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Guy in Delivery Van: "Hey, in the market for a Home Theater system?"


Starhawk
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My cousin called me today with an interesting story. He usually comes to me for Home Theater advice and recommendations, and on this particular phone call he asked,

 

"Hey, have you ever heard of the home theater brand name Olin Ross?"

Me: "No, but I've been out of touch with what's really going on with that stuff. It doesnt necesarrily mean it's a bad speaker"

 

Sitting in front of my computer I immediately just typed in http://www.olinross.com to find what looked like a small speaker company's site with several speaker packages in the range of $2-4k. He went on the tell me he was in the parking lot of a small strip center where he lives and a couple of guys in a company delivery van called him over. He thought they needed directions so he approached them. They asked him,

 

"Hey, are you in the market for a home theater system?"

"No, not really."

"Well, can we at least show you this one?"

 

They let him know that they work for a home theater installation company, and the company loaded and extra system on the van that wasnt on the schedule. They said when they get back to the warehouse, they'll just put it back in inventory. They admitted they'd rather just sell it to my cousin and pocket the cash since it's no record of it being on the van. He asked,

 

"You're just going to rip off your company like that?"

"Trust me, they've ripped me off many times. They dont pay me enough to install this stuff."

 

They showed my cousin a two page advertisement in a legit Home Theater magazine (he didnt remember which one) and that the MSRPs for the stuff they wanted to sell were $3,199 (front towers) and $1,899 (5.1 system). He asked what they were offering and they said $1800 for both. He told them that he had $400 on him in cash right now, they pushed back a bit, said they'd go with him to an ATM, etc, he was firm on the $400 and they decided "Well, $400 is better than nothing and we need to get to our next delivery in thirty mintues." He said they even offered their drivers license info and wrote up what sounded almost like it would qualify as a bill of sale. I dont know how detailed it was but it sounded like he basically got proof that he was sold the products at the agreed price to protect himself.

 

I got off the phone thinking he got a set of killer speakers. Immediatly I went back to the computer, and in ten seconds found this:

 

http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/off-topic/846480/?start=0

http://yubasutter.craigslist.org/ele/1087293653.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_van_speakers

 

LOL. I dont know if I have the heart to tell him :lol I think I'm going to just let him keep thinking he got a great deal and see if he figures it out first. I wonder what the speakers sound like.

 

Edit: After reading about it a bit more, it looks like the ad they take out is in Widescreen Review.

Edited by Starhawk
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I know. I think im going to give him a couple of days and then send him some of the links. I think I'd rather him figure it out himself first. It sounded really convincing over the phone when he told me. The ad in Widescreen Review is what would have got me I think.

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I was with a few coworkers who got scammed a few years back. The two dudes in the van were brilliant at it. I remember the boxes having a list of features, and one of them was "DVD Compatible" which I found amusing :) We figured they were freshly stolen. Two poor saps bought a pair each, and 10 minutes later we were back in the office reading all about the scam online :)

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I suspect white vans are the most popular and non-descript out there. So when the cops ask for details, all you know is that they were in a "white van", no make/model, no year, no nothing. They don't have a chance in hell of locating the one (even in that same area) that is selling the scam merchandise.

 

I've been hit up by them before, the scam is quite convincing. I even knew about white vans beforehand and I was tempted to go look it up to check for legitimacy. Then I mentally bitch slapped myself and got out of there.

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Cameron;

 

I'm surprised you hadn't heard about this scam before. I remember reading stories about these guys back when I was a participant at Home Theater Forum. I figured it was common knowledge to folks like us.

 

Oh well, it's another lesson learned the hard way I guess. Let us know how your friend reacts when he discovers that the speakers he bought are nowhere near what he expected them to be.

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And hey, $400, that isn't that much for speakers. It sounds like he got a 5.1 set and a pair of front floorstanders for that? He can't have overpaid too much for them if that's the case. Could probably flip them on craigslist or something and get most of that back.

 

The 'ol white van speaker scam :lol

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And hey, $400, that isn't that much for speakers. It sounds like he got a 5.1 set and a pair of front floorstanders for that? He can't have overpaid too much for them if that's the case. Could probably flip them on craigslist or something and get most of that back.

 

The 'ol white van speaker scam :lol

 

According to the Wikipedia page Cameron linked to, the quality of some of these products is so poor that it can cause damage to the amps they're hooked up to and and even cause shorts and fires.

 

It might be somewhat prudent to clue him in at some point.

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According to the Wikipedia page Cameron linked to, the quality of some of these products is so poor that it can cause damage to the amps they're hooked up to and and even cause shorts and fires.

 

It might be somewhat prudent to clue him in at some point.

 

I missed that part. I sent him an email with this link just now. I thought it would be best to see a huge list of other people who were also duped. :)

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One of my co-workers bumped into the white van speaker thing on his way to work. He let them do their sales pitch for 5-10 minutes, before casually saying "I don't have the cash on me" and walking away. He knew exactly who they were, he just wanted to waste their time. As he was walking away, one of the "salesmen" caught up and asked, "How about I walk with you to the ATM?". He responded, "How about I call the police and report your scam?", in a voice loud enough that anyone in the parking lot could hear him. I think he got lucky that all they did was get in the van and drive off

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  • 2 weeks later...

from one who got scammed trying to scam another.... well at least the Sub Should be goos unless they went as far to swap woofers to a crappy one.

 

The Cypress speakers are part of the white van scam

 

http://cgi.ebay.com/5-1-SPEAKER-SET-w-SVS-20-39-PCi-subwoofer_W0QQitemZ140313620310QQcmdZViewItemQQptZSpeakers_Subwoofers?hash=item140313620310&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72:1234|66:2|65:12|39:1|240:1318|301:1|293:1|294:50#ht_548wt_1182

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I was actually hired by white van guys a LONG time ago when I first moved to Houston. They'd advertised for electronics equipment retail sales help and I went for it. I lasted one afternoon. ;)

 

A friend of a friend fell for one group of guys. He found out his brand new speakers, when he got them home, were filled with rocks.

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