Scamming on us.
The Word Is Out and We're Not Happy
[In the following, "the Customer" will be referred to in the male gender for convenience.]
the audio underground, the word is out. Here's how to steal from a
repair service such as ours, which deals with complex restoration
projects on vintage equipment. First, the Customer brings in the set
(and it helps if the set is worth more than $500) disassembled and with
parts loose inside. The key factors are that the set is missing
hardware, perhaps even circuit boards, and it may not be safely
energized. Right off the bat, he misrepresents the condition of the
equipment. This guarantees that when the repair service checks out the
set and gets back to him, he can say, "Everything was working fine when
I brought it to you." [At Classic Audio Repair if your set cannot be
operated at the time it is left, you forfeit the "right" to later argue
that it was "working just fine" when left for repair.]
Here is another scam. The Customer
brings in paperwork and media pertinent to the repair: manuals,
downloads, bills of sale, parts, etc. It helps if they're all separate, rather
than in a binder or manilla envelope or bag. And it also helps if they aren't
brought in with the set, but instead later on, in separate batches and
at different times.
If the repair shop is on the ball, they will
note the above details on the work order receipt. But as the number of
separate items and separate times they're brought in increases, the
greater the chances that the repair service won't be able to keep track
of it all. To amplify the scam the Customer may bring things in when the repair shop is
crowded with other Customers. Naturally, he can't wait for an itemized
receipt. He has to jet. There's a child to pick up from soccer. A
dental appointment. A funeral to attend. Dialysis.
passes. The repair gets done. The shop contacts the Customer. When he
comes in, he's given a repaired machine, and a batch of "other things"
often gathered together in a cardboard box. The Customer then goes
ballistic. Those parts he brought in weren't just ANY parts. They were
incredibly expensive specialized parts he bought on the web. And now
they're missing, or the parts in the bag are low-quality fakes. That
manual wasn't a copy. It was a rare original. And that missing front
panel that the Customer brought us later on. Well, what's installed on
the set right now is not the one brought in. The substitute has a few
nicks and scratches. The one brought in was minty, and very pricey. By
the way, where's the $25/foot, high end speaker cable? The limited
edition Rolling Stones record? The Hope Diamond?
We've had far
too many customers try to pull this scam on us, even though our
"Addendum" and final invoice require the customer to sign, affirming
that if it's not itemized in writing we're not responsible, and that the
set and its paraphernalia and incidentals are all returned to the owner
at the time of pickup.
SO, let us be absolutely clear. If we
catch a Customer trying to pull these scams on us (and this usually means
the Customer's deceit has multiple manifestations) we will terminate
the transaction immediately, and bill him for all parts and technical
time used or expended up to that point. If the Customer then tries to
trash us on social media to punish us for catching him at his tricks,
we will sue for libel. Finally, to the degree that the evidence allows,
we may urge the City Attorney or District Attorney to press criminal
Or, to put it less politely, we're fed up with this shit.