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My bad experience with T/A Kid, AKA Ben Charles

Old 10-09-2018, 01:17 AM
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djpelosi
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Default My bad experience with T/A Kid, AKA Ben Charles

Evening all

First and foremost I already know he is well respected and well known on this, and other forums. That being said, I did not have a pleasant overall experience with him, and want everyone to know that even if someone has a good reputation, it doesn't necessarily mean they are the right person for the job. He may have done a great job on 20 other cars, but not on mine. I also want to apologize for the longevity of this post, but I wanted to lay all the cards on the table. Also note that absolutely nothing on the car changed during this time.

Let's begin with the background. I have a 2015 Z06, M7. Mods are as follows:

2" Longtube headers
2.31 Upper pulley
Halltech CAI
Mamo ported throttle body
MGW short throw shifter
Previously tuned by GPI

I went to Ben because one, he was local to me and two, a lot of people mentioned his name and swore by his work. I don't doubt what he's done for others, and he really does seem like he knows what he's doing, but in my particular case, he just wasn't able to get the job done. I was decently happy with my tune from GPI... however, was still noticing some bad throttle lag even with the Mamo throttle body. The original tune from GPI did not include any modifications to the driver demand table, so I spoke to them and they sent me an updated tune. The updated tune didn't really help either, so after searching around, I decided to explore my options for another tuner.

I came across Ben in the HP Tuners forums and we soon began exchanging emails about my tune. He asked me who it was from, and I told him, and he immediately began boasting about how he "fixes GPI tunes ALL the time." I then stated I had thought about going to Vengeance, and yet again he boasted saying he fixes their tunes all the time too. Whether he does or not was irrelevant to me.

I just wanted my throttle issue fixed without having to drive 6 hours to another reputable tuner. I'm not going to discuss pricing for respect to Ben, but I will say that the fee for his tuning services was broken up into two payments, and was on par with what other remote tunes are normally going for. It consisted of an up front payment, and a payment after the tune was complete. He had mentioned that GPI missed a ton off stuff on my tune.

On May 24th, I made the first payment to Ben via PayPal, and he sent me the tune file after. Being that Ben was local to me, I was assuming that he was going to load it for me and then do some logging to make sure everything is up to par, however, he just sent me the file and told me to load it myself. I have a friend with HP tuners who I paid credits to so he can load tunes for me which wasn't a big deal to me, but still, I thought being local Ben would at least do some logging with me. After loading Ben's first tune, the throttle response was way better, however, two other problem arose.

Problem 1: The throttle would stick at 1200 rpms on deceleration and would not come down until I was at a complete stop. Problem 2: the throttle would jump up by about 500 RPMS by itself when accelerating from a dead stop.

On May 26th, I notified Ben of these issues and asked if he could meet me in person the next week to do some datalogging to hunt down the issue, as I didn't want to just start guessing at the problem I wanted it fixed with assurance.

On May 27th, Ben responded stating he was too busy the following week to meet, and told me he would get me a new tune file the following day.

On May 30th, I finally received the second tune. I was not able to load this tune yet because my friend was unavailable, so I left it be.

On June 3rd, I asked Ben if he was available to do some data logging so we could make sure this new tune fixed the problem. He responded and said yet again that he is too busy, but could meet 2 days later.

On June 5th, we finally met and we did some data logging, and he wrote a new tune. The car seemed fine after this tune, so I went ahead and made my second payment.

From this point the car seemed fine. A few throttle issues still but at this point nothing worth driving back out there to try and fix. The car felt better overall than what it did before so I wasn't making a fuss about it.

On July 31st, the problems with the throttle got worse over time since June 5th when he uploaded the last tune. Almost as bad as it was in the beginning. Not only this, but I noticed yet another problem during a wide open throttle pull with what seemed like the throttle closing because I was losing boost. I sent him a picture message of the driver demand table he tuned and showed the 100% acceleration line to have different values across the RPM range instead of the same values. To me that seems like at 100% WOT, the throttle would open and close due to the change in values which I thought might be my problem.

I asked Ben if he could do some more data logging with me to determine the issue, but yet again he tells me he's too busy this week and to try and load the tune myself. Even though my friend has HP tuners, our work schedules are different so it's extremely difficult to get to him to have him load the the for me. So I decided to wait until the following week as Ben stated he could get to me then.

