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Thread: Honest review of Sastrad KK, aka Steven Smith

  1. #1

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    Exclamation Honest review of Sastrad KK, aka Steven Smith

    Hello fellow JDMrs,

    We are Essex County JDM Tuners Inc. We have been importing vehicles and parts for just over 4 years now. We have been around vehicles, JDM specifically for over 10 years.
    I am sure some of you have heard, if not been involved with what has happened with the above mentioned exporter/dealer in Japan. I will go into as much detail as I can about the transaction. This will be neither an emotional or slanderous review. It will not contain anymore info than is already available online about Steven and his company. It will only have truths and what exactly happened to inform you of our dealings with his company so you can make an educated decision when deciding to use his services.

    I can not upload any files to the site as I am a new register, but if any of you would like to see the emails, Skype conversations on everything that went on with this company, I have no problem sending them to you in PDF form for ease of reading.

    The short story:
    We ordered 3 vehicles, a 40 foot container that later turned into a 20 foot container because of some mix ups on Stevens side. This was in 2016. The container was delayed from May 2016- December 22nd 2016 when it finally arrived. The vehicles, 1 of the 3 did arrive finally after 6 months, with no documents, occurring storage charges which were taken care of but the other 2 vehicles did not arrive, and have since not arrived. Steven has promised dates and promised dates, but the two vehicles as of February 9th 2017 have not arrived. One was ordered in November 2015, and one in February 2016. I would avoid this company at all cost. Steven Smith of Nagoya Japan, and his company Sastrad KK and its employees.

    The long story:
    Where do I even start...

    It was October 2015. My company was doing great for just being about a year old here in Ontario. We were bringing in as many cars as we could handle to North America. We had 3 main suppliers out of Japan for vehicles, and got used to the flow of things. We could get the small part here and there shipped over, gaskets, lights, etc. but we wanted to start bringing in some serious volume. We saw a market that was just beginning, and that a lot of other companies were taking advantage of. So we started our search for a reputable exporter that did containers of parts on a regular bases.

    Enter Steven Smith/ Sastrad KK. We contacted Steven by email first. We actually had heard that he was used by one of the importers out West here in Canada, and it went well. We did more digging online and found that he was used all over the world, and not only was an exporter of vehicles, but also had a dismantling license, and 3 of his own shops, being able to dismantle and load whatever we needed.

    The first big transaction was a motor. We sent a $1000 CAD deposit to Steven, which at the time worked out to about 90000 yen, (our dollar sucks btw). We used Paypal at first for security reasons. Than we began searching in Japan for parts that we could start loading the container with.
    We started reaching out to the JDM community, advertising that we could help get that huge cost down on JDM parts because we were filling a container. Being our first big shipment, we wanted to keep the cost down, so we were charging a small fee. It was not much over what we paid out to Sastrad KK/Steven Smith. Clients would pick out what they need. Most contacted us asking if we could get a certain part. We would look on a certain auction site in Japan, and other local contacts we had previously. We would find what the clients needed, show them pictures, videos and any info that was necessary to help make the decision. We would ask Steven what the total price would be. (On a side note, Steven was charging 20% on any purchase we ordered through him, he did not do this for free I might add). Steven would than give us a price to present to the customer. The customer would pay us, we would pay Steven, and than Steven would order the part to his shop to store, ready to load for the container.
    The process went on like this for a couple months, we would pay Steven, and he would bring the parts to one of his shops. During this time, we had also ordered 2 vehicles through him for RO-RO shipping. A 1993 Toyota Supra RZ and a 1999 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 6. The Supra was ordered to his shop in February of 2016 and the Evo was ordered to his shop in November, 2015. The Supra was purchased from a local dealer in Japan, and shipped to "PIT STOP", one of Sastrad KKs locations. The EVO was bought through auction.

    The EVO price was paid right away to Steven with no delay.
    The Supra payment did have a delay of 15 days. We were working with a client in the USA. He was planning on buying the vehicle and storing it here in Canada until it became legal. He paid in two payments via bank transfer. It took us a few days to receive each transfer, something I made Steven aware of. But as soon as we received each payment we sent it on to Steven through a payment service which only takes a few days to clear in Japan account. First payment was confirmed received by Steven February 9th and the second half was confirmed on February 18th, paid in full.

    This is around the time we starting having problems. The main concern at the time was, we had asked for pictures and video of each of the vehicles. He would promise that he would get them asap, but weeks would go by before we would receive them. I had a full gallery of pictures and video from the dealer who was selling the Supra, so I wasn't to concerned with that car, but we did want to see a better running video at Sastrads shop, (something we never received). The Evo was ordered from auction back in November, 2015, we did not receive pictures until February. I approached Steve about this and asked what was going on. He assured me it was lack of his employees and that he will take care of things.

