New vendor vetting/purchasing


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So, if you came across a vendor that you have never purchased from, and have never heard of, but has smokes you have been unable to find elsewhere, how would you go about vetting them or purchasing from them?
Google has been of very limited helpfulness
 
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31 minutes ago, RichG-LI-NY said:

Having hard to find regular production smokes is the first mark of suspicion! 😄

Sometimes a Reddit search can help for community consensus, granted that community can tend to be a bit wacky, but sometimes it is helpful. 

Second the reddit recommendation. Also, I’d be weary of any instagram sellers. 

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7 minutes ago, RichG-LI-NY said:

Climb the mountain so you can see the world, not so the world can see you

This is Brilliant.....thanks.

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20 minutes ago, Islandboy said:

This is Brilliant.....thanks.

That is most certainly not mine, Khabib Nurmagomedov or David McCullough Jr from a Google search, but it definitely resonates. Not certain of origin.

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49 minutes ago, RichG-LI-NY said:

I'd be wary of Instagram altogether, it may in fact be the downfall of civilization. Climb the mountain so you can see the world, not so the world can see you...and all that jazz.

Instagram is definitely the downfall of civilization. Hit us up on Instagram as we teach you how. 

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2 hours ago, RichG-LI-NY said:

Reddit search can help for community consensus, granted that community can tend to be a bit wacky

I have always found it mysterious that Reddit openly discusses sources while almost all other cigar discussion groups won't go there.

I understand our host's situation (concerned about their local litigation environment--totally get that) but these other cigar groups appear to be paranoid from the bad old days of US seizures.    The OP asks a great question, and imho several of the other groups should be contributing their great knowledge and discussing the pros and cons of vendors.     If any of their moderators are reading this, hopefully they will reconsider their current outdated policy.

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1 hour ago, ZigZauer said:

I use cigar inspector and Reddit. And keep in mind, if it is too good, usually it is not true


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Cigar Inspector. Then go to "shops". Take some reviews with a grain of sand. Read through several through the years to get a good impression whether they are good or bad. 

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3 hours ago, mprach024 said:

I will third Reddit.  Although in my opinion once you’ve found a trusted vendor(s) in this game, it’s best to just be patient and stay with the date you brought to the dance.  Plenty of great cigars still available and the ones you want will come around eventually.  

Agreed. While I do have a short list of cigars that I'm on the hunt for, I've learned that patience is a virtue. With all the deals to be had on regular production, I'd rather wait till that deal comes around on one of my trusted vendors than take a chance on something unvetted.

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8 hours ago, smbauerllc said:


So, if you came across a vendor that you have never purchased from, and have never heard of, but has smokes you have been unable to find elsewhere, how would you go about vetting them or purchasing from them?
Google has been of very limited helpfulness
 
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          *I'm afraid I would automatically assume that this was a bogus site: how are YOU gonna have an impossible to get, rare smoke that the other legitimate proven vendors don't have...?  I would doubt their authenticity and figure they are La Unicas or some such with a fake Cuban band on them....

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+1 on cigarinspector.com
You can always PM me as well to see if I can give you any insights. Been around a while....
They don't show up on cigar inspector, and there are several things i consider red flags, but they have 2 b&m stores, so I'm just very unsure.
Reddit only has one breif mention of them from years ago and didn't help much

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Asking other members via PM is probably your best bet. For some reason some vendors don't show up on reddit, others don't show up on cigar inspector, I've had one that didn't show up on either, except one brief mention on reddit.

 

On 4/21/2021 at 6:07 AM, Cairo said:

I have always found it mysterious that Reddit openly discusses sources while almost all other cigar discussion groups won't go there.

I understand our host's situation (concerned about their local litigation environment--totally get that) but these other cigar groups appear to be paranoid from the bad old days of US seizures.    The OP asks a great question, and imho several of the other groups should be contributing their great knowledge and discussing the pros and cons of vendors.     If any of their moderators are reading this, hopefully they will reconsider their current outdated policy.

