Reseller offered $$$ for old tech gear – then stiffed thousands with suddenly lower quotes

Vintage Apple II? Yeah, we can do a couple of bucks

US trade watchdog the FTC has terminated second-hand electronics reseller Laptop & Desktop Repair in Sparks, Nevada – after the biz shafted people out of millions of dollars.

The company, operating under such names as cashforiphones.com, cashforlaptops.com, ecyclebest.com, smartphonetraders.com and sell-your-cell.com, offered online quotes for used smartphones and laptops.

Once the quote had been calculated, people sent in their hardware for assessment and were given a much lower revised quote – typically between 3 and 10 per cent of the original amount offered.

They had three to five days to request that their hardware be returned, but the FTC found that the company seldom answered its phones and was closed on weekends, even though the firm counted Saturdays and Sundays in its time limits.

"This is a classic case of bait-and-switch updated for the 21st century," said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection.

"The defendants in this case lure consumers with false promises of generous payments, then hold consumers hostage once they have mailed their devices to the company."

After an investigation by the FTC and the US state of Georgia, the biz has now been shut down and had its assets seized. The FTC said it had received thousands of complaints about the firm, which kind of makes you wonder what took them so long.

In the meantime, if an offer looks too good to be true, it usually is. ®


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