I have taken the time and read this whole thread and just kept shaking my head. I know how irritated I would be if this sort of thing happened to me. They whole time I was saying to myself, "The OP is probably on the other side of the country from this turd, too." But then it was mentioned that they both live in TN and I said to myself, "Why the F*** would you NOT go visit this turd and/or file a claim." At this point, even if it does cost you 1/2 the money, you ought to do it out of principle. I would NOT let this go.
By now I would have found a lawyer and served Mr. Dick Willis. That would probably be enough to get this clown to send a check. If not, sue him for the money you sent AND the cost of lawyer fee's, missed work, and transportation/lodging costs. People do it all the time and you are certainly entitled to it.
BTW....Reading that guy's emails is enough information for me to know NOT to do business with him; despite this incident. The man doesn't know the difference between "where and were, there and their, you're and your, & to and too" along with countless other elementary misspellings like, "necasary" LOL. The best part is, he claims he went to college. I know this isn't really relevant but I notice that a lot now-a-days and it is pretty annoying. I wouldn't expect him to handle my money if I couldn't expect him to write a children's book.
Anyway, OP....dude, call a lawyer. At the very least, you can find one willing to do a free consultation and ask about suing for all costs involved in the process. If he/she says you probably won't get it, then it's time to take a drive. Either way, there is no way in hell that this guy would be able to hide behind his computer screen when I know I invested, even $1 into his services and he failed to deliver; followed by an attempt to blackmail me. No sir. Out of respect for yourself, it's time to deal with this FTF.
And to the guy in Italy.....I hope you drown in your "vino". ****I'M JUST KIDDING**** But seriously....I'll stick to my bourbon and beer....you can keep your wine. I hate Europe anyway. All the Europeans ever do is criticize America because their lives are so dull that they have nothing better to do than focus on us 24/7. Personally, I liked Japan and the rest of Asia much more....... In all seriousness, though, we all heard about your great experience. It might be time for you to sit back and stop telling us about it. I'm not sure if you get pleasure in gloating in front of a man who trusted another with $500+ of his money or if you are completely insensitive. Regardless, you made your point; time to head out and tell John that you helped him the best you could. There is nothing you can say that will get the OP his money back. If John was such a stand-up guy, he would simply refund the OP's money. No business, in the history of this world's existence, has ever or will ever be able to satisfy EVERY customer that ever orders from them. Some people are just A-holes and there is no way to make them happy. However, if said business took a customer's money, they need to give it back and know future business with them is no good.
If you choose to post back in here again, we would all like to hear your justification for John Willis keeping this guy's money albeit not sending him product after all these years. It's simple....OP gave money, John Willis committed to sale, John Willis never completed sale, OP wants his money. If you have anything further to write in here, please tell us why John Willis refuses to give back OP's money. Thank you in advance for any information you can provide......because I am confused why it would be ok to not give someone THEIR money.