WARNING! To potential customers of Michael Lehkamp's Horizon

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DAL900
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Post by DAL900 »

He is retired

lucas1971
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Joined: Wed May 12, 2004 4:46 pm
Location: Italy

Post by lucas1971 »

Well,
all that I'm reading here is incredible !!
Let's start to post this incredible story to our flightsimulations forums and newsgroups. Our hobby have no place for a such company !!! :x

kabar03
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2005 7:49 pm

Post by kabar03 »

Sorry to hear of all your troubles, I've posted a link to your story on the Viperpit forum (http://www.viperpit.org/forum) to help spread the word.
I learned it from the simpits mailing list, so it is making it's way through the community and should impact his future customer base.
Mike

Phoenix11
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Post by Phoenix11 »

DAL900 wrote:He is retired
I see that now(Googled it)... it is a shame really. I would expect far better conduct from someone who has professional training and experience in mediation, problem solving, and public relations. Too bad.
Cheers,

Chris Mueller
Sim Icarus Flight Sim

kabar03
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2005 7:49 pm

Post by kabar03 »

Yes, it is too bad.

Chris, was it your site that was Slashdotted last weekend?
Nice project.
Mike

Phoenix11
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Post by Phoenix11 »

Chris, was it your site that was Slashdotted last weekend?
Nice project.
Yup... that was mine ;-) Thanks.
Cheers,

Chris Mueller
Sim Icarus Flight Sim

Butik
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2004 11:04 am
Location: Warsaw, Poland

Post by Butik »

kabar03 wrote:I've posted a link to your story on the Viperpit forum (http://www.viperpit.org/forum) to help spread the word.
I learned it from the simpits mailing list, so it is making it's way through the community and should impact his future customer base.
Yeah indeed. I saw someone also posted it on Avsim. I personally posted it here, on Flightsim, Flghtsim.no, Project Magenta & Smavionics. I do not know any other forums but hope this message will eb spread around anyway.

Some might think I am making too much noise about it but... My opinion is that it would be better if I am the only one, or at least one of not many who lost a lot of money for such a piece of junk.

Simbuilders' sommunity is not so big, we should treat each other like friends in this crazy hobby and behaviours & products like described should be eliminated!

Best regards
Last edited by Butik on Tue Feb 22, 2005 5:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

warvet
Posts: 1298
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 5:23 am

I agree

Post by warvet »

I agree whole heartedly Chris, when I mentioned informing his dept. they will make mention to him regarding any act that coud be construed as unethical or immoral practices that in any way could be a representative of his character. I also was in Law Enforcement for a number of years and know that if a formal complaint is lodged even civil it will still become part of his jacket, but seeing as hes retired not much can be done now.. Good luck with the case Mike.

Tim
A340
Canada
"I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my dad did...not screaming and crying like his passengers :D

Michael Lehkamp
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Joined: Tue Nov 30, 2004 5:25 am

Post by Michael Lehkamp »

Gentlemen,

I understand your anger and scorn. I just wanted to share with you a copy of an email I sent to Michal.

Peter, I assure this will be the only reply as I know you do not want this to turn into a battleground. Anyway, I have no intentions of doing this. Chris and Michal had some ligitimate complaints and I only want folks to realize I'm not out to butcher anyone.

Michael Lehkamp

<------------------------------ Pasted ------------------------------->

Hi Michal,

Yes I've seen and read your insults. Regardless of how much you hate me, I am going to stick by my word. I promised to resolve this matter and I intend to. I agree the yoke I shipped you looked like crap by the time you got it. At the time, I was really rushed to get the yoke to you because you were in the states only a few days. You were persistant that I had to ship it then or else. Irregardless, It just really would have helped if we could have received the yoke back from you. To this day, UPS has absolutely no record of your shipping it back.

Anyway, I do not make the yokes anymore. Making them from wood is a pain in the ass and you can never get any (2) to look the same. Thats why I started having the yokes molded and casted. So that the entire yoke not only feels real, it looks it as well. The molding process produces a very smooth and durable yoke. The floor bases are much better now as well. Having had them molded and then mass-casted, costs a huge amount of money. The setup costs is overwhelming. If you think I am making a killing on this endeavor your crazy. I am way in the hole.

