"White Van" Projector Scam - Page 4 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #91 of 115 Old 06-24-2014, 03:19 PM
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Years ago our Marketing Manager somehow ended up buying a Favi projector and screen off the internet. Obviously, being a "toy" projector it didn't work for a conference room so I ended up taking it home to play with. That was my first experience with a projector in my home so even though the picture was out of focus and washed out (putting it gently) and the fan was louder than my vacuum cleaner; I thought is was the coolest thing ever. Of course I know now that it was a real piece of junk, but the one good thing that came of that unit was it brought me into the world of true home theater. Favi still sells projectors online. To an unsuspecting consumer they would look like legit low cost projectors, but they really are junk. The retractable screen really wasn't too bad though, we actually still use it in our spare conference room.

Funny the Theater Research speakers were brought up. A buddy of mine bought a pair of towers out of a van about 8 years ago. He knew they were probably junk and didn't even need speakers but he talked the guy into selling them for $50 for the pair. We just unboxed them and hooked them up in my garage a couple months ago and for $50 they were actually pretty good garage speakers
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post #92 of 115 Old 06-24-2014, 03:38 PM
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Favi projectors aren't literal scams, though. They're certainly not fit for much of anything but they're priced honestly and the specs are genuine (minus the contrast, which every manufacturer lies about and which Favi don't exaggerate to the degree any white van scam does). Being cheap and junky is one thing, but the outright lies of Volare and crew are something else.
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post #93 of 115 Old 06-24-2014, 09:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sethsez View Post
Favi projectors aren't literal scams, though. They're certainly not fit for much of anything but they're priced honestly and the specs are genuine (minus the contrast, which every manufacturer lies about and which Favi don't exaggerate to the degree any white van scam does). Being cheap and junky is one thing, but the outright lies of Volare and crew are something else.
At least they don't have a $6000 MSRP, but I think at the time we paid around $600 for the projector. The comparable model they have now is $200. I couldn't even dump ours on ebay for $50. Our manager said he called and talked to a rep and explained it was for a conference room and was assured the projector would be good for that application. I'd agree not quite a white van scam but it's not far from it! If I had spent my own money on it and later found out what it really was I'd feel pretty ripped off. Just wanted to put that out there in case a newbie came across this thread

Just for reference, here's a pic of the spare "bulb"for the Favi Rio projector I've got:
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post #94 of 115 Old 06-24-2014, 10:52 PM
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Oh yeah, they're definitely garbage, I'm just saying they're a legitimate business selling crap at Big Lots, rather than an illegitimate business selling lies in the parking lot outside an ATM. It's a fine line, but an important one.
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post #95 of 115 Old 06-24-2014, 11:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sethsez View Post
Oh yeah, they're definitely garbage, I'm just saying they're a legitimate business selling crap at Big Lots, rather than an illegitimate business selling lies in the parking lot outside an ATM. It's a fine line, but an important one.
True. It can be a fairly fine line, but at least Favi has SOME level of support..even if the products are so bad they burn through its use. I'd consider some of the "specialty" screens to be a similar case; real brands and warranty, but really dishonest sales-claims VS true ability and joke pricing.

I remember seeing Favi often during my initial projector search for LED models, but by then bad reviews were luckily starting to pile up enough that it looked to be a fallapart-ish brand. Thanks for the heads-up to any of you who take the time to leave on-site reviews on things you've tried.
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post #96 of 115 Old 06-25-2014, 10:43 AM
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I would never lump FAVI in with the White Van manufacturers. For better or for worse, FAVI thinks highly enough of their products that they sent some in for review in 2010 and 2011 and they weren't terrible.

