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Thread: Does Durst-Pro-USA Still Exist?

  1. #11

    Join Date
    Jun 2001
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    North of Chicago
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    1,411

    Re: Does Durst-Pro-USA Still Exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    There are allegedly a few new L138 chassis still in crates in Italy; but can you afford 20K apiece for something like that individually shipped? I see you're in Mountain View. Too bad, because I know a big lab that hauled a whole pile of Dursts to the dump two years ago. I only had room for one more 8x10 unit, so rounded up a crew of friends and flatbed truck and installed it here for free. There is a horizontal autofocus unit left, but he wants 75K for that. Jens at DurstPro was an excellent machinist and knew his product well, but was NOT a dependable businessman. How he made money was with very expensive service contracts to big labs and government agencies. If you were an ordinary person just wanting to purchase something, you might never get it, whether you paid for it or not. He was playing a shell game with parts, and promising things he couldn't deliver. But he did move something like 27 commercial Durst units worldwide in just a couple of years, whether new or beautifully refinished by him. So the international market for them is still alive. I believe he took on a partner, but that fell through due to his own slippery business practices. I have no idea what happened to all the leftovers. He bought out the rights to Condit registration equipment and made the same items even better; but if you ordered a punch, the matching carrier would never arrive, or visa versa. Remember, Durst stop making commercial enlargers and their accessories a long time ago. Their present 4x5 enlarger is a nice machine, but certainly not in the same league as the old 138's, and is made by a completely different division, the amateur one.
    Drew you are so correct about Mr. Jensen—I was one of his victims. I reported him to the Oregon States Attorney because I could not get the parts I ordered nor my money back , but they decided to believe his story over mine. I was out about $2500.00. I know I was not the only one Jens victimized.

  2. #12

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
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    Buford, GA
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    13,057

    Re: Does Durst-Pro-USA Still Exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Wasserman View Post
    Drew you are so correct about Mr. Jensen—I was one of his victims. I reported him to the Oregon States Attorney because I could not get the parts I ordered nor my money back , but they decided to believe his story over mine. I was out about $2500.00. I know I was not the only one Jens victimized.
    You didn’t sue him.

  3. #13
    ic-racer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    5,523

    Re: Does Durst-Pro-USA Still Exist?

    He answered my emails and shipped everything I bought from him. I'd be interested in any equipment left over but have not seen anything for sale. The web pages seem to be in suspended animation since 2011.

  4. #14

    Join Date
    Jun 2001
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    Re: Does Durst-Pro-USA Still Exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon View Post
    You didn’t sue him.
    No I did not. My life was quite complicated at the time and I just wanted all the nonsense and lies to go away.

  5. #15
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
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    14,146

    Re: Does Durst-Pro-USA Still Exist?

    The best way for minor amounts is Small Claims Court. Whoever puts their paperwork in good order wins. Lots of people just don't show, so lose by default. Lawsuits can take years, and no lawyer is interested in recovering a few thousand bucks. But shady businessmen like this generally reap what they sow. Word got around. On the other hand, he considered most "art" photographers a nuisance unless they somehow factored into promoting him. Like I said, he wanted big service contracts plus travel expenses; and that kind of arrangement was common with equipment dealers at one time, back when big labs were common. But I know pro labs around here that were doing great but then went belly up when outfits like Kodak refused to honor their own service contracts and simply stated they had moved on from that kind of particular device category, but still demanded payments on the same "obsolete"machines. Well, word about that got around too; and it's pretty obvious by now that Kodak wasn't invincible. In my case, even though Jens burned me, he also bought some used Durst from me, so I basically broke even cash-wide, even though he owed me quite a bit more. But I didn't want to make a stink because he was holding quite a bit of the last new or like-new Durst components, and if he went down, so did even hypothetical access of other photographers to all of that, domino-effect. And he did have some interesting stuff. I saw it in person, including some internal components to classified devices. Durst was working on a major colorhead improvement when they closed the commercial division, and all the leftovers went to Jens since he had the NSA service contract. Ironically, I have gotten some nice Durst things for free in recent years which were purchased from him in the first place. If someone was dropping hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time, he did deliver. For us mere mortals, it was more of a roll of the dice. A bit hard to stomach for me, since I have easily supplied at least a hundred million dollars of equipment to pros in a different kind of profession over the years, and was successful at this via building a reputation of trust and honesty. That always works best. I wasn't commissioned, so never got rich at it myself (the owners of the business certainly did), but did earn a decent middle-class living with excellent benefits.

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