Problem with InstitutionWine.com

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Jeff Bloom
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Problem with InstitutionWine.com

#1 Post by Jeff Bloom » November 26th, 2018, 8:37 am

Has anyone had any dealings with or know anyone at Institution Wine? I’ve got a problem similar to one others have described about other retailers in the past. I placed an order and they can’t deliver the wine but are not giving a refund and are no longer replying to my calls or emails.

I placed the order in May for a pre-arrival mixed case of 2013 Produttori Riservas. The price was a couple dollars a bottle less than others on Wine Searcher, so good but nothing that should jump out as an issue. Fast forward to October and I called and emailed to find out when the wines would be arriving. Eventually Trevor Caplan replies that “I'm afraid we have to cancel and credit you back for this order. Unfortunately after many missed deadlines we never got filled on our Produttori allocation. The supplier was over allocated on this release.”

Okay, stuff like that happens. I could still get most of the wine, just for a bit more. Trevor called and I provided the credit card information and he told me my account would be credited that day. Three weeks later and nothing – no credit and no reply to my emails and calls.

Interestingly the search tool on the New York State Liquor Authority website provides no evidence of a retail license under the trade names Institution Wine or InstitutionWine.com or at the addresses listed as their mailing address or the address indicated on Wine Searcher or under the name Trevor Caplan.

Any information anyone could share about this operation would be appreciated.

Clint S Q U I E R
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Re: Problem with InstitutionWine.com

#2 Post by Clint S Q U I E R » November 26th, 2018, 8:45 am

Call your credit card company and start a charge back case. Typically, charge backs are only allowed within 60 days of purchase, but because this was a pre-arrival, you should still be good within 60 days of the expected delivery date. Do you have a receipt that shows it was pre-arrival? That will help.

Don't be surprised if you get some push back from your credit card - the first tier of customer service doesn't usually know the nuance of pre-arrival charge backs, you may need to ask for it to be escalated. But the regulation provides 540 days after original purchase for goods or services expected to be delivered at a later date. For example - your daughter is getting married a year from now, but you have to pay the photographer a 50% deposit now. Photographer flakes out on the wedding day and never shows - you will be covered because the photos weren't expected until then, even though you paid a year prior.

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Re: Problem with InstitutionWine.com

#3 Post by Jeff Bloom » November 26th, 2018, 9:11 am

Thanks Clint, that's useful information. Unfortunately the receipt doesn't say pre-arrival but the only recent email acknowledges they couldn't get the wine (implying pre-arrival), so it's worth a shot.

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Re: Problem with InstitutionWine.com

#4 Post by Clint S Q U I E R » November 26th, 2018, 9:16 am

Also worth noting that it's not YOUR bank that eats the charge back, but the merchant's bank (who then attempts to get it back from the merchant).

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Re: Problem with InstitutionWine.com

#5 Post by JG Salazar » November 26th, 2018, 9:44 am

There is a Yelp page for GrapesWine that leads to these guys. Looks like you're not the only one stuck in limbo. Not to be confused with Dan's shop, of course. Best of luck.
Jesse Salazar ITB - USQ

YLee
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Re: Problem with InstitutionWine.com

#6 Post by YLee » November 26th, 2018, 3:04 pm

I bought from them. I did a whois search on them and found out its the same guys from grapeswine.com.
Grapeswine is in CT and institutionwine is located in ny , right at the border of ct. I could be wrong but thats what i found out. They give you the run around nonstop. Something about them is not right. I did a charge back and got my money back right away. I suggest you do tge same and dont even bother with calling them.
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Re: Problem with InstitutionWine.com

#7 Post by Wes Barton » November 26th, 2018, 3:56 pm

...and report this to Wine-Searcher. They aren't fans of their service being abused.
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J Dove
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Re: Problem with InstitutionWine.com

#8 Post by J Dove » November 26th, 2018, 5:22 pm

I stopped into Grapes Wine in Norwalk CT. Had a brief conversation with someone in the 'shop'. It does not surprise me in the least that people have issues with them. I left wondering, who buys from these people?

As a side note -- this is why I use my Amex whenever possible. I never have issues when I need to contest something... Ever.
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Victor Hong
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Re: Problem with InstitutionWine.com

#9 Post by Victor Hong » November 26th, 2018, 7:05 pm

In 2005, I had similar problems with GrapesWine of Norwalk CT, where the proprietor was Jim Caplan.
The CT state liquor regulators went after the shop and him.

This was the subject of a long but classic thread on the old Parker wine board.
WineHunter.

YLee
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Re: Problem with InstitutionWine.com

#10 Post by YLee » November 26th, 2018, 7:09 pm

Looks like they are trying set up shop in NY now. InstitutionWines website was established this year.
-¥ 0 ñ 9

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Re: Problem with InstitutionWine.com

#11 Post by AAgrawal » November 26th, 2018, 7:55 pm

J Dove wrote:
November 26th, 2018, 5:22 pm
I stopped into Grapes Wine in Norwalk CT. Had a brief conversation with someone in the 'shop'. It does not surprise me in the least that people have issues with them. I left wondering, who buys from these people?