What makes a "white van" projector for me is a combination of the following:
  • Unknown brand. New brands come along now and again, but this is a warning flag if I've never heard of them.
  • Inflated MSRP. There's a difference between MSRP and MAP, obviously, but discounts of more than 50% should send up a warning flag, at least. You don't often see a legitimate $10,000 MSRP projector selling for $300.
  • Zero support. No phone number, no address, bad website.
  • Purposefully confusing specifications. "1080p" projectors that are actually XGA, but that's only in the fine print.
  • No reviews, or reviews from unknown sources. Legit manufacturers love reviews. A good review is free advertising. Manufacturers who stand behind their products want to have those products reviewed, even if they have flaws. White Van manufacturers know that their product is garbage, but they have no intention of ever giving anyone a refund, so there's no upside to sending the product out for review.

I've actually been on the lookout for some "white van" projectors to review, just because we get questions from time to time from people who have stumbled across them and want to know if they are legit. Maybe I need to get a chunk of money together and spend some time on Craigslist.
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post #97 of 115 Old 06-25-2014, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PJC Bill View Post
I've actually been on the lookout for some "white van" projectors to review, just because we get questions from time to time from people who have stumbled across them and want to know if they are legit. Maybe I need to get a chunk of money together and spend some time on Craigslist.
Personally, I would find this absolutely fascinating. I know they're garbage, but just like most ripoff products (aPhone 5s, MacroSoft Playstation 5, that sort of thing) I'm sure they have quirks that make them interesting subjects of investigation, even if they're worthless as actual consumer products.
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post #98 of 115 Old 07-11-2014, 07:51 AM
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white van scam "victims"...what a joke

Every..and I mean Every person who buys this junk from a van gets exactly what they deserve. The buyers are scumbags who think they are getting a deal buying stolen goods. That is why the scam has gone on for years, a scumbag thief cant call the cops on someone who sold them what they thought was stolen. .. The scam is the same every time ..I am a delivery guy and my boss put one too many in..here is a deal ...translate....I am stealing speakers projectors etc ..buy some stolen goods cheap


Its amazing how peoples morals go out the door when there is a deal and then have the balls to call themselves victims...

And all you "victims" I hope your houses get robbed as you have no problem buying what you think is stolen goods.......you can buy your stuff back from a pawn shop later....since apparently you have no problem playing the game..

The guys selling are lowlife scum ..but the buyers are even scummier

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post #99 of 115 Old 07-11-2014, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by sorrenson View Post
Every..and I mean Every person who buys this junk from a van gets exactly what they deserve. The buyers are scumbags who think they are getting a deal buying stolen goods. That is why the scam has gone on for years, a scumbag thief cant call the cops on someone who sold them what they thought was stolen. .. The scam is the same every time ..I am a delivery guy and my boss put one too many in..here is a deal ...translate....I am stealing speakers projectors etc ..buy some stolen goods cheap


Its amazing how peoples morals go out the door when there is a deal and then have the balls to call themselves victims...

And all you "victims" I hope your houses get robbed as you have no problem buying what you think is stolen goods.......you can buy your stuff back from a pawn shop later....since apparently you have no problem playing the game..

The guys selling are lowlife scum ..but the buyers are even scummier
While that's all well and good - most of this stuff isn't actually sold out of a van anymore. But, is sold as a 'good deal' via eBay or Craigslist or similar. They refer to manufacturer's (?) websites which list inflated MSRP pricing, and how good a deal the people are getting. So, unlike a set of nice PO1K Audio speakers being sold directly, they are 'Quantum Projectors, MSRP: $5,999' - being sold, brand new, for $499, with a screen.

So, this isn't as much people doing the white van scam 'extra' product thing, it's the 'sucker born every minute' thing. All this thread really should be about is the products which people should be wary of, not a rant about the victims, suckers, or douches which are involved in all of it. Really, lighten up.
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post #100 of 115 Old 07-11-2014, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by AV_Integrated View Post
While that's all well and good - most of this stuff isn't actually sold out of a van anymore. But, is sold as a 'good deal' via eBay or Craigslist or similar. They refer to manufacturer's (?) websites which list inflated MSRP pricing, and how good a deal the people are getting. So, unlike a set of nice PO1K Audio speakers being sold directly, they are 'Quantum Projectors, MSRP: $5,999' - being sold, brand new, for $499, with a screen.

