homeowners or renters policy?

Answer: About zero. The tote had almost no value, so the payout would be zero.

Clearly, Shelle Turf believes that if you take a 6 year old, scratched and dented car to a car wash and if you can allege that the car wash damaged your car during the wash process, you are entitled to sue the car wash company for the price that the car would sell for on the open market IF the car was completely restored to like-new condition.

In summary: Shelle Turf asks for $1030 plus tax as compensation for returning her tote in "horrible", "crappy", "awful", "bad" or "wrecked" condition. Yet, her tote was in relatively poor condition when she first brought it in - VERY REASON SHE BROUGHT IT IN FOR CLEANING IN THE FIRST PLACE!

Is it reasonable to claim $1030 plus tax when identical totes - IN FAR BETTER CONDITION THAN SHELLE TURF'S TOTE WAS IN WHEN SHE FIRST BROUGHT IT IN - sell for a THIRD or HALF THE PRICE on-line? And when independent third parties believe that the tote was, for all practical


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