I wanted to share with you the reason I got into this business in the first place. As you know, I built a very realistic 767 simulator for my younger handicapped brother. While in the hobby, I became aware of the enormous costs of real aircraft parts. Unless your lucky to salvage a yoke from a yard, you cant even buy the yoke. The manufacturer wont even sell to folks like you and I. And even if they did, it would take lots of knowledge and work to prepare them for simulator use. They are far from plug and play ready. So what I wanted to do was offer builders realistic looking yokes at a fraction of the real cost. After starting the company, I initially considered using real parts like the trim guard and switches. I received a quote from Easterline-Mason (http://www.mason-electric.com/products/ ... itches.pdf ) the company who makes them for Boeing, for over $2,000.00 per switch and I was required to buy 10 or more of them. So I realized I had to start making them myself.

Again, I agree your yoke look liked crap. Even more so due to the shipping mishap. Even as bad as it looked, it took me a long long time to make other ones that looked much better. Again, another reason I began out-sourcing the yokes. Is my "Gaming Version Yoke" better than other ones like PFC's? Honestly? No. If I devoted all my time and money to a generic looking yoke then I could probably offer something similar. But I want to offer a variety since there is a variety of builders out there. Some like the 737, others the 777. And I'll agree even now the yokes are not 100% accurate in every facit. To do so would cost more money than I even have. However, what they are now is this. Very representative of the model (i.e. 737, 767) being made. They look and function very closely to the real counterpart. The resin yokes are durable and smooth. You need only to plug the USB cable into the computer and then calibrate it through Windows game controllers.

No one understands the wasted time and money that goes into research and development until they do it themselves. There is no re-imbursement per se for the labor. At least not in my case. And I'll be the first to admit I am a crappy businessman. I really dont have a lot of knowledge in this area. And I am horrible at estimating time to complete something. But what I do have is heart and integrity. And when I said I would resolve the issue with you I meant it. I am still recovering from an unexpected surgery to repair (2) discs in my neck but as soon as I can I will be sending you one of the new versions to you at no cost. If then, if you still dont like it, you can just throw it away. I suspect however, you will appreciate the difference.

Michal, I am not writing you all of this for reasons of "damage control". I'd say you've pretty much destroyed any chance I had of being successful in the gaming market. If that turns out to be the case, then so be it. At least in the end I can hold my head high and say I tried my very best regardless of how you value my "very best".

If you choose to continue your assault on me then thats your pleasure. I only ask that you refrain from quoting me please. I'm not denying to anyone that I said some choice things, but most were provoked by your use of profanity as well. I have absolutely no intentions whatsoever of publicly posting quotes by you. I only ask you do the same. I understand if you still want to post negative comments. I'll have to live with that.

In the meantime, I am still going to make good on my promise to you.

Sincerely,

Michael

Joe Cygan
Posts: 361
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2003 2:23 pm
Location: Texas

Post by Joe Cygan »

Hi Michael Lehkamp,
This is not any of my business to get involved in your business affairs, so I wont. I just wanted to say that you have been a great inspiration for me. You are a big reason why I even got started in this sim stuff. Your website on your 767 simulator has been an instrumental tool for a lot of us and you should be praised for that.

I’m sorry you are having a tuff time on the business side. I hope your able to make good with everyone and get back on your feet.

Sincerely, Joe(MD80sim)

victorM
Posts: 54
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2005 4:58 pm
Location: Georgia, USA

Post by victorM »

Hello all,

I have been refraining from posting to this thread, however, I decided I must add my two cents for whatever it is worth :-)

Originally, I was going to build a CRJ simulator and ordered a CRJ yoke from Mr. Lehkamp. In short, it did take way longer than expected to receive this yoke. However, my email exchanges with him were always very pleasant, and he was never rude or dishonest. Most of all, I appreciated the effort on his part to inquire if I liked the final product and if any part of it could be improved. I gave him some recommendations about the map chart holder and the overall "feel" and he appreciated my input.

The only problem I had with the transaction was the fact that it took like 16 weeks or so to get the product when it was supposed to be 3-4.

But please don't brand the guy as some evil person that is out to screw everyone because he is not.
Sincerely,

Victor

Phoenix11
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Post by Phoenix11 »

Gentlemen,

Let's not lose sight of the facts here. He has had more than enough opportunities to correct his production mistakes and misunderstandings with Michal... and myself for that matter. While we do not know specifically what Michal said to Mr. Lehkamp to solicit the responses he received, this is still an issue of a dissatisfied customer who was delivered a product that was grossly unacceptable, to which Mr. Lehkamp openly admitted in his post that he knowingly delivering the product in this condition. When the merchant was called upon to correct the problem in whatever manner, the merchant apparently disagreed and felt it was more appropriate to disregard the customer. I have been in retail, I have worked in store-front level sale, customer service, service production and management for a multi-billion dollar company. Thus, I do have some experience to call upon with situations such as these. Based on this experience and the training I received over the years, it is better to save face, suck it up, take the punishment, and do what is necessary to resolve the issue with the customer. This is especially true when the merchant clearly screwed up. It is the merchant’s responsibility to the customer to correct their mistakes. In all honesty too, In Michal's case, HFS is legally obligated to help him in accordance with their warranty agreement.

