Offers Too Good To Be True

Posted on 20. Jun, 2006 by in Fraud & Scams

toogoodtobetrue.jpgHave you ever encountered an offer too good to be true and asked yourself how someone could pull it off? I asked myself that same question about 18 months ago when I visited Mixitforme.com and purchased a new 20GB iPod color for $150. When I first saw the deal I thought to myself, “there has to be a catch here somewhere…” so I did a little research – visiting forums and user reviews to see what others’ experiences with the company were. It turned out that most people had been happy with their purchases with only a few people still waiting for orders. I went ahead and ordered my iPod and received it a few weeks later and couldn’t have been happier.

A few months later, MixItForMe.com had changed dramatically – dumping it’s ‘mixing’ services and devoting all of its energy into electronics sales. They occasionally had another good deal or two – but most of the time their prices were comparable to every other online retailer. I didn’t think anything of it until I began hearing more and more customers complain about not getting their orders on time – up to 6 months after ordering.

Just this last week I decided to visit MixItForMe.com but when I did the site was gone. A little Google searching turned up a number of articles including a BBB Reliability Report and a NBC report outlining an FBI investigation into the business practices of MixItForMe.com. Apparently the BBB “files contain a pattern of customer complaints regarding non-delivery or delayed delivery of merchandise and difficulty and long delays in obtaining refunds. The company has not worked cooperatively with the BBB in providing prompt and meaningful responses to customer complaints presented to them or in eliminating the cause of those complaints.”

On March 27th of this year the FBI, Secret Service, US Postal Service, RI State and Providence police raided the offices of MixItForMe, seizing company records. The FBI is now alleging that MixItForMe sold millions of dollars of electronic merchandise and has not filled many of the orders.

After reading all of this I considered myself lucky to have received my order when I did. It sounds like if I had purchased that iPod any later I would never have received it.

There are a number of things that a person could “learn” from this situation.

First, it’s all about the cash flows. If you’re going to run a successful business longer than a few months, you must have a cash flow game plan. Regardless of how many sales you make, your suppliers are going to want to be paid in cash – preferably the cold hard kind.

Second, you’re business has to be scalable. Growth is great… when you’re prepared for it. If your business grows too fast for you to keep up with you’ll end up with business version of the “digg effect” and your business will come to a screeching halt.

The third thing we can learn from MixItForMe is that honesty truly is the best policy. I can guarantee you that if you tell me my order will be shipped in 6 weeks and it take 8 – I’ll never be back. If you’re up front with your customers they’ll be more understanding to any growing pains your business might be having, and less likely to call in a FBI raid.

4 Responses to “Offers Too Good To Be True”

  1. josh

    11. Jul, 2006

    my brother bought an ipod like you….i wanted one but later that day when i got home the price was jacked back up….

    i still have no ipod….

  2. smile4mefirst

    17. Aug, 2006

    I picked up a PSP for $140. waited 1.5 months for it, wrote to them to complain after 2 weeks of waiting and they offered a refund. I did get my PSP and have been happy with my purchase. I also bought 2 Sirius satellite radios last Christmas and got them within a couple of weeks. Returned the items and got a quick refund.

    Sorry they are gone.

  3. Albert

    09. Dec, 2006

    I visited Mixitforme.com, and i was very suprised with thouse prices. I liked the product, i knew it was too good to be true. I wanted to buy an iPod from them, but i thought that it’s a lie, and these prices don’t exist. I thank God for not buying anything from them..

  4. Kelly

    13. Dec, 2006

    I bought 2 black razr cell phones for 89.99 a peice…back when they were close to 300$. It took forever to finally recieve them. I called and complained. My mom called. I was starting to get pissed. But we did finally get them. They worked for about… 3 months. Mine started making noises in the reciever. and when I took it to my store. They said it wasn’t unlocked and that it had originally been made for Cingular. I’m glad they got shut down…

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