Most of the states have $10k border. bellow that it's a small claim court.
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I've had a similar experience with buying a guitar from a luthier. I paid, he never shipped. I guess that this guy also took deposits for custom instruments and never delivered. As I was trying to figure this out, I stumbled across a dealer of this luthier who was suing the guy for the same reason.
My understanding is that - provided that the business has not been granted protection under the bankruptcy code - what you described is probably criminal (you still have to prove that it was the person's intent to defraud you). However, prosecutors have discretion. In my case, I was also told to pursue a civil settlement. I guess this type of crime is low priority.
It could have been a fraud or it could have been bad business practices. Depends. More often than not a dealer will take yours and other customers deposits and use them to operate his business. If he is in financial trouble and doesn't have the money to pay the manufacturer (who probably has him on a cash basis) he can't get delivery of your speakers. He also can't pay his bills so he goes out of business in the dark.
Proving fraud though is another matter. And it is your or the police's responsibility to prove it. The police don't want to be 'wasting' their time unless there are a lot of folks in your position and are making complaints. Your didn't file a complaint and if there were others they didn't either. FWIW, you would have to show that at the time the dealer took your order and money he had no intent to deliver anything to you, ever. Tough to prove I think.
FWIW, its no crime to publish the name of this dealer, just keep your comments to facts, no conclusions however logical they may be.
Too bad............Good for Wilson!
Your transaction is contractual in nature, and therefore a civil matter unless you can prove that the dealer had an intent to defraud when you gave him the money and had no intention of providing the product. that would be theft through fraud. It is difficult to prove ones intent at a particular time, and thats why police departments try to avoid such claims. they are not there to enforce bad business decisions.
In Florida, we have a civil theft statute which allows recovery of 3 times the value of the damages, plus attorney's fees, for such actions. However, a judgment for damages is just a piece of paper and if the party is uncollectable, you only have something to frame and put up on the wall.
I suspect your payment was to a corporate entity, and not an individual. That just complicates recovery because the corporation cant go to jail, and the individual is not responsible for corporate debts.
there are particular statutes that allow for criminal penalties for diversion of funds that can be used in construction cases, for instance. I dont know the particular laws in New York.
I always use paypal or a credit card, even if I have cash, on larger purchases. Its hard to get cash back.
"P.S. Be careful of paying a deposit on any audio equipment in Florida to a guy whose name starts with an R............:):)
I know that your intentions are to give a guarded heads-up, but a name beginning with R in Florida is a pretty general identifier that could encompass quite a large group. Now, you really should reveal the guys full name so that you dont inadvertently damage the wrong person.
Problems are: (1) I was dumb and should have paid by credit card - but he outsmarted me and insisted on a check - should have been my first clue; (2) I'm sure he has changed his name, so giving his first name will not be helpfuland I dont remeber his last name - although he was frequently written up in the Absolute Sound, as he was friendly with the reviewers and they would frequently give him a plug in the 1990s - I'm sure they all know him - - rest assured that Mr Wilson wanted him a helluva lot more than I did - he had stacks of inventory and also Krells up the kazoo - so I dont think only myself and Mr Wilson want to find him - even after the statute of limitations has passed - to ensure that he is publicly identified to the residents where he now steals.........and steals....
Phaelon, the guy's name in 1991 was Rudy (dont know last name), but you will find his full name in issues of Absolute Sound in 1991-1992, as he was known to all TAS reviewers,, as they used to frequent his huge, well-stocked HiFi store- stocked with the higest end Wilson and Krell stuff - all their most expensive lines, which, too disappeared with my $5K - so you can rest assured that Rudy changed his name as Dan D'Agastino and David Wilson have significantly deeper pockets and more substantial losses and would certainly have combed Florida for him - so I have no doubt he is some far-away place, plying his crime.....I was just kidding about a guy in Florida..........more likely Fiji, Haiti or Budapest.........Rudy was a cool operator and I am sure will not be found..........unless a concerted, expensive hunt is launched. Too bad he didnr steal from the Donald - he would find him:)
I met Rudy back in the mid 80s...he did become a famous scumball eventually, and really was well known among the Audio geekdom in the Upper Right Coast back in the day. Note to defrauded answer seekers: Almost every state has an under-utilized Attorney General's office with some sort of consumer fraud line...just waiting to answer questions just like this one.
