Por Larranaga Robusto Regional Release Orders.


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» I just know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy.... Every now an then,

» things come my way early. I have no real connections. If I ever did go to

» Cuba, I sincerely doubt a team of Level 9 rollers would be rolling cigars

» for me, but one can always dream. I assume I would be treated as any first

» time tourist/cigar enthusiast would.

»

» I do want to explicitly state one thing I do not believe I made clear, and

» I may have mislead some on, unintentionally. I do NOT advise anyone buy

» a box of Sublimes with 2005/6 bands. If you have them, check them out

» before you dump them. I also have never heard of an authorized retailer

» selling Sublimes with 2005/2006 bands.

»

» I guess my issue with fakes is not how big or small the business is, but

» that it can be completely avoided by dealing with Authorized, trustworthy

» retailers. I must admit, the fake estimate is higher than I would have

» thought. That is amazing. Of course a cynical mind like mine would then

» ask, can the number be trusted, and on what data is it based? Does Habanos

» put out their annual sales figures for public consumption? I wonder what

» percent of their market that fake estimate is?

Yes PCC would be peeved. The Regional Release program is in effect a custom job. What you are buying from a licensed distributors point is "exclusivity and control". In terms of Exclusivity it is for a period of 2 years (although I think it has been reduced now to 12 months...don't hold me to that). You can not simply "make an additional box" as it is a breach of contract. Still, the box would likely have been sold through an official channel in Havana. Some one did a favour for someone. Dumb move as someone may end up without a job if he makes a habit out of it.

The custom rolling of cigars for special orders is rare and not available to the public. Let me make it very clear...I am talking about "Factory Sanctioned" custom rolls as opposed to getting Hamlet or La China to roll 25 Salomones for you at the R&J or Partagas Divan. Factory Sanctioned custom rolls (as the Sublimes a month ago would come from instructions from the higher levels of TABACUBA or HABANOS S.A. or both.

The former factory manager of Cohiba lost his job due to some dealings in el Laguito with Hong Kong buyers which entailed Behike's and custom rolls.

Divan rollers and factory rollers are two completely different things. Both may be Level 9 (Master Rollers) but the Divan Roller is a "star" who has direct dealings with the public through the Divan. With direct dealing comes opportunity, money and if good enough....fame.

It was only six years ago (from memory) that a shipment of 70,000 fake cigars were caught in Holland. Authorised dealers were involved.

300,000 euro's of Cuban Cigars held in Paris 2 years ago. 1/3 of shipment held as fakes.

This year there were a series of Panama busts. These are just the one's that I am aware of.

Singapore retailer/wholesaler also jailed this year after HSA court action for retailing and distributing fake Habanos. I know a few retailers in Australia who bought serious quantities of Cohiba and Partagas LE's from this dealer. Those cigars are still being sold today even though the dealers know the truth. They just ignore it.

You just have to spend time in the beach resorts of Thailand, Malaysia...the clubs and bars of China...anywhere in Indonesia and you are confronted with majority fake Habanos. I see it all the time and while disconcerting I know it is well organised and nigh impossible to stop.

$80,000,000 dollars is way understated.

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» You'll find the hologram sticker on cigars sold by Habanos Nordic, the

» scandinavian distributor. I'm not sure if this is an old routine or if

» they still do it on newer boxes, but I have several boxes that have the

» sticker.

All the boxes I bought at the LCDH in Guadalavaca, Cuba in September had the hologram sticker and I was told it is a new authenticity thing.

Mel39

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» It was only six years ago (from memory) that a shipment of 70,000 fake

» cigars were caught in Holland. Authorised dealers were involved.

»

» 300,000 euro's of Cuban Cigars held in Paris 2 years ago. 1/3 of shipment

» held as fakes.

»

» This year there were a series of Panama busts. These are just the one's

» that I am aware of.

»

» Singapore retailer/wholesaler also jailed this year after HSA court action

» for retailing and distributing fake Habanos. I know a few retailers in

» Australia who bought serious quantities of Cohiba and Partagas LE's from

» this dealer. Those cigars are still being sold today even though the

» dealers know the truth. They just ignore it.

