Chapter 13: Bad Trader Horror Stories



 
There are many great resources for buying and selling laserdiscs or home theater equipment over the internet. However, there are also many scam artists and deadbeats out there. This page is all about those people. I want to keep track of everyone who is notorious for their bad business practices or deceptive behavior. Nobody ever wants to get burned in a bad deal. Hopefully this page can help avoid that.


#1 - Dale Cooper (MSEWRKS1@aol.com)
14611 NE Russell Ct.
Portland, Oregon  97230-3854

STORY RELATED BY JOSHUA ZYBER.

Dale Cooper (he insisted that this was his real name, despite its similarity to the Twin Peaks character) posted a "For Sale" list on the alt.video.laserdisc newsgroup which included one item that caught my attention, a Japanese box set of the Disney film Aladdin containing supplements not found on the domestic release. I sent him an email and we negotiated a price and shipping arrangements. I sent him a check the very next day. Everything seemed to be fine until about a week later when Dale suddenly sent me a message saying that he sold the disc to someone else because I never confirmed my mailing address with him. This was an outright lie, as I had sent him my address and he had responded to that email. I pointed out the error to Dale and asked him to honor the terms of our agreement.

It turns out that in the meantime someone had posted a "Wanted to Buy" message on the newsgroup for that particular disc and Dale, sensing that he could make a better deal for himself, offered the disc to that person for more money than he had already accepted from me. I confirmed this with the person who posted that second message.

I brought this to Dale's attention, hoping that he would at least admit to his mistake and try to make alternate arrangments, but instead he became very evasive and promptly cut off contact with me. When I emailed again, the message was bounced back from his ISP saying that he was no longer accepting messages from my email address. Up until this point I had been hoping that we could work something out, but his refusal to answer my messages forced me to place a stop-payment on the check (a $20 fee from my bank!).

The happy end to this story is that I did eventually find another source for that box set, but this cannot wash the bad taste of Dale's actions out of my mouth.

Dale has extremely poor communication skills and no business ethics whatsoever. I urge people not to deal with him.


#2 - Greg Kostich (ldk@postnet.com, eBay ID twister44)
5088 Clayridge Dr Apt 105
St. Louis MO 63129

STORY RELATED BY JOSHUA ZYBER

I won an eBay auction for the elusive THX WOW! laserdisc from Greg, whose eBay feedback history contained a healthy positive number at the time. The total with shipping came to $72, which would have been a reasonable price if only Greg hadn't turned out to be a total deadbeat.

At first his communication was prompt and curteous. Based on his information, I sent a money order to his address soon after the end of the auction. I waited a couple of weeks, but did not receive the disc. I tried to email, but at this point the message bounced back with an 'undeliverable' error response. I wanted to give Greg the benefit of the doubt, assuming that perhaps he was merely having problems with his internet service provider. I waited two more weeks, but with still no contact from Greg and no disc received I went to the post office to verify whether he had cashed my money order. Of course he had, just a couple of days after I mailed it. His email address continues to bounce for me, and at this point I have filed fraud charges against him through eBay.

Despite his misleading positive eBay feedback, Greg Kostich turned out to be a thief. He is to be avoided.


#3 - Neal Waggoner (houseofpapasmurf@hotmail.com)
832 Chip Circle
Cary, NC  27513

STORY RELATED BY JAY PENNINGTON

Neal took me for around $18.00 for laserdiscs he advertised in the alt.video.laserdisc newsgroup. I sent the money three months ago and there have been no lasers nor responses to emails and my public entreaties since.

A search revealed someone else with a similar story on an anime newsgroup (some of the discs for "sale" were anime), so I'm not alone.


#4 - Mark Benedetto (dreadnaught3@webtv.net)

STORY RELEATED BY KEVIN KAWERCHUK

On or about January 11th, 2001, I received a Pioneer CLD-D703, which was advertised on the alt.video.laserdisc newsgroup by Mark Benedetto. This seller often uses the newsgroup to sell players and discs. The deal seemed too good to be true- $175 shipped!  That's at least $75 less than the market value.

The player I received had been packed so shoddily, it verged on being criminal. Imagine a large, thin-walled cardboard box. Take the player, plop it on the bottom. That's right- no padding UNDER the player whatsoever!!! Then throw the remote, unwrapped, beside it. Then take about half a dozen little air bags and plop them around the player. Next, take a big plastic bag filled with broken pieces of styrofoam and drop it on top of the player. That was it! The first time that box was dropped, everything was smashed to smithereens!  I strongly suspect this player was non-functional and the shoddy packing was deliberate. No sane person would imagine the player could survive. The damage was to hide the non-functionality of the player, in my opinion, and in the opinion of most people who have heard this tale! To his credit, Mark did refund half of the money and gave me a note saying I returned the player, enabling me to receive the taxes that I paid at the border back. I'm still out half the money, the time and trouble involved in this deal, and the heartache of seeing a beautiful player so terribly abused. 

Please use EXTREME caution when dealing with this person. I've heard from a reliable source that he uses bubble mailers for LD shipping too! 


#5 - "Storm"

STORY RELATED BY JOSHUA ZYBER.