On August 12th, still with the same tune from June 5th, I decided to try another WOT pull. At around 90mph WOT, I lost boost completely and the car became very sluggish, although threw no CELs. I used my code reader and pulled 2 pending codes: P0324 and P0330. I sent it to Ben to let him know, and cleared them hoping they would go away. I did another WOT pull after clearing the codes, but still experienced boost loss at 120mph, however, did not receive the pending codes this time. Ben said it had to have been "bad gas." even though I still was experiencing the boost problem. Ben advised disconnecting the battery for 30 minutes and putting new gas in the car. I did both, and still had the same boost loss problem.

On August 27th I was still experiencing the boost loss issue. Mind you, I never had this issue with the GPI tune. I texted Ben a video of the dash that shows boost going to 0 during WOT. He said he would look at the tune and see what's up.

On August 28th, he texted me back and said he had made a mistake in the tune and set my car up like a meth car when my car didn't have meth (he knew this). Here is his exact text message to me: "I see the problem with your car!! Just fixed it on my computer. You don't have meth right?? Just Pump. That last time I set up your IAT to pull massive amounts of timing after 100 degrees (like 12) so therefore it's killing off all timing and pulling power which kills boost."

This was the first mistake he admitted to during the tuning process. The second mistake he admitted to is coming up later. He assured me that adjusting this would fix the boost loss issue. We planned on meeting that night around 7:30pm for him to load the new tune.I texted him at 7:00pm to verify, and he tells me he's too busy and would have to change to the following day.

On August 29th I was finally able to meet up with him and get him to load a new tune. It had been lightly raining so I wasn't able to do extensive testing, but it didn't appear that I had boost loss any further. I was waiting a few days to let it dry up before assuming it was fixed.

On August 30th, it was dryer so I went out and started testing. First WOT pull it started sputtering around 85mph but didn't lose boost, just felt slow. Did another pull afterwards, and didn't sputter at all and didn't lose boost but still felt slow. It started raining so I didn't have a chance to do any more testing.

On September 4th, it was fully dry out with no rain in sight. Went out to do some testing and lost boost every pull right around 120mph. It's at this point I mentioned not having this boost loss problem until after he had tuned it. He mentioned if I could load the old tune to see if I still had the problem. At that time I couldn't, I just wanted to get some datalogging done with him in the car to get his tune fixed. Yet again, he's too busy to meet.

On September 7th, I ask him when we can meet to get this fixed, I receive no response.

On September 10th, I ask him again when he can meet, and he responds and tells me he can meet the following day after 5:00pm, so I plan accordingly.

On September 11th, he texts me and says something came up and he can't meet, and had to wait another day.

On September 12th, we finally meet and we do some data logging. He was in the car logging with me and saw that the car was indeed loosing boost for no apparent reason. Once the log completed, he noticed that the throttle was closing during the WOT pulls and he didn't know why. We spent about 20 minutes looking through the tune trying to figure out what was wrong. During this time, his words to me were that he thought originally that I was crazy when I first told him about the problem (I guess he didn't believe me when I said it was losing boost even though I sent him a video of it happening).

At this point, we decided to load my old tune from GPI in the car. Surprise surprise, the problem went away. I did two pulls with the GPI tune in the car and didn't lose boost once. We reloaded Ben's tune back in the car, did another pull, lost boost/throttle closed during WOT. Ben looked over his tune and could not find the issue, so he opened up GPI's tune and compared it to his and admitted mistake #2:

He had forgotten to zero out a table in his tune that he believes was causing the throttle to close. He zeroed out that table in his tune and then ran another WOT pull.... still had throttle closing. Ben made some more adjustments and ultimately finally got the car to make two pulls without the throttle closing or losing boost. At this point, we felt like the issue was gone... finally.

On September 20th, I hadn't had a chance to do any more testing to make sure the issue was gone up until this day. Decided to try a few pulls. The first pull resulted in boost loss at 130mph. I was super bummed. Decided to try two more pulls after, and did not lose boost those 2 pulls. I figured it was a fluke on the first pull, so I decided not to mention it to Ben.

On October 1st, I tried 3 more pulls. All 3 pulls resulted in boost loss at 130mph.

On October 2nd, I tried to call Ben to speak with him. At this point, it's been over 4 months since he first tuned the car and I am continuing to have more and more problems. He did not answer, so I texted him. I received no answer.

