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utter bullshit.

i know the feeling right now, believe me.

maaaaaan, way too long message.
give the illirate persons a chance!!! Very HappyVery Happy

“Lalalalalalala-life is wonderful..”

… Fuck Gibson and Don Bitch!
I feel the sympathy for you, tone.
And i would be your killer-lawyer if i could!

I’m lookin out my back window right now at the gibson corporate office in Austin TX and I’m thinking about setting a rocket launcher up on my bed..

I can’t say I’ve been through the same thing, but I can totally relate to the feeling of being screwed out of what you feel is owed to you
this makes me hate the music biz more, yet I wanna work in it : /

hope 2008 is a better year for you, Tone

This fuckin sucks.

I remember how great it was building up to Lollapalooza and you won it! The performances, the video diary etc… and these fuckwits still haven’t given you your prize?

Aggghhh…fuck Gibson and fuck Don Pitts.

Fuck.

I had a similar problem (but obviously not on the same scale..). I won a football (soccer) competition and we were promised a shield and £750 (about $1500)… but it wasn’t a suprise to see that they had done absolutely nothing to initiate the prize giving process. After a few weeks I emailed them and did a lot of chasing around. Several months later they gave in and sent me a cheque. I guess my story has a better ending..

Anyway, surely being a man of such popularity.. The blue schoolers could help you out on this one? You’ve been exceedingly patient.. but overwhelming ammounts of hassle is the only way to succeed. Can’t everyone from the site send them e-mails of protest? They’re not going to give you shit if they think you’ll go away.

man f*ck gibson i gurauntee this is not what les paul had in mind when he allowed them to make a signature guitar for him this is why i mess with fender. so winning the contest actually cost you money . this happened to me once with a concert i had to pay income tax on the prize package which was extremely over priced .

hope to see you and Don Pitts on peoples court….meanwhile take your equipment you maxed your CC for and play some gigs to pay for it …. there’s no free lunch….quit your bitchin, get a lawyer, get a job, shut up and play (FZ)

Bummer to hear this. Kevin sounded more reasonable…. but still nothing in hand. :<del>‘ class=‘wp-smiley’ alt=’:</del>(’ /> </p>

	<p>In one of our local newspapers, we have a section called “Action Line,” where you write in your trials & tribulations, and Action Line attempts to resolve the situation on behalf of the individual.  Sometimes they work wonders… ‘cause the “accused” company doesn’t want the bad publicity of having their story in the newspaper.  Action Line will help to resolve conflicts even when they don’t put the question & answer in the paper. They’ve helped me a few times.
 Here’s their online page: <a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/419" rel="nofollow">http://www.miamiherald.com/419</a></p>

	<p>and the contact info of who to be in touch with:</p>

	<p>“You got a problem?<br />
Evan Benn will cut through bureaucratic red tape and restore empty promises from sidestepping companies. No problem is too complicated, no agency is given a free pass. Contact Evan at <a href="mailto:problem@MiamiHerald.com">problem@MiamiHerald.com</a> or by calling 305-376-3642.”<br />
<a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/news/columnists/evan_benn/" rel="nofollow">http://www.miamiherald.com/news/columnists/evan_benn/</a></p>

	<p>Btw, do you really think it has anything to do with hip hop or them just being jerks?</p>

	<p>Good luck!</p>              </div><!--/commentmessage-->
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                                <h4><a href="/people/0">irongrrl</a> <small><a href="#comment-11263">said on Jan 23, 2008:</a></small></h4>
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                                	<p>Heh, another idea. Are there any lawyers on the board who’d be willing to write a letter to Gibson’s CEO on your behalf?</p>              </div><!--/commentmessage-->
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                                <h4><a href="/people/0">tunji</a> <small><a href="#comment-11264">said on Jan 23, 2008:</a></small></h4>
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                                	<p>wow. this shit makes me mad as fuck. the same shit happened with my homeboy Noah King’s old band after they won a contest at BBKings. They were supposed to be flown to Memphis to perform at the original BBKings and given a prize package…but they got nothing.</p>

	<p>these corporate fucks want to associate with up and coming musicians to legitimize their brands, then do absolutely nothing in return once their marketing plan is over. it happens all the time, and it makes me sick. </p>

	<p>i’m glad you’re making this public, Tone…hopefully you will get what’s rightfully owed to you.</p>

	<p>peace,<br />
Tunji.</p>              </div><!--/commentmessage-->
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                                <h4><a href="/people/0">Alf</a> <small><a href="#comment-11265">said on Jan 23, 2008:</a></small></h4>
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                                	<p>Yeah man, Lawyer (I know I read that part) is the way to go. Even if you have a Lawyer friend who can just write them some kind of a sophisticated fancy looking letter that’ll at least scare them.</p>              </div><!--/commentmessage-->
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                                <h4><span class="badge">artist</span><a href="/people/86">Kno</a> <small><a href="#comment-11266">said on Jan 23, 2008:</a></small></h4>
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                                	<p><b>“meanwhile take your equipment you maxed your CC for and play some gigs to pay for it … there’s no free lunch….quit your bitchin, get a lawyer, get a job, shut up and play”</b></p>

	<p>If you can make this comment you obviously have no grasp on what Tone has already sacrificed just to accomplish what he has with QN5.</p>

	<p>You’re talking to the wrong dude.</p>

	<p>And since when did the squeaky wheel not get the grease?  Bad PR is the quickest motivator “little people” have versus corporations.</p>              </div><!--/commentmessage-->
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                                <h4><a href="/people/0">mike</a> <small><a href="#comment-11267">said on Jan 23, 2008:</a></small></h4>
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                                	<p>“meanwhile take your equipment you maxed your CC for and play some gigs to pay for it … there’s no free lunch….quit your bitchin, get a lawyer, get a job, shut up and play”</p>

	<p>No, but there’s such thing as an <strong>earned lunch</strong>.  And if you’re working a 9-5, AND running a restaurant chain with over 6 branches AND managing your own  brand at the same time, and a big corporation promises you foodstocks that can last you a year for winning a contest, said food isn’t just rightfully deserved.  It’s fucking key.</p>

	<p>Meanwhile, dude’s supposed to break even by paying for plane tickets and hotels to perform at venues that compensate you with two bottles of Sprite and a hoodie.  And pay a fortune in legal fees.  Yeah, you give great advice.</p>

