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I may have been burned mailorder! (1 Viewer)

Sep 15, 1998
Hoping someone may be able to point me in the right direction. I have been doing business with a audio guy for about 18 months now..I call him up, tell him what I need..send him a check..and he sends my stuff. In other words most of the time its verbal. I've bought amps, cables, audio stuff in general. Price has ranged from minimal dollars to big purchases. He's never let me down. Most of the stuff is used, or almost brand new.
Anyways..I recently sent him a check for some audio stands..about 1000 dollars..I have not heard from him in about 2 weeks nor will he call me back. Its not unusual for me to not hear from him for a while, as he has a business based in Chicago, and another based in Idaho Falls. His home office is in Idaho Falls. The phones still work, website is up, etc..but I still have an odd feeling about the whole deal. I have his exact physical address, and he's listed on Ebay and Square Trade. These purchases were NOT off Ebay.
I'm trying to cover my bases if for some reason I get burned. Where do I start? Do I contact the Sheriffs office in his town? Contact the FBI? Better Business Bureau?
I'm not opposed to flying out there and taking it out of his a$$ if I have to..although these days vigilantism is frowned upon :)
Any help that can be offered, or advice would be appreciated!!


Senior HTF Member
Mar 28, 2000
Danny, since he still has a web site up and running and other evidence suggesting he is still in business, it is possible that something came up. Perhaps he was called out of town suddenly. Maybe someone in his family died. Is it a one-man operation? From what you wrote, I assume you would not expect someone to be there to cover the phones in his absence. Since you have dealt with him many times before and never had a problem, you might want to give it some more time.

If you do feel the need to take action, the Better Business Bureau one place to start. The problem is, as you said, you have no document to present as evidence that you ever engaged in a transaction with him. You would be in better standing had you received an e-mail confirmation of the order, for example.

There is one big thing working in your favor, however. Have you contacted your bank to see if the check has cleared? If it has, definitely get a copy of the check from your bank. You would want to have that in hand when you contacted the Better Business Bureau. If the check has not cleared, put a stop on it through your bank. The only problem with putting a stop on a check is that it might not go into the bank's computer system immediately, especially on a weekend. There is the possibility that he will be able to cash it before the stop goes through. Still, you should put a stop on the check if it has not cleared yet and you do not want to give the guy more time.

Best of luck getting this sorted out.
Sep 15, 1998
Thanks for the response Keith. I have checked the bank..and the check has cleared. I also wrote the check out to his company- which I feel is in my favor because obviously I paid for a good or service. I also have phone records to and from him on his cell phone and office phone.

He is a one man operation..and its very possible he had some sort of emergency or death that he had to attend to.

I just hate to be left hanging with no goods, and out 1000 bucks if that turns out to be the case. I'm just trying to get my ducks in a row IF this thing goes in the toilet.

Thanks again for the advice.

Phil Mays

Second Unit
May 20, 2002

I may be wrong but I think any legal recourse will have to be done in South Carolina as that is your home state. Many times the legal system will not allow you to pursue over State lines.

I am in the Hotel business and we have to deal with this sort of thing quit frequantly.

If I am correct in the above statement what are the chances you actually get him to SC. Also I think this would be a small claims court situation. If this is an advertisement then perhaps mail fraud would kick in with more recourse.

However I'm with Keith. If you have doen business with him in the past and he is a one man operation then prehaps he had an emergency or perhaps just vacation and he is "backed up" with catch up work.

It stinks not having your stuff but at least you have a history with this person and one that you felt comfortable sending $1,000 to him with no confirmation of purchase.


Chris Lock

Second Unit
Jul 1, 1999
This is a major reason to use credit cards for such purchases.

The BBB is useless in this case. They have no enforcement powers; about all they can do is log a complaint in case someone else asks about this guy. But how many of us check with them before buying something?

The website still being up means nothing. They tend to stay up forever unless intentionally taken down; if YOU were going to pull a scam & disappear, wouldn't you leave your site up?

How do you know he didn't already ship the stuff ground & it just hasn't arrived yet? I think it's a little early to assume you've been ripped off.

How did you find the guy originally?

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