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Drive-By Rip-Off: Salesmen Push 'Deals' On Electronics


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Islander said, "They're trained salesmen pretending to be thieves . . ."

I agree completely. Nevertheless, that scam only appeals to the greedy and gullible who are willing to align themselves with larceny (real or feigned). An honest and honorable person would never fall for this. On the contrary, they'd be insulted.

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Interesting thread, although I would never do this today, I did have a run in with these exact people when I was about 18. I was working at circuit city at the time selling home audio, so I had a small clue of what looking at.

Me and 3 friends were driving down the road when 2 guys in a white van started yelling at us that they had stolen speaker equipment and they wanted to sell it. Growing up in New Jersey, this was music to our ears.

Anyway, they opened the back of the van and had tons of speaker equipment saying it was stolen, very expensive to purchase retail, and very cheap for us. (about $200 bucks for 5 speakers and a sub). I ask them to open the box so I could make sure I was purchasing speakers, they declined and tried to talk us out of it.

We had a quick huddle and decided they were trying to rip us off. My friends (who were much much larger then the two 150lb salesmen) stood in front of the driver and passenger door, not letting them in. I told them that I am opening 1 box, if they were speakers then they had a sale, if they werent then they were going to get a couple punches in the face. They were very nervous. I opened one of the "main speakers" which had a 5 foot box and rather heavy. There was a wooden box with a car speaker installed in it!!! it wasn't even a quality speaker, it looked like it was out of a sub $15k american car from 1994. Paper cone and paper "horn" tweeter. Anyway my large friends had a field day with them.

Just thought you guys would like to hear that they got what they deserved.

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We had a quick huddle and decided they were trying to rip us off. My friends (who were much much larger then the two 150lb salesmen) stood in front of the driver and passenger door, not letting them in. I told them that I am opening 1 box, if they were speakers then they had a sale, if they werent then they were going to get a couple punches in the face. They were very nervous. I opened one of the "main speakers" which had a 5 foot box and rather heavy. There was a wooden box with a car speaker installed in it!!! it wasn't even a quality speaker, it looked like it was out of a sub $15k american car from 1994. Paper cone and paper "horn" tweeter. Anyway my large friends had a field day with them.

Just thought you guys would like to hear that they got what they deserved.

In Toronto, the police would say they got a "tune-up", well-deserved in this case (not that I advocate violence).

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This scam is nothing new. I was approached in Tacoma, WA back in 1988. I was a young Army Private at the time. And guess what....it was two guys in a white van. "Dude...I've got a great deal on some speakers for you. They gave us too many...blah, blah, blah". I didn't buy anything from them. I then saw a special on TV a few years after that. I was approached again in Clarksville, TN about 3 years ago.

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Here's a warning that was posted on Craigslist last week about people selling speakers out of a van

Not worth $50 New DiVinci DV-606 msrp $3659SCAM Kirsch K3 DA-803 - $50

Reply to: sale-482509394@craigslist.org

Date: 2007-11-18, 9:33AM CST

Please Copy now, repost somewhere and share this info with others.

The scammers don't want anyone to know about their scam

so they will flag and remove this ad !

Do a good deed and save someone from getting scammed !

The speakers sold by the speakermen are of exceptionally poor quality,

typically obtained for less than $50 from a local distributor.

The speakers themselves have been reported as potentially damaging to any amplifier they are connected to.

The risk of damage stems from an impedence curve that in some cases may drop

below 2 ohms, which may overheat, short out, or permanently damage an

amplifier not designed to handle such loads.

Do a search for " white van speakers " you'll see how this scam goes

Guy in suv or van drives up to you has these $3000 speakers , extras ??

You can have em for a deal you can't pass up .

He will try to get you to give him $50 or more up to $1500.00 for these $40 china speakers.

Look out for the guy in the suv with the cock and bull story about

the extra home theater system he's got to unload.

He will tell you it's worth something crazy like 2000 or 3000 dollars

show all kinds of crap like receipts , invoices , magazines , ads sheets, etc.

He'll even point you to the company website to prove they are worth the 3 grand. Don't be fooled !

So when he lowers his price to $100.00 you'll think you got the deal of a lifetime. $3000 speakers for $ 100 bucks ,

no you got a crap set of $40 speakers and paid $100 or more for them.

Just do a search for "white van speakers" and you'll see that not only are

they worth only 40 bucks shipped from china , they may also be UNSAFE and damage your system.

Watch out for the speaker guys in suv's or pickup trucks and vans

selling home theater equipment.

Many of the sales take place in the parking lots of Best Buy, Home Depot, Circuit City , Banks ,

Carwashes , Gas Stations , Construction sites , etc

heck they will even flag you down while you are driving down the road.

Do not fall for the white van speaker scam , they are looking to rip you off !

If you see them , drop a dime , CALL A COP , let's get these scumbags of our streets.

