"GROUP BUYS": A Cautionary Tale....

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Rich H, Jul 15, 2002.

  1. Rich H

    Rich H Second Unit

    Joined:
    May 22, 2001
    Messages:
    283
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi,

    For months I've been frequenting this board because I thought I'd entered the flagship AV receiver club (specifically, the Pioneer 49TX club). It was to be my first receiver for my (rather pricey for me) home theater install.

    I'd joined one of those "group buys" over the net. The deal for the 49TX was excellent, and I went for it only after reading many customers vouching for the vendor on the various forums. So, in March, I PayPaled the vendor the money for the receiver (I'm Canadian, so even at a great price it was still significantly more than Americans pay).

    Unfortunately, this guy turned out to be a real slimeball once the cash was in his account - wouldn't answer my calls. Now this vendor has gone bankrupt, and taken my cash with him (along with a lot of other people's money).

    I'd even spent my last home theater dollars having an AV cabinet especially constructed around the 49TX (some on here may remember my asking about 49TX heat considerations). Now I have an AV cabinet built for a receiver I can no longer afford. (Oh man, you should see the look on my wife's face. Ouch.)

    I'm pretty pissed at the moment. I'm not mentioning this dealer's name because I'm not certain of the legal ramifications. Not that I wouldn't love to drag this guy from the mud into the limelight.
    Take this as a cautionary tale. I never thought I'd get sucked into something like this. I looked hard for someone who would admit to having a bad experience with this vendor and couldn't find one, so I went for it. Now that he's going down, the bad stories about him are coming out of the woodwork. If it sounds "too good to be true..."

    Thanks,

    Rich.
    (Hoping to be back soon).
     
  2. Peter Johnson

    Peter Johnson Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2000
    Messages:
    136
    Likes Received:
    0
    Doesnt Paypal or your credit card company offer some form of protection?
     
  3. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 1998
    Messages:
    3,806
    Likes Received:
    0
    You should be able to get something back from Paypal though I'm not sure how much they cover. Also can't you also go through the local police in his state since its mail fraud?
     
  4. Chas_T

    Chas_T Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2002
    Messages:
    758
    Likes Received:
    0
  5. Keith Carlascio

    Keith Carlascio Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 1999
    Messages:
    105
    Likes Received:
    0
    You can also try your home owners policy. I had a similar thing happen to me and the fraud section of the policy covered the loss minus my deductible. Let the Ins. company go after him, they will stand a better chance of recovering any money lost.
     
  6. Dan Driscoll

    Dan Driscoll Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2000
    Messages:
    937
    Likes Received:
    2
    Check with your credit card company, they should be able to do something.

    BTW, please do tell us the name of the seller. As long as you are only saying what actually happened you can't get inot any trouble and you may help keep others from getting drawn in.
     
  7. David Berry

    David Berry Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Messages:
    150
    Likes Received:
    0
    Rich H

    That is a lot of money to potentially lose. Even if you get some (all?) of it back from the excellent suggestions above, it will still leave a very sour taste.
    Sorry.

    David
     
  8. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 1999
    Messages:
    6,873
    Likes Received:
    2
    This forum does not allow group buys. I'm not sure where this thread belongs, but not here. Perhaps in feedback?
     
  9. Juan_R

    Juan_R Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2001
    Messages:
    683
    Likes Received:
    0
    Rich,

    I know who you are talking about. I ordered a Pio 47TX from him in March, he charged my card in May and I still had no receiver by the end of June, so I called my CC company and they credit my account.

    I would suggest that in the future you use a CC because it is easier to get your money back that way if there are any problems. It's too bad that this sort of thing happens and I hope you get your money back.
     
  10. Angelo_Petralba

    Angelo_Petralba Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2002
    Messages:
    366
    Likes Received:
    0
    Juan-
    I had a feeling about this thread. I thought about your deal for the Pioneer after I read this post. Man, sorry to hear about this mis-fortune. Im glad you got it fixed and now enjoying your Sony DA5ES.
    Rich-
    I hope you'll get your's fixed as well!
    [​IMG] I hate Pr!ck$ like these! He will get his share of CRAP one of these days!! [​IMG]
    Angelo
     
  11. Rob_Z

    Rob_Z Extra

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2002
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Post his name, he stole thousands of dollars from you, these people need there name all over the boards to not do business with.
     
  12. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2001
    Messages:
    1,798
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    Jeff Lam
    Was he a verified paypal member? You should be able to freeze his paypal account and recover the funds. You have to take action right away. Paypal should have info on this guy, his cc info, bank account info, etc. Internet fraud is a federal offense and should not be tollerated. He can't run forever. Contact the authorities in his city if you have his address. Contact paypal, your cc company if you used a cc. Those cc companies won't just "let it go". They are very powerful and will get the money back.

    This happened to me once on ebay. I bought a speaker package from a seller and paypaled $530 and took action right away. I got it all bac through paypal and I'm sure this guy is in jail now.

    Don't just "let it go", take action!
     
  13. JackS

    JackS Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2002
    Messages:
    634
    Likes Received:
    0
    Although I'm a member of Paypal I've never used it. It was my understanding that any transaction could be a *Verified" transaction for a small fee. This required the seller to match funds in a Paypal account to equal the buyers money sent. This method should be fool-proof if I understand correctly. The fee is small and should eliminate the need for any type of escrow service. If I'm mistaken, please correct me.
     
