Used computers - sellers who lie about provenance

dreamingofbali, Apr 24, 2:20am
So I've come across a trader who it appears, based on pretty strong evidence I've 'uncovered', is lying about the provenance of the computers they're selling. They've sold a few computers already, and I expect the traders who bought them would be pretty concerned if they knew the true history of their purchases. I've reported the trader's listings to TM yesterday, but disturbingly the listings are still up.

I was already a bit concerned about buying computers secondhand on TM. But if sellers who can be proven to be lying about important details in their descriptions are allowed to continue to sell on TM with impunity - that's very concerning to me. And what all about all the poor unsuspecting buyers, these computers are not cheap.

(I'm being purposely vague here, BTW, so as not to pinpoint the exact trader)

suicidemonkey, Apr 24, 2:27am
Report the listings to TM is the best way to start. They're usually pretty quick to pull down dodgy auctions.

kevin16, Apr 24, 2:30am
'sellers who can be proven to be lying about important details in their descriptions',. like?
and what has that to do with the machine history?,.

mrfxit, Apr 24, 3:02am
Agreed, as long as the technical history is ok then what has the past ownership etc got to do with selling.
It does what it was designed for . enough said

networkguy, Apr 24, 5:53am
Would this be bitcoin mining rigs being sold as hardly used by chance?

cookee_nz, Apr 24, 8:13am
I would have thought the only real concern would be if the PC's were actually stolen, in which case any buyer, knowingly or not, may be at risk of being investigated for receiving stolen property.

There may be grey areas of other sources, ie take for example a repairer who does large volumes of insurance or extended warranty repairs, and part of the deal is being allowed to keep write-off units - ostensibly for the purpose of using the parts to repair other damaged items. So for example you get three identical laptops, one that has had liquid damage and a ruined mainboard, another has been dropped, and a third has a cracked LCD. In all cases they were written off either because of repair cost vs replacement, or parts not available in a timely manner. In this instance, very easy to rebuild a very tidy looking unit from parts of each.

It's not really what the insurer has agreed to happen to the wrecks, but hard to prove unless you 'know'. Serial numbers can sometimes help but you need to be suspicious in the first place and there is no central register unlike motor vehicles where items could be checked anyway. Rebuilds like this if done professionally are technically and functionally 100% and you'd often have no way of knowing.

And no doubt there are other examples, maybe a Gov't Dept or corporate disposes of a bulk lot of ex-lease PC's expressly to be used for charity or other non-profit use but the items become 'diverted' onto the open market. Again, needs someone in the know. But hard to comment without some more detail. But what is the real concern that you have? - ie what potential problem could it cause the purchasers if it were discovered?

d.snell, Apr 24, 10:03am
Turners sell damaged laptops on behalf of Insurance companies, There is no stipulation that they can't be rebuilt. Also, what does the insurance expect the buyer to do with the wrecks? You say use the parts for repairs, so when is it to be used? Seems a silly statement because a person would have to get 3 identical wrecks from the insurance company to achieve your rebuild theory and all would need different damage. Very slim odds of that ever happening.
Ex lease machines are sold by the lessor, not the govt dept or the lessee, and those lease companies aren't charities, they will sell them through a brokerage firm or Auction, every time.

dreamingofbali, Apr 24, 11:25am
OK. Well let's test everyone's tolerance levels here then. We'll start with scenario #1 :

Auction details are limited to the bare minimum (CPU speed, cores, memory, hard drive, etc). Plus brief description ('in good working order, a few marks, etc'). Photos show it to be a 2012 model. So in 'Questions and Answers':

Q: Did you buy this new or secondhand/used?
A: Hi, this is been in our office since new we upgrading to ***** thanks.

In TRUTH, trader has bought this computer secondhand, and less than 3 months ago.

Acceptable? Not acceptable? Or grey area?

king1, Apr 24, 11:32am
and we know this how?
in fact it doesn't even matter - if you buy something secondhand there is a 50/50 chance seller is telling porkies (either to your face or by omission). That is the risk you take buying second hand.

dreamingofbali, Apr 24, 12:13pm
king1, I realise that there is a chance that any seller may be lying. Just accept for this scenario that I know for a fact that the computer was purchased 3 months ago. The question is - whether or not there's a 50/50 chance the trader is lying - is lying (as in this case) acceptable, not acceptable, or a grey area IN YOUR OPINION?

TradeMe's 'Terms and Condition's I've just learned do not actually specifically prohibit 'false or misleading information' in an auction. They do allow you to report it, but even then they don't specifically say what they'll do, if anything, about it.

Here's the only mention made In Terms and Conditions of 'false or misleading information':

Trade Me gives no undertakings, representations, or warranties in relation to items sold or listed on the Website, or Member Services advertised or offered through the Services Category including. c) as to the accuracy or truth of listings;

So they cover themselves pretty well, and cover the buyers not at all.

king1, Apr 24, 7:51pm
Being second hand goods, if this occurred in a face to face transaction and you came across this information, then you would walk away and refuse to do business with the individual on the basis of being unable to trust the individual.
You would not call the citizens advice bureau, the police or your lawyer. it is not nice, it is not ethical, but I also don't think it is a rare occurrence when buying second hand.
Simply put, if you want consumer protections, buy new.

mrfxit, Apr 24, 9:18pm

It IS, what it IS . secondhand.
If it DOES, what it's spose to do, AND at the right price, then it can be considered a purchase of a secondhand device at a s/h price.
Probably something like 95% of purchases of s/h items have no documented history.
Ppl buy s/h because they are s/h at what that buyer considers "the right price".
Due diligence must be done in respect of what condition the item is in before purchase.