So, this isn't as much people doing the white van scam 'extra' product thing, it's the 'sucker born every minute' thing. All this thread really should be about is the products which people should be wary of, not a rant about the victims, suckers, or douches which are involved in all of it. Really, lighten up.
I agree, and Ebay is a crook's paradise !!
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post #101 of 115 Old 12-29-2014, 07:56 AM
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Hi all, long-time lurker here. I'd been hoping to invest in a low-cost BenQ or Optoma projector once funds allowed, but my intro to the wonderful world of home theater recently took a slightly different course.

My father-in-law bought my wife and me a white van projector & 'surround sound system' special for Christmas. D'oh! Being curious, bored and cheap, I mounted the no-name projector (an Axion A650) in my home bar. I had to drill a couple holes in the cheap-o housing to get the ceiling mount to work, but there you have it. I fired it up and dialed in the settings as best I could (the default image was ridiculously over-sharpened.)

It is a noticeably loud unit. I realize the native resolution is likely 640x480. I am a total AV novice, and as such the image doesn't strike me as being washed out. I'm sure once I upgrade to a real unit the differences will be obvious. But, I'm honestly considering rocking the white van projector for a little while, or until it craps out. Am I nuts? I have a decent stereo system and would rather not deal with the speakers, but the projector? I'm actually surprised at the image quality it delivers. Bear in mind, I didn't spend a dime.

Should I bother with the 'Axion' for a while? If I keep it, how long do you suppose it'll last? I'd be open to taking an iPhone video demo. You know, for science.
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post #102 of 115 Old 12-29-2014, 08:04 AM
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...I should add that I realize I'm in for a right drubbing, and anticipate the advice of "chuck it now." But I am curious about this unit. How long will the bulb last, I wonder? I can tell it is made as cheaply as possible, but how does that affect the picture? Is this thing comparable to a decent projector from say, 10 years ago? And what respectable projector should I end up buying?
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post #103 of 115 Old 12-29-2014, 09:25 AM
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bluesmoke... Look, if you got it for free, then why not go ahead and enjoy it?

http://axionprojectors.com/a650-axion-projectors/

Yes, it's definitely a white van scam model.

So what? Who cares?

You didn't buy it and you know what to expect. The general consensus is that they don't deliver the light output which is promised (ever) or the contrast. They typically are a fair bit off. But, while an informed consumer shouldn't go out and buy one, it doesn't mean that they don't work. You just have to be forgiving of what you see. Especially if you have a trained eye. I mean, a front projector should look as good as any other 1080p display that you have in your home. That's a very REAL expectation of front projection. But, a usable image that looks ok? Sure, you can get that from many of these models.

When they break down, you shouldn't expect any service.
Any warranty claims likely will go nowhere as you don't have any real contact information.
I've emailed a number of these companies through their website requesting a user manual and not once have I ever received a single response. Ever.

Fortunately, with Axion, you don't have this issue, since they have no actual contact information on their website, no manuals, no phone number, no address, nothing. Their 'CONTACT US' link doesn't go anywhere.

So, if you enjoy what you are using, continue to do so. But, start saving. Because when (not if) it breaks, you will want to have some budget for a home theater projector which a company actually stands behind and can deliver all the goods you are hoping for.

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post #104 of 115 Old 12-29-2014, 11:06 AM
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Thanks for the reply and helpful info. I will begin saving for a suitable upgrade, now that I have the bug. Plus, I'll always have a funny story to tell anyone who has been approached by a guy in a white van (and who hasn't?)

Yeah, I did notice the hilarious Axion website over the weekend - too funny. I just hope my father-in-law didn't pay an arm and a leg on this stuff. Ironically, he never trusts anyone...
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post #105 of 115 Old 12-29-2014, 02:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluesmokebloke View Post
Thanks for the reply and helpful info. I will begin saving for a suitable upgrade, now that I have the bug. Plus, I'll always have a funny story to tell anyone who has been approached by a guy in a white van (and who hasn't?)

