Bamboozled: Slow start, but happy ending

BB brandingJanet Schwartzbard is an interior designer.

She’s also a collector of original American crafts. Among her collection are pottery pieces by Don Cornett, and a mirror and hanging plate by Laney Oxman, who has some of her work displayed in a craft collection at the White House, Schwartzbard said.

One of her pieces is a 12-inch high glass head that she describes as having a Picasso-styled look to it.

It cost $250, she said.

Last fall, she said she had some painters working her home. They accidentally knocked over the glass piece, and the base broke off.

On Feb. 24, Schwartzbard, 70, went to the Morristown Antiques show to visit a highly recommended vendor who specializes in fixing glass items: Wade M. Nulton Glass Repair and Polishing of Flanders.

“My interaction with Wade consisted of showing him the piece, giving it to him, receiving a receipt and his telling me that he would contact me the following week with an estimate,” Schwartzbard said. “At the same time I also informed him that the voice mail on his telephone was full and he replied ‘I know.’”

Schwartzbard said she waited out the week, but Nulton never called with the estimate.

“I never heard from him again,” she said.

61713So she tried to reach him.

“I tried getting him every other day at different times of the day starting about three weeks after I gave him my piece,” she said. “In between trying to reach him — remember the voice mail was always full — I sent three e-mails that were never answered, I even sent an e-mail to his father — they used to work together.”

Nulton didn’t return any of her calls or e-mails, she said.

By now it was late March. The Essex County woman said she reached out to the sponsors of the Morristown Antiques Show.

“They said that they are not responsible for any of the vendors but would do their best to try to reach Wade via text,” she said, but the sponsors said Nulton was scheduled to be at a July antiques show.

Schwartzbard didn’t want to wait that long, so she tried to call several more times.

And again, she said, she never heard from Nulton.

More messages, no responses.

“I like this piece very much, but more importantly, I don’t think that this is any kind of professional behavior and I don’t think that this type of behavior should be tolerated,” she said.

By late May, all she wanted was her piece back, or any kind of answer from Nulton, so she asked Bamboozled for help.

‘no charge’

We started by checking out the company.

Nulton had no complaints against him with Consumer Affairs, and public records searches showed no small claims cases against Nulton’s business.

We also reviewed the receipt Schwartzbard received from Nulton, and copies of the e-mails she sent to him.

We then left several messages for Nulton, but our calls weren’t returned.

So we turned to the sponsor of the antiques show, as Schwartzbard did, to see if they could help.

The company rep remembered Schwartzbard’s prior call, and she offered to again text Nulton, whom she said she had never received complaints about before.

While we were still on the phone with her, Nulton called. We could hear the rep’s side of the conversation with him.

“We have a really big problem here. I talked to you in March about a Janet Schwartzbard and she said she never heard from you for months and months, and now The Star-Ledger is calling,” she said. “Please call her. Please take care of this.”

When the rep returned to the phone, she said Nulton promised to call Schwartzbard.

We thanked the rep.

Minutes later, we received a call from Nulton.

“I put her stuff on the shelf and I forgot. It’s my fault,” he said.

Nulton said he just got off the phone with Schwartzbard and they came to an agreement.

“I told her for all the hassle, there will be no charge,” he said of the repair, which he estimated would normally cost $30 to $35.

We thanked Nulton for doing the right thing for this customer, but we still wanted to know why he didn’t return any of the messages Schwartzbard left for him.

“The honest answer is I’m an idiot,” he said. “I don’t check my voice mail that often.”

Nulton said he often talked about personal responsibility, but he dropped the ball this time and he’s trying to make it right. He said the piece would be done the same day, and that he offered to ship it to Schwartzbard, but she opted to pick up the piece in person.

Schwartzbard confirmed the conversation.

The piece took an extra two days to complete, but when it was done, Schwartzbard was very happy with the work.

“It is now back where it belongs on a shelf in my home. Wade did a great job in repairing it,” she said in an e-mail. “However, even in person he never apologized for his unprofessional behavior. Oh, well.”

Many thanks to Nulton for doing the right thing, and to the sponsors of the Morristown Antique Show for helping to set the wheels in motion to satisfy this customer.


Last week we told you the story of Douglas Holloway, the owner of a small business that installed and serviced business communications systems.

The company did a job in 2012 for the re-election campaign of U.S. Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-10th Dist.), but nearly a year after the job was completed, Holloway said, the office still hadn’t paid its final bill. And, new charges were mounting because the congressman’s people hadn’t returned equipment, nor had it instructed Holloway’s business to remove it.

A total of $3,145.55 was still owed.

Holloway said his many calls and e-mails didn’t get results, so we tried.

We reached out to Payne, and his office called Holloway two days after the story ran.

“We gave them several options,” Holloway said. “They wanted to pay some interest and penalty so we offered $2,600 as a settlement.”

Later that day, Holloway got an answer from a rep.

“They have elected to pay the full amount of $3,145.55,” Holloway said. “(The rep) felt that they should pay in full including the current lease for the next quarter since the quarter began on June 1.”

Holloway said the rep apologized, and was “very direct in trying to make things right and be fair.”

“We are very pleased with the offer and he is trying to get us paid this week or next,” Holloway said.

He promised to let us know when the check arrives.

Thanks to Payne’s office for doing the right thing. Finally.