  14. Rich H

    Rich H Second Unit

    Joined:
    May 22, 2001
    Messages:
    283
    Likes Received:
    0
    (Rob Z: He's actually been named outright on a thread about this on the AVS forums, but those threads were pulled for apparently legal reasons. I believe people like this should have their name spread all over the forums so people can beware. However, I don't know this forum's policy on this).

    To the rest:

    Thanks for the suggestions everyone. Unfortunately I've explored several avenues and it looks like not much can be done to get my money back. I've learned about Pay Pal and Visa policies the hard way, so perhaps I can pass my experience along.

    It went like this: I paid via Pay Pal upfront. Vendor accepted payment. Told me 49TX would be arriving to him within a couple weeks, then shipped out to me. Never happened. Each time I was able to get a hold of him (very rare occurrence) he basically said "still waiting" or "I'm supposed to get it in next week.." As this went on, I re-consulted with customers who had dealt with him. All said that receiving items from him can be very, very slow, with many customers waiting months for gear, but he always came through or gave the money back when asked. That's why it stretched out for months. But as it became clear that he was upping the BS quotient considerably ("I'll Pay Pal you $500 for your troubles..." which of course never came) I'd decided enough was enough...just as I read on the Internet that his business had collapsed. He's gone AWOL on his final customers (who are owed some REALLY pricey gear), and filed for bankruptcy.

    About Pay Pal: Well, first of all I'd passed the month deadline for any Pay Pal action (so says Pay Pal).
    So they won't do a thing.

    What about Visa? Well, Visa won't cover me because they say they can't go after the Vendor because I paid via Pay Pal. Visa considers Pay Pal the receiver of my money, not the vendor. And Visa ain't budging a finger against Pay Pal. Amazing. I used two companies that are supposed to afford some buyer protection, and they both claim to be nullified by my using them. (A lawyer I talked to suggested taking Visa to small claims court over their buyer protection clause).

    Those burned by the vendor have formed a mailing list to investigate our options. Nothing is looking to0 optimistic at the moment. Bankruptcy is a hard nut to crack, and fraud is really tough to prove.

    As far as Pay Pal, I've learned, as have others, that Pay Pal is great when things go well. But when there is a problem, Pay Pal often pretends not to be your friend anymore..

    Rich H.
     
  15. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2000
    Messages:
    3,170
    Likes Received:
    37
    Location:
    Central FL
    Real Name:
    Phil
    There are always positives and negatives as well just by purchasing via the web or mail vs. a main street retailer. Obviously the out-of-pocket expectations are the main positive about not using a main street retailer. Other than that, I don't think there is much positive from buying this way. Pioneer Elite I do not believe allows certain types of selling (e.g. over the web) and still get a warranty. Many manufacturers are clamping down on this and I would also encourage you to contact them so that they can at least have the opportunity to be put on alert in the event they look-out for these things. I know some manufacturers actually have people that look at certain sites to see that certain things do not go on to the best of their ability.
     
  16. Chas_T

    Chas_T Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2002
    Messages:
    758
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  17. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2000
    Messages:
    3,170
    Likes Received:
    37
    Location:
    Central FL
    Real Name:
    Phil
    Unfortunately to sites like E-Bay the most important thing to them is their fee structure and that they get it and maintain it. After a rip-off from a dead beat, I got the polite chain E-Mail that they are so sorry and that I could consider things like filing mail fraud charges or contacting the NFIC (The National Fraud Information Center), etc. That is very nice but personally I would expect them to take some responsibility to at least limit what illegal activity is happening via their conduit. Perhaps my situation is too isolated but when they obviously have illegal DVDs that advertise made from the LD version, I would think think they would have some professional ride, the way this site does, to limit the obvious. I guess I have an attitude problem for those sites that just wash their hands of criminal activity. If this situtaion has enough money involved, perhaps one of the 2 remedies noted above would be appropriate.
     
  18. Kevin. W

    Kevin. W Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 1999
    Messages:
    1,534
    Likes Received:
    0
    Currently I am in a situation with auction I won on Ebay.ca for those DVD of that Trilogy that your not suppose to talk about on this forum. I had no problem contacting the person up until I informed him that I had sent payment. Since then nothing(4weeks)[​IMG].
    Kevin
     
  19. Craig Woodhall

    Craig Woodhall Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 1999
    Messages:
    590
    Likes Received:
    0
    I just won a bid on a Cinepro amp so i paypaled him $975.. He was supposed to ship it Monday and email me the tracking numbers right away.. Since he hadn't responded to any emails since I paid him, I phoned Visa and just made an enquiry.. They told me that I couldn't file a dispute until the 61st day. Luckily, he emailed me today, with the tracking numbers.. I guess I just got lucky..

    Craig
     
  20. EricHaas

    EricHaas Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2001
    Messages:
    667
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm sorry to hear about that Rich. I keep thinking that my number is up after having purchased some 120+ items online now over the past 6 years and never even having a single problem with one of them. [knocks loudly on his mahogeny desk]

    At least your plasma was replaced and didn't have burn-in like you thought. [I enjoy reading your posts over at the plasma forum at AVS BTW].

    Better luck in the future.
     

Share This Page