If its too good to be true, it usually is....

Apparently on at least 9 different Craigs Lists (Annapolis MD, North Jersey, New York, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Norfolk VA, Raleigh NC, Columbia SC - I stopped searching after this but probably many more cities too) there is a Mark Levinson No. 390S cd player/processor being advertised for $600 barely used in mint condition.  The unit retailed new for $6700.

I wanted it, so I inquired.  Apart from thinking, was this unit stolen, I thought maybe this was being sold through a divorce or some other circumstance, or perhaps the person selling it just didn't know what they had.  HifiShark showed that this unit has sold for over triple this asking price, so I was eager to buy it before others could get it from me.  

Well, here's the email and text exchange and I'll let you decide if you think it's a scam:

I called and got voice mail so I left a message and texted that I was very interested in buying the unit.  The person responded, "Hi, my work schedule is crazy..leave your email and I will send you pics & details with the 390S player."

I left my email address and a Carrie Franklin emailed me.  I sent another text, "Thanks for your email Carrie, I'd like to buy it from you, so just let me know when I can pick it up and I can give you cash or I can paypal you the funds, whichever you prefer" and then gave her my location

Her text response:  Please write by email, my work schedule is crazy (Reasonable enough I thought)

Carrie's Email:

Excellent condition, like new. The CD player belonged to my father who passed away last year after a long bout with cancer and I want to sell it because I don't need it. I have all original packing materials, manual and box.

The No. 390S has a very high quality preamp inside, so it can drive an amplifier directly when it is set to variable output mode. It can also be used with a preamplifier in either fixed or variable mode. It is called a player processor because it has two digital inputs so it's digital to analog converter can be used for other digital sources.
My final price is $ 600 .
If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to ask.
Thank you!

I replied:

Thanks for the info Carrie; I’m so very sorry to hear of your father. I lost a brother several years ago to cancer :)
> At any rate, I’d like to buy this unit from you & can pay you cash or send you a PayPal whichever you prefer or can give you a deposit via PayPal. My schedule is flexible and I’m located in Wynnewood so just let me know how you wish to conduct the transaction. Is there any other stereo gear you are selling?
> Thank you very much,
> Sincerely,
> Louis 
I didn't hear back and I figured at that price, she probably has gotten tons of inquiries and sold it to someone else, so I wrote another email:

Hi Carrie,

Any further updates on when we could complete the transaction? I have cash for you and can meet you at your convenience. One thing that is crucial, if it is all packed up, is that the transport screw is in place to lock down the transport mechanism before the player is substantially moved.

I look forward to hearing from you soon,

Thank you very much,

A few hours later she wrote back:

Hello Louis,
The CD player belonged to my father who passed away last year after a long bout with cancer and I want to sell it because I live in town and I don't need it. The CD player is located in Benton ready for transit and it can be delivered to a designated location of your choice with no cost, with a 5 days return policy if it is not as I described. The 5-days inspection period will allow you to check the CD player and make sure that it is exactly as I described before making the final purchase. If the CD player is not as I described, then you return it back on my expense, but I am sure that it will not be the case because there is nothing wrong with it as it's new. If you are you are serious and have sufficient money to buy it, then all I need is your full name and address to make the paperwork, a shipping address and a phone number where the shipping company can contact you for appointment once they reach in your area.

I`ve contacted eBay regarding this issue and they told me that they offer a program that is created especially for this type of transactions that protects both of us. Regarding the transaction, you will send the funds to eBay and they will keep the money until you receive the CD player and inspect it. In this way both buyer and seller are 100% covered during the steps of this transaction.
I want to conduct this deal in good terms for both of us, I have been screwed once and I don't want that to happen once again. I'm a professional person, I don't have time either to mess people about or to have my time wasted.Thank you,

I responded with:

Thanks Carrie, I’m going to pass on this; the terms of the transaction are too difficult & cumbersome.  I’ve been buying and selling used audio gear for over 35 years and not comfortable with your terms of sale.

It's crazy all the scams people are trying to run on CL these days.  Careful out there folks.

(P.S. - Do a CL search with the word "Preamp" in the search bar.  Let's see how many more cities this $600 Mark Levinson cd player is advertised in


Same ad in Jacksonville and Boston too
Yup here's the Boston ad
I've sent an email saying will buy and pick up and pay cash let's see the response
Another scam is to get you to send the funds as a family member to save fees. Really its because those transactions are irreversible and with zero buyer protection. Called PayPal fraud on a suspicious case one time, that's what they told me.
Somebody contact the FBI. Their turf if interstate fraud.
10 hrs later no response back.
I am also near Philadelphia and saw the same ad. Wasted a few minutes of my time researching it then realized something was not right. Luckily I didn’t inquire about it.
Lets do the world a favor and if you see this ad again hit the flag button. If enough people do this they pull the ad.