    From March-May we had asked Steven to send pictures of the Supra. Something we did not receive until late June I believe while it was at port. The vehicles we ordered sat at what I assumed was his shop from the time they arrived until May. Eventually realising I was not getting pictures, I just told him to get us a quote on shipping to Halifax. I asked him this many times. Requesting quotes to Halifax. It took him roughly 2 months to get this quote, but by that time I had decided it was better to just send the vehicles to BC, and have them shipped over to Ontario from there. This is where I find out that Steven not only got the quote to Halifax but also sent them to the port in Japan that ships to Halifax (Kobe port, according to Steven) something I did not ask for him to do. When asked why they were sent to Kobe, he ignores the question and begins to say that he will send them to Nagoya to ship to BC, but I have to pay for storage charges at Kobe port and the new inland shipping from Kobe to Nagoya. Wait what? Why am I paying for your mistake?

    It is now May, 2016. In this whole mess of things we had already ordered our third vehicle. In the beginning of May is when we started to request the container to come over from Japan. Our original plan was for February, 2016, but we did not have enough parts in the container to make it a worth while shipment. Between February and May we received a couple more part items to go into the container. We had paid for a Skyline that was promised as a rb25det, automatic. But we later discovered after months of begging for the chassis number, that it was not turbo, or even an RB25, but an RB20, NON turbo. We did request a refund for this vehicle among other small parts totalling upwards on $3000 CAD, but never seen that money back to us. Steven said it was to be used as payment for fees on the container. Which we do not think was ever done as promised.

    His company first went dark on May 2nd 2016. We did not here from him until May 10th 2016 and from here on we had nothing but problems reaching Mr. Smith and his company. It was just back and forth with excuse after excuse. Food poisoning, bad employees working for him, and so on. He promised shipping dates over and over of both vehicles and the container. The sad thing is we did not even have a full container, but at this point we were not giving anymore money to his company and just wanted what we had delivered.
    He finally came to us in July and told us of a family issue that was going on and that he was going to be back to normal the following week. While this was sad and very unfortunate, it was no excuse when running a business unfortunately. This is other peoples lives you are dealing with, not just your own. I wasn't holding my breath, so I started digging around, and found out that not only had we been run aground, but many companies from all over the WORLD were dealing with this bad experience. Lawyers were involved, people threatening Steven himself. It was quite crazy what I found at this point.

    We told him to just get the items we had sent over. He promised this and from July-September we received new shipping dates etc, but no vehicles or parts ever showing up. We began contacting lawyers in Japan to try and help with the issue. To our surprise one of them was already dealing with Steven, and informed us that filing a case against him would do nothing because he had sold all of his assets and closed all of his shops but one in Japan. The one he didn't even own according to "property holdings". The next step was to head over to Japan and try and deal wit this face to face. We had an old address of Stevens, and to see what would happen if WE showed up there, we sent an old friend of ours who was living in Japan at the time to his shop. When he got to the shop he said it was empty and looked as if no one even operated there. When I told this to Steve, he said that it was a lie and that the shop was just not open to the public and he would have to make an appointment, an appointment that never happened.

    We started doubting any of this was ever happening, so we had to lay off most of our employees by summer 2016, and I myself had to go back to flooring business to try and get some of this money back to the clientele. I continued to work at this situation. But it continued the same way since May. No response, than a response with a shipping guarantee, than nothing.

    October, 2016: ONE of the vehicles FINALLY shows up to Vancouver. BUT low and behold the shipping is not paid, and the proper documents are not sent over to clear the vehicle from customs. So the vehicle sits and wracks up $800 in storage fees, plus freight is due. We finally get this car moving after all of these fees are paid. But where are the other two vehicles? The Supra and the evo? The EVO now going on a year since we ordered it.
    Oh, "they must have missed the boat" Steven tells us. We are told they are scheduled for the next one that is not until December 22nd 2016. He said that it was a sure fire thing, and that since they were at the dock they would be first in line to load on this December boat. Not having much choice, we wait.

    December 11th, 2016- We are notified that that a container has landed in Vancouver by the port of BC, Canada and has been targeted for customs inspection. At this point we have already exhausted our funds, sending money back to clients across Canada and the USA. We did not expect the container at all. We go to work to figure out how to accept these charges.

    December 13th 2016- We email Steven and ask if the vehicles have been shipped on the 22nd boat. No response.

    December 28th 2016-Steve sends an email asking why the container has not been picked up. We inform him that is is because he has not sent over the OBL until 2 days prior, original bill of lading to clear customs. As well, the freight company is telling me that Steven is with holding this because "all items in the container are not paid for" We email him and ask why this is happening? He responds same day, saying, "That is not true. Never claimed this and so this is untrue. The items in the container have all been paid for."

    January 4th 2017- I ask for an update on the vehicles whereabouts. Did they ship on the 22nd or not. Steven emails me back and says "I will reply before your Tuesday. Holidays in Japan now."

    January 5th 2017-Steve emails asking why we have not picked up the container yet.

