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  #1  
Old 11-16-2006, 01:49 AM
Clown Hunter Clown Hunter is offline
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White Van Speaker Scam

I had no idea this was as widespread as it is. At first I caught a weird deja vu feeling last week. I am from Pittsburgh. I now live in Jacksonville. Last week I am driving back from KFC. It was my lunch break. These two guys pull up beside me at the light and started yelling " hey man you want to buy some speakers?" Im like what? They are gesturing pull over. The SUV they were driving was new. They had on work shirts and it was daylight so I decided what the hell. Maybe get a good deal.

They jump out, talking kinda fast. Some story about how the warehouse messed up on their order and gave them some extra sets of speakers. Showed me a invoice. Pretty pricey. Cracked open one of the boxes so I could see the speaker. Could not really tell if it was a good speaker. I mean It looked good but how do you really know?

It was then I started feeling weird, told them sorry guys, I got no cash on me. Now I work in sales. Telemarketing. I know what they were doing. They were then lowering the price. From 1000 all the way down to 500. They would not take no for a answer. Its all about keeping someone talking. If they really really dont want it, then they will walk away. Thats what I did. Instead of talking about how broke I was. They consider that haggling. I just walked back to my truck and said sorry guys.

Later on I was thinking about it and then it hit me. The same thing happened to me when I was back home. I am 32 now. Back in PA when I was 20 I remember almost the exact thing happening except I would have bought them that time but I really was broke at the time.

I knew there was no way the same thing could have happened in the same way more than 10 years apart in two different states. I typed in Speakers Van Scam in Google. Wow. Here is the the wikipedia version.

"White van speakers is a scam sales technique in which the buyer is convinced he is getting a good price on merchandise on the premise that it has been stolen or embezzled from the salesman's employer. The salesmen in this type of scam refer to themselves as "speakermen".

The typical series of events starts with at least two people, usually dressed in business uniforms, drive around in a commercial vehicle (usually a white commercial van, giving the scam its name), sometimes with a company logo on the side of the van. The van operators set up in a moderately trafficked areas (parking lots, gas stations, colleges, large apartment complexes) or even wave people down in heavy traffic, and attempt to attract the attention of suitable targets: usually affluent young men, college students, or other demographics thought to have large amounts of disposable income.

After the people in the van attract someone, they immediately start into a loud, fast-paced, and relentless sales pitch. The premise of the pitch is that the van operators work for an audio retailer or audio installer, and that through some sort of corporate error (warehouse operators, computers, etc.) that they have accidentally received a large number of extra speakers without management knowing, and that they need to quickly dispose of the speakers (pocketing the cash) before returning to the office, and are willing to sell you the speakers at "well below retail" prices. The speakerman will repeatedly state the "value" of the speaker as anywhere between $1800 and $3000 and will often show a brochure or an advertisement in a magazine verifying this price.

If the potential customer declines the offer, various high pressure negotiation and sales pleas are used in attempt to pressure them into accepting the offer, including producing glossy sales brochures detailing the quality of the speakers and a high "retail" value, often using a bunch of technical audio jargon (correctly or incorrectly used) to convince the customer that he is turning down an incredible offer. The minimum offer accepted is typically $200. Upon payment, the speakerman will sometimes suggest that because such a fine deal was made, the buyer should include beer money.

The brand name of the speakers is often intentionally confusingly similar to a well regarded speaker manufacturer. For example, the excellent reputations of manufacturers such as Klipsch, Paradigm, Dahlquist, and Wharfedale are used to sell speakers with the respective brand names of Kirsch, Paradyme, Dahlton, and Grafdale.

The speakers sold by the speakermen are of exceptionally poor quality, typically obtained for less than $50 from a local distributor. The speakers themselves have been reported as potentially damaging to any amplifier they are connected to. The risk of damage stems from an impedence curve that in some cases may drop below 2 ohms, which may overheat, short out, or permanently damage an amplifier not designed to handle such loads.