	<p>But back to the topic at hand, Tone, I feel for you.  Ultimately, don’t give up.  You earned those 10 Gs one way or another, and if even if that breaks down to $5,000 or even $1,000 after depreciation and taxes, so be it…1K goes a long way as far as equipment and debt are concerned.</p>              </div><!--/commentmessage-->
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                                <h4><a href="/people/0">Solo For Dolo</a> <small><a href="#comment-11268">said on Jan 23, 2008:</a></small></h4>
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                                	<p>Yea. Fuck Gibson. Sorry to hear that shit went down Tone.<br />
Keep making that real shit tho fam. I have faith that one day youll make your mark. <br />
Ill continue to support. – SOLO</p>              </div><!--/commentmessage-->
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                                <h4><a href="/people/0">dmecka</a> <small><a href="#comment-11269">said on Jan 23, 2008:</a></small></h4>
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                                	<p>fuckkkkk……….</p>              </div><!--/commentmessage-->
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                                <h4><a href="/people/0">Ab</a> <small><a href="#comment-11270">said on Jan 23, 2008:</a></small></h4>
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                                	<p>I heard before you had problems with the Gibsons people, but I thought Domingos mcguyvering resolved that (jk). But really you can’t give up, Irrn grl suggested a pretty good idea, and I’m sure there is other things like that closer to you that want to fuck up beauracracy.</p>              </div><!--/commentmessage-->
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                                <h4><a href="/people/0">Anonymous</a> <small><a href="#comment-11271">said on Jan 23, 2008:</a></small></h4>
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                                	<p>I vote we should add Digg to the QN5 Blog and Digg the shit out of this story so it can be even more well known.</p>              </div><!--/commentmessage-->
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                                <h4><a href="/people/0">houstonz</a> <small><a href="#comment-11272">said on Jan 23, 2008:</a></small></h4>
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                                	<p>I don’t even know what to say. The whole Lollapalooza competition and performance seemed like some real great stuff, along with the funny blog video in the hotel. I’m sure, even without my own personal experience, this kind of shit happens all the time, but don’t let your case be just another time, man. I know you won’t just give up on the whole thing, but yeah.. it’ll all be good in the end. You can’t bullshit your way out of karma.</p>              </div><!--/commentmessage-->
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                                <h4><a href="/people/0">Bosoxfanpw7</a> <small><a href="#comment-11273">said on Jan 23, 2008:</a></small></h4>
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                                	<p>I say we got picket!</p>

	<p>fuck them!<br />
lets burn those fucker to the ground!!!!!</p>

	<p>or at least all of us should send angry letters!</p>              </div><!--/commentmessage-->
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                                <h4><a href="/people/0">anonamos</a> <small><a href="#comment-11274">said on Jan 23, 2008:</a></small></h4>
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                                	<p>Question is… what can we do to help?</p>

	<p>Don’t give up, Tone.</p>

	<p>One day you’ll be recognized for all your efforts. The journey makes the success all the sweeter, right?</p>

	<p>One thing I don’t understand is… what’s stopping you from quitting your job? Obviously, I don’t expect you to answer. But, if CL can do music for a living, I’m sure you’re more than capable of it.</p>

	<p>Keep strong.</p>              </div><!--/commentmessage-->
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                                <h4><a href="/people/0">bk</a> <small><a href="#comment-11275">said on Jan 23, 2008:</a></small></h4>
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                                	<p>lol at Don Pitts when he eventually sees this</p>              </div><!--/commentmessage-->
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                                <h4><a href="/people/0">Lip</a> <small><a href="#comment-11276">said on Jan 23, 2008:</a></small></h4>
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                                	<p>That’s fucking bullshit…</p>

	<p>IANAL but if they had promised you $10,000 in prizes, they probably should have had some fine print where they said you could trade it in for a cash equivalent. Written contracts can’t be sidestepped like that; try that pro bono shit at least.</p>              </div><!--/commentmessage-->
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                                <h4><a href="/people/0">jimson11</a> <small><a href="#comment-11277">said on Jan 23, 2008:</a></small></h4>
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                                	<p>I have a copy of “Family Lawyer” on my laptop we bought for a client…I’m installing that shit tonight. Judge Judy, here we come.</p>              </div><!--/commentmessage-->
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                                <h4><a href="/people/0">what</a> <small><a href="#comment-11278">said on Jan 23, 2008:</a></small></h4>
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                                	<p>wow, that is extremely shitty. i’m definitely glad you shed light on the situation. like someone else mentioned, situations like this happen all the time. what allows them to keep happening is that the winners eventually get fed up and forget about the whole thing, allowing the big companies to continue screwing people over. i applaud you for being so patient and big about the whole situation.</p>

	<p>is there anything we can do? i know i would be more than happy to bust out my capital letters and proper sentence structures and write angry yet logical fan protest letters to gibson on your behalf. do you think it would help if you got enough fans to do that? i hope i’m not naive in thinking that the more people hear  and protest about how you got so majorly screwed, then the more guilty gibson will feel and the more likely they will be to FINALLY give you what’s rightfully yours.</p>              </div><!--/commentmessage-->
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                                <h4><a href="/people/0">Osiris</a> <small><a href="#comment-11279">said on Jan 23, 2008:</a></small></h4>
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                                	<p>That really sucks son, hang in there. I’d be heading down to Gibson to give them my 2 cents, find ol’ Don Pitts in the staff room eating his buritto whilst shaking hands with the governer of love, call him a ‘rip-off artist’ and kick him hard in the shins and run like a herd of zebra’s…</p>

	<p>See ya feel better already! <img src="http://blog.qn5.com/admin/wp-includes/images/smilies/icon_biggrin.gif"  class=

This shit is fuckin difficult to read. I’m heated. Tone you gotta get that 10. It’s complete bullshit that an organized event can not reward the winner because an unorganized and biased distributor. We all know that, but in no way can you walk away from this without the reward. You’re career is summarized by hard work and unselfishness you show for other artists in the genre and for the ones within QN5. Go get yours. This shit shouldn’t happen to anyone, but you should take legal action or find a way to contact Kevin and Don Pittshits, even if it has to be personally. TEN THOUSAND FUCKIN DOLLARS. This shit is sad. It’s really hard to fathom… wish ya best Tone.

From now on just start putting every head that has been involved with this in the copy line of your email. People always move faster when they see who else has been informed of the situation. If it has just been one on one emails from this point, dudes tend to drag their feet…

That sucks sweaty donkey balls. I really don’t know what to say that others haven’t, or that can be helpful in any way. You’re right, a lawyer is not worth it for a 10g suit. Writing letters won’t do anything nor scare them, as someone mentioned. You won and they’re not living up to their commitment. People are scumbags.

Honestly, this may best be handled as undignified as possible. You should just roll up to dude’s office with the Plague and Stronghold, Pen leading the way and Session with that spiked bat, and just say “what’s up?”. Simple.

^
Word, @ least Cube got his due from Priority in the end…

Honestly at this point letters wouldn’t be about effective threats, but about pressing the issue. If dude’s voice mail box is filled with messages from 10 fans every day for a month, then hey…we just might see the ball get rolling.

The problem is making it clear that the intention is NOT to harrass, and that this is independent fan activity, because none of us (including Tone) need that suit on our plates, yahurrd?

yea tone as fans what can be done to make sure u get what u really deserve?

/glares at guitar hero controller.

this thing needs more publicity, +1 for the Digg comment.

http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=orbitz_blows

Workerd for him. I swear to God that bugging the shit out of them is the only way to get this sorted out.

Next time you are in lexington with the lynguists you should book a few more shows a little farther south in Nashville where Gibson is located. Alert all the local media about your situation and have them make a big deal about it. Hopefully that will get gibsons attention.

I’d try going above Mr. Pitts.

Fuck with his boss to the point where he wears out and says, “Donny, take care of this shit, Im tired of dealing with this guy.” Maybe itll never happen, but a) you wont let it go unnoticed and it’ll at least slightly weigh on someone’s conscience and b) it’s fun to fuck with people… especially people scared of problems.

Thats fucked up.

You should contact one of those news programs. I don’t know what they’d be called in America, but in Australia theres a couple, one called ‘A Current Affair’, another called ‘Today Tonight’. They’re on every weeknight and often have stories about stuff like dodgy real estate salesman or landlords who have been ripping people off. Or stories about how the food we’re buying contains all these harmful chemicals, etc, etc. They encourage people to contact them with stories about things just like what’s happened to you.