As you have also read here and elsewhere, Michal and I are not the only two who have had unpleasant experiences with Mr. Lehkamp. I find it ironic that only after this thread was started by Michal that Mr. Lehkamp has now extended the offer to resolve his issue. Remember Michal quoted an email where Mr. Lehkamp cut him off and left him hanging out to dry on this originally.
From Michal's web page:
"...please do not write me, call me, or have any other form of communication with me ever again. I have had with you period! I have no intentions whatsoever of ever again responding to any kind of communication from you.
By the way, your freaking UPS tracking number is 1XXX..." -Mr. Lehkamp [/i]
Then, in December, he received the following in response to his continued efforts to contact them:
2004-12-21
"Forgive me for its been very hectic here of late. I do intend on replying to you in letter from very shortly.

Basically we would like to come to some sort of compromise which I believe you will find satisfying. I will outline this when I write back to you shortly.

Thank you

Kevin H. Mulroney
Horizon FLight Simulation"
Michal related that he never heard from them since that email. Thus, there was no further demonstrated action that showed that HFS had any intention of rectifying Michal's legitimate complaint about the misrepresentation of the product that he ordered.

This may sound bitter, but I strongly question if Mr. Lehkamp had the intention of dealing with Michal's situation again until he learned that his reputation within the community has come into serious question as a result of this thread.

To Mr. Lehkamp:
Learn some humility and accept responsibility for HFS's failures and shortcomings instead of playing the "blame game" while searching for excuses.

The damage this thread may have caused to your credibility is nobody's fault but your own. I fail to see how the demonstrated policy of "ignore them until they go away" which you used towards Michal and myself is suppose to help. You and I were both police officers, right? Well, if there is one thing that we should both know from our time on the street more than anything, ignoring a problem in the hope that it will disappear will most likely result in worse consequences than if you just resolved the problem first place. Just like what is happening now facilitating the necessity for you to publicly display that you are performing damage control.

Indeed, you may have corrected your company's production problems, but what has really come into question here in this thread is your character. There are several of us who have had exchanges with you where you have made statements that are questionable while your actions ended up reinforcing them as rude, dishonest, less than truthful, or whatever you want to call them. Thus, for Michal, he finally got to the point where he could no longer keep the community in the dark about his dispute. He feels it is necessary for the community not only to see the example of what you sent him, but more importantly, to see the manner in which you conducted yourself.

Any company can produce the perfect product and have it be the most immaculate thing ever made. However, if that company is difficult to deal with and fails to meet its obligations to its customers, it doesn't matter how good the product is; the customer will feel cheated, defrauded, and taken advantage of. Companies with this kind of character will not survive. Remember, especially with small niche-product companies such as yours, customer satisfaction is your key to survival! Be cautious, because whether or not you believe this, your reputation as a retailer can impact your reputation amongst industry-related customers too. Don't think for one second that none of your commercial clients watch this community because I can assure you that they do from first hand experience.

It is up to you to learn from this exposure and do what you can to improve your image and credibility. I would suggest that you conduct yourself in a less personable manner when dealing with customer service issues. Do not make customer disputes personal disputes. It appears that you take customer complaints as a personal attack against you when they are really towards your company. By doing that, you escalate them from a small flame into a raging inferno. Separate the two in your mind or else you will continue to run into situations such as these!

To respond to those who support Mr. Lehkamp:
Like everyone else, I looked to Deltaflight as a source of inspiration. I watched their web site with envy and awe. As my project got underway and I learned that Deltaflight had spun off to Horizon Flight Simulations in an effort to produce those "hard to find" detail parts that we all so desperately seek (i.e. accurate yokes, switches, etc...) After looking at what they had to offer back in August, I discussed the possibility of ordering yokes for the 777 project with them and fabricating our own columns versus the PFC Jetliner yoke. We would have been able to build two yokes and columns for the price of one PFC. Because HFS was still new, I had my reservations about it. When Mr. Lehkamp advised me with confidence that he could make our production deadline, I thought, "...he knows what he is doing, he has been around this community for a long time and has an established reputation, so I can trust him to be honest..." Thus, I placed my order. The rest is history at this point with me. My problem is that I know that delays happen, but when the merchant conducts themselves poorly and doesn't communicate properly with their customers, what am I suppose to say, think, or feel?