On October 3rd, I tried to call Ben again. No answer, so I texted again. Again, I received no answer.

On October 4th, I texted him and asked him to contact me asap. He finally responded and I told him the car is doing the same thing it was doing last time... loosing boost. He said he would review the tune in case he missed something obvious and if he doesn't see anything, he has no clue how to fix it. At this point, it's been 4 months and he's already admitted to making two mistakes with the tune. I've given him every opportunity, waited days and sometimes weeks to meet with him to load the tune and datalog, stayed with him the entire time having faith that he will get this fixed. We've loaded the tune from GPI on the car that I never had boost loss issues with which fixed the boost loss issue... so that proves it's his tune. I've had enough at this point.

I daily drive this car. I no longer have the time or patience to wait around and let him continue to guess at this issue after 4 months (I mention 3 months in screenshots below but it's actually 4 months). I mention to him that if we can't get this issue fixed, then I may need to consider going with another tuner and if that ended up being the case, could I get a refund. I wasn't wanting a refund at this point, I was perfectly OK with letting him try to fix his tune one more time. But instead....

He becomes extremely rude. Starts accusing me of some kind of wrong doing, saying it's not his fault, it's not his tune that's the problem it's my car, yet contradicts himself by offering to still fix it by continuing to tune it. If he truly believed it wasn't his tune and that it was my car, why would he offer to still try and fix the tune? Makes no sense. He knows it's his tune especially since we loaded GPI's tune with him in the car and the issue went away immediately! He mentioned his brother died, and I expressed my sincerest apologies for it, but that's no excuse for how he treated me as a customer. So I told him I wanted a refund. I even offered to let him keep the $100 in HP Tuner credits. I have included screenshots of the conversation I had with him from October 4th to show how rude he became. They are posted below.

On October 6th, I decided to prove a point. I put GPI's tune back on the car, and the boost loss issue went away as expected, just like it did the day I did it with Ben in the car. I then put Ben's tune right back on the car and guess what... boost loss issue came back. I then put GPI's tune back on the car again... boost loss issue is gone. Yet again I put Ben's tune back on, boost loss issue returns.

So I swapped tunes twice and both times the boost loss issue went away with the GPI tune and came back with Ben's tune. If that isn't proof that the issue is in Ben's tune, I don't know what is. I've been driving with the GPI tune back on for 3 days, and I've made at least 10 pulls, all with 0 boost loss each time. My throttle is back to being laggy but I'll take that over my throttle closing in the middle of WOT.

See below for texts sent on October 4th. You can see in one of them where he says he fixes Vengeance's tunes all the time as I mentioned earlier. I'm now in a PayPal battle with Ben trying to get my money back, with the tune I originally had in the car before I ever met him... and he had the nerve to say I'm a fraud in a response to my dispute with PayPal. I even offered to let him keep his $100 in HP tuner credits and just refund me the other amount if I didn't have to go through a PayPal dispute and he still refused. This guy is unbelievable and I don't care how many tunes he's done for anyone, this is completely unprofessional and I'll drive 8 hours to another tuner before ever considering him again.











