Chapter 2, The beginning ...
Generally, when I am discussing teas with vendors, I let them know right away that I moderate tea forum(s). I just want to be straight up about it. Thus when I began a relationship with Yuuki-Cha, I placed this in my signature, a tactful way of doing it. We also discussed this.
Well over a year ago, I purchased some teas and canisters/accessories from Yuuki-Cha and Dan the active partner also sent several samples for me to let him know what I thought about them and to share.
Communication was open and two way. Then suddenly one day, he became 100% nonresponsive to any and all of my emails and even his site contact page messages.
Shortly before this occurred, I received an odd PM from a new member on the forum. This asked my impression of certain Yuuki-Cha teas in direct comparison to several from O-Cha.
I remember thinking at the time, this is a very odd PM. I was very uncomfortable answering since it was a new member, and in hindsight wish I had asked him/her to post the question on the forum. But TBH, I am asked questions quite frequently, and went ahead and answered in an attempt to be helpful to the new member. The questions were about "weak" offerings at the time from Yuuki-Cha. I believe I was honest in my opinions, and endeavored to be tactful as well. I certainly did NOT slam Yuuki-Cha.
It was from this point forward that Dan would not respond to any of my communications, period. I checked the location of the new member which turned out to be from UK, Dan's home nation, coincidentally ... or not.
I made a conclusion (since he would not reply to any of my contacts) that this PM was sent either by him, by someone for him, or else it was forwarded to him. Regardless of my suspicions, I continued to attempt to communicate and offered many times to try and get an explantion for this lack of contact. I never heard a word back, not one. I felt this was highly unprofessional, but let it go. I never said a word about this on any forum.
Perhaps the truth hurt and he did not like what I had to say ... but this is a forum, what can I say. I am sure we have all said something negative about a vendor's products. Bottom line, he made adjustments and had a product shake-up a short time later ...
Bottom line, if I said something that offended or bothered him, or he disputed ... I gave him numerous opportunities to tell me straight up, mano a mano so to speak, privately.
To be continued ...