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Creative buying & selling
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reader50
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Apr 17, 2019, 12:25 AM
 
I ordered a NAS. An open-box deal from a reputable eBay store.

Package arrives. Box is correct for what I ordered. Inside - a NAS that uses the same case as the one I ordered, but is from a few years ago with much lower specs.

So the way I figure it, someone has their NAS fail out of warranty. They order the juciest current model that matches their case style. Swaps their NAS for the new one, then returns it as "buyer remorse" and pays the restocking fee. They get a nice upgrade, at a substantial discount.

The store sees a NAS in the box that looks right, and no one pulls it out to check model numbers. Or test it. They just relist it as an open-box special.

I didn't bother to plug it in for testing. Took pics, filed for the return immediately, got the prepaid label. And ordered another, from a different seller. A new one this time. I've had decent luck with open-box specials before, but I'll probably avoid them for awhile.

Creative buying & selling in action. The store got robbed, and had to pay shipping 3x. I hope they can go after the 1st buyer.
     
Laminar
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Apr 17, 2019, 08:25 AM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Creative buying & selling in action. The store got robbed, and had to pay shipping 3x. I hope they can go after the 1st buyer.
How do they know you aren't the one that's giving them the old piece of hardware?

If they didn't check closely enough to verify what they were sending you in the first place, then they don't really know if it was the last guy or you that swapped the new part out for the old one. It'd be bad form to go after the last guy if there's a chance that you could be the one that swapped it.
     
reader50  (op)
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Apr 17, 2019, 12:44 PM
 
They have the serial number of the old box. They'd have to follow the original sales trail.
     
Laminar
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Apr 17, 2019, 03:58 PM
 
Imagine this scenario:

- Buyer 1 purchases item, opens box, inspects item, returns item, "didn't want it."
- Buyer 1 returns actual item
- Seller receives return, does quick visual check of item, "Yep looks like that's it"
- Seller lists item as open box
- Buyer 2 purchases item, takes new item out of box, put bad but similar item back in box
- Buyer 2 says to seller "Looks like the last guy must have swapped in some junk, I'll need a refund

How can the seller positively verify the difference between that scenario and your scenario?
     
reader50  (op)
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Apr 17, 2019, 04:38 PM
 
I sent a picture of the device label, and they'll have the actual old NAS back within a day or two. That gives the store the serial number on the old NAS.

- Store refers matter to the cops, and allege a possible terrorist connection. That gets around all privacy protections, and is impossible to disprove until the investigation is complete.
- Cops contact manufacturer, see what store bought the old box wholesale.
note: if old NAS were registered to an account (say, to update QTS or buy apps), skip the next step.
- Cops contact store, see what person bought the old box at retail.
- Cops see if original old retail buyer matches either of the new box buyers.
- Cops get search warrant for the 1st buyer.
- Cops recover the missing new box, again confirmed by serial number.
- Terrorist connection ruled out - simple scumbag thief.
- profit?
( Last edited by reader50; Apr 17, 2019 at 07:03 PM. Reason: added shortcut note)
     
subego
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Apr 17, 2019, 05:32 PM
 
Where’s the shooting? I demand a shooting.
     
Laminar
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Apr 18, 2019, 08:16 AM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
I sent a picture of the device label, and they'll have the actual old NAS back within a day or two. That gives the store the serial number on the old NAS.

- Store refers matter to the cops, and allege a possible terrorist connection. That gets around all privacy protections, and is impossible to disprove until the investigation is complete.
- Cops contact manufacturer, see what store bought the old box wholesale.
- Cops contact store, see what person bought the old box at retail.
Unless you voluntarily register your serial number, how does the manufacturer know who bought their product? When I'm asked to register a product, I usually have to provide full detail - date, purchase location, etc. It's my impression that manufacturers don't really know what happens to an individual product once it leaves their warehouse. Maybe they know which retailer it went to, but after that they have no idea of actual sale location or date or any of that. And the retailers don't know the serial numbers of the items they're selling as that's usually on the product itself and nowhere on the exterior packaging.

So the manufacturer would say, "Yeah we shipped that unit to Best Buy in June of 2014." And Best Buy says, "Yeah we sold 40,000 of those units between June of 2014 and when that model was discontinued, and half of the customers paid cash."
     
reader50  (op)
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Apr 18, 2019, 12:25 PM
 
I've noticed computer-related items usually have the serial on a sticker on the box. And online sales usually record the box serials, for matching against returns. Even lower-cost routers have the serial sticker on the box. If the old NAS sold at a brick & morter store, the trail would break there, especially if cash were used.

But an online sale should preserve the sales trail. And the perp would have to plan a failure & swap years in advance to pay cash & a higher price in a physical store.

Also, a NAS typically has online sales potential. Apps, register for OS updates, camera licenses. If the perp used the old NAS to create an account with the manufacturer (or created an account, and associated *that* NAS with it), the NAS itself would send its serial number.

So in theory, the original sales trail could break down. But the perp would have to plan ahead, buy physical, not use any online service from the manufacturer, and never let their old NAS phone home. Even if it just "checks for updates", the manufacturer likely logs the serial and IP address. Which would reveal the state & city its in. As buyer #1 and #2 are likely in different states (and almost certainly in different cities) those update checks would be enough.

If the store refers it to the cops, they almost certainly have enough info to solve it. Even QNAP alone has a good chance of solving it, should they decide to help the store without the cops.
     
reader50  (op)
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Apr 18, 2019, 04:12 PM
 
Come to think of it, the shipping box will have the serial # of the missing new NAS. And the store should have it on file too. Check with QNAP, see if that NAS has checked in from anywhere.
     
reader50  (op)
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Apr 19, 2019, 10:25 PM
 
The store got it back yesterday, and issued a full refund this morning. I probably won't hear any more on the story unless the cops break my door down at 2AM. Looking for a misplaced NAS or any drugs they can find.

Good luck to them on either count. There might be some aspirin in my place. That's about it, unless you want to try drinking the rubbing alcohol.
     
   
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