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Old 10-09-2018, 10:52 AM
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Update: Ben sent me a text message late last night threatening to sue me if I don't take my post down. It will remain up. This guy is something else.
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Old 10-09-2018, 11:44 AM
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It looks like Ben really tried but just couldn't do it right? If I was a tuner and I didn't deliver the results I know I would refund the money but hey that's just me where reputation is everything in business. What if he gave you a 50%, partial refund?
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Old 10-09-2018, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by SoCalFinest View Post
It looks like Ben really tried but just couldn't do it right? If I was a tuner and I didn't deliver the results I know I would refund the money but hey that's just me where reputation is everything in business. What if he gave you a 50%, partial refund?
I likely would have accepted a partial 50% refund at first if he would have been willing to work with me on it. He did spend time on it and did try to fix it, so I don't fault him for that at all. But now that it has come to what it has, I would accept nothing more than a full refund. At first I even offered to accept a refund less the $100 in HP tuner credits, and he refused.
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Old 10-09-2018, 01:23 PM
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omg this guy is a nut case. He should refund your money. No way I would of waited the amount of time you did. This guy does not have the knowledge to tune your car nor anyone else's for that matter. He should offer you a full refund plus a Applebee's 200 gift card for YOU inconvenience. I like how he threatened you to take the post down. I just watched this exact thing on one of those judge shows on tv and the judge told the other person that everything this guy posted was true. lol. This guy needs to refund your money and keep this quiet before he looses all business. Wow you sir have been screwed in time and money.
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Old 10-09-2018, 01:34 PM
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Ben or ta kid should just give you a full refund and call it a day. Itís not like itís a lot of labor or tangible products. When these types get all snarky and rude itís a red flag.
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Old 10-09-2018, 02:10 PM
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Life is definitely too short for this stuff. Good luck and hope you get it resolved soon.
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Old 10-09-2018, 03:34 PM
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A good tuner is worth his weight in gold!
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Old 10-09-2018, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by 3 Z06ZR1 View Post
A good tuner is worth his weight in gold!
I would never let this guy touch my car. Geesh just refund the money already before people start blowing up your threads. Evident something is not right
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Old 10-09-2018, 03:57 PM
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As a business owner, I totally get having that "I don't wanna **** with it" attitude... that being said, I can't even imagine ACTUALLY telling a customer that. SMH
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Old 10-09-2018, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by TxTaxman View Post
As a business owner, I totally get having that "I don't wanna **** with it" attitude... that being said, I can't even imagine ACTUALLY telling a customer that. SMH
Especially after said customer paid you for the work that "you don't want to **** with" anymore.
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Old 10-09-2018, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by TxTaxman View Post
As a business owner, I totally get having that "I don't wanna **** with it" attitude... that being said, I can't even imagine ACTUALLY telling a customer that. SMH
yep I get that and sometimes you have to fire the customer. In todayís age of social media you can only fire the customer by returning their money in agreement for no bad press.

Some customers you can never make happy. In this case I think the op has a case.

I would love to mod my c7 but am hesitant because of the complexity and software / tuning. involved. As an owner You can go down a real rat hole especially if your not the type to take ownership of the problems and possibly even get into the mechanics of it all.

Last edited by Mr. Gizmo; 10-09-2018 at 05:14 PM.
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Old 10-09-2018, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by SoCalFinest View Post
It looks like Ben really tried but just couldn't do it right? If I was a tuner and I didn't deliver the results I know I would refund the money but hey that's just me where reputation is everything in business. What if he gave you a 50%, partial refund?
reputation IS EVERYTHING. I don't know who either one is, but I can tell you who I would not use. I see no dispute by the tuner with what you've said. That means to me it's accurate or uncontestable. Which means only one person is at fault.

My suggestion Go find another tuner. And, when asked later on by others---and you will be asked----state your case and your story. Word spreads, but an honest recital of what happened such as what you did above in your first post, can't be called slander. Period.
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Old 10-09-2018, 05:00 PM
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Wow...Everybody needs to steer clear of him. There is no legal recourse he has for posting this. You are more than respectful.
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Old 10-09-2018, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by 3 Z06ZR1 View Post
A good tuner is worth his weight in gold!
Truer words have never been said, got to really trust someone that can blow your car up in a second, and leave you without any warranty
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Old 10-09-2018, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by djpelosi View Post
Update: Ben sent me a text message late last night threatening to sue me if I don't take my post down. It will remain up. This guy is something else.
Ha Ha Ha.....he is going to sue you? Tell him to go F' himself and for everyday that he does not refund your money you'll post your experience with him on a different LS based forum. Lots of LS vehicle based forums to choose from.....lstech, lsxmag, camaro5, camaro6, etc. Because of the way he has acted, I would only accept a 100% refund and this can all go away. The money back in your account won't change your life but bad publicity will change his.

Usually when somebody starts responding like this and claims "he is too busy" and starts having a melt down he is in a dire financial situation. Unfortunately he probably doesn't have the money to refund you even if he wanted to.
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Old 10-09-2018, 05:44 PM
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just put the gfi? tune back in it,call it a day

you got lucky ,you didn't blow-up your eng or something else went wrong,,
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Old 10-09-2018, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by dmaxx3500 View Post
just put the gfi? tune back in it,call it a day

you got lucky ,you didn't blow-up your eng or something else went wrong,,
It's already back on. Been back on for 4 days and had no issues since.
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Old 10-09-2018, 06:31 PM
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Very sorry to hear about your ordeal, kinda hard to believe he has worked on other Z06's from reading this story as well as seeing how he treats customers
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Old 10-09-2018, 07:52 PM
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maybe your car just sucks, from the beginning?
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