KVH Industries Complaint - Refund Needed
MIDDLETOWN, RHODE ISLAND -- Due to bad information from KVH Industries my life has been altered forever. In August of 2000 I was looking for a way to work from an Recreational Vehicle (RV). I was at an Rv dealer and ran across a KVH brochure that metioned their satellite dome receiving Internet transmissions. I called KVH, asked for someone in the technical department and was put in touch with James Lebelle, the Regional Sales Manager for Land Mobile. I told him that I was interested in buying an RV and working via the Internet and needed a system to link me up with my Corporate office. He assured me that the new Hughes
DirecWay 2 way satellite Internet system was immeniment and was awaiting FCC approval and that the system should be up and running around March of 2001. He also assured me that a KVH Tracvision system would be coming out and he could sell me a demo model directly (not through their distributors) if I kept didn't openly discuss it with any dealers.
I went to my employer armed with that information and he agreed to let me work from the road. Within the next 6 months my life changed forever based on the information I got from an employee of KVH. I trusted James Lebelle. Within 30 days I had purchase a $45,000 RV and traded my 2 vehicles in on a
2001 Ford truck to pull it. A month after that I made a legally binding agreement to rent my home for 2 years. Within 4 months I had sold nearly everything I own. We only kept some of our clothes and our artwork. I
spent another $15,000 outfitting the RV and truck.
I ordered a "special" version of the Tracvision system direcely from James
Lebelle which he code named "unknown" and paid for it with my Visa. I paid $2200 + $100 in shipping for a unit that ended up doing no more than their $1500 television system. He sent it to his plant for production. It had a
special module that would allow us to reprogram it to find the new Hughes satellite and Internet service. He was going to ship it to Denver and I was to find a KVH installer in my area. I talked to a local dealer and when I told him what I was trying to do
he told me that was rediculous. Within 10 minutes I got a call at work from Robert Soloman, the national Sales Manager for Land Mobile systems for KVH. He told me the dealer had called me and told me that James Lebelle was just a salesman and worked for him and what he had told me was wrong. Can you
imagine how that felt? My home was rented out for 2 years - I had invested approximately $90,000 and I wouldn't even be able to work.
I called James Lebelle and he assured me that he worked directly for the President of KVH and that even though Robert Soloman had the title of Sales Manager he was only a salesman and had no idea what was technically going on
behing the scenes. I became suspicous and started recording my conversations with James and keeping my emails from him but I really had no choice now but to believe him.
So in March of 2001, my wife and I took off waiting for the delayed Hughes satellite system. I went to Salt Lake City and installed the software I wrote in one of the company stores and then headed to Seattle where we had several more stores. Each store had high speed Internet so I could use their
connection to work on the other stores. I had to commute 2 to 2-1/2 hours to get to those stores from the Coast to Coast RV parks (paid $3600 for that) where we could stay for $6.00 per night instead of $30 - $40 for public RV
parks closer to Seattle. Finally, we got tired of that and purchased a home in Washington and I work via AT&T @home broadband Internet.
For sake of brevity, I will keep the rest short - we got one delay after another from James Lebelle. I have a copies of my emails from him and the 2 way system was permanently put on hold and a new "cell phone" return version would be out in March of 2002 but we no longer believed in James Lebelle or KVH. In February we finally pulled our RV back to where we bought it in Mesa Arizona and left it for them to sell for us. We also traded our truck on a car. The ordeal has probably cost us $25,000 in losses.
It appears, but hasn't happened yet, that I will be getting a full refund. The Customer Service Manager arranged for the unit to be removed from my RV in Arizona, and it has been shipped back - upon receipt at KVH I am supposed to get a refund.