Edit:  after a quick search I flagged this ad at least a dozen times around NJ and NY.   They have been at it for a while.  Some of the ads were 25 days old!   Search Craiglist for " Mark Levinson No. 390s " and see what I mean.
It’s been going on for years. It’s so obvious. If it’s too good to be true, it’s a scam. 
A scam on Craigslist.  Lol.
No money transfer to Craig list items.

Pick up only at public place like Walmart.

It is dangerous to visit stranger’s house.

I got few interesting camera lenses through Craig list but not audio items.
Its listed on Macon GA Craigs list...I'll flag it.
Flagged 10 different ads posted hours apart
I don't shop on Craigslist. Audiogon is the most reiliable.
I don't shop on Craigslist. Audiogon is the most reiliable.
I typically buy here and the other site, but recently I saw a vague ad for some vintage gear on CL. I took the risk and met the person, who was clearing out storage from his old repair shop. I scored a Sansui 5000X, 5000A, AU-9500 and 7070 for $200. These can cost 400-900 depending on model, condition etc. I should know, I paid $500 for a Sansui Eight a few weeks earlier and almost paid >$400 for a 5000X. He had a bunch of other things I would have taken but I don't have room as I live in a townhouse.
Sometimes deals are out there

I ran into a very similar add, but it was for Martin Logan Summit X speakers for $3,000.   These were supposedly located in Sebastian FL.

I went through a nearly identical exchange and then backed out as the terms seemed too weird to me too.

You have to be careful; and if it sounds too good to be true...   it is.

The same unit, same serial number, same pictures is listed in the Sacramento, CA  CL. Definitely a scam. I wonder how many people have bought it so far?
That’s good to know about flagging a CL post; didn’t know about that.

Itsikhefez - I thought the same thing, that there are deals to be had out there and that this could be a very unique situation.  A few days ago, someone was giving away a bunch of audio for free just to clean out a property.  There was some junk that I would’ve thrown out, but there was also a Scott tube int amp, an Advent 400 radio, a nice cassette deck, and Allison speakers.

In this instance, i didn’t realize the scam until her second email when she described the terms of sale, then it immediately drew red flags.  

I've been fortunate, sold several items on Craigslist from kids bikes to ADS L570/2, in person, at my house. I think you just have to trust your gut. Now ARMSLIST, that's a nest of scammers. 
Same ad in Mpls , Mn 
got excited for a minute , then read a review on that piece . Overdone bass was stated . even for $600 ,cant have a bass booster in my system .
I like Craigslist for services, I found my cat-sitter there, not goods.
If you use Craigslist then a rip off is very likely.That site is mostly garbage! If it sounds to good to be true than it is.HELLLO!!!!!!
Slight variation on the add, only w/bullet points listed in Omaha CL w/773 area code phn .. "$600-"

"No. 390S cd player processor Mark Levinson
1:- For Sale a Pair of Mark Levinson No 390s cd player processor
2:- Original packing materials manual warranty and box.
3:- The No 390$ has a very high quality preamp inside,
4:- This processer available with original packing materials warranty and box .
5:- A Mark Levinson classic! Will be a great addition to any collector's system.
6:- So it can drive an amplifier directly
7:-Call and text me for more detail (773) 453-9172Thanks for looking!
8:- Mark Levinson no390s CD Player in like condition
9:- It has two digital inputs
10:- so it's digital to analog converter can be used for other digital sources.
11:-Thanks for looking!
I have never been ripped off on Craiglist and I got more than a few buys of a lifetime. How about a pair of Paradigm studio 40’s with the center and their big sub, with a decent Denon AV receiver and a few hundred retail of monster cables (yea Monster, I know, gave them away) for $250. Or a PS Audio 200C amplifier for $275. Or a pair of Polk monitor 10’s with the Peerless Tweeters for $80. Or a pair of early monitor 10’s for free (just had to go pick them up).
In all of these cases I went to their house, chatted a little and walked away happy. Sometimes they even had it playing when I got there so you could demo it. Just be careful and talk to the person you are dealing with first and if anything doesn’t sound right pass. And stick to the Burbs and don’t go to iffy neighborhoods. Chances are they are just like you and just want to get rid of some things they no longer use.
Yep same ad in Lexington.   A local audio buddy told me about it and same responses.  Didn't take long to figure out it was a scam. 
Post removed 
I flagged the same ad in Austin and Dallas. At 600 a pop this guy was looking for a nation wide score.
Yep, i flagged a few ads in Baltimore