It's hard to discuss vendors without breaking some of the other rules. How do you discuss sources without discussing their prices? How do you discuss them without mentioning shipping or tax issues (in some countries)?

Reddit works for the most part, because most people post from the US and it seems US enforcement is really down these days. But I can tell you from FB groups in Canada, people post all sorts of vendor specific info and shipping and tax issues and are then surprised when certain vendors stop shipping to Canada due to increased enforcement or issues.

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1 hour ago, Bijan said:

But I can tell you from FB groups in Canada, people post all sorts of vendor specific info and shipping and tax issues and are then surprised when certain vendors stop shipping to Canada due to increased enforcement or issues.

Which is why we have rules!

Why hasn't this thread been squashed?

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I usually send an email with a few simple questions like stock availability of a particular item, box code etc. 

You can usually at least gauge the stores customer service, knowledge and general attitude after a bit of back and forth dialogue. (A big one is do they actually answer at all)

Another thing to look for is do they have a telephone number? like with the email questions I mentioned, if you have a fairly good B.S filter you should be able to feel them out over the phone. (and again do they actually answer at all)  

Also, do they have a physical address listed? Do a little Google map search and see if it looks like a real place. 

And if they do pass the contact process mentioned above, try a small ticket item first and use a credit card and not a debit card as it's usually easier to claim your money back on a credit card.

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Been in the same boat very recently and I think a lot of good suggestions were posted!

Definitely asking FOH members via PM is the safest bet. People here are awesome and very helpful, plus it's not the same thing to ask "Do you have any experience with this vendor" vs begging for sources maybe even without contributing to the community. 

Reddit did help finding some reliable vendors, but it's only the main 6-7 names that are always coming up. With less known stores I had no luck. 

Having a B&M location (better if a known chain), phone number, and answering to email/calls is surely a good sign. 

Prices consistent with known reliable stores is a big tell. 

It's also all about what you are planning to buy. One thing is cigars that are hard to find because they have been discontinued, another is big ticket cigars that are hard to find because they are scarce like BHK, Sir Winnies, etc. I would risk it with the former but not with the latter. 

 

 

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My process;

- Firstly check what stock they have. Too many rare items in stock? Not enough of the cheaper stuff (Vegueros, Quintero, JLP, Rafael Gonzales etc)

- Basic search of the address etc that might be on their site but thats a judgement thing as plenty of reasons why address is not a proper address etc.

- Price. See if its inline with reliable vendors. Though this isnt always a red flag.

- Basic search (it sounds like you've already done)

- Make a small order of super cheap stuff (quintero is good to start with i think to see if it all checks out)

Ultimately its about one or two reg flags being triggered that would result in being sceptical. 

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41 minutes ago, LordAnubis said:

My process;

- Firstly check what stock they have. Too many rare items in stock? Not enough of the cheaper stuff (Vegueros, Quintero, JLP, Rafael Gonzales etc)

- Basic search of the address etc that might be on their site but thats a judgement thing as plenty of reasons why address is not a proper address etc.

- Price. See if its inline with reliable vendors. Though this isnt always a red flag.

- Basic search (it sounds like you've already done)

- Make a small order of super cheap stuff (quintero is good to start with i think to see if it all checks out)

Ultimately its about one or two reg flags being triggered that would result in being sceptical. 

Unfortunately I’m not sure I could tell a real Quintero from a fake 😂.  But that’s a good idea.

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On 4/20/2021 at 1:24 PM, smbauerllc said:


So, if you came across a vendor that you have never purchased from, and have never heard of, but has smokes you have been unable to find elsewhere, how would you go about vetting them or purchasing from them?
Google has been of very limited helpfulness
 
Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
 
 
 

 There are definitely private Cuban cigar enthusiast groups that allow discussion of sources, but joining any forum/group with folks that have been around the community for a long time will likely get you the info on the merchant in question

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