Get your phone out , Take a PICTURE , get the PLATE number and

CALL the Local POLICE !!

Law enforcement WILL issue citations, as rarely do the speakerguys obtain the proper permits and license to sell "out of a vehicle".

In Pennsylvania, the act of selling white van speakers is punishable by up to five years in prison and up to a fine of $10,000 .

Here's one of many reviews I found ...

I've been involved in the audio industry for over 25 years, and have to say that these speakers have the worst components I've ever seen. As someone who has built and repaired speakers, and written published audio reviews well before the Internet came around, I am appalled at the chutzpah shown by manufacturers and sellers of this junk.

The 'reviews' and 'guides' that speak positively of these things have undoubtedly been posted by those who stand to profit from the sale of these inferior items. Take the Kirsch, Theatre Research, Genesis Media Labs (Genesis PHYSICS was a good brand in the 1980's) and DiVinci speakers, with their glossy ads and websites full of meaningless techno-babble and claims of outrageous 'retail' prices - not that any reputable retailer would carry these dogs.

There are good reasons why they are mostly sold out of the back of white vans, and here, where comparison to good equipment is impossible. Most recently peddlers of the Genesis Media Lab and DiVinci's have trumpeted an ad taken out by the company, and purchase of a booth at an electronics show as evidence that this is an established brand-when you have the kind of profit margins based upon $ 50 worth of components in a "$ 3600" package, I suppose you can afford a booth or an ad.

Imagine if a peddler of fake Rolexes', or 'Rolex quality' watches posted a website claiming that their junk that cost maybe $ 50 to manufacture is worth thousands - that is basically the case we have here.

I've had the opportunity to take apart a number of these speakers, and all I can say is if you read Wikipedia and other search results you obtain from Googling the term "White Van Speakers' or 'White Van Scam' the conclusion that the components are of 'exceptionally poor quality' is well founded.

For example, as I write this, there are at least 3 pairs of the "K803 Prodigy" speakers being posted on E Bay for $ 1500 or more, yet superior drivers (the speaker drivers -woofers, tweeters, midranges and the like) can be had for $ 15 or less per driver. The internal electronics such as the crossovers, are by far, the absolute worst I've ever seen in nearly 3 decades as a hobbyist.

The DiVinci hucksters have the nerve to advertise their 'high energy crossover', which is a $2 piece of junk - a good crossover is complex, not inexpensive, and is critical to sound quality. Even the glossy cabinets are made of cheap, lightweight wood, whose resonances distort the already awful sound, and lack the internal bracing you will find on quality speakers.

The drivers on the Kirsch and DiVinci "$ 3000 pair" (K803- DiVinci 1740-Dahlton- same speaker) are pretty much the same as on another set of these towers sold under an earlier "White Van Scam" name that a friend bought for $ 59 in a local pawn shop- one set of DiVinci's' is listed for $ 2500 buy it now - that is on line piracy.

Just for fun, we compared these Kirsch 803 beasts' to a pair of Infinty SM-255's bought off of E Bay for $ 300, using both analogue and digital sources, receivers and high end separate electronics. A sound level meter was used to ensure that the listening occured at the same volume level.

One of the girlfriends said it best : the Kirsch sounded like a clock radio compared to the Infinity's and one thought that a clock radio might sound better. Technical measurements confirmed what our ears told us - a ragged response curve that is the worst I've ever seen, bar none.

Maybe it was unfair - the Infinity's weigh 77 pounds versus 28 for the Klipsch... er Kirsch - but then the Kirsch is a $ 3000 speaker, the Infinities were $ 1000 new ... the weight alone should tell you just what junk the White Van Speakers are. We also compared the Kirsch with a vintage set of Klipsch KG-3.5's which you can get for around $ 200-250 - needless to say they blew the K-803 Prodigy away.

We've also performed listening tests comparing the "$ 2495"- oh please - Kirsch K3 home theatre system to a vintage set of Infinity Qb speakers dating back to the 1980's, which you can buy for $ 150 or so; a Samsung Home Theatre in a box and to Logitech Z-5300 and Klipsch Pro Media 5.1 computer speakers, hooked to a 5.1 receiver via the headphone jack ( a decent option for a small room).

Experienced listeners suggested the best use of the Kirsch's was as a boat anchor or firewood, kids unanimously preferred the other sets and as one eloquently put it - ' the fancy ones stink like poo.' You would be much better off with a used set from Energy, Polk, or another quality speaker company.

I also had the (dis) pleasure of listening to a set of the "$ 3600" DiVinci's often posted here - even the best electronics cannot make a silk purse out of these sow's ears. We compared the DiVinci 607 model to a Polk RM-6800 5.1 home theater set up that can be had for $ 400 or less- $3200 less than theDiVinci's so called retail value.