That is just damn disconcerting news! I guess I felt insulated, and still believe I likely have not ever been sent fakes by the regular authorized dealers I deal with, certainly not knwoingly.

Besides you, who I am new to, but get a good feeling about, I like to think, and do beleive, none of the dealers I have relationships with would be caught dead, knowingly trafficing in fake cigars. They have well known reputations to protect. They are very above board business people, as best I can tell.

That being said, I figured anyone could enjoy the same level of comfort by simply going to an authorized dealer. I did caveat it would have to be someone you trusted. And I do feel a relationship needs to be built, if you plan to purchase much.

It seems like you do a better job than most of building multiple relationships with people, on a level most fine tobacconists have not figured out how to do. Or they do not have the stomach for something like this board.

It is always easier to compartmentalize your crazy customers (like me) than to let them spout off to everyone else you know... :-)

Cheers.

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DC

We have covered this before on the board so it is certainly not new but Authorised dealers...very very good ones who have been around a long long time have been caught with LE fakes. To their credit when confronted they admitted that they purchased the cigars outside of their traditional Habanos s.a distributor (in this case 5th Avenue).

In every case I know of an Authorised Dealer caught holding fakes he has purchased them outside of the Authorised License holder for his region.

To this day I have not seen a verified report of an authorised dealer who has purchased fakes from his Habanos s.a distributor. In every case that a retailer has claimed "they couldn't be fake...they came from HSA" further investigation has always shown that the retailer had lied or "was confused" as the cigars were never sold by the HSA distributor to him...but accessed through a third party.

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» My disappointment is my cash flow which prevents me from placing an order.

» I have looked forward to these and thought they would have been out well

» before now. The decision is not a rough one, I either get my daughter

» Christmas this year or buy the PL Robusto's, I'll be thinking of you when

» you enjoying them, Family first.........

tampa, after trying one, you must love your daughter very much!

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» » My disappointment is my cash flow which prevents me from placing an

» order.

» » I have looked forward to these and thought they would have been out

» well

» » before now. The decision is not a rough one, I either get my daughter

» » Christmas this year or buy the PL Robusto's, I'll be thinking of you

» when

» » you enjoying them, Family first.........

»

»

» tampa, after trying one, you must love your daughter very much!

tampa, rob has a solution. split half a box with your daughter. he's always thinking of his clients.

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» » » If you don't mind, can you let us know the box number you got?

» »

» » I do not think the box(es) sold in Havana were numbered.

»

» From what I know, I thought they are all limited and should all be

» numbered

Well there's your answer... looks like a fish, smells like a fish, flaps like a fish.... probably is a fish ;)

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Guest Robusto 107

Today, I got a very bad experience to buy this cigar in HK PCC. Today is their tasting day, so we can have a special price to buy samplers for me and a few friends to try. I went to one of the outlet forwhich my most familiar manager works there, too bad that he was on leave today. His fellow told me that I could only buy one, no way to buy even two, that's the policy. Ok, that's ok , forget it since it is really their policy. So I go to another outlet which I seldom go, again I hope they can give me bit of exemption. Same answer, " You can only buy one.". After that he gave me a bonus reason, " because you are not my familiar customer, so you can only buy one". I said I always come but just not your outlet, but still contributing to your company. I feel very upset by his answer, " You are not my familiar customer. Although he said it in a polite manner, I cannot believe it is a very very "good" answer that came from their mouth. I felt I am discriminated. This guy rather said too much. If he told me again his policy. OK that's fine. But such a discriminating answer, Sorry I never come back.

Again, I am not asking for services in Mandarin Oriental, I just need some MacDonalds. Finally, I don't have any Mandarin Oriental or MacDonalds.

ROB 107:-(

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I think I am somewhat sympathetic to your pain; If the policy is to be allowed to only purchase one, then that is fine, but to be told I cannot buy two because I am not a regular customer would only insure that I would never become one... Better luck to you tomorrow at your usual place!:-D

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Maybe what he meant was if you were a steady customer he would let the rule slide and sell you more than one. Customer relationships mean the world in situations like this. I wouldn't be so touchy about it...probably just a misunderstanding and maybe poor wording.