Peter Cos can testify that I am a very reasonable and forgiving customer. I tried to be just as reasonable and forgiving to HFS. However, the line has to be drawn somewhere and there comes a point where enough is enough.

As a fellow builder, Mr. Lehkamp has been a good contributor to the community. As a retailer, well... you can make your decisions about that.

Respectfully,
Cheers,

Chris Mueller
Sim Icarus Flight Sim

MOlieman
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Post by MOlieman »

Sometimes I just don't understand what motivates people to SLAM people in public. Even one of the SLAMMERS was slammed here at one time, and was unjustified, and now he's slamming someone else. I'm shocked!

It's easy to fire bullets at people, because you may of felt, you've lost control and now you need to regain control again. Sometimes the bullets can be removed, but, the scars remain.

There is ALWAYS two sides to every story!!!!

Of all the posts in the thread, I ADMIRE Michael L.'s humble apology the most.

dd44
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2005 4:17 pm

Post by dd44 »

If you can handle a comercial activity then go for it and face the problems linked to it.If you dont, dont pretend you can and,above all, never make the customer pay for something you cant provide (which includes service, product, waranty etc...).Horizon kind of looks like an internet company judging by its website thus it must be comercial all the way, from the comunication to the product, period.

Just my 2 cents but you don't need to be a genious to see that the company is responsible in this case, the atitude,for example, towards customers is unacceptable; remember we re talking about a dealer (the fact he eventually admits he's not cant be taken into account since he said he was on the site: is it just me or can I read "company info" on the site...) here we're not talking about some kind of fellow that is "helping" another for some very low price (take opencockpits for example which even has some great customer service), no here we're talking about 700$ which should be enough to buy a really "decent" product and the services that come with it. Here we're not talking about the builder or the man who both are certainly wonderful guys (we cannot have some objective judgement since most of us dont know both of them in a personal way;I too found and still find the Deltaflight project is amazing), no , we're talking about the company which definitely seems to be awful...

I tried to be the most objective I could in this post, judging by the fact I read, the photos I saw...

Phoenix11
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Post by Phoenix11 »

Well... I agree that this thread has started to take a turn for the worse here. :-k

Let me make this clear, I am not looking to "rally the troops" in support for any anti-Lehkamp movement.

The problem is that those who are reading this thread don't know what I know. Unfortunately my attorney has advised me not to make the details of my exchange with HFS public until a judgement is given. Therefore, it is difficult for me to provide details to support my statements.

Sometimes things like this have to happen in order to knock companies back into line. I believe that is what this is accomplishing. I will not stand to benefit anything from this thread, those who do business with Mr. Lehkamp in the future will benefit because he will correct his issues to ensure better performance. That is what this is about.

I do not believe that Mr. Lehkamp is out here to take advantage of people or screw anybody. I just believe that he has screwed up and needs to accept the accoutability for it rather than believe that he can just walk away from his problems. I am impressed and happy that Mr. Lehkamp is now taking responsibility and action to correct the situation between he and Michal.

Matt:
If I am the SLAMMER you are referring to, sorry you feel that way about me. By addressing those who support Mr. Lehkamp I was not SLAMMING them for supporting him, I was just attempting to show that I too believed in Mr. Lehkamp for similar reasons. I just wanted to relate that in my case I learned that how one presents themselves in one setting (i.e. Deltaflight) can be far different from the way they present themselves in another setting (i.e. HFS). That is all it was. It was never an attack against those who admire him. I admire his personal work and accomplishments. That has not changed as a result of all this.

==============================================

This is the last post I am going to make to this thread because I think all that needs to be said has been said. Also, this thread is starting to get too personal and that is when things get out of control and people say things they don't mean.

The statements I have made throughout this thread were intended to inform/educate so everyone can make their own decisions.

I respect all of you and the fact that we do not all agree on everything. Perhaps I have said more than I should have in regard to this matter, so I think it is good for me to stop and move on.

We are all in this hobby to have fun. I just don't like feeling like I am the one taking the fun out of it, so I am going to take a break from here for a while.

If I offended anyone with anything I have stated in this thread, please accept my apology for doing so.
Cheers,

Chris Mueller
Sim Icarus Flight Sim

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