Law enforcement officials are generally reluctant to get involved because the speakermen are engaged in what is technically a legitimate business. The speakermen in the white vans out on the street are usually hired as independent contractors by an employer with proper business licensing. Furthermore, buyers of the speakers are usually successful in obtaining a refund if dissatisfied (locating the speakermen and their warehouse is another matter). Therefore, although the legality of the business model is questionable with regard to trademark infringement, unfair competition, false advertising (and possibly evasion of sales tax), there is generally little legal recourse that can be taken by the buyer directly.

The buyer may file a complaint with the state Attorney General, alleging that the seller intentionally misled him to believe he was purchasing high quality goods from a reputed manufacturer. The manufacturer should be sent a copy of the letter. A complaint should also be filed with the Better Business Bureau. The "scambuster" at the local television news station might also be interested"





In Google they have whole sites dedicated to these guys. Anybody else run into the same thing?



Last edited by Clown Hunter : 11-16-2006 at 01:51 AM.
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  #2  
Old 11-26-2006, 11:58 PM
bad_altitude bad_altitude is offline
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Re: White Van Speaker Scam

When I worked in retail many years ago, these white van men would turn up selling everything from designer Italian leatherwear to Persian rugs. I was in the Hi-Fi trade and occasionally these guys would turn up selling huge speakers, they would always have some story about how they had just returned from an exhibition or some other event and didn't have anywhere to store their stuff. We once offered to plug some of these speakers into an amplifier, they went to the van to get a pair and never came back. They work on the premise that you have to buy whatever they're selling there and then, so you have no time to research what you're buying. The stuff always turns out to be shoddy, fakes or not as described in some other way. I'm in the UK, so this is a worldwide thing.



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  #3  
Old 11-27-2006, 09:22 PM
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mj363 mj363 is offline
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Re: White Van Speaker Scam

Wow - I had a friend who bought some in college in Oklahoma... I never knew it was so common....

Basically they are crap speakers.... The enclosure was thin particle board. The drivers were incredibly light.... And when we tried them, they sounded like crap...

I never realized this was a multi-continent scam though...

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  #4  
Old 05-04-2007, 07:07 AM
metros95 metros95 is offline
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Re: White Van Speaker Scam

Hey I got scamed by these guys in Jax please contact me I'm on a mission to get them shut down. I took down their tag number.

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  #5  
Old 10-25-2007, 06:29 PM
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Uh-uh Uh-uh is offline
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Re: White Van Speaker Scam

Still around? Really? I'm embarrassed to say this was one I actually fell for back in college. These two dudes pulled up to me in a gas station and gave to the ol' "We've got a set of speakers that our warehouse didn't pt on our inventory" line.

I figured that was a line and they were just straight hot equipment, but didn't care, let's see how much they wanted. At first it was $400 a speaker. I said I didn't have that kind of cash. After much haggling I felt happy with myself to get the pair for $250. I thought to myself, "Man, down $550, I'm brilliant."

I got them home and they were crap. Absoltely aweful. Then I couldn't believe what I had just done - bought speakers - SPEAKERS - without listening to them. I thought "How the heck did I even know they'd work at all, I'm lucky they even play even if it is crappy." I never felt so dumb in my life, but since I had felt so smug with myself for "talking them down" so low in price, part of the sales facade I'm sure, I thought it was too good a deal to pass up.

I went home looked up "Dahlton" (I think that's how you spell it) online (can't say I "googled" it - pre-google dominance, must've "lycosed" it or something - just to give a time reference) and read all about the "White Van Scam." Really felt dumb, and vowed to see the scam ended. I wrote letters to the editor that were never printed, and the police told me basically I was dumb enough to buy the speakers so oh well (I didn't want my money back or expect them to go to jail or anything, just these guys to stop doing it). I became frustrated and figured that I was the last idiot left on the planet to fall for it since no one cared.

I guess kinda nice to know that I guess I wasn't the last idiot or it still wouldn't be hanging around. But sad to see this same crappy scam is still going on.

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  #6  
Old 11-01-2007, 12:31 AM
deepred deepred is offline
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Re: White Van Speaker Scam

It really is an old scam. Happened to me in London (U.K.) over 10 years ago but thankfully I didn't buy any as it all smelt rather fishy.

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  #7  
Old 12-15-2007, 02:00 AM
Clown Hunter Clown Hunter is offline
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Re: White Van Speaker Scam

Just thought I would bump this. One of my coworkers fell for this scam last week. He paid 350 bucks for trash.

