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Rip-Off Alert: 6 Computer Scams You Should Know Before You Buy a Computer for the Holidays

Added: (Thu Dec 07 2000)

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Rip-Off Alert: 6 Computer Scams You Should Know Before You Buy a Computer for the Holidays

Los Angeles, CA – Having been swindled to the tune of $2,800 by an unscrupulous computer vendor, expert Purchasing Manager, Helen Cho, warns computer buyers of the 6 major scams to be wary of this holiday buying season.

“I had purchased a total of 15 computers for myself and nearly 500 for other people over the years. I thought I was experienced and bulletproof. But if I got conned by a seemingly reputable computer vendor, how many other people out there are being hoodwinked without even knowing it?” asked Ms. Cho.

After discovering that countless people are being bilked of millions of dollars each year by ruthless computer vendors, Cho decided to fight back. She has taken on the computer industry, and is exposing its deceptive – sometimes even illegal – sales practices to the public.

"Most people’s inadequate understanding of the technical aspects of computers has given computer vendors a virtual license to exploit the unsuspecting public," warns Cho, a Tennessee consumer advocate, author, and Head Purchasing Manager for a worldwide non-profit organization consisting of 7000 members.

Because there is no agency that protects the rights of computer buyers, Cho has championed the crusade to equip the public with the necessary ammunition to beat the computer vendors at their own game. Cho has just signed an agreement with Aesop.com, a leading Internet marketing company, to publish her online book, “Computer Buying Secrets Revealed,” [http://www.computerbuyingsecretsrevealed.com] which she refers to as "an insider's guide to buying computers, spotting unscrupulous vendors, avoiding scams, and saving at least $500 on your next computer purchase.”

“The middle of November through the week before Christmas is the best time to buy computers,” says Cho, but she warns of these 6 common rip-offs that you need to watch out for:

1) Bait and Switch – Computer vendors routinely lure you to their website or store with the promise of the lowest prices. When you fall for the bait, you’ll find that their prices are higher than they advertised. They insist that the advertised price was last week’s price, or that price doesn’t include one component or another. Vendors do this because, in the highly competitive business of computer sales, this is sometimes the only way they get a shot at showing you their wares. While you’re there, they entice you with other “deals” hoping you won’t go looking elsewhere.

2) Bankruptcy Routine – Some computer vendors open a ‘new’ computer outlet, sell product for a few months, ship only a portion of the orders, and then declare bankruptcy -- taking most of the customers’ money. The people who do this are crooks who repeatedly engage in this practice.

3) Opportunistic Pricing - Mail order companies change their prices and specifications regularly. They have a complex pricing policy where they employ experts whose only job is to determine exactly how much the market will be willing to pay for a specific model.

4) Delayed Shipments – Since computer vendors are required by law to ship ordered goods within 30 days, some companies charge your credit card on the date that you order, but don’t ship the computer to you until 30 days later. Orders are usually non-cancelable, and they are, of course, earning interest on your money.

5) Shared Memory - As a cost cutting measure, some systems are designed for the video card to share memory with the system itself and not to have its own dedicated memory. Therefore a system with 64 MB RAM advertised with a 4 MB card has only 60 MB of free RAM after the video card’s requirements. On budget systems, this is common but you should be told about it. You could end up buying a computer that has 64 MB of RAM and then find that you only really have 58 MB -- and you can't run a program that needs 64MB.

6) What You See Isn’t What You Get - As the components that go into a machine are numerous and constantly changing, the machine you receive is rarely the exact machine you ordered. These differences are caused by the frequent non-availability of various components. Additionally, sometimes the computer delivered to you is missing parts that you wanted.

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