It was no contest-- as my 12 year old put it 'where did all the instruments go' - there was no category- NONE- imaging, detail, tightness of bass- you name it- where the DiVinci's were remotely competitive.

Not only are the speakers unspeakably bad, the 'receivers' included with the DiVinci, Theatre Research, Digital Research and other "White Van Brands' lack even basic AV functions such as Dolby and DTS processing, and HDMI and component video outputs -as well as measuring and sounding horribly - try watching "Master and Commander" with one of these pieces of 'bleep'- a used Denon, Yamaha or Onkyo at any price is light years superior.

With profit margins that would make oil companies jealous, I can see where they could now buy ads in magazines - one E Bay posting claims they are an 'established high end speaker' - you would have to be high to consider these anything but the low level junk they are. Scam is not a strong enough term, and these have earned their place on rip-off report.com

White Van Speaker List

Acoustic Response Series 707

Acoustic Image 3311 / 3312

Acoustic Lab Technology

Acoustic Monitor

Acoustic 3312 Studio Monitor

Acoustic Response

Advanced Sound Technologies AST X2 1055

Audiofile 583LR

Audiofile 835LR

Audiofile THX 6.1

Audio Tech

Dahlton KV 1500

Dahlton KV 2500 TI Speakers

Dahlton AV 5.1 THX

DanWave DW-6

DanWave DW-606

DanWave DW-607

DanWave DW-608

Dan Wave DW-1000

Diamond Audio Prodigy DA803


Divinci Sound

DiVinci Innovative Sound & Bass

Divinci Sound D6 D-6

Divinci Sound DV7010 DV-7010

Divinci Sound DV6030 Dv-6030

Divinci Sound DV505 DV-505

Divinci Sound DA6.1 DA-6.1

Divinci D-52

Divinci DV-606

Divinci DV-607

Divinci DV-608

Divinci DV-1420

Divinci DV-1450

Divinci DV-1412

Divinci DV-1450

Divinci DV- 607

Divinci DV-2150

Divinci DV-2100


Denmark Loud Speaker E830LR

Digital Audio DHT 5.1

Digital Audio SL-3810

Digital Audio DA 2000SL / 2000CS

Digital Audio 2000

Digital Audio 2002

Digital Audio 2012 7.1

Digital Audio Professional Speaker Systems SL-3810

Digital Audio Skyline 900-SL

Digital Audio SL-3910 Speakers

Digital Audio 2003 DA 5.1 Pro-Series III

Digital Dogg Audio

Digital Pro Audio

Digital Pro Audio SL-T 2.8

Digital Research 5.1 Pro Series

Digital Research DA 5.1 Pro Series III

Digital Research DR-1000

Digital Research DR-2810

Digital Research DR-1610

Digital Research DR-1611

Dogg Digital


Epiphany Audio speakers

Elite Audio

Elite Audio EA-505

Elite Audio EA-608

Elite Audio EA-1620

Elite Audio EA-7012

Epic Sound 7.1

Fleetwood Audio


Genesis Media Labs

Genesis G-6.1 Digital Series

Genesis G-505

Genesis G-506

Genesis G-507

Genesis G-608

Genesis G-609

Genesis G-610

Genesis G-1420

Genesis G-1620

Genesis G-1630

Genesis G-2810

Genesis G-2815

Genesis R-2810

Genesis G-2840

Genesis G-2850

Genesis G-2870

Genesis G-2875

Genesis G-2880

Genesis G-2885

Genesis G-2950

Genesis G-2960

Genesis G-6030

Genesis G-6035

Genesis G-6040

Genesis G-7012




Innovative Sound Digital Pro Audio

Kirsch K3

Kirsch K10

Kirsch Prodigy K803


Linear Phase studio monitors


Matrix Audio Concepts

Matrix MX-1300 MX1300 MX1300S







Millenium MTS-2006p

Millenium MTS-2208

Millenium MTS-2328

Millenium MTS-2300

Millenium MTS-2605

Millenium MTS-3100

Millenium MTS-3200


Omni Audio

PSD (2.8)

PTS PT-5500S

PTS (Precision Transducer Systems)


Palermo VA6.1

Palermo VA 6.1


Pro Audio

Pro Dynamics Pro Platinium Series

Pro Dynamics PD-9600

Proline Acoustic

Protecsound PT-5000 digital surround sound system speakers

Samurai 518

Skyline AD-900SL

Skyline Digital Denmark 800 or 900 "series"

Studio Tech (Pro Poly Series)

Theater Innovations (Ti 5100)