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  #8  
Old 12-15-2007, 10:05 AM
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jigglepete jigglepete is offline
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Re: White Van Speaker Scam

I still have my "water cooled" speakers that I got from a friend back in '89 (who got them from a black van for 50$ plus a pair of down hill skis) Well, they still work (as a stand for my "good" speakers) The funny thing is, is for ten years before I got this set, I knew three other people who got them from the "black van" folks. All of theirs pooped out, I was told where to find the reset button on the back...no problems...
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  #9  
Old 01-15-2008, 07:11 PM
snowmankeehn snowmankeehn is offline
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Re: White Van Speaker Scam

they are still going strong, my friend just got a new surround sound system from a van today in Rochester MN $800 for the speakers they said reg. price was $3600 he was so happy "because he got a good deal" When I told him my speaker story from 6 years before he felt sick! I was approched at a gas station by 2 guys in a red mini van they were trying to get rid of the extra speakers loaded by Best Buy who made a mistake they had 6 but paid for 4 ya right and I got taken for $400 the speakers looked sweet I even went to the bank to get the cash the speakers lasted 2 days and one blew out total shit speakers It turns out I know at least 3 guys who have had this happen and bought them and about 5 more who wanted to but had no money. these guys need to be stopped

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  #10  
Old 03-27-2008, 10:24 AM
Clown Hunter Clown Hunter is offline
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Re: White Van Speaker Scam

Amazing. Left work early today to pick up my parents from the airport. They were flying in to see me from the Burgh. I decided to stop at Chick Fila to grab some lunch. I pulled into the wrong business so I was turning around and lo and behold a WHITE VAN pulls up next to me. A guy yells out " Hey man, do you need some House Speakers"

I grin at him and tell him no thanks. He must have been lazy or he recognizes that I was not a sell because he did not push the issue and he drove off.

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  #11  
Old 07-01-2008, 01:06 AM
rippedoffandsad rippedoffandsad is offline
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Re: White Van Speaker Scam

In Australia, Denmark Audio white van speaker scam distributors are;

Paramount Audio Performance Pty. Ltd.
3/9 Plummer Street
Port Melbourne,
VIC 3207
03 9570 1127
Mobile 0410 813 534

ABN 75 046 050 244

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  #12  
Old 07-31-2011, 08:11 AM
Jono0055 Jono0055 is offline
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Re: White Van Speaker Scam

Gray/Silver Nissan Armada Orange County License Plate # N48 3NQ Two white males late 20's to mid 30's. Approached in Publix parking lot at Roosevelt and Dr. Martin Luther King (9th St. N.), St. Petersburg, FL July 29, 2011 around 2pm. Story was error in shipment and had extra sound equipment after installing at MacDill Air Force Base and were getting rid of equipment for their own profit instead of turning it over to their boss. Said they needed at least enough to for a storage space if they couldn't sell the rest of the "stock". Asked for $800 for $2999 Paramax P-512 Home theater system. Had lanyard name tags and colored magazine/ad with price and description of equipment. Ended up giving them $200 from the ATM. Guy said we could buy him a beer if we saw him out at the bar since he gave us such a good deal. They also had another P-512, a sound bar worth "$4000" they would sell for $400, and some sort of screen projector. Though the P-512 system is clearly not worth $2999, probably only worth $50-$100 since it doesn't even have any HDMI or digital audio hookups, they do sound great and make one heck of a desktop computer sound system. We have a desktop hooked to our bedroom TV as a media hub for the entire house. Makes for great surround in the bedroom. So overall, I don't feel too raped of my cash. We were looking for a surround system for the bedroom anyway. Hopefully you didn't pay more than $50.


Last edited by Jono0055 : 07-31-2011 at 08:19 AM.
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  #13  
Old 09-28-2011, 10:39 PM
superkid143 superkid143 is offline
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Re: White Van Speaker Scam

happened to me too... not too long ago.. i have his cell number as well found out where he live... should pay him a visit...... or set a meeting asking about i am intersted in another set...... by the we met in the parking lot of 24hourftiness in CA...........


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