    January 9th 2017--I ask him if he has an update on the container yet

    January 11th 2017-Steve emails again, only concerned with the container, I email back and ask for proof of shipment of the vehicles, and that we will be pursuing legal action soon if he does not surrender the B/L for these vehicles with dates of shipment. Steve responds and I quote "I have asked the loading company for their costs. As for legally safe, I am fully aware of the law in Japan and have been advised by more than 1 Japanese lawyer regarding procedures. Like yourself, they have just said to finish the transaction with you in a timely manner. So, I suggest then that you have your lawyer contact me from now on. You are within your rights to come to Japan. I am more than happy to give you my company representative you can deal with when you bring a legal case against my company. If you are thinking of just coming to my place of business, it is private property and Japan is very specific about harassment issues, just like Canada. Be advised that you will not be welcome to enter my place of business without an appointment."

    January 11th 2017--Steven emails again saying that I am not fulfilling my end of the deal by not picking up the container ( even though the container was supposed to ship back in May 2016), and that his company has fulfilled their end. I email him back explaining just how much his company has "fulfilled", again asking for shipment confirmation on the vehicles. He emails back and says brings up the container again, as to why i am not picking it up. He ignores my questions about the vehicles again.

    January 12th 2017- Steve emails again, only requesting about the container.

    January 28th 2017- We finally see a way that we can accept the container. At this point, most of the clients are refunded in full. Steven emails again stating that we are not picking it up. I tell him that we are working on it the best we can, and to focus on getting us a shipping schedule for the vehicles. Steven responds with, "The most urgent issue at the moment is the container ocean freight and storage costs."

    January 31st 2017- I email Steve and tell him we are trying to take care of the container asap, but where are the vehicles? He ignores the question again, and only responds with "concerns" of not picking up the container.

    February-5th 2017- We pay duties on the container.

    February 6th 2017- I contact CN for a reduction of storage fees based on our situation with Steven and his company. I send CN a detailed PDF file container all dealings with Steve on the container. I email Steve asking for an update on vehicles whereabouts.

    February 7h 2017-I email Steven again, asking for an update on the vehicles. CN responds and says the will cut storage GREATLY. I pay storage, and get ready to pay freight and arrange delivery of the container.

    February 8th 2017- I email and call Steve. No response about the vehicles again.

    Today, we are still waiting on our vehicles ordered over a year ago. The container as you can see was a terrible mess. This company was neither professional, or worth dealing with, and if anything was the cause of many companies closer, including the possibility of my own. While I do agree, I personally could have handled everything better with the customers, that is for another review. This is the review of Steven Smith aka Sastrad KK.

    You can use this info how you please, but I would stay far away from this man and his company. I have documents as mentioned if you wish to read in depth. This has been a terrible experience, and I will continue and try to rectify this for the vehicle clients. As of today, most clients are paid, accept for a couple that agreed to wait on the container, that is now FINALLY being delivered.

    Again, this is a review of Steven Smith and his company Sastrad KK. Try to stay on topic here when commenting.
    If anyone has any way of helping with the last two vehicles from this company, please comment, we cant send PM as we are to new registered. We would love the help and just want to get these cars to the proper owners!

    If you have any questions just ask!

  2. #2

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    if you have the 2 vin's of the 2 cars in Japan, I can see if I can help u locate them.... alteast have some info on where it was last reported

    Hope I can help

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by alsxe10 View Post
    if you have the 2 vin's of the 2 cars in Japan, I can see if I can help u locate them.... alteast have some info on where it was last reported

    Hope I can help
    Sure any help is help! We check auction and dealer listings all the time to see if he is trying to sell them off, but nothing has come up.

    First car is: CP9A-0103578
    Second is: JZA80-0011742

  4. #4

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    I too have a vehicle paid for including shipping which is over 16 months dealing with Smith to no avail.

    If we can get enough people on side I think we can get some support through the Nagoya police force. Do not forget Smith is a Canadian citizen and there are possibilities with the RCMP if we can mount a group effort.

    We need to keep these efforts off the public forums in the future - not the issues but the efforts!!

    It's time!

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by terreneuve View Post
    I too have a vehicle paid for including shipping which is over 16 months dealing with Smith to no avail.

    If we can get enough people on side I think we can get some support through the Nagoya police force. Do not forget Smith is a Canadian citizen and there are possibilities with the RCMP if we can mount a group effort.

    We need to keep these efforts off the public forums in the future - not the issues but the efforts!!

    It's time!
    I am all for this if you are. Do you know of anyone else looking to peruse Steven? If we can possibly get a lawyer over in Japan, we might be able to use him to find our vehicles and get them shipped out asap?

    Please let me know. I am still owed two vehicles, and have just found out he has fled Japan to the Philippines. He has sold off one of my vehicles to an auction house, the other I have no idea where it is. It is showing still in his company name however.

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