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[CQ-Contest] Buyer Beware!

Subject: [CQ-Contest] Buyer Beware!
From: Nd3f@aol.com (Nd3f@aol.com)
Date: Mon Apr 7 15:41:37 1997
This message is not directly related to contesting, but may be
of related interest (and I asked before posting):

On 17 March 1997, Richard A. Meuse, N1HID plead guilty in 
Woburn, Massachusetts District Court to the charge of 'larceny
greater than $250 by fraud' and was given one year probation and
required to repay me $1800.  His probation officer has contacted
me, and as the court collects from Richard, they will forward me
(Brian, ND3F) the repayment.

Some facts of the case: in July 1995, I saw an ad on the local
packet cluster (W3LPL node) from N1HID, advertising an ICOM
970H VHF/UHF transceiver for $1800.  I called Richard, and 
discussed the radio and price.  He said he was selling the radio
to raise some money for an operation for his wife, and that the
radio was in fine shape.  He asked that I send money orders in
payment, and also to pay the cost of shipping, COD.  After checking
prices (and getting permission from the family CFO), I sold some
gear, gathered the money, and agreed to send Richard the MOs
two days after the first phone call.  I never received the radio, and
contacted Richard frequently for the first month after sending him
the MOs.  He cashed them one week after I sent them.   I asked
some local folks for some advice, and W3LPL suggested I contact
K1VR, who is an attorney in MA.  Both Frank and Fred were most
helpful.  Based on their advice, I gathered information, sent some
registered letters, and called the local authorities, who tried to solve
the case without criminal charges at first.  Eventually, after several
months, criminal charges were filed against Richard, and after nearly
two years, the case was finally settled. (But I have yet to collect...).
Based on later INTERNET ads, apparently Richard never had this radio,
but had a much 'cheaper' satellite station that he has since sold--but I
don't know for sure!

I also contacted the FBI (K3HH, Hank, who was very helpful, but could
not really do anything due the size and 'isolated event' nature of the case),
and also the US Postal Service who also declined to participate stating that
they had many cases with multiple complaints and much higher values
that they were pursuing!

Until recently, Richard was still advertising on packet and the INTERNET.

Please be careful in your dealings!  Try UPS COD or even FedEx COD--
they are more expensive, but also safer.  Of course, even face-to-face
transactions can also be a problem.  In my case, I trusted the fact that the
seller was a licensed amateur, and bound by a "code"--and I was proven
wrong!!  Now, I am in the process of filing with FCC--under the concept
that Richard used amateur radio to commit a crime, I'm hoping he will
lose his operating priveleges.  However, I don't want to risk damaging
our packet system by, for example, limiting advertising or sales of private
gear,  because I have had this experience.

If anyone is involved in a similar case,  I have some procedural experience
that may help.  Please contact me directly by email at nd3f@aol.com


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