Bonsai scam alert

Tim Shoup

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Just want to alert the bonsai community to a scam issue involving Bruce Rhea and his company, Stillwater Bonsai in Maine. His most egregious scam so far was selling a $300 tree as a “show quality” import tree for $2500, then refusing to work with the buyer, dodging and unfriending everyone.
That was a year ago, and he is starting to resurface in these forums and others like bonsai auctions.
There are at least 4 other people who have been scammed. There is no room in this community for such people. Beware!
 

rockm

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Just want to alert the bonsai community to a scam issue involving Bruce Rhea and his company, Stillwater Bonsai in Maine. His most egregious scam so far was selling a $300 tree as a “show quality” import tree for $2500, then refusing to work with the buyer, dodging and unfriending everyone.
That was a year ago, and he is starting to resurface in these forums and others like bonsai auctions.
There are at least 4 other people who have been scammed. There is no room in this community for such people. Beware!
Well, um, those are pretty steep allegations. Don't know the place or the guy. Did a drive-by of the site. Nothing really spectacular there--other than the photo of Bruce--nice shades....
Has he been here to answer these allegations?
 

Tim Shoup

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Well, um, those are pretty steep allegations. Don't know the place or the guy. Did a drive-by of the site. Nothing really spectacular there--other than the photo of Bruce--nice shades....
Has he been here to answer these allegations?
 

Tim Shoup

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Agree! And a shame that this is my first post on BNut. But I am 1000% certain of this info, or I’d not have posted.
He laid low after ripping off a very well known and respected bonsai person last June, but is now starting to resurface here and in Bonsai Auctions. There are other victims as well but not at the $2500 level.
eventually he will just change his name and company, and probably continue scamming the community. He’s here in this forum, if he’d like to respond, he’s welcome to it. But he won’t.
 

f1pt4

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Just curious.
Do you have any photos or screen grabs of the advertised tree? Photos of the actual tree? The advertisement/offer itself?
Not defending anyone here. Just want to see what/how it was promised and what actually showed up.
 

Tim Shoup

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Just curious.
Do you have any photos or screen grabs of the advertised tree? Photos of the actual tree? The advertisement/offer itself?
Not defending anyone here. Just want to see what/how it was promised and what actually showed up.
 

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Tim Shoup

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This is the tree, after telling the buyer he was in or going to Japan, he bought this tree from Brussels and sent it to him. Absolute joke. When this first came out, anyone that messaged Bruce Rhea about it was immediately blocked and unfriended
 

just.wing.it

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I am also not defending anyone here, but is any thing not worth what someone will pay?
I imagine the buyer must have seen a picture of said thing and agreed to a cost.

Seems like if someone is willing to drop $2500.00 on that juniper, they made that decision themselves.
I doubt the buyer was held an gunpoint.

I guess my point is, someone paid for it, but we don't have the whole story.....definitely sounds shady, sheisty and unethical....but a scam?....eh....
 

Tim Shoup

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I am also not defending anyone here, but is any thing not worth what someone will pay?
I imagine the buyer must have seen a picture of said thing and agreed to a cost.

Seems like if someone is willing to drop $2500.00 on that juniper, they made that decision themselves.
I doubt the buyer was held an gunpoint.

I guess my point is, someone paid for it, but we don't have the whole story.....definitely sounds shady, sheisty and unethical....but a scam?....eh....
Yeah, a much more complicated story. Buyer had small prior business with Bruce, trusted him and gave him the $2500 up front as he was promised a “show quality” specimen for a bargain price. Deal was “sight unseen” due to trust. Things dragged out, promises were broken, then eventually this is the tree that was sent. Clearly not a show quality specimen as promised right? When asked for a refund, Bruce went underground, blocking and hiding.
There are other victims as well.
 

just.wing.it

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Yeah, a much more complicated story. Buyer had small prior business with Bruce, trusted him and gave him the $2500 up front as he was promised a “show quality” specimen for a bargain price. Deal was “sight unseen” due to trust. Things dragged out, promises were broken, then eventually this is the tree that was sent. Clearly not a show quality specimen as promised right? When asked for a refund, Bruce went underground, blocking and hiding.
There are other victims as well.
Wow....ok.
Yeah. That's worth the post.
Thanks!
 

JudyB

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Agree! And a shame that this is my first post on BNut. But I am 1000% certain of this info, or I’d not have posted.
He laid low after ripping off a very well known and respected bonsai person last June, but is now starting to resurface here and in Bonsai Auctions. There are other victims as well but not at the $2500 level.
eventually he will just change his name and company, and probably continue scamming the community. He’s here in this forum, if he’d like to respond, he’s welcome to it. But he won’t.
nice to see you here even if this is your first post, it's good to know about these things in our small fairly trusting community.
 

leatherback

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Yeah, a much more complicated story. Buyer had small prior business with Bruce, trusted him and gave him the $2500 up front as he was promised a “show quality” specimen for a bargain price. Deal was “sight unseen” due to trust. Things dragged out, promises were broken, then eventually this is the tree that was sent. Clearly not a show quality specimen as promised right? When asked for a refund, Bruce went underground, blocking and hiding.
There are other victims as well.
sorry, but that is plain stupid thing to do.
2500$ lesson learned to not buy unseen I would say.

unfair to put these type of posts on a forum where it is not even known that the accused is present.
 

sorce

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Hey Sorce! How’s the pottery life?

Better if I can manage to get you to stock around here to see the evolution of the gas phase in the next 18 months!

20200301_100228.jpg20200301_100213.jpg

What do you think of that item on the left?, a yamadori hunting anti-grizz whistle! Lol!

I love making whistles!

Sorce
 

rockm

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sorry, but that is plain stupid thing to do.
2500$ lesson learned to not buy unseen I would say.

unfair to put these type of posts on a forum where it is not even known that the accused is present.
That's the problem here. We have no way of telling who is telling the truth. I'd agree that bait and switch with a bonsai is crooked, but giving someone $2,500 on faith to purchase a "show quality" tree for a "bargain" is a bit, well, -to be charitable-naïve.
 

Cadillactaste

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I am also not defending anyone here, but is any thing not worth what someone will pay?
I imagine the buyer must have seen a picture of said thing and agreed to a cost.

Seems like if someone is willing to drop $2500.00 on that juniper, they made that decision themselves.
I doubt the buyer was held an gunpoint.

I guess my point is, someone paid for it, but we don't have the whole story.....definitely sounds shady, sheisty and unethical....but a scam?....eh....
I seen the FB post. No this was a tree he declined earlier for a lesser valued amount. But still above $1000 range. Was promised a quality tree brought in from Japan. Then he ended up paying MORE for the tree he initially declined on. Shady.
 

Tim Shoup

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That's the problem here. We have no way of telling who is telling the truth. I'd agree that bait and switch with a bonsai is crooked, but giving someone $2,500 on faith to purchase a "show quality" tree for a "bargain" is a bit, well, -to be charitable-naïve.
No doubt who’s telling the truth, especially if you read thru the comments and what the victim is offering to do. Aside from that, the victim is a very well known and reputable guy who simply trusted the wrong person. It’s an unfortunate thing for sure
 

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