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Get Rich Quick Scheme #435
(another great failure)
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Get Rich Quick Scheme #435  

It was my weekly trip down to the valley from the lofty heights of my home in the Swiss Alps. I always made a shopping list beforehand as without it I would always deviate from my budget trip to the big city, being easily seduced by gadgets that I don't really need. Today would be a cheap day off work, as all I needed was apples, yoghurt and a phone card.

Arriving in Interlaken, I headed straight for the co-op. The trouble started when I spotted the cheap beer - it was even cheaper than usual! Well, being one who would never miss a bargain I had to buy a few bottles, and then drink them all in the space of 30 minutes, as I didn't want to take the empties back up the mountain.

Singing merrily as I headed for the station, I was a little surprised when an unmarked white transit van pulled up beside me and a head poked out saying, "Do you want to buy some speakers?"

My initial reaction was an immediate "no" as I had absolutely no use for speakers as I didn't have an amplifier, but so as not to be rude I listened to what he had to say. Apparently, he worked for a company that fitted sound systems for caf"'s, restaurants and clubs.

A recent shipment of top-notch speakers from an American manufacturer had included an extra set of 5, which had not been ordered and for which the company had not been invoiced. Their manager had told them to get rid of the set as it was too much hassle to return them, and so here were these Dutch guys talking to me. They were asking 1,600 Swiss Francs.

Well, the more he talked the more I heard the ring of profit. The normal retail price according to his brochure was over 1,800, and he was offering them to me for a third of that. I mean, if I sold them on for 1,200 that would be a 100% profit!

Two months later when I was leaving Switzerland, having failed to find anybody even remotely interested in buying them, I had to export them to the UK at a cost of £150. As if I hadn’t already lost enough money there was a final sting – customs and excise charged me £200 import duty!

The speakers remain boxed and unused at the bottom of my bed in England.

Four of the Five speakers

STOP PRESS! STORY UPDATE!!!

In September 2002 a friend of mine expressed an interest in buying these amazing speakers. I promptly dropped them off at his house, telling him to have them on loan for a week so that he could test them out thoroughly. I'd given up all ideas of making a profit having already forked out over £1000 - I'd be content to cut my losses by selling them to him for £500.

Not two hours after I'd returned home that night the phone rang. It was my friend. One of the base speakers rattled when the music was turned up to full volume - what should he do? I suggested he contact the manufacturer as the speakers came with a full warranty against faulty workmanship etc.

The following day I got another call from my friend. The numbers listed on the warranty were no longer in service, and he'd decided to ask a local dealer to have a look at them.

Two nights later I was in the pub when my mobile rang. It was my friend again.

"Er, Joseph, I've got some pretty bad news for you".

"Oh go on then, hit me with it".

"The dealer I spoke to knows this company, Dynalab USA, pretty well. They're a complete scam. They make units out of cheap chipboard, put any old speakers in them and add a brick to the inside to increase the weight. They then ship them out as top-quality speakers, where's in fact they're only worth about £20!"

Oh well, there goes my £1000 investment. That'll teach me to go shopping for bargain beer. Sometimes cheap is not always cheap.


STOP PRESS! STORY UPDATE!!!

email from a fellow Dynalab Victim!

Sorry to hear you got stung on your speakers.

This happened to my brother a few years ago. He bought a set for £400 from a van in the street outside his office. Yes, he was stupid. In the end and after much research, we managed to return the speakers to the company's warehouse in Wandsworth for a refund. It seems they're happy to take back speakers from anyone that can find them within a week, but of course most people don't.

Anyway, we got our own back. We registered the domain name www.dynalab.co.uk and pointed it to a message board detailing their crappy speakers and dubious sales practices. Long live the Dynalab Users' Forum, or DUF for short! ;)

All the best,

Adrian


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