As a side note -- this is why I use my Amex whenever possible. I never have issues when I need to contest something... Ever.
Interestingly, my experience with Amex for the Premier Cru debacle led to me switching to another card. Not because the other card was necessarily better, just because I decided never to use Amex again.
A s h i s h A g r a w a l

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lleichtman
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Re: Problem with InstitutionWine.com

#12 Post by lleichtman » November 26th, 2018, 8:23 pm

AAgrawal wrote:
November 26th, 2018, 7:55 pm
J Dove wrote:
November 26th, 2018, 5:22 pm
I stopped into Grapes Wine in Norwalk CT. Had a brief conversation with someone in the 'shop'. It does not surprise me in the least that people have issues with them. I left wondering, who buys from these people?

As a side note -- this is why I use my Amex whenever possible. I never have issues when I need to contest something... Ever.
Interestingly, my experience with Amex for the Premier Cru debacle led to me switching to another card. Not because the other card was necessarily better, just because I decided never to use Amex again.
I got no love from Amex in this situation either.
Lawrence G. Leichtman

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Randy Bowman
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Re: Problem with InstitutionWine.com

#13 Post by Randy Bowman » November 26th, 2018, 8:23 pm

Re-inventing yourself using the same business model will cause you the same grief as the previous version. Kinda like thinking you can run the same test ten times with no changes and expect different results. Is the CT store still in existence? If not, did they lose their license, move across the border to NY and open a new business with a NY license.
IN THE BUSINESS SHILL: An associate of a person selling goods, who pretends no association to the seller and assumes the air of an enthusiastic customer.

D.Witwer
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Re: Problem with InstitutionWine.com

#14 Post by D.Witwer » March 18th, 2019, 10:44 am

My order from last Wednesday also appears to have gone to die. They sent an acknowledgement and charged my credit card but their web site still shows its status as "unfullilled". No one at InstitutionWine returned my electronic message or phone message.

I also tried calling GrapesWine's customer service number (that's were the credit card charge was processed) and got a voice mail. I'll wait a day and will be contacting my credit card company to dispute the charge if I don't hear back.

My big mistake was not searching this board on the company before place the order.

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Re: Problem with InstitutionWine.com

#15 Post by Josh Espinosa » March 18th, 2019, 10:59 am

Big red flag for me was their push for buying a minimum of 3 bottles, almost as if they didn’t have the inventory and wanted enough bottles sold to generate an order to their distributors then put it as pre arrival.

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Re: Problem with InstitutionWine.com

#16 Post by YLee » March 18th, 2019, 11:09 am

I'm very surprised how they keep getting away with this.

D. Witer, I suggest you file with ur cc today. Dont even wait.
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Re: Problem with InstitutionWine.com

#17 Post by Neal.Mollen » March 18th, 2019, 11:12 am

Just to make it clear to those who might not know; GrapesWine is very definitely a different outfit than Grapes THE Wine Co. http://www.grapesthewineco.com/
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Re: Problem with InstitutionWine.com

#18 Post by Jeff Bloom » March 18th, 2019, 11:18 am

D.Witwer wrote:
March 18th, 2019, 10:44 am
I'll wait a day and will be contacting my credit card company to dispute the charge if I don't hear back.
Don't wait. They repeatedly ignored my emails and phone messages and did nothing until American Express got involved. I then got a refund posted to my account, but still with no response from the store.

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Re: Problem with InstitutionWine.com

#19 Post by D.Witwer » March 18th, 2019, 12:16 pm

Jeff Bloom wrote:
March 18th, 2019, 11:18 am
D.Witwer wrote:
March 18th, 2019, 10:44 am
I'll wait a day and will be contacting my credit card company to dispute the charge if I don't hear back.
Don't wait. They repeatedly ignored my emails and phone messages and did nothing until American Express got involved. I then got a refund posted to my account, but still with no response from the store.
Thanks. I'm calling the CC now.

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Re: Problem with InstitutionWine.com

#20 Post by Brandon R » March 18th, 2019, 12:36 pm

Yikes. Terrible, terrible customer service at best, outright fraud at worst. I hope you all get made whole.
B. Redman

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Re: Problem with InstitutionWine.com

#21 Post by Erich H. » April 12th, 2019, 3:17 pm

I had an identical experience. Ordered six bottles of Burgundy in December and politely followed up via email 8 times that I was not in a hurry but wanted to know when the wine would ship. Four replies of "end of the week," "next week," etc. without even a name attached made me suspicious. They never answer the phone and don't return messages. I filed a dispute with my bank yesterday thanks to what I saw here.

D.Witwer
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Re: Problem with InstitutionWine.com

#22 Post by D.Witwer » April 14th, 2019, 4:53 pm

Has anybody actually had an order filled by them? Just curious.

YLee
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Re: Problem with InstitutionWine.com

#23 Post by YLee » April 14th, 2019, 6:29 pm

I see on WS their address is different from what I saw few months ago. Now it shows as 35-24 78th street, Jackson Heights NY but thats an apartment building.
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Re: Problem with InstitutionWine.com

#24 Post by Matt A u s t i n » April 15th, 2019, 1:21 pm

D.Witwer wrote:
April 14th, 2019, 4:53 pm
Has anybody actually had an order filled by them? Just curious.
I purchased some Pegau from them at a good price several months ago. After not receiving the wine several weeks later, they acknowledged not actually having the wine and then kept promising it would be coming in soon. After requesting my money back they finally acquired and shipped the wine. Not an experience I would want to go through again.
Owner/Winemaker - Grosgrain Vineyards, Walla Walla, WA - grosgrainvineyards.com

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