There must be a similar program in the US. You should contact them if there is. Imagine the camera crew approaching Don Pitts asking questions, and he’s running to his car to get away, pulling his shirt up to cover his face. LOL

yo raddiculous has a reall good point

WHITE POWER!!!

I mean, that sucks man…

Seriously though, I know you dont have time like that, but you cant just let this go by the wayside. Just dont let your emotions get all caught up with the situation. You are already at the point where you are fed up and ready to forget the situation. Why quit now? just see it through to the end and get your compensation.

word…

Make an angry youtube video!

its worked for other people!

Jesus christ…I wish there was something I could do to help with this. Don Pitts sounds like the perfect inverse of professionalism. We’re behind you Tone, and I hate to see you max out your cards just to be able to record at the quality you need. We support whatever way you want to take this whole thing.

Peace,
J

Joined Gibsons forums. They don’t have much in interactivity with their consumers on their forums. My post will probably be deleted from the website, but here it is.

http://forums.gibson.com/Default.aspx?g=posts&m=2518&#2518

Gibson forum post not there…lol

I for one hate Gibson. This just winds me up even more, I bought a Zakk Wylde Custom Gibson Les Paul a while back. The neck was warped & there were loads of rough edges on the frets. Not what I’d expect from a £3,000 (approx $6,000) guitar

Sue them as hard as you can :

Cannot thank you enough for this — and everything else you post. I love the fact you’re being open about your struggles and your career, it’s invaluable information for young lunatics like myself. Much respect from the backwoods, I really appreciate the look behind the curtain.

Allow me to summarize this as I see it…

Fist of all, it is natural that Gibson is disappointed by your win. Not because hip hop is bad and rock is better or any crap like that. Think of it from a business standpoint. The one thing Gibson gets out of this is PR, but Gibson is a GUITAR COMPANY. They wanted to use this competition to sell GUITARS. When you won, it no doubt sent shock waves through the PR dept. They just can’t use your win to promote guitars. Look at their major ad outlets: Magazines like Guitar World or Guitar Player or Guitar One. They’re screwed, big time.

Secondly, your initial demand was for non-Gibson gear. Sure, they have subsidiaries in other markets, but each of these are separate companies, with their own separate accounting and promotions. Baldwin is likely tied up in it’s own promotional deals and can’t be expected to cater to your expectations. You won a Gibson contest. They expected you to pick Gibson gear. That’s fair.

Third, you picked merchandise based on “street” prices and not MSRP. Manufacturers set MSRP to protect the value of their products. Otherwise retailers would compete and lower prices to the point of making the brand look cheap. The fact that you don’t understand this means you’ve likely never worked in retail. Had you ever, then MSRP would have been common sense. Most musicians, at least in the rock or pop world, have some background in retail – either selling gear or teaching lessons at a music store to make ends meet, or perhaps while working at a CD shop. It’s quite common. So it is not unreasonable for Gibson to expect you to have this VERY basic knowledge.

This does not, however, absolve Gibson from their responsibility to pony up the goods. You did win fair and square. Gibson screwed up by not putting a “guitar clause” in the contest entry form. That’s not your fault.

So as I see it, Don grew tired of working with you. His patience was worn thin so he’s dragging his feet. But I assure you, one well written letter from a Layer to Gibson’s legal department will lead to a settlement of the matter in a sort afternoon. You don’t have to go to court, just show them you’re serious.

It’s completely unreasonable for a company to expect a contest winner to know that shit. That should be clearly stated in the terms of the contest.

It’s also completely unreasonable to expect Tone to magically know the MSRP and yet still refuse to tell him the MSRP.

It’s also completely unreasonable to “grow tired of working with someone” when that is YOUR JOB. He can always quit.

Travis, you kind of sounded like a pretentious asshole in parts of that post, but you made a couple good points at the end. The last part is definitely dead-on…any threat to sue will probably get them to give you what they said they would.

The story has been submitted to digg: here’s a link

I’ve alerted several hip-hop news websites about this. And here is something that could help you out, possibly even result in some sort of arbitration. Check out…..http://welcome.bbb.org/

Gibson’s wrong and the point that Travis made about Gibson prob wanting to only give away Gibson products makes sense… but all of that should’ve been stipulated from the get-go.

But wait, doesn’t Lollapalooza have a responsibility too… for ensuring that the companies who agreed to participate actually honor their word? Like, Lollapalooza has given Gibson exposure and p.r., and Gibson doesn’t have to in turn “pay” for the exposure in the form of the contest prize?

Story has also been submitted to reddit. here’s a link if you want to vote or comment on it.

Rough Story. I just caught this link on reddit. If you want to see the power of the internet, just post a) Don Pitts’ contact info, and b) Gibson’s corporate phone number here. Seriously. Do it, and the problem will be resolved in a week.

err Travis, it seems a bit sneeky to make a reply as a Gibson rep on this blog and not be upfront about it … and if you are not a Gibson rep… i am the queen of england.

hey we got this up on hip hop dx u gon get ur shit in no time tone
peace ma nigga

check out my new trax plz leave comment http://www.myspace.com/fundamentalzmusic and check out my new blog

You should republish this entire story at consumerist.com, which is visited by tens of thousands of people daily, maybe more. I can guarantee a story like this will strike a chord (heh) with their readers. Once it is published and there are a few hundred comments be sure to email the links (see below for links) to Pitts and let him know that thousands and thousands of potential Gibson customers are seeing how deceitful their business practices are and if their corporate ethics are so abysmal then how can customers expect their products to be any better? At this point Gibson might issue a statement about “an accounting irregularity” or whatnot and finally give you your prize to avoid the continuing bad publicity. Make sure you inform Pitts that as soon as things are rectified you will post the end results at consumerist.com, digg, reddit, etc. so its readers can see things were finally resolved.

Anybody can post a story at consumerist.com just make sure to give it a catchy title like “Gibson Guitars owes me $10k for the Lollapalooza contest I won!” Also, do two versions of your story: a condensed one at the top of the page followed by the full story in detail as a lot of the complaints about stories like these are that they are too long (all hail the mighty insignificant attention span of internet readers!) and they stopped reading before the end. Just mention the key facts like you paid out of pocket to travel to compete, you won 1st prize and performed at Lollapalooza, that you’ve been polite all through their 1 1/2 year bureaucratic bungling, and that you’re a struggling artist who wants what is owed to you. Follow that up with the full story you wrote up above for us folks who can still read more than three paragraphs.

Also, once you’ve posted it at consumerist.com go create story links at digg, reddit, stumbleupon, etc. that link to the consumerist page. Make sure you link to that story as consumerist.com will be shown in the link and people love to flock to stories of abusive businesses written up at the consumerist.com while some will ignore the story if you link back to your blog being that it doesn’t have the cachet of consumerist.com. Again, use the “Gibson owes me $10k for the Lollapalooza contest I won!” as the headline to grab readers as Gibson, Lollapalooza, and consumerist.com will have strong name recognition with the digg and reddit crowds.

Essentially, start your own negative viral marketing campaign on the /b/tards. And no I don’t work for consumerist.com but I have read quite a few stories there and they sometimes have happy endings.