Tpreaves, I certainly knew his name 22 years ago, but have been trying to forget it ever since. You go into a very high end salon, with speakers and amps costing the price of a car, and the salesman - do you ask every salesman for their résumé ? - Asks you for a deposit, you give it ......do YOU remember the name of every car salesman you've given more than $5,000 for a car? So cut the superior attitude .
I got screwed out of over $3000 too by this Dr Cohen guy who is a sales representative of Linn in Florida or in Cali. He promised to return me my deposit after he managed to sell the Linn Artikulat active speakers and I voluntarily gave him a year because I knew sort of knew it would be a hard sell. And I never heard back from him. I hope I have an assistant to help me pursue things like that. Maybe next time when I am more established. But trust me this will not be the end of it. I will ake sure he get screwed out of his business. What a crook! the economy is bad but it's no excuse. I don't like how people keep complaining about how the rich people are exploiting the poor but how about the well to do getting exploited too? I mean like I have so many instances where I lend people money out of mere empathy and it ended up biting me in the back, and I did not even expect them to repay me. Anyway the lack of integrity is a problem pervasive in all social stratum. Not a particular one is to blame. If only I have been more careful.
I think there is a need to put up a "Wall of Shame" sticky (not the dispute section) here on the Gon where only the facts are posted and the suspected individual or corporation need not be fully disclosed for many reasons but enough info should be given to heed future buyers. Also, Audiogon should have an interest to put convicted audio dealers full name and last known location up in a list as well.
Na...I only remember he had a shop in Rye, NY or someplace that I'd visit when rambling around Westchester on business. I also ran in to him once at a 1987 Stereophile show in NYC. I just remember him having some serious attitude, and when I asked him what something in his store (salon?) cost he'd look it up in an audio magazine implying everything was sold at list price. He said in response to a question about cable that he didn't stock it since he didn't want to be known as "the cable guy."
Many of us have gotten burned over the years making up front deposits on Audio gear. How to fully protect yourself. Never, ever do a cash wire, cashiers check, or personal check. Use a major Credit card or debit card only.
If you get burned on the deposit using your card, go into your Bank and have them file a fraud complaint form. Have the bank give you a reverse charge Master Card/Visa form to fill out. They will credit your account with a thirty day hold. The seller has to legally perform and deliver within thirty days, by returning your deposit or fulfilling your order. Failing to do so, the credit to your account is released to you and the seller loses the funds. I have done this twice in ten years.
Audiozen is correct. Also, this subject has recently come up in another, less informative, less useful, less reasoned, more emotional and more parochial forum, in which I used to participate, but no longer do, where a speaker manufacturer was having trouble delivering paid-for speakers and it was hotly debated, without resolution, what the options were for buyers who had paid in full years ago and not yet received their speakers......it seems that everybody should follow Audiozens advice and not get burned that way. This forum is always a source of good information, which is why I brought the subject up and am pleased that I did. Thank you to the responders.
when the seller(local shop) asked deposit for dynaudio c1 speakers and 2 weeks of waiting,I decided not to mess with seller.It looked stranged,because ealier I had bad experience on ebay when I won dynaudio c2 speakers from the guy in France and he pointed his bank account in Greece.Some guys from Africa-Nigeria doing similar thing all the time on ebay
Silly audiophiles. Of course it's a crime. The issue is proving intent to defraud at the time he took the money. He would have claimed that at the time he took the money, he had intended to deliver - but went bankrupt and closed his shop at a later date. Difficult or impossible to prove intent to defraud, under the circumstances. The prosecutors won't touch a case they can't easily win, and the op wasn't a local voter/taxpayer.
I remember your plight. It now seems to be erased from the forums. I was reading a post in a thread here one day a year or so ago. I think it was "amps to keep forever" or something like that, and the poster was saying his Art Audio amp was the one for him.
I brought up this past incident of him keeping peoples money, and misrepresenting himself as the Art Audio distributor in the US, and this poster jumped to his defense and said he was a great guy. He also said he couldn't comment on what happened with him, and the Hudson Audio connection, because he had been asked not to.
I asked him who told him not to discuss it, and he never replied. I remember that this was a very hot topic at the time. I feel bad for you.