Thread: BEWARE!! Careful doing business with Alimar company and Mark Smulson

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  1. #1 BEWARE!! Careful doing business with Alimar company and Mark Smulson 
    Dear REDUSERs,

    Sadly, I have a cautionary tale about buying used equipment through Mark Smulson of Alimar Company (

    On May 5th, 2015— I engaged Mark Smulson on behalf of a client who was looking to buy a used set of Masterprime lenses. Mark sent us a few options, and we finally settled on A set. We agreed on a price, and he sent us an invoice under the Alimar Company letterhead— my client proceeded to pay for this through a bank transfer on June 24th, 2015.

    In the set was 6 used Masterprime lenses, and 1 new Masterprime lens.

    ‪On July 16th‬, after payment was finalized, I got a call from Mark that the lenses arrived at his office but needed some maintenance done at Focus Optics in Burbank, CA— we waited because we wanted the best possible lens since Mark recommended us that some lens elements conditions were not up to his delivery standards.

    Mark said he’s ordered the parts and readied them to be swapped onto the lenses. A day later…

    On August 10th 2015,I received an email saying that the lenses he bought were stolen and he was subpoenaed by the US Grand Jury because they are part of a stolen set from New York. (Specifically from Arri Rental in NY).

    I was asked to contact the NYPD detective who was on the case to check the facts, and indeed the detective told me Mark had acquired the stolen lenses and since were confiscated.

    After hearing this news, I clearly made my request for a refund, as Mark was not able to fulfil our order as promised. Mark, through many emails and phone calls, refused responsibility and said that I would have to follow up with the NYPD as they were our lenses that was confiscated.

    This is the point where I asked for help through a well respected DOP (with an ASC last name ) and through him I was assisted in hiring an attorney to represent us.

    Through many phone calls and emails— Mark Smulson kept refusing and pushing the responsibilities onto the NYPD detective who is in charge of the investigation, saying that it would be them who could refund us.

    He says there are many moving parts in this issue, but for us it’s quite cut and dry— Money Paid for Goods, Goods not delivered, refunds demanded and were refused.
    This is breach of contract since the money we paid did not amount to Mark delivering anything, so the transaction was never completed.

    It doesn’t matter to us that the lenses were part of a stolen set as we were never delivered these lenses. The ongoing investigation of the NYPD should not even have affected the transaction between Alimar Company and us. There was the other half of the set that was delivered to another customer by Mark, and from my understanding the NYPD detective tracked them down and confiscated them. However, we never had possession of these lenses— nor an attempt on delivery has ever been done in my knowledge.

    In an effort to ease the pressure from my client, we tried to at least get a refund for the NEW Masterprime (still undelivered, and while Mark said he had ordered them, we have yet to receive any proof of this) and along with the commission that Mark had made on the set (total around 30,000 USD) in good faith before we wait and see what could end up happen with the investigation, but Mark refused to pay this amount back to us — and said that the commission is rightfully his (even though the lenses were never delivered…. and won’t be delivered).

    At the moment an attorney is representing me with this case— we are filing a police report but meanwhile I wanted to warn future buyers on REDusers to be aware of suspicious activities that could be going on when buying through what seemed to be a public broker who advertises that they are licensed to buy and sell this type of equipment.

    Before we made our purchase, I did research online and did not find any records of wrongdoings on the forums by Mark or Alimar Company, besides their feud with FJS, which I thought was ugly, but mostly competitive trying to win each other’s customers. A lot of the lenses listed on Alimar is also very similar or same as the ones listed on other Used Lenses websites. We properly engaged in an email conversation which lawfully binds us in a written contract and we were never honored this contract so now we will continue our pursuit to get the money reimbursed.

    Let this be a warning for all of you, who plan to find used lenses or equipment through lens dealer and specifically through Mark Smulson at Alimar Company— instead of having a nice set of lenses, we have an outstanding transaction and now we are waiting on an ongoing investigation, in which the dealer has not shown any financial responsibility towards the improper procurement of these lenses to sell us.
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  2. #2  
    Senior Member Matthew Quinn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Buffalo, N.Y
    Damn what a nightmare
    LOCAL 600

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  3. #3  
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Sorry to hear you've been treated so badly. Hope it resolves in your favour!
    DOP / Digital Lighting Camera Operator
    London, UK.

    Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
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  4. #4  
    Senior Member David Collard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    I started receiving junk emails from Alimar a while back. I never asked for them and they looked suspiciously fished from Reduser.

    It is always prudent to reserve judgement in legal matters, but based on what I've heard, it's as if your money has been stolen now.

    Sorry to hear. Good luck with this!
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  5. #5  
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Los Angeles, Thailand
    Whenever I have bought film gear through a reputable broker, the money was held in escrow until I received the merchandise and verified it was in good condition. This guy obviously didn't do that? He just gave away your money before you received anything? And THEN... he doesn't even have the decency to refund the commission he made on the sale?? Has he even delivered the NEW lens that wasn't stolen but paid for? What a nightmare. One would have to be insane to purchase anything through this company after reading this. I know I never will.
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  6. #6  
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    yeah, if you cant do paypal then you HAVE to do escrow, have to.
    all brokers are reputable until they are not. basically i hate them because they are just selling other people's equipment without even knowing who they are sometimes. the problem is that they probably encounter so many of these type of problems that they most likely have themselves covered in someway.
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  7. #7  
    Senior Member Raphael Varandas's Avatar
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    Jan 2008
    Sao Paulo - Brasil ( With S)
    Oo man... I'm sorry to hear that
    Raphael Varandas
    DCINE Digital Cinema
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  8. #8  
    Thanks for heads up. Sorry for what you've been through with them.
    Shipping Stage Equipment
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  9. #9  
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Texas, Mexico
    this villain strike again at dynamic rentals company of LA area:

    "In November 2017 Mark Smulson of Alamar Company sold me Master Primes, Cooke S4’s, and Super Speeds, which still have not been delivered.
    After multiple attempts to collect the lenses or a refund I had my lawyer contact Mark with official notice requesting a refund in the amount of $287,760.
    It has been nine months and I still have not received the lenses or a refund.
    I am currently in the process of filing a lawsuit against Alamar Company and I strongly urge everyone to bear this in mind when making a decision on who to do business with for purchasing used equipment."

    anyone else have a same story of him for warning public?
    Javier Banos
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