Good luck!

You might want to contact the Attorney General’s office in you state, in the state in which Gibson’s corporate headquarters is located, and in the state in which you performed to win the contest. States have very specific laws governing how contests are run and how prizes are awarded. If you have a copy of the original rules under which you entered the contest I’m sure that would help, too. Good luck.

Do you want to know the real kick in the nuts? $10K in MSRP to Gibson is roughly $2K in terms of what the gear costs for them.

Submit your story to www dot consumerist dot com.

Travis makes a few good points, specifically about the piano. The MSRP point is not as good, since Gibson flatly refused to provide Tone with an MRSP list–a crucial tool in this circumstance.

But let’s focus on how this notion that it’s somehow acceptable for Gibson’s reps to be feeling disappointed by the outcome of the competition right now, from “a business standpoint.”

From a business standpoint, they can be as disappointed as they want, but the moment that spills over into foot dragging and nondelivery, it becomes a problem. When YOU make a promise or to fulfill a particular agreement, it’s YOUR JOB to fulfill that agreement. i.e., don’t sell me a warranty if you won’t send me a new laptop, because I will NEVER purchase from you again, and make sure the market knows not to as well.

From a business standpoint (and you sort of touch on this too), if this win really sent “shock waves” through some PR department, then I say–somebody done fucked up. It’s not like when fighting in the middle east breaks out, oil companies just throw up their hands and say “we’re done.” Where was their marketing department’s contingency plan for this outcome? However unlikely it was, if $10,000 in goods means that much to you, figure out how you can make it work for you in ANY circumstance BEFORE signing the black ink.

From a business standpoint we see (1) a lack of responsibility and (2) a lack of integrity on Gibson’s end, and Tone’s publication of his experiences as a dissatisfied customer is therefore appropriate. It’s only from a human, empathetic standpoint that you can try to “feel” for Gibson’s “plight,” and they haven’t done a particularly good job of making themselves look worthy of sympathy.

Wow Tone! I sort of feel like on the fence because I own an Epiphone Les Paul Jr. and I’m a big fan of y’all music so I hope this nightmare will end for you in the very near future.

Wow that really sucks. The worst part is you can’t really sue, 10k is nothing as far as a lawyer is concerned. My dad had a tooth broken by a dentist, and it’s gunna cost him 5-10k to get fixed, and every lawyer he talked to said there was no point with that small ammount, and no one would even consider taking the case.

You could try contacting your state Attorney General, or other state/city reps, and they might be willing to put some heat on. After all, a contest is a contract, and by not fulfilling their end of the bargain they are in breach, and are also guilty of fraud.

If that was too long of a message for you, then you did yourself good by reading it. You could use the practice. Only took me five minutes.

as for your prize, I’d say go after the Mandolin again and sell it on eBay. If you ever get it, you may get more then 10k if this story garners enough attention. But that’s a lot of ifs..

I think Travis still works in hamburger retail. The whole discussion about MSRP or MAP is not what you want when dealing with PR. The cost to them is probably half that to pick a guitar off the production line. The promotion they got at Lollapalooza was worth several times the cost of the prizes, and this bullshit is now costing them more than a mandolin would (lol, good choice).

Oh snap!

Travis just made fun of Tone for never having worked in retail!

I’ll never buy Gibson again.

All corporations suck, they have no soul. No redeeming qualities whatsoever. If you want to be treated like a person you have to deal with people not corporations.

@err wtf – why would a Gibson rep advise him to lawyer up? you’re an idiot.

Like Travis, I can see Gibson’s side — there’s no incentive for a Guitar company to give away gear to a digital musician or a hiphop artist. The only reason they have these contests is to help promote their products — it would’ve made a lot more sense to limit the contest to entrants that actually play the type of instruments Gibson makes. If Technics had a contest giving away DJ gear, or Roland was giving away keyboards, they’d be similarly miffed if a banjo player won.

Gibson made a mistake when they drew up the rules — they can’t change them after the contest is over. They should just pony up the gear or write a $10k check and be done with it. The bad press and ill will that this is generating will cost far more in the long run.

You can bet that if Gibson has a contest like this in the future, they’ll insert some sort of clause in the rules to address this.

You deserve your Gibson gear 100% man. I don’t know why this is even being disputed.
Contact the Consumerist website right now. (consumerist.com)

Get a lawyer now and sue. If you let the statute of limitations run (and it may have) you’re screwed.

Ummm… Gibson has no “side” to see. The feelings and opinions of their PR crew are wholly irrelevent. The Corporation “Gibson” committed to provide a particular prize to the winner of a particular competition, and there’s no acceptable reason on Earth for them to not do so.

If the outcome of that contest is not advantageous to them, so what? It doesn’t mitigate their commitment in the least. Shame on them.

I see your plight, and fully support your desire to get some gibson gear and immediately flip it on ebay. I would advise that you resist the urge to get the “most expensive thing on the menu”, as demand for these high priced luxury items is not as much as the cheaper guitars and such. If you are looking to ebay the stuff, you should focus on gibson guitars and equipment that have a strong buying market to maximize your resale value.

Think about it, not many people have the cash to drop $10k on a mandolin. And those who do would probably purchase it from a reputable dealer rather than save a few bucks dealing with ebay SNAFUs. I dont think the same thing is true for a $500 guitar.

That being said – go get ‘em. They owe you your $10k worth of shizzit, they need to break it off.

Small Claims Court.

EG, in New York, the Small Claims limit is $5K IIRC.

No lawyers, and its a pain for them.

How about small claims court. Sue Gibson and loolapaloozabola for 5 Large in small claims court.

How about an executive email carpet bomb. Find the name of the board of directors and CEO and coo and marketing chief of gibson and the organizers of loolapooolazolo and cc them all with your story. I think you are past the point where you are obligated to be polite. Those Gibson folk should be giving you the piano you wanted (or what you need now) and paying your taxes to apologize for the lack of professionalism.

Its fucked up that they won’t give you your due. Gibson would be better off reaching out to hip hop heads than pissing them off. Hip hop musicians can buy guitars and pianos too.

I was going to purchase a Gibson guitar an amp for the new year…but this has swayed me.

Looks like it will be Fender.

That bites, I have actually have an Ebony Les Paul, Cream binding chrome hardware, good choice… I’m going to email Gibson and tell them what a bunch of fux they are…

People are always trying to rip off musicians like this, it probably would have happened if you were a guitar band too.

Me, Buy Gibson/ NEVER AGAIN!!!!!

Dudeeee, thats some bullshit.

If I were you I would be calling lawyers and presenting the case and see if any will take the case for you, and than sue the fuck out of them your probably able to sue for even more than the original 10K I would imagine given the run around and time they should have to compensate for on top of the 10K.

It’s sad that they would jerk you around like that.

Good Luck with everything.

I posted a new topic up on the gibson boards and i am screen printing it just in case they delete it without answering, so that people can see they don’t give a shit about people.

here is my post:

First off; don’t delete this thread. If you do, it only shows that you do not CARE about this whole situation. Which in turn would be a bad look for Gibson as a company, because it shows to the entire world that you don’t give a shit about your customers. Without customers Gibson will cease to exist.

Tonedeff won the Lollapalooza Last Band Standing contest back in 2006 (!!!!). Part of the prize was 10,000$ worth of Gibson equipment. He still haven’t recieved anything and Gibson is now ignoring him.

