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Author Topic: Buyers beware! Some dealers repack items and sell  (Read 727 times)
KG4YJR
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Posts: 179




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« on: June 05, 2003, 09:59:09 PM »

New gear buyers beware! Below is an account of a purchase I made from a well known radio equipment dealer who tried to get away with the same thing that dishonest sellers on eBay try to. R & L's attitude towards me after I discovered that they tried this with me was since they got my money and I live far away...too bad.

Recently I made a purchase over the phone with R & L Electronics in Hamilton, Ohio (www.randl.com). I’ve made purchases with them before and had no problems at all and had recommended them to many individuals and also here on eham. This last time (and I do mean last time) was different. Lori took my order and informed me that there was only one of the radios left that I wanted. I specifically stated that if the item was a demo or a display item that I was not interested in making the purchase but she assured me that it was not. Upon receiving the item and opening the box it was undeniably clear that the items in the box had been re-packed. I telephoned the store (didn’t get the person’s name this time) and was told that the radio was not used, that maybe the radio was taken out of the box occasionally to show people. I said that I paid for a radio that was packed at the factory to be opened by myself. After all, if you’re going to sell me a radio at a new price you should ship a new radio. If your going to sell me a demo radio or one that’s in that type of condition then sell it at a demo price. But they don’t see it that way. They figure as long as it was never sold, never mind how many people held it, turned knobs and possibly dropped it that it's still a new radio. Plus with the bad condition of the plastic wrapping, (it looked like someone had it in their pocket for a week) it might have very well been a returned radio. There's no proof that you have a new radio if it's been opened and repacked. Very poorly too I might ad. As I mentioned above, I requested that I didn’t wish to purchase a radio in that condition but I guess one sale to them is a higher priority than doing honest business and keeping a return customer happy. Shipping the radio back at my cost for a refund is the best that they offered to do. Like it was my fault they tried to get over on me, not theirs. I personally will avoid them and advise others to as well. You may not get exactly what you paid for.

73
Dave, KG4YJR
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K0BG
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« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2003, 09:21:15 AM »

This has happened to a lot of amateurs over the years, unfortunately. In the 70s, I worked for CW Electronics in Denver, (now closed). If the radio in question was a demo, I always told the buyer it was, and we always extended a 10% discount on those units even if they had never been connected to power. But alas, these are new times and R&L is reflecting the current theme.

Alan, KØBG
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N3BIF
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« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2003, 11:47:39 AM »

   
To paraphrase a line from a movie

 Unhappy customer to merchant: "You are a scoundrel"

 Merchant's reply: "No,Sir, I am a merchant!"
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KG4YJR
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« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2003, 06:00:06 PM »

Alan,
These guys remind me of when I sold cars a long time ago. I sold at a family owned used car lot and several new car dealerships. Used car lots have a bad rep. but the new car dealers are the biggest crooks around.

Example:
Used Car Dealer = small time neighborhood crook
New Car Dealer = organized crime syndicate

The used car dealers didn't go out of their way to cheat people. I was told by the owner, "these people know they're buying a used car and that's what they get". Numerous times the new car dealer would spot somebody a car and they would drive it a couple of days until they found out they couldn't afford it or the financing didn't go through. The car was returned, cleaned up and put back out on the lot as a new car. Have you ever took a test drive on a new vehicle and saw 100+ miles on the odometer? R & L Electronics and other dealers must have studied this and decided to implement it themselves.

73
Dave
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K8LEA
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« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2003, 10:27:42 PM »

Dave:  If the thing works properly, and isn't cosmetically damaged (the radio, not the packaging), I'd just keep it and forget about it, although I'd probably take the dealer off my list....

If it's in any way damaged, has any problems, or there are parts missing, you should, of course, return it.

In the latter case, you should probably talk to your attorney, too.  If you were told that it wasn't a demo, etc., it's fraud...

I bought a TV from the local Best Buy for my office a while back.  They told me that it was an "opened box", and I got a substantial discount.  When I got it home, there was nothing in the box (9" color set) but the TV and the remote.  The remote was a bit beat up, too.

(It worked, and I kept it, but I won't buy "open box" from them again....  Not that the set really needed much help to set up, but a manual would  have  been nice.  Also missing was any kind of antenna.  This was before it was common to not have one in the box....  It's on cable now, though, so that doesn't matter. My major disapointment - there are a bunch of useful functions that can _only_ be done, AFAIK, from the remote....)

IAC, I agree - you got handled....  

I've been known to buy demos or open box from RS, btw.   The local manager is a friend, and it's only a few minutes drive if there's a problem (for full credit or a swap), but if she ever retires I'll stop doing that...

Stu.
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KG4YJR
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« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2003, 01:18:06 AM »

Well, you just never know. That's the whole point. Just like an automobile that's been in a fatal wreck. New paint, blood stains wiped off the dash, but permanent frame damage not known or disclosed to the buying customer. What's the problem with merchants just being honest? You make it sound acceptable. Your the kind of customer with your type of attitude that made them think of this deceptive business practice to begin with.

73
Dave, KG4YJR
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KG4YJR
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« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2003, 01:58:36 PM »

Stu after reading my last post again, the "Your the kind of customer with your type of attitude" was a little uncalled for. It wasn't meant to be a personal attack, my apologies for the bad choice of words. In response to:

>>If the thing works properly, and isn't cosmetically damaged (the radio, not the packaging), I'd just keep it and forget about it<<

It would have been better to phrase it as:
This is the type of attitude shady dealers hope for.

