Swindlers sell cheap stereo equipment out of the back of their white van claiming it’s worth thousands
[April 9, 2010 – Nashville, TN] BBB warns consumers to be wary of two men selling stereo equipment out of the back of their white van claiming it’s worth thousands more then they are selling it for.
BBB received information indicating two men in a white van approached a female offering to sell high-end stereo equipment. The men told her they had an Olin Ross stereo that was worth $3500.00 that she could purchase for $220.00 cash. The men showed her the equipment still in the box, which was marked as ‘MSRP - $2499.99.’ After the consumer purchased the stereo, she researched the item on the Internet and realized she had been scammed. By then, the men in the white van were gone.
“The ‘White Van Scam’ has been around for many years,” said Kathleen Calligan, BBB President/CEO. “The trick to this scam is to target unsuspecting consumers with promises of too good to be true offers, sell the merchandise for short cash and flee the area.” Many times, consumers are approached in busy shopping areas or flagged down while driving by the white van. The salesmen always have a story indicating they have excess equipment or merchandise that a consumer failed to pick up that is worth thousands. They trick the consumer into believing their story by sometimes showing a catalog or website containing pictures of the stereo equipment with high MSRP values; however, a little digging will prove the catalogs and websites are fake, the merchandise is not worth thousands, and is generally nothing more than junk. The BBB has found in many cases that the merchandise has either been stolen, is not worth the money the fraudsters are selling it for, or the equipment is damaged.
BBB spoke with three reputable businesses in the stereo/electronic industry that all confirmed the Olin Ross stereo brand is of poor quality and not worth the money the shysters claim it’s worth. One business owner told BBB “it’s nothing more than garbage.”
BBB offers the following general advice to avoid falling victim to the ‘White Van Scam’:
Offers that sound too good to be true usually are. Trust your instincts!
Never do business with anybody who claims to have excess equipment or supplies from a previous job. You will almost always walk away with the short end of the deal.
Never make an immediate decision when making a purchase. Always shop around and ask a professional for advice.
If you have fallen victim to this scam please contact your Better Business Bureau at 615-242-4222 to report your experience.
The BBB of Middle Tennessee, Inc. was founded in 1961 as a non-profit Tennessee organization serving 38 counties in Middle Tennessee and 7 counties in Southern Kentucky. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada.
Serving as the 'ethical gatepost' of our communities, BBB fosters and promotes ethical business practices and self-regulation standards that build consumer trust in the marketplace. BBB services include business reliability information, complaint resolution services and consumer and business educational information. In 2008 BBB Nashville handled over 4.0 million services requests via our web site www.nashville.bbb.org.