Read the whole story here:
http://blog.qn5.com/2008/general/rant-gibson-hates-hip-hop

Furthermore: This story is all over the internet by now, thousands upon thousands of people have already read this and I promise you hundreds of thousands more will read it in the next couple of days..

I am screen printing this reply just in case you decide to delete it, and please believe I will post this up EVERYWHERE to show that Gibson does not take this matter seriously.

DON PITTS has Tony’s number so he’ll know where to reach him.

Thank you for your attention.

Hey I’m a guitar player from germany, luckily I don’t own any Gibson,
you got my sympathy + keep fighting for the 10g maybe get a cheap lawyer or
something. The way it looks you have good cards I think.
Musicians gotta stick together – My guitar – and amp buyin’ friends will hear of this

Sincerely,
Fuck Gibson

Post the illiterate douchebag’s email address so we can flood his email box and make it clear to him just how many people are hearing about this and care. That is a dick move on Gibson’s part and they have continued. There is no excuse for this taking over a year. And then the MSRP bullshit. That is retarded.

Read the rules and submit to an arbitration and get your prize. Be prepared to get MSRP and be happy if to get MAP. (P.S) make sure you get 2006 MSRP. Trust me on thisYOU WILL NOT LOSE and you will get your “free stuff”

http://www.q101.com/win/cr/popup/last_band_standing.aspx

“8. Arbitration/Choice of Law: Except where prohibited, participants in the Promotion agree that: (1) any and all disputes, claims, and causes of action arising out of or connected with this Promotion, or any prizes awarded, or the administration of the Promotion or the determination of winners, shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, and exclusively by arbitration, to take place in the State of Illinois, U.S.A. pursuant to the Rules of the American Arbitration Association, then effective”

I used to work for Gibson years ago. I’ve been in the guitar biz for many, many years. Gibson makes great guitars & the people who build them in Nashville are some of the finest people I’ve ever met. However, the upper management at Gibson has been a joke for many years. Their antics over this time have many guitar lovers cringing that such a prized American musical instrument maker, is in the hands, in my opinion, of such a group of screwballs.

As I posted on Consumerist.com, there is NO such thing as a good reason for Gibson’s behavior. You cannot deny a prize after a contest is over, merely because you do not like the winner or something about them. Gibson, as is their style, is using their corporate weight to crush and intimidate an individual in the hopes you’ll just go away. I can understand why you’ve tried to be cool about this, but the bottom line is Gibson will never take you seriously unless/ until the legal papers hit their desk…..or until you can bring enough pressure to bear with bad publicity.

The president of the company is HENRY JUSCKEWICZ (I’m not certain of that spelling). He IS Gibson. He’s a formidable opponent if you make him mad……he has lots of lawyers and isn’t afraid to use them, I’m sure. In the opinion of many in the guitar industry, he’s kind of a geeky clown with a massive ego. He bought Gibson many years ago from a financially desperate Norlin Industries and, in my opinion, has brought shame and disgust to Gibson ever since. I’ve known artists that love Gibson guitars but who will not endorse them because of their distaste for Henry and/or the company Gibson has become.

This is just the latest example and lends credibility to such opinions. They are hoping you’ll just give up……….you can decide if that’s acceptable for your situation. But at some point, doing the right thing for others is also important. This isn’t just about money anymore. Good luck to you.

Man. What a freakin’ story. Yeah, count me in as one more guitarist who will not be buying Gibson anytime soon.

hi, i work directly with retail/manufacturing for a huge company in the online retail (we work with MAP/MSRP daily involving legal issues on a daily basis) and I know for a fact that unless they stated it in the fine print under whatever you signed to enter the contest that you were to choose items that qualified under the MSRP pricing then the MAP pricing is what they should honor. MSRP is bullshit for “how to show a customer we can put items on sale.” No one uses MSRP and no one ever has. MAP is the price the manufacturer sets for online retailers to ensure that not a single company can monopolize on selling products. It’s done out of kindness for the retailer so they don’t have to check competitors websites and see who is the lowest and seriously has nothing to do with the manufacturer’s profits.

The reason he does not want you to view the PDF price list is because inside that document it explains the unimportance of the MSRP and how it helps retailers look like they’re offering a large sale on an item. It even would show the profit per item on each item they sell which would most likely piss you off because you would be able to view how much their ripping people off. MAP always allows enough of a profit, MSRP is always ridiculous.

I’s say sue ‘em. You have an amazing case, and whoever this douche was from Gibson does not think you’re smart or prepared enough to let him know that he’s full of it. I admire you for your patience and your wish to keep communication lines open but they’re not willing to provide you with anything on their end and you’ve waited long enough.

I was just shopping around for a new guitar, and after reading this Gibson or anything related is off my list. I’ll go spend my 2k some where else.

Call Gibson customer service at 800-4GIBSON 800-444-2766 and tell them to give this guys his gear. Be polite but firm. Tell them they’ve been ripping him off for 18 months and ask them how they are going to compensate him for all that time? I think they owe him $20k worth of gear for being corporate jackasses.

There’s now a group on facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8080734150

And I don’t know if it’s been mentioned before, but we’re tracking sites that are reporting the story on the forums:
http://qn5.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=12432

Uh Gibson is a ROCK based company…i can see them not wanting to pay $ towards supporting a hip hop “artist”.

Just caught this off of the Consumerist. This is pretty bad from a company as huge as Gibson. I’d recommend launching an Executive E-mail Carpet Bomb on Gibson. You just need to find the names of the really big wigs at Gibson as you should have the corporate format already.

I used to be into guitars years ago and the list and retail difference is B.S. It’s just there to trick you into thinking you’re saving a crap-load of money. It’s not too big a company secret either as any employee at Guitar Center will tell you the items are always 30-60% off the list.

Small Claims Court
Small Claims Court
Small Claims Court

It’s low cost, you DON’T need a lawyer, and in most small claims courts, you can ask for at least 5 grand.

Hell, as soon Gibson gets served with the suit, they’ll probably beg to ship you the stuff. REFUSE THEM.

The cash is worth a lot more than the inflated prices they’re quoting you. And you won’t have to sell the crap you don’t want on ebay. You’ll have the cash in hand.

Go to court, no lawyer, get cash, end.

From reading everything, it seems like you were the one who started thing on the bad foot. Obviously if you win stuff from a company, it’s going to be at the MSRP, that’s basic street smarts in dealin’ with the man (as well as murphy’s law). You gave him a list, the stuff added up to more than $10k. Instead of making your life simple and just eliminating stuff from the list, since it appeared that he had already figured out what was available on your list, you went and picked a completely different prize.

I would have been pissed too, if I was him. You really aren’t “owed” anything. It’s a prize, you should be thankful that you got what you did.

What you need to do is find out what your limits are for filing a suit in small claims court. $10k might just be within the limits, I know it is different in every area. I’m not sure where you live, but you might get lucky. Depending on where you are, they might decide to just settle for $10,000 rather than send a company lawyer out to defend themselves against a lawsuit they will probably lose.

Also, if the limit is too small, then I would simply talk to a lawyer. Sue them for your legal fees plus the money you are owed.

dude.. you didnt want a baldwin piano anyways.. they suck
maybe they used to be decent at one time, but now?

sorry to hear that Gibson stiffed you.. that really blows

Put up this douches email!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Publish Don’s Email so we can send a plethora of angry emails… that should get him talking.