TI-440MR TI~440MR

TI-440R TI~440R

TI-440M TI~440M

TI-5100 TI~5100

TI-5150T TI~5150T

TI~1250 TI-1250

TI~1255 TI-1255

TI~1300 TI-1300

TI~1650 TI-1650

TI~1655 TI-1655

TI~6000SD TI-6000SD

TI~6100 TI-6100

TI~1750 TI-6200


Theater Logic


Theater Logic L5ti

Theater Logic L6

Theater Logic L8TI 5.1

Theater Logic T 2400

Theater Logic T 2450


Theater Research TR-501

Theater Research TR-900

Theater Research TR-1120

Theater Research TR-1400

Theater Research TR-1410 Digital Sound Speakers

Theater Research TR-2380

Theater Research TR-2810

Theater Research TR-5210 Professional Home Theater

Theater Research TR-5160

Theater Research TR-6000

Theater Research TR-6100 Digital Sound/5.1 Home Cinema

Theater Research TR-8010

Theater Research TR-8810

Theater Research Pro Series III Professional Home

Ultra Digital Labs

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful:

Five starsEasy to use, low maintenance, great price, June 3, 2007

Reviewer: SoccerDad "KC" (Portland, OR, USA) - See all my reviews

loved my previous toaster and was sad to have to replace it, however,
this 2-Slice Toaster from Hamilton Beach works even better. It's got
great functionality and I never have to hit the toast button twice - it
always comes out the way I'd expect (assuming I have the settings
right, of course.) It looks classy and doesn't take up as much space as
the 4-slicer - it's great.
Unfortunately, it may not be made in the USA, but if someone's
going to hold that against this product, then they should hold it
against all the other foreign toasters.

So go back to Target- You can save some money too.. (Be sure and plug it in as well.....THAT might help!)

Hamilton Beach 2-Slice Chrome Toaster - 22779

document.getElementById("jsebddb1").value = "1";

Hamilton Beach 2-Slice Chrome Toaster - 22779

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Guest IVstringer

Hey cool, Trey is famous - though everyone already knew that. That had to be a fun day in the lab - I wonder if they did any power testing.

It wasn't worth doing...you looked at the back of the woofers and they said 8W. If we tried to test them at their "quoted" 300W, they would have blown immediately. We had to keep them functioning for Mr. Sanchez anyway.

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Honestly, do you think Craigslist Readers are likely victims of the white van folk?

Yes, I think most CraigsList readers are bargain hunters like most garage sale shoppers are.. They kick tires...are pretty vocal.

You think Klipsch Forum readers are likely victims?

NO, But we all have crazy relatives!

You'd think the sky was falling or a nuke was about to go off based on
the lengths people go to document their dire warnings of impending doom!

Just protecting my forum friends.. and making Arvis a rock star!!

Just for a moment think about who buys these speakers and why they buy them.

Read crazy relatives.. people hard up, thinking they are getting a bargain too.. People with no morals. Shall I go on?

Ginzu Steak Knives anyone? But wait! There's more........there's the "hair turban" for 2 easy payments of $19.95.

You can tell us about your experience with the hair turban.. I will stick with my knives I have now. http://www.wusthof.com/EN/grand-prix-ii.asp A little pricey, yes, but amazing!!

Just playing with ya!

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These guys were hanging around both Michigan State U and Indiana U on move-in days back when I was in college. Several kids fell for it, as they drove from one dorm lot to another. It was funny... especially when they would come to my dorm and hear my AAL's and get depressed.

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I was really kind of comical the way the sub buzzed and danced around on the e-lab floor though. I truly wonder if the vinyl was the only thing holding the box together.

Oh, and for $399 you could have had an iFi. Or half of that if you got it at Costco.

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up too late ... can't resist this thought

**** - the upscale "legitimate" white van speaker company (ok, in all fairness quite a bit above the white van level ... ) for those who want to pay too much for too little

( **** - rhymes with a common yard tool used for transferring water)

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My impression is that these systems are not being sold for $375 but for rather more - whatever the salesman can get away with I would guess.

As for your question - what surround sound system can you get for that money - there are a plethora of options from really reputable companies. Sony et al all make "Home cinema in a box" systems for about this price. Whilst one would hardly call them audiophile I would imagine that they are better than these systems.

Of course - some searching for used equipment would probably yield a better result for even this money - although I dont think "room filling" will be the order of the day.

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I was really kind of comical the way the sub buzzed and danced around on the e-lab floor though. I truly wonder if the vinyl was the only thing holding the box together. ...

Hmmm... maybe we can forget a large heritage speaker crushing a little cube speaker. Dropping a Quintet satellite on a white van speaker might do the job, even on the "sub" - a synergy sub definitely would

subwoofer is often misued as many so called subwoofers are really pseudo bass drivers at best (that may apply to some of those bandpass boxes that come with the little cubes, even the more expensive ones?)

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  • 2 months later...

Just got back from lunch at the Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg IL (western Chigao burb)... on the way in for lunch, a green minivan with 2 guys pulls up and take a wild guess what he tried to sell me... :)

Security was promptly notified.

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