Michael Horowitz from Djangobooks, an obvious crook.
If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, it is a duck. The same applies to crooks.
If you think of dealing with a crook, you better do your due diligence and have hard facts against him before losing money. If, after reading this story, you still want to do business with a recognized crook, it is your problem.
The client is Dutch, a Dutch student. He does not throw money away and when buying a vintage guitar he wants to make sure the value is there. This is word for word the email he sent me:
"In June 2012, I bought this guitar from Michael for over $5000.
When it was shipped to me, I brought it to a luthier for maintenance (luthier and Busato collector) and he could not agree with Michael’s findings, saying that there was a slight possibility that it was once made in a Busato shop, but definitely
by Busato, or a Busato model. He valued it at about 800 euro's worth (about 1,400$).
Of course I was shocked and contacted Michael immediately. Michael disregarded the luthier's claims and said he was wrong, and his definition of Busatos was shallow.
To be sure I had also contacted François Charle. After asking his wife he also could not confirm it was a Busato.
I contacted Michael again. Instead of acknowledging he might have made a mistake, Michael, for the first time added, "now of course, as there is no label or anything, we can't be 100 sure%"
I could not agree with him, after all I had bought a guitar advertised as being a Busato, not a "possible Busato / Mystery guitar". I offered, that I liked the guitar, but thought it was too overpriced with no provenance provided, and would like to have returned at least half of what I had paid for it. He disagreed.
Shortly after our conversation, I found out Michael changed his text about my guitar on his website. Adding "now of course, as there is no label or anything, we can't be 100% sure it is a Busato". Obviously hiding his mistake.
I confronted him. Now Michael denied he changed the text! Saying it was always there! So now he was lying as well!
(I still have the original text, from Google Cache). I was so mad, him trying to fool me again. I said I just want to return the guitar and want a full refund. He denied, still claiming it is probably a Busato, I should have known buy the price that there was a possibility it was not a Busato (what the hell?) and said he only would sell my guitar for me, trough his website but would accept no returns.
After a month or so. I went to another taxateur (Palm Guitars). He confirmed Michael as a bad sales partner ("Michael Horrible"), and also could not identify the guitar as being a Busato. He suggested I'd get a lawyer.
However, lawyers don't work overseas (I am from Netherlands), so it became a difficult.
Now I found out, Michael had deleted all the material about this guitar (even had put in the effort to delete the video on youtube).
I confronted him about all of it, Palm Guitars, the deleted stuff. Now claiming, "yes I had to do some maintenance, it is not unusual for guitars to disappear on my site" (denying and trying to fool me again). I called him a liar and a thief and I was so disappointed ever trusting him.
A month later, I posted the issue on his forum, which of course he deleted, sending me a huge warning.
As I like the guitar, and the sale was not insured by a Credit Card or Paypal etc, and lawyers don't work overseas, I decided to accept my loss. But what a great disappointment! I am only a student, and I am still paying off this guitar from a loan.
The whole experience has been so awful. I wonder how this guy sleeps? What a way to make living.
A half year later or so, he asked me, that he was surprised I hadn't returned the guitar (????) and offered that he would return my money if I wanted to (changed his mind, maybe found a buyer?). This guy is so weird and untrustworthy. Also I had grown to the (overpriced) guitar, and I am not sure If I could trust him with a financial transfer again."
This story is not uncommon with Horowitz. Dozens of similar cases have surfaced.