- Good Luck

What utter bullshit. Don’t give up man. I too have maxed out credit cards and ask for days off to play. This game isn’t for the faint of heart. Send me an email, I’d be happy to do some mixes for you pro bono. Fuck Gibson.

heres a sample or two: http://studio6.empulserecords.com/latest

The HT
EMPulse Records
Port Orange, FL

You could always try to hire a lawyer and promise him payment in the form of a gibson guitar.

Seriously though, I feel for you. If I was in your shoes and I finally did get the stuff I’d end up burning it out of anger. You got hosed big time. Hopefully you get your stuff and end up getting some good cash for them.

I saw your story on Consumerist and just left the Gibson website after sending them email telling them that I will never purchase another guitar from them as long as I live.
The way they’ve treated you is shameless.
The comments about you not playing the guitar or drums are really bad. I guess (in retrospect) that should have tipped you that they were not going to be honorable or do the right thing.
I hope it was worth it to them to cheat you. They’ve certainly lost more than the few thousand dollars being honest would have cost them.

Wow.
Thats terrible, man.
I’d take the previous advice, and try both the Management carpet-bomb emails, in addition to their PR dept…run it up to your city paper, and then…when all else fails, Small Claims.

Lawyers cost a lot on their end, not a lot for you in Small claims :

good luck — I hope you get whats due (get the piano!)

I don’t know where you are located, but it seems to me, in most areas, contests with prizes are regulated. At the very least, you could send a letter to the Attorney General in all States involved.

It wouldn’t hurt to file a complaint with the BBB either. Anything to make Gibson’s life hell.

Well, I know I’m gonna buy a Heritage guitar instead of a Gibson now.

That isn’t acceptable. Do not give up Tonedef. Write a professional letter informing Gibson and Lollapalooza you will be involving an attorney if they are unable to ship your prize by Mar 1st.

That fucking sucks Tone, I hope you get your shit and it all works out because we all really want to hear more music from you and the crew, but most of all because of the pain in the ass it’s been for you.

Good luck man.

In most cases like this if you were to sue, you would sue for more than the 10k (loss of revenue, since part of your income comes from music, and you would have presumably been making more money from your would be new equipment)

Also i’m not sure how this would work since it was a prize, but give a collection agency a call, see if you could sell the contract to them,( they charge them for the collection fee, i’m pretty sure, at least thats how it works in construction.)

commonSenseGuy Jan 25, 2008

Uh Gibson is a ROCK based company…i can see them not wanting to pay $ towards supporting a hip hop “artist”.

Gibson not wanting to give their product to a hip hop artist is not the issue at hand here, but nor is it an acceptable excuse or stance for them to take. If anything they should have embraced any PR they could have gotten out of the situation by taking the opportunity to place their product with an artist from a different genre.

Pitts is an idiot, and will be fired.

There’s a post on the consumerist site that’s a paste of an email from the head of Gibson, saying he’s going to resolve this and that Don Pitts is no longer with them and hasn’t been for some time… maybe that’s what’s been screwing Tone over… hopefully the damage done to that clown if he reads this won’t make HIM sue Tonedeff…

I feel for you bro, but know this – Gibson used to be a great company but then it got controlled by this dog Henry Juszkiewicz who is a con artist and a criminal who hates musicians. You are getting screwed in this because Henry Juszkiewicz has given the order for you to be screwed. He is a sociopath and he will sue anyone who says so. He has screwed so many musicians we’ve lost count.

But check this out. The MSRP thing, plus the tax situation you need to look at. Most people that win prizes on game shows end up losing money on the deal. You win a car that sells for $20,000, but they say it is worth $38,000. You gotta pay taxes on the whole $38,000, which will be like $19,000, and then sell it used for $16,000 on craigslist, well you just lost $3,000 on the deal that you have to pay for out of your own pocket in cash. Most people who check with their accountant decide to forfeit these sorts of merchandise ‘prizes’ and the fact is that hardly any of them are ever collected. The whole thing is just a scam. People enter contests because there is a $10,000 merchandise prize, but that prize will never be awarded. Gibson is just shocked that you actually still want the prize, it was never intended to be awarded.

Now if your income this last year was low enough, which could be since you’re a working musician, maybe the tax isn’t going to be a big deal. But you need to calculate that all out in advance before you decide to accept this prize.

wow lots of people coming in to show you love, Tone
I hope after all this you get what you deserve

That’s fuckin bullshit man. I own a whole bunch of gibson gear and I am ashamed. This don character acted like a total kid.

If I were you I would go into the gibson HQ where this dick works and demand what you’re entitled to have. You can get the mandolin no worries IMO. It’s much easier to ignore someone via phone, and even more so via email. They cant ignore you if you’re instore.

Gibson needs to quick fast watch Bob Farrell videos “Give them the pickles!”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipQBSc6imh8

Customer Service people cot damn!!

Man fuck GIBSON you need to take them DOWN! (legally) lol

Honestly, you got some folk on the internet looking at it now and someone is bound to step up and take your case on pro bono or something. Keep up the fight we need people like YOU to stop douche bags like Don Pitt rob honest musicians of hard earned prizes.

What you think rapping is just words and bass? Hell no, it’s like any other music. It takes expensive equip. Good talent and money to produce CD’s etc.. This musician won the contest give him if fucking gear!

Hey man, just wanted to leave my support for you and all the bullshit you’ve gone through. This story made it to Digg, which means there are thousands of angry geeks just waiting to make Don Pitt’s life a living hell. Just give us an email addie to hit and it’ll be done. Show those SoB’s not to make promises and refuse to keep them.

why didnt you just stop messing about and sue the contest organisers?

Sorry to hear about this problem. If there is anything you need done you have my email. I will gladly send Gibson hate mail, as this situation is worthy of it.

Well I’m impressed.

For all the wrong reasons.
I will never buy a single product fro many gibson owned company ever again. And I will advocate it to all people.

I’d also strongly suggest legal consultation. The press generated from a lawsuit would make them struggle for settlement OR the the money they’d loose in legal shit, and then if you win the case then you’re likely to get more money than promised, and in money form, not product.

It’d probably take a couple years but it’s at least the kidna shit they don’t want to happen and don’t think you’ll do.

Bro,

this sucks. When Gibson and Lollapalooza advertised this contest and accepted you as an entrant in it, they entered into a contract with you. I would start getting legal on their asses. Gibson and Lollapalooza have a) engaged in false advertising, along the lines of the classic “bait and switch” scam that consumer protection people looooove to sink their teeth into, and b) breached their contract with you.

Write a letter to Don Pitts’ boss, or better yet his boss’s boss, and politely tell him or her this whole story, and be sure to throw in words like, “false advertising” “breach of contract” “fraudulent” and “corporate malfeasance”.

I guarantee that what has happened here is that this contest is now so long past that Don has missed his budget window for giving this $10k away. He’s in a jam and doesn’t wanna go to his boss and say, “uh, hey, there was this contest in 2006 and the prizes didn’t get disbursed and now I need you to find $10,000 in our promotional budget to clear it up.” The incompetent weasel just keeps pushing your file to the bottom of the pile, hoping it will go away.