3 identical vehicles >>

1st was a traveling salemans car thats done 350,000kms but religiously maintained & include garage records.

2nd was a private family owner, car thats done 250,000 & no records of any maintenance done.

3rd was a complete unknown owner or details thats done 180.000kms, no records but a lot cheaper then the 1st 2 examples.

1st 2 at the same price in the same visual & inspected condition.
3rd being a lot cheaper but same condition.

Which option would most ppl take?

schizoid, Apr 24, 10:27pm
If it all at least still works fine, I don't see a big issue. It does seem a bit odd that they would want to lie about the origin of the PC though. Maybe they just don't think admitting something is 3rd hand will go down well with potential interested buyers?

cookee_nz, Apr 24, 11:28pm
d.s - I'm not sure what it is that drives people here to take a swipe at every opportunity. ie "silly statement". I'll assume therefore you either mis-read my posting, or didn't understand it - that does not make you any more or less 'silly' than me, just mis-informed,

I'll repeat - I referred specifically to the example of. "a repairer who does large volumes of insurance or extended warranty repairs, and part of the deal is being allowed to keep write-off units - ostensibly for the purpose of using the parts to repair other damaged items". I regret not being absolutely clear that I was referring to a repairer CONTRACTED by said Insurer (although it was implied by the word 'deal'). You would be surprised at the hundreds of insurance/extended warranty claim Laptops that are processed each month in NZ. "Slim odds"?. au contraire.

So let's assume company "A1 Laptops" has a contract with "Acme Insurance" to asses and repair ALL their laptop damage claims nationwide. Acme stipulate to A1 that they may keep any write-off units, but they are to use parts wherever possible from those salvaged units to repair other units. Keyboards, LCD's, case parts, Mainboards, RAM, you name it, (but not generally hard drives *) so long as those parts are serviceable and at least equivalent in condition and function to the part being replaced.

BTW, this is no different to the car repair industry using parts from wreckers - why buy a brand new front guard when there's a perfectly good one on a write-off that's maybe been rear-ended leaving the front untouched?

Perhaps that now makes more sense. I'm not for a second suggesting that's what the seller referred to is doing, I just floated it as an example of what 'could' happen - the main ethical issue being that the components of the rebuild were specifically intended for one task (repair of other insurance claims at a saving to the insurer), but instead being used to build complete units to resell for the repairers own profit and no benefit to the insurer and very likely frowned upon by the insurer.

Hope that clarifies my 'silly statement'. No offence taken as I'm sure none was intended :-)

d.snell, Apr 25, 12:14am
Where would I use those parts?
Could I the charge the Insurance Company for them?
How much would I charge them?
How much should a Insurance Company pay me for storage of all the old Laptops?
When would they be deemed of no value and I could dump them?
Can I use them for any other company or do they belong to the Insurance Company for it's exclusive use only?
Can I use the parts from 2 computers to fix one or can I only use them from one?

Well, it doesn't work that way and never has. Once a insurance claim is completed, the wreck is sold or dumped by the Insurance Company and they have no interest in what happens with it next.

A warranty repair firm is different and any servicable parts are put through a refurbishment process. Whether that is done by them or through the repair agent varies between companies.

cookee_nz, Apr 25, 12:18am
Ok, so I guess I'll have to lump you with the other 'bullies' on here which is a pity because I generally respect many of your past postings.

All these years when I thought I knew something too. sheesh cut down like so many other tall poppy's.

FYI, there was no 'guesswork' about it, my statement was factual. It does work that way, for a number of parties, and has done for at least 15 years. I speak from my own experience and respectfully suggest you take the time to ring a few prominent insurers and you may see a clearer picture.

But then what would I know David?, diddly-squat it seems.

ross1970, Apr 25, 12:19am

Some people really need to stop writing bloody novels as posts.

cookee_nz, Apr 25, 12:26am
Those are fair questions, I'll answer in due course, tea-break is over for now :-)

cookee_nz, Apr 25, 12:27am
And some people need to watch Bambi :-) If you don't like certain posts/contributions, feel free to bypass, no one's forcing you. PS "tl;dr"?, guess it means something to someone

d.snell, Apr 25, 12:28am
Well I actually do computer insurance repairs for one of the largest insurance companies and have done so for years, so I do know what I am talking about.

cookee_nz, Apr 25, 12:51am
To be fair, you'd be surprised at some of the things that go on behind the scenes that many people are blissfully unaware of. Workable alliances between large corporates and small operators, agreements that have been in place for years and years from small beginnings which have grown from being in the right place at the right time.

king1, Apr 25, 4:04am
Honestly I see this aspect as no different from airlines saying only 2 seats remaining, salespeople saying we can't get any more etc etc .
It is all the same bollocks that you come to expect when being sold something

d.snell, Jan 16, 8:22pm
No, sorry, have no idea what you are on about and can't see any relevance at all.

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