"We're overstocked on speakers - The BOSS said we have to get rid of the overstock for any price - Half price speakers - Ridiculous price, do you want them?"
If you just said "YES" then you got scammed. Smiling face Jimmy (above) looks like a guy you can trust, right? He has just pulled up near you or come over to you explaining that he has 'extra' speakers or home theatre gear/projectors and screens that he has to get rid of. "They're are an absolute bargain" he will tell you; plus they are 'High End'; 'Diamond' quality etc. Afterall if they got extra stock by mistake any extra cash is just a bonus (that's why he can sell them so cheap)
What you don't know is where they come from and that they are actually worth a whole lot less than the price he's asking for...
Speaker Scam - Speakers from the back of a Van
We presume these speaker scam artists pick their targets carefully. On occasions where they have come up to me personally and customers who have told me the same horror story - they all were quite surprised and left wondering "where the hell did you come from"? These guys pick a target that seems busy and they know they will always, always sell the goods. If someone says 'NO'; they just move on until they find a SUCKER - because they know they will. They did it the day before, perhaps just in the morning (off loaded 2 or 3 'discounted speaker packs') so they are good at what they do. They look the part and they get around the Aussie B#%S$^ detectors, when Aussies know they are being sold to. But these guys come across as genuine, and have a well-rehearsed act. This information could stop you from being a victim.
Happens more often than you think - Speakers from the back of a van
Some unlucky customers call us out to setup gear they have just bought and are crushed to find out that they just paid way too much.
As professional home theatre installers we are called out out on a monthly basis to customers who have bought gear from the back of a van or truck. Nine times out of ten they paid way too much for what the gear is worth. These speaker scam people are good salesmen; as they have even got the better of one of our technicians on a few occasions. On one occasion they paid cash. On another occasion the technician nearly fell victim before the speaker scam artisit explained that he could not do EFTPOS and walked away without a sale.
This really does happen ALOT more than you think. We see these customers regularly and this is just the ones we hear about!!!
Where do these speakers actually come from?
The speakers look 'high end' and may even have some solid weight about them. They could be in fancy packaging and they always look the part. However, they are always, always, always cheap, chinese imitations. They will most likely bare a brand name that you do not recognize and that's not your fault - Have you heard of Marantz? Bang & Olufsen? Harman Kardon? These a WELL-KNOWN, LEGITIMATE high end brand names of audio and speaker equipment.
There are hundreds of brands out there and these imitations could be Benglawoof, Lider scheiffer, who knows - to the average person - you wouldn't have a clue. In fact they get the better of us. One of our expert Home Theatre installers even became a victim - SO BEWARE!
The speakers are bought from places like STACKS variety store, MACRO warehouse. They are usually worth between $100- $300 for the whole speaker pack and admittedly; to the un-trained eye - they do look GOOD QUALITY. They are actually worth what you pay for from these retail shops. They work. They are not too bad of a speaker for a basic entry level home theatre system.
JUST HOW BAD IS THE QUALITY OF THESE SPEAKERS/EQUIPMENT?
One of our staff members became a victim and he even had quite a clue about home theatre gear and projectors. He bargained the guy down and fortunately for him - didn't pay the full asking price. The speaker scam artist pitched to him an overstock of projectors and this was according to the speaker scam artist a $3k projector but that he could sell it for $1000 plus a screen. When the gear got home and it was unpacked it all appeared to be pretty legit. It turned on, it worked, it was all looking exciting.
That is until you have a closer look. All the connections on the back didn't gel up with the performance of the equipment for the price that was paid. The picture from this movie projector was equivalent to a old-school VCR player (AV signal) even with a HDMI source. The movie projector was simply non HD and was valued at approximately a third of the purchase price. The scam artist had won this time and yet another victim.
Are these speaker scam salesmen just making a buck?
Sure. But not a very honest buck. I was once approached by a 'flip flop' (aussie thong) shop owner in Thailand (whilst on vacation) and my flip flops had broke and when I walked up bare foot - this salesmen 'saw me coming'. He pitched to me the ridiculous price of 1500 Baht (equivalent of $50 Australian) ! I told him: "Ha I'll give you 150 baht thanks, I just bought a pair for 150 baht the other day" ($5) He seemed quite disappointed but was still happy to make money (because they do - the thongs are close to 50c or $1 for them to buy).
From our professional point of view: - we have met customers who have fallen victim not because they bought the gear but BECAUSE THEY PAID WAY TOOO MUCH FOR IT. One customer paid $10,000 for gear that was worth close to $2000.
One customer paid $10,000 for gear that was worth close to only $2000
This is why you need to be careful.
Always trust a professional who provides warranty, tax invoice, uniform, logo & phone number. None of these speaker scam artists would provide any of these and if they do it may be fake. They do have convincing stories, they will look the part. They may even wear laminated credentials 'to look the part' (Very convincing). They may appeal to your emotions and they may make you feel bad for refusing a 'ridiculous' offer.
They put you on the spot and they do make it hard to say NO because like all good salesmen they are not easily discouraged by hesitation. In fact if you do say 'NO' all together that will not discourage them at all - because they know they will find another customer. The price you pay and the quality of the gear is the big question. For anyone who does not know any better be sure you always WALK AWAY. This is what we are trying to protect you from. You can be GUARANTEED what you pay for at least, even if HARVEY NORMAN are marking up one thousand percent profit on cables or televisions. But at least you get what you pay for. These speaker scam artists either don't know just how bad of quality the gear is or lie to you hoping they can take advantage of your good nature.
You've been warned!