Incidentally, for anyone who wants to let Don know what a douche he is, his email is “don.pitts@gibson.com”

TONEDEFF! you rock dude!
I’m mad at PITTS and GIBSON. They suck. Hang old PITTS by his thumbs or his nuts. He still works for GIBSON. they lie . Find him and fuck him raw.
. No really. KIDNAP his punk ass and hold him hostage. Slap him around some and put the fear of GOD into him. Then do the same to the other GIBSON FUCK who wished to cheat you. The GIBSON folkes who are cheating you need to be spanked. Hard.
Forget lawyers or suits or whats legal.
Just gather up a POSSE and go take whats yours.
Tell everybody to help you. Ten thousand mad dudes and chicks can take a building over. GET ORGANISED and build a following to take those stupid bastards. DOWN. start with PITT and then his BOSSES. Holde your fire til you see the whites of their eyes. then slap and kick the livin shit out of em. holde out for twenty thousand dollars worth NOW.
PAIN and suffering and also being slapped around by gibson is worth a LOT of money. lets build an ARMY and go take back. I“m with you TONEDEFF!
Go on a TALK SHOW. Do RADIO and accept only DOUBLE the net worth . I’ll stand with you in solidarity. i’ll shed my blood for your cause.
FUCK DON PITTS. fuck the legal system. Fuck doing it LEGALLY. you see what “legally” did for the NATIVE AMERICANS.
GET RAMBO on his ass. he needs an ass kickin of the highest degree. that’ll learn him. that’ll learn ALL of em. Fuck those cheatin bastards.
I hope I never see DON PITTS.
FENDER is the way.

I fired off an email to don.pitts@gibson.com a polite email. Hope it helps.

That is completely unacceptable. Can you contact one of the higher ups in Gibson and let them know whats going on? I’m sure anyone above Donny Fuckface would be really happy to know how their entertainment liason is giving their company a bad name in public ventures. They spend a lot more than $10k on advertising and sponsorships.

Dude…you should totally sue. You have the statement IN WRITING that says what you’re owed. Get a lawyer, and get it done.
Peace

When I read this story I kinda felt my heart break since I own and am quite a big fan of Gibson guitars.
I believe people in management positions should be held accountable for their actions especially this Don Fucknuts.
Hopefully Gibson will rectify this problem soon and also give you a big public apology.
If anyone from Gibson is reading this know that you are seriously losing customers because of this .

You should try reporting to the news or local paper… I wonder if this would have an impact? This is really not ok, and I don’t think you should stop until you get what you’re owed.

seriously, you need to sue for 10k straight cash, plus legal fees. maybe throw some punitive charges on the top.

Don’t rule out suing. 1. Look for an attorney who plays music. Lots of them do. 2. There are state laws that allow for attorneys’ fees to be paid by the defendant if defendant loses. So Gibson Inc. might be looking at $10K in gear + $5K-10K in attorney’s fees for your attorney + all the money it spends on its defense counsel.

A suit could easily cost Gibson 30K-50K if they lose. Plus, think of all the court publicity that would ensue.

Just email a link of this page to a few email addresses at Gibson.

That really is bullshit. It’s not right that they expected you to know all about MSRPs and all that shit. To the person/people who said that Tone isn’t owed anything, that is ridiculous. You don’t offer people a chance to win a $10,000 prize and then turn around and say “Hey, I’m not going to give you your prize. You should thank me for even giving you the opportunity.”

I hope you keep at it until you get your prize. Gotta let them know that they can’t screw people around.

I hope this all works out for you in the end.

Peace.

Glad you decided to post about this, what they have done is unacceptable.

Here is a follow up from consumerist.com supposedly from the Gibson CEO, it’s not confirmed but I hope there is some truth to it.

http://consumerist.com/349273/alleged-gibson-ceo-possibly-responds-to-10k-contest-story

i’m a hip hopper who is just starting to learn to play blues and although i just got a cheap guitar to play on for now the next guitar i was planning on buying was gonna be an authentic gibson les paul but reading this theres no way gibson will ever see one penny of my money until this situation is rectified.

I have passed this over to my colleagues at the American HipHopGame site to go into their news section. I’m also gonna write to the british guitar magazines too and see what they make of this as i think it’s majorly fucked up.

hope you get your prize soon TD

Email: Raoule Hernandez, Music Editor at The Austin Chronicle.

http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Info/email_directory?mailto=music&name=Raoul+Hernandez

Email: Audra Schroeder, Associate Music Editor at The Austine Chronicle.

http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Info/email_directory?mailto=aschroeder&name=Audra+Schroeder

Get Gibson’s hometown Alt Weekly on that ass. That ought to rock the boat pretty well.

what an asshole! don’s such a cock! good luck & hope u get what you’re entitled to soon …and some!

Wolfie

One thing is for sure. Gibson lost far more than $10 PR-wise concerning this fiasco. It would have been better to just send the equipment and that’s it.

I still have negative views about Gibson from years ago when they purchased the maybe best DAW software product of that time, Studio Vision, and managed to kill it due to internal politics.

Man that sucks.

I worked in a shop that sells instruments before, and from what I remember the MSRP wasn’t that far away from the MAP.

I’m so glad I picked a Fender over a Gibson now.

wooo Gibson is gonna shat their pants on Monday and holler at Tone Dizzle.

I wish I would have heard about this earlier. NAMM just came and went, and it would have been a great place to see the guys at Gibson and force them to make things right. I suggest you find a company that will sponsor a trip to the next NAMM for you, and then go to the Gibson booth and talk to some folks face to face. If they jack you around, you have the opportunity to tell every artist, retailer, industry pro, etc. how Gibson screwed you over. While you’re at it, share your story with all of Gibson’s competitors, and let them know your story. You get to hurt them where they will feel it the most – in sales and endorsements.

If you have the truth on your side, there’s not much they can do. They can choose whether the bad PR is worth $10,000.

If anything, it’ll be free publicity for your music career.

Peace and good luck

wow!

Sry 2 hear about that!

Its not like they couldn’t afford it. These fools (Gibson) give the $10,000 guitars away to ‘commercials acts’ so they can sell knock off versions to common men and women.

Keep ya head up!

“You can’t put bad energy in the world and think it won’t come back!”

gonna help spread the word, dude.

Hey FYI… I work here in Austin and know Don Pitts. He’s no longer with Gibson since October or November 07. May want to follow up… stay persistant.

send immortal techniqie over there.youll get your equipment

but yeah,fuck them,i know how you feel,but 10k is alot.they do owe you for that shit,i hope they burn in hell for that shit.
underground hiphop is made by people who live a struggle.but at the same time,under ground hiphop educates people.i dont understand why they wouldnt make a few simple calls to support that.

now if mike jones won lollapalooza,theyd probaly give him his equipment real quick. this world is a joke.

Well, I’m with Travis regarding the legal aspects. Most giveaways list the exact gear they (either the contest people or the gear providers) are giving away and, for tax purposes, provide a retail value for the prize. This is both of the provider’s write off as well as the winner’s income based on that value. So yes, you end up paying taxes based on MSRP for the gear. Of course, since Gibson hadn’t chosen the gear themselves that complicates things… but it shouldn’t have.