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» Again, I am not asking for services in Mandarin Oriental, I just need some

» MacDonalds. Finally, I don't have any Mandarin Oriental or MacDonalds.

»

» ROB 107:-(

I know how much pressure these guys are under to meet budgets yet I often scratch my head at this policy. Surely better as a manager to introduce myself properly, get to know you and make the offer that "while I can by poilicy only sell you one...I will sell you two on the promise that you will come back and see me when you are looking for more cigars. You give me that commitment and I will look after you in terms of price and availability for life"

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» I know how much pressure these guys are under to meet budgets yet I often

» scratch my head at this policy. Surely better as a manager to introduce

» myself properly, get to know you and make the offer that "while I can by

» poilicy only sell you one...I will sell you two on the promise that you

» will come back and see me when you are looking for more cigars. You give

» me that commitment and I will look after you in terms of price and

» availability for life"

Rob, it sounds so self-evident when you spell it out in such a straightforward fashion. I wonder. Have these retailers just stopped thinking about customer service?

Wilkey

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» Rob, it sounds so self-evident when you spell it out in such a

» straightforward fashion. I wonder. Have these retailers just stopped

» thinking about customer service?

»

» Wilkey

I am pretty sure I know the retailers and staff involved here.

They are good people. Ever polite. Yet when a policy directive is given from their superiors I don't believe they are in a position to cross them. Keep in mind these staff do not own the store. I know the personalities involved (without expanding) and it would be a cold day in hell before one of them crossed the CEO.

Now the CEO would have handled it the way I proposed. He is retail and people Savvy. Right now he is in China with a Habanos s.a delegation so he has bigger fish to fry. He would have made a general policy on the release specifically so that all his clients could at least have one. He would not have wanted box buyers (who are not normal clients) coming in and snapping up all the general Divan stock day one (we are talking HK here ...so possible ;-) ) I am sure the Private Club members of PCC HK have been well taken care of with as many boxes as they can store in their lockers.

So the retail salesperson has a policy given by the CEO on how this release pans out. One cigar per person. He is asked for two by someone he does not know. He tows the company line immediately (probably pinned in the office). I don't think that they have the retail savvy or confidence to go outside the company line.

I would be disappointed the way it was handled. I am sure the CEO woud be disappointed as well. What we have here is a mix of cultural and corporate culture running headlong into a lack of retail business and consumer sense.

In the end we have a lot of good people taking poor decisions and leaving a disgruntled customer to rightfully vent his anger.

No winners.

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I am sorry you got a bad experience at the Mandarin Cigar Divan.

I just got 2 from there and I am nowhere near to being a regular (I prefer to deal with Lisa in this little shop in Brisbane ;-) ).

Oops, that was my first post, I should have introduced myself. I am located in Hong Kong and was introduced to FOH by Guillaume, a regular here. I am new to cigars but I enjoy very much the learning process :-D

I have been lurking on the forum for a while and it has been very entertaining and educational. Thanks to all and I am looking forward to reading you again soon.

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Guest Robusto 107

» I am sorry you got a bad experience at the Mandarin Cigar Divan.

Hi Chaki, just wanna clarify that it is not the cigar divan in Mandarin. I just quote Mandarin for their 6 stars services. no other meaning.

Regarding to other friends response here, doing business always (give and take,'). If the policy ties the salesman to give, ok just tell me it is the policy and I fully accept and understand this. But if the wordings is offensive, yes he said that politely, but no matter how polite he is, you will be pissed off.

Frankly speaking, it is not a 1 plus 1 = 2 theorem on how to serve an old customer or new. If really an old customer has absolute previleges, so how can a marketing guy to attract new customers? So i think they are both important. The difference is just using different tools to deal with a new customer against an old one.

Regards

Rob 107:-)

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Guest Robusto 107

Hi Chaki

Happy to know you here. Looking forward to see your review after trying this. Write more and you may learn more.

Cheer

Rob107

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