Yeah, I did notice the hilarious Axion website over the weekend - too funny. I just hope my father-in-law didn't pay an arm and a leg on this stuff. Ironically, he never trusts anyone...

Hello bluesmokebloke


I think you can develop skill and gain experience playing with your new projector. Though I hope that your father-in-law isn't driving that white van.


Good Luck


Bob
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post #106 of 115 Old 12-29-2014, 06:17 PM
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Hmm...I've heard that these projectors are not even safe for use. I know the "white van" speakers are not, as you can see from people who do a tear down on one on Youtube, and as for the projectors the bulbs contain mercury and can blow. Too many possible issues/hazards to list...

Good only for the trash can I say...don't try to make the best out of a crap decision in this case

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post #107 of 115 Old 03-16-2015, 09:35 PM
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Had a guy come up to me today while I was cleaning my truck of all places asking if I knew anything about home entertainment equipment. He said that he was a van driver the was subcontracted by a company to deliver the equipment from the air port to the companies office. He said that the airport had made a mistake and that he had extras of everything. Apparently this had happened to him before and he said his boss had sold them and not given any of the profit to him so this time he wanted to unload them before he got there. I said I'd give him 80 bucks for one of the projectors but that wasn't good enough so he said he could do it for 300 And that's about when I realized I was being scammed and walked away. The guy was driving a plain white van of course with empty booze bottles between the two front seats. That was the final give away. Nathan, Ontario Canada.
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post #108 of 115 Old 04-23-2015, 05:34 PM
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Unhappy My Husband Fell For It

Quote:
Originally Posted by PJC Bill View Post

I've actually been on the lookout for some "white van" projectors to review, just because we get questions from time to time from people who have stumbled across them and want to know if they are legit. Maybe I need to get a chunk of money together and spend some time on Craigslist.
Well do I have the set-up for you! A few days ago, my sweet husband fell for a white van scam. The only difference is that they were not in a white van, had on company shirts and the whole deal appeared legit (to my husband) with the exception of being in a parking lot. I had mentioned purchasing a projector and screen in the past, so he thought he was getting a great deal on something for me. I am the tech junkie in the family, so why he didn't call me is still a mystery. Regardless, we have resolved to move forward and realize everyone makes mistakes! He bought a Lucent Industries 3D projector and screen. To be honest, I'm still in shock. My husband is so intelligent and always, always on the defense. We contract houses for crying out loud! But alas, here we are $800 poorer with a projector and screen in the closet. I'm tempted to set it up and see how it runs, but I know then I have no chance of selling it for any amount of money. I'll take offers
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post #109 of 115 Old 04-23-2015, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by blomer View Post
Had a guy come up to me today while I was cleaning my truck of all places asking if I knew anything about home entertainment equipment. He said that he was a van driver the was subcontracted by a company to deliver the equipment from the air port to the companies office. He said that the airport had made a mistake and that he had extras of everything. Apparently this had happened to him before and he said his boss had sold them and not given any of the profit to him so this time he wanted to unload them before he got there. I said I'd give him 80 bucks for one of the projectors but that wasn't good enough so he said he could do it for 300 And that's about when I realized I was being scammed and walked away. The guy was driving a plain white van of course with empty booze bottles between the two front seats. That was the final give away. Nathan, Ontario Canada.
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post #110 of 115 Old 04-30-2015, 04:33 PM
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Well do I have the set-up for you! A few days ago, my sweet husband fell for a white van scam. The only difference is that they were not in a white van, had on company shirts and the whole deal appeared legit (to my husband) with the exception of being in a parking lot. I had mentioned purchasing a projector and screen in the past, so he thought he was getting a great deal on something for me. I am the tech junkie in the family, so why he didn't call me is still a mystery. Regardless, we have resolved to move forward and realize everyone makes mistakes! He bought a Lucent Industries 3D projector and screen. To be honest, I'm still in shock. My husband is so intelligent and always, always on the defense. We contract houses for crying out loud! But alas, here we are $800 poorer with a projector and screen in the closet. I'm tempted to set it up and see how it runs, but I know then I have no chance of selling it for any amount of money. I'll take offers
I know from studying the issue that they also do this with speakers. And a quick Youtube search will show you a teardown of one of these speakers showing that many are in fact a fire hazard to even operate. Combine shoddy build quality with the fact that projector bulbs can often contain mercury and other harmful elements, and the cheaper the more likely to blow early - and you have something that should go directly in the trash do not pass go do not try to justify your lost dollars