Regardless of Mr. Pitts’ providing a price list MSRP is pretty easy to come by. Most catalogs, websites, etc. list their price (or the MAP) right next to the MSRP to show you how much money you’re saving at their store. Of course, the reality is you’re only saving a few bucks most times between store X and store Y, neither of whom would sell most items at MSRP ever. (There are exceptions, but few in musical retail sales.) Pitt was a moron if he didn’t explain this in the beginning.

Just to illustrate this point…

My brother won a car from a sales contest years ago. He didn’t need the car, so first he asked to trade it in along with his car towards a nicer car… that turned out to be considerably less money than the “value” of the prize. (They were under no obligation to do anything for him other than deliver the basic car specified by the contest.) Then he asked for the cash value and again the amount was reduced by over $1,000. (It wasn’t an expensive car.) In the end he took what they offered as cash value because taking possession of the car would’ve cost him more in registration fees, insurance and depreciation were he to sell it himself right away.

But I think you’re going about this bass ackwards. Assuming Henry DOESN’T follow through and rectify this situation I wouldn’t hire a lawyer. I’d be on the phone to Good Morning America, Today and the Early Show along with 60 minutes, Dateline, etc. looking for someone interested in investigating this for you. THAT would be the scariest outcome for Gibson… more bad PR on network television over a relative drop in the bucket.

Good luck!

two words…

THE ROOTS!

I mean… isn’t this moron @ Gibson aware that a musician is a musician is a musician!!!!! No matter what medium… thats bullshit! I hope in the end it all works out for you, Tone… fight the POWER!!! pumps fist in air

i dont liek rap.. but u deserve what u win.. if u want a fucking guitar.. u should get a fucking guitar.. i hope people stop purchasing shit from this company for that reason. rock on bitches

BS, BS, BS.

I was linked here from a sweepstakes forum, where Gibson’s bullshit was brought to light. Why do you not have a lawyer? You can probably get one to write an official-sounding note for a couple hundred, at the max. If they made you sign an Affadavit saying that you will receive that prize AND if they are sending you a 1099 that encompasses the retail value of that prize, you are most certainly owed that prize. The IRS would be VERY interested to know that someone is taking the tax deduction for giving you $10000 in merchandise that you’ve never received. Seriously.

This is so sad. I’m buying a guitar by the end of the year, and Gibson has always been one of my favorite brands. Guess I’ll be choosing another brand.

Private note to the moderator: a good friend of mine runs RapReviews, and I’m going to forward this URL to him so he can consider posting it for everyone to see. I wish you all the best, man.

Here are some options Tone:

1. Hire a pro-bono lawyer (a lawyer who works for free unless you win money from the case, then they get a percentage).

2. There’s a columnist who is probably national but is definitely here in Chicago thru the Sun-Times (http://www.suntimes.com) called The Fixer. Check out the site and plead your case, they usually help solve the situation as a mediator and they are good at getting results.

3. I wouldn’t give up on contacting Gibson or whomever you have to keep at in order to make headway. Getting the prizes from them late is better than never. They owe it to you. You should receive it

thanks for posting Don’s email
don.pitts@gibson.com

I’m sending him a ‘nice’ email too. Hope everyone else does the same!

Good luck Tone

I’ll have to keep this in mind if I ever think about getting anything from Gibson. It’s terrible what they did to you, prize or not. If they make a promise, they ought to keep it, even if you aren’t a rock artist.

i feel empathy for you
i really do
i will post this on everything that i can
i don’t really know any of your music
rap or hip hop are not really my genres
but i will try to help
in my little way

I tried to send him an e-mail but didn’t work.
You know, it’s too bad Tone. I know you’re one of the hardest working people in hip hop and it sucks to hear about this. I can just imagine Don sitting there in his office going (insert nerdy white guy voice) “What’s he going to do with a guitar? Probably pawn it to buy drugs. You know those rappers!”
Good luck in the future.

Hey Tone: I heard about your situation through the Gibson guitar forums. I would love to say it is unusual to have trouble collecting prizes but your story is just one of many. You have done everything right. You have stuck it out and kept up the communications with people to try to get your prizes and you will probably get some motion out of Gibson now that the issue has become more public. When you put the gear on eBay send me an email and I will bid and buy.

lol… yeah, Tone is going to pawn the Mandolin to buy a life time supply of Asprin…

sorry to hear about this. As a fellow rapper, it saddens me. Aren’t we all musicians, regardless of how we do it? When I started rapping, we used a guitar, live drums and a keyboard to make our beats. Guess Gibson has never heard of The Roots, huh? And fuck that guy who told you to get a job an quit bitchin. how would he be handling it if he were in the same position? I think a video rant on youtube would be good. Also I’m going to repost this on myspace. Lastly have you thought about small claims court? you can only sue for $5,000, but at least its something and will alow you to stand for your principals and you don’t need a lawyer! Remember Karma’s a motherfucker! It’ll come back on those responsible.

Wow, that’s terrible what happened. This kind of thing may still have happened even if you weren’t a hip-hop artist, but this is just plain incompetence on Gibson’s part. I’ll be sure to steer clear of their products in the future. Hope Gibson fufills their end of the deal in the future.

I heard from my friend at C3 who does the Lollapolloza that Gibson worked it out with Tone on and they were very happy for him. I believe him but I want to hear it from the man…Is it true? To be fair if it is he should let people know it.

Dude, I must say that you handled this situation with some extreme diplomacy considering the circumstances. Excellent documentation and a well wriiten blog. There are several people who have read this and have not responded in comment. I know of at least 10p that will not do business with Gibson again as a result of your experience. I am not sure what Mr Dip Shit Pitts was thinking and my advise would be to seek legal counsel. I think you might be suprised at the outcome.

Not to overstate the obvious, but elsewhere on this site is a post regarding the favorable outcome for Tonedeff and the quite conciliatory stance of Gibson. (And Tonedeff’s acceptance that this was a poor error in judgement by one employee that spiraled into a much bigger deal.)

Hey, just wanted to send you a word of encouragement man, and a word of advice. People can be dicks. Corporations, people in big soulless groups, are particularly dicks. The thing is, don’t let it get you down…just forget all about this gear, whatever you do, DON’T LET IT WORRY YOU! Don’t let something that should boost you up drag you down, you know? It’ll come, eventually. This post will help a lot. But focus on the great music coming out of your shitty equipment, not the equipment itself..it will catch up!

This reminds me of a time about a year ago when I won a thousand bucks from seagate hard drives in a myspace contest..I deserved to win it, I put together a kick ass ten page proposal for an invention that could change the world. They totally screwed around with me, made me wait months and months for the loot, didn’t answer my emails, it was driving me nuts. Eventually, there came a time when I didn’t have rent money, because my boss was screwing me over too, and maaaaan…that thousand bucks was burning a hole in my brain. It was really making me feel POOR, you know, feeling like I was owed this money and wasn’t going to get it…and, feeling poor, getting into the mindset of being poor and being screwed over, I created situations in my life that kept me poor and screwed over…like hanging around that shitty job.

So, something that should have been a real coup, was dragging me down in life, because I let it drag me down…

Finally, it came..and, more than anything else, I was relieved!

So, shit man…keep it up! You’re touring with the Cunninlynguists, they’re one of the best acts in hip hop today…and this blog post is a lot of free publicity for you, you’ve obviously got a verbal talent…there will be a silver lining to this far brighter than any $10K of junky gibson gear anyway ;

——-

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