73
Dave
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KG4RUL
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« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2003, 07:39:40 AM »

I once bought a factory refurbished VCR.  On the enclosed operator's manual were several phone numbers.  When the unit went bellyup and the dealer whom I had purchased it from started to not to want to talk about it, I started phoning the numbers.  I was able to find the original owner of the unit and was told that the problem which I was having was the same as he had.  I went back to the dealer and said that it was still defective from the first owner - they told me to get out or I would be arrested.  I then went to small claims court.  The Judege was extremely sympatheitc to my arguments, had my money refunded along with court costs and the cost of my phone calls.
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K8LEA
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« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2003, 12:10:13 PM »

Dave:

Not a problem....

You are correct, I think, when the merchandise is itself defective or has
been damaged, relieved of content (like the manual), etc.  If the internal
packaging is all that's damaged, though, I'm not so sure....

I suppose the shady dealers would prefer me, but everybody has a different
tolerance for that sort of thing.

What gets in the way is the honestly "opened and then re-closed" box issue,
where somebody (in the store, I would assume) wants to see the radio and
there's nothing available.  Does the dealer just call that one a demo, or put
it back in the box and sell it?  One would hope it's the former, but some of
these things are very expensive, and if the item's otherwise OK....  (Bear in
mind the difficulty you can have trying to just get the fool thing back into
the box if you pop it open to grab the manual.)

No question you got handled, though....

I had a somewhat similar thing happen just over the last couple of days.  We
use our microwave constantly.  Between the three of us (wife, juvenile
delinquent, me), the thing runs for a good hour a day.  Anyway, the
4-year-old Kenmore poofed.  I'd been inside another Kenmore and a similar
Panasonic before, so I put it on the dining room table and popped the covers.
Nothing obvious, and I had all kinds of running around to do, so Sherri and I
just grabbed a new (Sharp) one at Best Buy.  Brought it home, fired it up,
cooked supper, etc.  About midnight I got a chance to look at the old Kenmore
again (I'd spent about an hour on it, altogether, before that), and noticed
that a couple of spade connectors on a microswitch looked like they'd been
toasted.  I jumpered the switch and the damn thing started to work....

(There was an old Panasonic in the basement with essentially the same design
- it's timer board was long gone, and I'd been keeping it for Lord knows what
- and robbed the same microswitch from it.)

I now have two microwaves....

Radio Shack may be the only place that'd take that Sharp back without me
lying, not to mention trying to stuff it back in the box.  I'm not sure it'd
be possible!  So....

(I'm trying to con the wife into letting me leave the old one in the dining
room - we never use it anyway - because I don't want to carry it downstairs,
but I'm just going to keep it.  Next time, and there will be a next time,
I'll have one to use for a while so we can shop a bit more carefully.  Can't
complain - the new one was on sale for just over $100, but that was pure
luck.)

If I'd only had time to really dig into that thing.... [grin]

Stu.

Re the poster with the bad VCR:  Sheesh....  Small claims court is too good for 'em [grin].  You need Guido and Guido....  The only problem with small claims is that it's sometimes difficult to collect on a judgement.  
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2003, 02:17:36 PM »

Honesty's the best policy, for sure.

However, since I'm within casual driving distance of a few ham equipment dealers, if I see a rig I'm interested in on their operating bench, connected to an antenna, I'll try that unit out on the air.  If I like it and want to buy the rig, I want *that one.*  I don't want a new one from a sealed carton, I want the one I just tried out.  Very few surprises that way, and the dealer's always willing (so far) to sell me the demo rig.  With or without a discount, I don't really care, but why take a pig in a poke when you can take the pig you've already danced with?

WB2WIK/6
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K8LEA
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« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2003, 04:21:52 PM »

Not a bad choice - taking the "demo" you tested, but not always possible for guys living in Elbonia.

I'm about 60 miles, give or take, from an AES, and have some health problems that make running over there a bit of a problem.  Guess I could, though, if UPS didn't exist.  

We had a guy locally who ran a Ham Radio store.  All demos, all the time.... Other than staples (keys, keyers, antenna hardware, etc.), he'd buy whatever interested him that month, take it home and try it for a week or so, and then put it on the shelf.  The radios always worked, and we could look at 'em, and the price was better than full retail, but....  (Since he didn't stock much, unless you asked him to special order, you kinda didn't have much choice.)  He's retired, but I think AES and HRO (and UPS) kind of killed that.

Another store had a full line of Hallicrafters receivers.  I bought my first one from them - an SX-99.  They had 'em on a table in the back, but I don't remember whether mine came from that table or the stockroom.  (They had the muscle to stock a few.)  (Actually, dad bought it for me.  I wish I'd been able to talk him into an SX-100 or 101....)

My worst case of "buyers remorse" hit in the late 70's or early 80's.  The CB craze, and the resulting theft from vehicles convinced my insurance carrier that the big-as-a-breadbox Brimstone 144 didn't want to stay on the tranny hump.  I drove up to AES and picked up an IC-22.  (22 channels, a pair of crystals for each channel).  Tiny, easy to pop off the floor and into a bag, etc.

When I got home, there was the latest QST, with an ad for the IC-22S.  Same radio, more or less, but no crystals (at $10/channel) required....  $40 more, I think.  I couldn't quite make myself take the other one back.  (I don't think AES had the new ones in stock - nobody showed me one [grin].)

A similar issue is "Price Protection", btw. That's where you buy something for $150 and find it's $100 the next day.  RS has been pretty good about that sort of thing. Others vary....  Sometimes the counter guys (regardless of where) don't know, or are forbidden tot tell you to come back tomorrow.

Finally, for the guys who are going "he fixed a microwave!!!?", it was an interlock switch.  The trick is to not touch the RF parts at all.  There aren't any parts in the dumb things anyway - a whole bunch of safety switches, a timer board, a transformer, the klystron, a big cap, and a fan.  (And a couple of thermal devices.)   Just don't power it up for any length of time with the covers off.

Stu.
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