Sorry to hear that happened. I have a friend who was scammed too, and you really should alert the authorities and/or owners of that parking lot of where/when this happened so that they are aware and can get them for loitering or run them off next time

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post #111 of 115 Old 06-11-2015, 08:30 PM
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@blomer I think I saw the same guy. I was walking out of grocery store Bolton, Ontario. Two guys approached me in the parking lot. The were driving a black Nissan 4x4 / SUV type of vehicle. The driver was white, fat, and with dirty looking teeth; looked like he had not brushed in several day. The had a European accent, possibly Swedish. The guy in the passanger seat was a thin white male.
The driver asked me if a wanted to buy a 80 inch television, and said it was in the back of this vehicle. I refused. The driver insisted, so I took a look. Turns out it was a projector, and not a television. The driver said it was a 4k, LED, 3D Sony Lumex or Lumio projector. He said the items were not stolen, and that he was a delivery person working for some company and that he had got extra stock. He said that they setup projector for business, and the cost of the projector was $6,900.
I said that there was too much risk in buying from him, since there was no returns, no warranty. Especially with projector bulbs. He said that he would go inside, the bank opposite the grocery store and show me that it works, I said no thanks. I asked him how much he was willing to sell projector out of curiosity. The guy refused to name his price for two minutes, he said he just wanted some money for beer. He finally said he wanted $1,000 for it. That when I told him that I already have a projector that works well, and that I have no need for a projector.
That's when the guy started changing his story, now he started saying he didn't know much about this stuff, and that I probably knew better. He now told me that it also comes with a motorized screen. I asked him to open the box and show me the screen. There was no motor on the screen, and the box did not say motorized. The guy then said, my boss told me it was motorized, and I don't know much about this stuff.
I knew something was a wrong. I tried to look at his license plate, but there was no license plate on the rear of the vehicle.
I said, no thanks, and they guys drove off. I didn't know that these were scammers, until I found this site.
Just a heads up that these guys are in the Bolton, and Brampton, Ontario area now.
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post #112 of 115 Old 06-12-2015, 06:16 AM
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Yeah, never trust someone who seems to avoid directly answering questions. It's also usually a good idea to play dumb, so you can get a feel for what they're trying to slip by you. They'll be more likely to set off red flags if they think you know nothing about it.
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post #113 of 115 Old 07-11-2015, 01:13 AM
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This is a huge scam... Today i was at the bathurst and rutherford plaza going to park my car when two men called at me asking if i was interested in a projector.. I said no but decided to look as my dad was looking for a good one at home. The man asked me if i wanted one as his boss had packed a couple more than there were supposed to be on the order. The two men were in a bmw x5 grey sedan. The man said that the product was retailed at $7000 as stated on the box.. So i got a little too excited. The man said he needed to know if i wanted it within the next 5 minutes as he had to go meet his boss at yonge and sheppard. I decided to purchase the projector along with the sound system for $1000. The man showed me kijiji ads of the product going for 4-5000 which were obviously his ads. At this point i have never felt so stupid for doing something nice and being scammed for it. It was unreal the way the man played it off so don't fall for the bull****. I brought the piece of **** home after googling it and realizing i was scammed and told my dad i dished out 1000 dollars on some **** worth nothing. Although he wasnt too disappointed, i have never felt so dumb and disgusted at the fact that people go around doing this for a living.
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post #114 of 115 Old 09-11-2015, 03:41 AM
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Update with new brands!

