White Van Speakers ?


Anyone heard of this scam. I guess people go around town
and try to sell "left over from an install" products for "cents on the dollar" only to sell people junk! Seams
like it would hardly be worth the effort, but i have had
guys pull up to me in traffic and say the have nice speakers
for sale. I guess these are made in china for like 5 dollar a pair? I cant see too much harm IF you know audio and dont pay too much. I know, my local Craiglist often has unknow speaker brands pop up all the time, and if i do a google, it always goes to a web site about White Van rip-offs.

Anyone else have knowledge of this and can explain the supply chain a little more?
6550c
I haven't see a 'whitevan' in decades. I thought they got a flat tire, mugged, and then quit the business.

In what city (neighborhood?) have you seen them operating?
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The scam is still alive and well.....the just changed the color of the van.

No particular city, state or neighborhood, these guys work the entire country.
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I haven't seen that scam since the 80's. I wonder if it still exists.
I saw it less than six months ago at a gas station no less. The person was a chick and very insistant, claiming I had a flat tire whir which I did not after I told her to bug off.
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It happened to me once in the 90s I told the guy my car stereo had better stuff than anything in his van.
I hadn't heard of these guys in years. But I remember my next door neighbor about 20yrs or so ago got suckered into buying a pair. I had just sold a pair of JBL L50's and he wanted them but offered me about a third of what I sold them for. He kept telling me that I was trying to rip him off when he showed up with these "box o' crap" speakers.
I helped him hook them up and they sounded worse than a megaphone. But he was thrilled and was telling me that he got a much better speaker than I had tried to sell him for less than half of what I wanted for my JBL's. I told him crank 'em up lets see what they can do and after about 45 seconds at the higher volume the mid range smoked. The next day he told me the other speaker quit working, so he blamed me for hooking them up wrong. It was all I could do not laugh in his face about what a fool he was. He took them to a local repair shop and they told him that they would make a decent end table but weren't worth repairing.
To this day he blames me for them failing when I bring it up. I had seen them at different parking lots but never took any interest from the onset by the initial sales approach of ultra high pressure. WhiteVan Audio and Video, you never see them advertise in Stereophile do you...
Old scams never die, they just wait for a new crop of marks to be born.
Been on craigslist lately? 2000 retail on sale for 300. It makes me sick that people fall for it. Nice shiney cabinets and lots of drivers...
Nothing new, it's been going on for a very long time. Over the years I've heard -

"We're doing an install in a new (subdivision, apartment complex, commercial hi-rise, you name it) and these are leftover from the job. We'd rather sell them than have to take them back to the warehouse".

"We're sellin' them so cheap 'cause they just fell off the back of a truck if ya know what I mean" - (wink,wink)

"The company we work for just closed it's doors and stiffed us on our last paycheck - so we took them in trade".

"My (uncle, dad, brother-in-law etc.) owns the company and he told us to dump these so he can make room for newer inventory".

"Our company is going bankrupt and the trustee is locking the doors today, so we're selling everything we can before the courts get it".

"My wife's suing me for divorce and trying to completely clean me out. It's my company and I'm gettin' rid of everything before she and her lawyer get their hands on it."

I've seen this scam worked since the 1960's pimping shirts, shoes, speakers, TV sets, power tools, you name it.
A guy I know came by my home a few weeks ago claiming that "Every amp I hook up to these speakers just dies," I asked him "What type of speakers are they?" He answered "They are Theater Speakers," I told him that all speakers have a brand name and that I would have to know that before I would have any idea of what was going on with his system. He could not remember the name but that he had bought them off of some guys on a truck on "Broadway Ave"., I think.

He had given them $200.00 and I do mean "given." Later, He would not answer or return any of my calls so I could not assist him in assembling a proper system.

These assholes are alive and well and ripping people off every day. If you are new to this hobby and want to by a system talk to the people on this site if you do not have any close friends to help you.

This is a very expensive hobby even if you buy used gear because it takes a certain amount of money to make quality components, and then whoever touches it before you get it gets a cut. I've been doing this for 40 years and the least costly way I know of is to buy pre-owned gear, you can save a ton of money but YOU MUST KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING, OR, HAVE SOMEONE WITH YOU WHO DOES!!!! There are just too many variables involved, and all components do not "play" well together.

This hobby is not for the cheap, timid, or the impatient.
Yep, same people looking for the same fools. Its been happening since time eternal. The only reason it continues is people buy into it.I have to say that I have bought named speakers that aren't much better, but that's part of my learning curve.
I had a guy try to sell me a pair in about '96 in a shopping strip parking lot near Cincinnati.  I asked a guy in a pawn shop about it and he said they actually come as kits.  They're flat and need to be put together before being sold dishonestly.  
Heck, I knew a dude and his dad that basically did this back in the early 70’s. They built "Bose 901" speakers. The living room/kitchen/dining room had several dozen cabinets in various stages of build. They even had the same nasty brown and orange cover material and fake badges. I don’t know if they even started to believe their snake oil but you’d think for all the world by the way they talked that they were a Bose satellite manufacturer.

Somehow they made something of a living off of dupes buying the things for discount rates - enough to buy their beer and pizza for a week. And yes, they had a white van.


They did have the first (and maybe only when I think about it) Quadraphonic system I heard - real Pioneer gear and real Pioneer speakers. Funny how the "Bose" were only for demo purposes, not what they listened to.
At one time we carried a replacement midrange for the 901 - identical in every way except no blue cone.. we made $$$$ selling them for $5 retail, draw your own conclusions....

but we got several calls a week asking us to value White Van speakers.... always that call came after the crime...
Friend of mine has had a pair for over 25 years, still work, they even sent him replacement tweeters back in the late 90’s.

he brought them to my house years back hooked up to my then Rotel 1090, sounded just fine.

he still uses them to this day.  
I actually purchased a pair back in the mid 80s.
I was walking into my local mall and a van drove up and asked if I wanted a pair of great speakers for a great price.
I don't remember the story they told me on why they were available.
I think the price was around $300 to $400 dollars...

The speakers were a big-box 3 way with frequency control buttons, kind of like JBLs back in the day.   They had some name I don't remember that sounded like a well known brand at the time (but wasn't exactly the same) so I told them I wanted to check with the audio store that was in the mall. The two of them followed me in and we all went into the store and I couldn't find a match for me to get a feel for their true value.   I of course gave in and they followed me home (~ 6 miles) and delivered them.   At the time I had a little bit of cash and a check from work, they took the cash and were happy to have me sign the check over.  In hind site that all seems pretty strange, right?

My speakers at the time were speakers I had made myself (3/4" plywood with real-wood veneer, configurable cross-over I purchased from Radio Shack, a woofer and midrange from Radio Shack and a tweeter from a local audio parts store).   My speakers would have been  much better built and used much better parts than the knock-offs, but I didn't see it at the time.

They sounded OK compared to my home made ones, but were nothing special.  Since I didn't need 2 pairs of box speakers in my room and realized I had made a mistake buying them, I donated them to my local (small country) church and they hooked them up into their PA system.

As far as I know, those speakers are still in use at the church!   So yea, I was young and stupid, and the parts and build costs was likely what folks here say they were, but in the end their use at the church and my life experience of the event was definitely worth the cost :)