I am obviously upset, disappointed, ashamed, etc with myself for being so stupid... My only defense is that it was the end of a long day and I hadn't slept much in the last few days... this won't help...

No need to recount the details/amounts involved.. but I wanted to post my experience because neither of the brands I was sold are widely listed.. (at least that I could find at the time of this post)..

The Projector is labeled as follows:
Brand: Imperial Optics
Model: X-Stream 4Ki

The side of the box states HD ready.. 1080p resolution 3D etc.. the normal made up brightness, etc.

I actually connected it.. and it powered on! I connected a tivo mini via HMDI... the tivo defaulted to 480p resolution but i did a resolution test and was able to see and tell the difference between 480/720/1080i... the tivo mini also displayed 1080p (passthrough only)... I watched part of the Patriots/Steelers game tonight.. and it was better than I expected after discovering this and similar posts online...

The 5.1 Speaker System is labeled as follows:
Brand: Crestwood ("Theater Concepts Pro-Series")
Model: HD 611S

I have not yet connected or had time to mess with the speakers/sub.

The projector screen did extend/retract... yay!

Anyhow.. to the particulars.. I was approached by 2 white males.. one mid 20s, the other mid 30s.. in a Stripes Gas Station in Midland, TX.. They both wore shirts with "Theater Designs" name and logo.. and claimed they were from Austin, TX. They had business cards, invoices, and the standard materials used for the scam.. they were driving a black GMC Denali HD extended cab (full 4 door) single rear wheel truck SLE package on tailgate with Ranch Hand front cattle guard and Ranch Hand rear bumper.. both the standard black powdercoating.. the license plate was FJC 4002 (Texas). The older man was going by Joe.. and had Joe on his right chest of his T-Shirt.

I took photos of both men, and the truck and their bed full of merchandise and the license plate.. the invoice i was presented had the name of the driver (presumably him) as Joe Dougherty. I also actually got a photo of a drivers license.. (while he was getting a card out of his wallet).. but who knows if that is fake also.. it looks real enough.. the license was for Texas.. and listed his full name as Joe Lee Dougherty, D.O.B. 12/1/1979, 6'1" tall Brown eyes.. and the picture is of the driver. The license was issued 11/13/2013.. and the address it lists.. is an actual address in Kyle, TX.. which I looked up on Zillow and the county website.. it was last purchased in 2007.. so I assume if it is legit.. the scammer rents it.. all phone numbers rang with no answer.. and some of the texts returned the AT&T error code for invalid format, etc. The phone number on the invoice (presumably the supplier/shipper/Theater Designs) was 512 771 7713 (Austin, TX). The phone number of the driver.. Joe Lee Dougherty or whomever.. was 760 282 4177 (Barstow, CA) he provided the number and I called it and he answered it and showed me the phone...

The invoice I was shown had 10 speaker sets, 4 projectors, and 4 screens and was dated 9/10.. and at the time I encountered them there were 2 screens 1 projector and 5 speaker sets.. so I assume they may have other victims in the same area/day.

Also of note.. the speaker UPC is 6974802983752... the projector UPC is 0609465444888...

Hopefully at least one person finds this and doesn't buy their crap. There are several recent craigslist ads in various cities in the last month hiring people to become the scammers.. found by searching "crazy noy lazzzy" and "crazy not lazy" wherein they describe the scam business as a rockin (sometimes use"wholesale" instead of rockin) audio co with company car and paid training... for money motivated individuals who have no fear...

Should I just move on or should I try to dig further (since I have a licence and plate)?
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post #115 of 115 Old 09-11-2015, 04:10 AM
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I'd sue in small claims court for misrepresentation. Rarely do you get their drivers license.


Criminally, I doubt they violated any laws.
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