"Storm" is a notorious character on the alt.video.laserdisc newsgroup. He continues to reappear like a nasty cockroach every time he is squashed back down. He goes by any of the following aliases:


 
Greg Felix
Alonzo Gonzalez
Elijah McHugh
Samantha Ivers
A. Sample
Al Sampson
Alonzo Sampson
Draven Templar
Greg Terry
Archer Troy
Troy (last name may vary)

 
He has other aliases as well. Reports are that his real name may be Greg Felix, but no one is ever sure. He may use any of these addresses:

 
679 Gayley Ave
Los Angeles CA

10991 Reobling ST
Los Angeles CA

70 Ralston St
San Francisco CA 94132

1065 Ranchero Wy #15
San Jose CA 95117


 
The following is a list of some of his (many) previous email addresses. Most of these are currently invalid, but he may be using some variation on one of these nicknames:

 
blankx@hotmail.com
drfaquack@hotmail.com
kidquick@hotmail.com
ldbabe@excite.com
mr007@pacbell.net
mtrdrdr@gte.net
mulder@sfsu.edu
net1@looksmart.com
sanders4me@aol.com
sivers@ucla.edu
sparkysr@pacbell.net
storm@sfsu.edu
storm@up2me.com
"storm"@up2me.com

 
Another way to identify him is by his sale list, which is usually formatted to look like this:

 
HI LD Buyers,
Here is the last of my ld coIlection., all are in excellent condition most are LBX.
  @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
  Back to the Future II -Lbx Dolby Surround Digital
  Boomerang -Eddie Murphy -Lbx Dolby Surround Digital
Bound -Deluxe LBX AC-3
  THe Cotton Club  -Richard Gere - FS Digital
The Defiant Ones -Poitier/Curits -FS Digital
Dressed to Kill -Lbx Digital
The Godfather Remastered  -Lbx THX Digital AC-3
  Innocent Blood -Lbx Dolby Surround
Jason's Lyric Sp Ed -Jada Pinkett -Lbx Dolby Surround
  James Bond-Spy Who Loved Me -Lbx Dolby Surround Digital
KIDS -Lbx Dolby Surround Digital
Lifeforce Deluxe Extended -Lbx Dolby Surround Digital
The Lover -Jane March -Deluxe Lbx Dolby Surround Digital
  Malcolm X -Lbx Dolby Surround
Mississippi Masala -Denzel Washington -FS Dolby Surround Digital 
Mo' Better Blues -Denzel Washington -FS Dolby Surround Digital
  Pretty Baby-Brooke Shields -FS
SADE LIVE epic music video -FS Digital Sound
  Some Like it Hot -Deluxe Lbx  Digital Sound
StarMan -Deluxe Lbx Dolby Surround Digital
  Star Trek II -Lbx Dolby Surround Digital
Star Trek III -Lbx Dolby Surround Digital
Star Trek IV -Lbx Dolby Surround Digital
Star Trek VI -Lbx Dolby Surround Digital
Star Trek First Contact -Lbx THX Dolby Surround AC-3
Wild Orchid -Mickey Rourke -FS Dolby Surround Digital
Three Stooges Boxed Comedy Classics -FS
Connery Collection Boxed -Deluxe LBX Digital
  Aliens Collectors Edition Boxed -Lbx THX Dolby Surround

ANIMATION
Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers series -FS Stereo
Batman Mask of the Phantasm -Lbx Dolby Surround
Heavy Metal -Deluxe Lbx THX Dolby Surround

CRITERION:
A Hard Days Night -FS Dolby
  She's Gotta Have It -FS Digital
The Graduate -LBX Dolby Digital

If interested email.....thanxs! AL


 
Notice his emphasis on the sound format of each disc. He also offers several rare or unusual titles. The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers disc stands out as particularly unusual, as I have almost never seen anyone else offer this disc for sale. Its presense on a sale list should be a good indicator that the seller may in fact be "Storm".

"Storm" has a very bad reputation among the laserdisc collecting community. He has stolen money from various reputable parties without delivering the merchandise promised. He has also engaged in abusive and harassing behavior when confronted about his dealings, posting messages either to the alt.video.laserdisc newsgroup or direct email. He occasionally uses both racist and homophobic slurs, and in some cases the implied threat of violence as in the examples below:


 
From: <" storm"@up2me.com>
To: Joshua Zyber <jzyber@mindspring.com>
Sent: Sunday, August 22, 1999 7:28 AM
Subject: Re: Fraud

This is not your concern and  never had any personal dealings with so-
Fuck-you *JEW-boy*


 
From: <" storm"@up2me.com>
To: Joshua Zyber <jzyber@mindspring.com>
Sent: Sunday, August 22, 1999 11:26 AM
Subject: Re: Fraud

how does you being a JEW-boy make me a racist.

maybe next time that skin head can also swing by and blast your balls
off!!!


 
Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to do business with this character.


#6 - Michael Proctor (thegardenoframa@webtv.net, eBay ID ramarevealed)
10550 Valley Forge 206
Houston, TX 77042-1884

STORY RELATED BY STEVE SUNG

He contacted me after I did not win an auction on E-Bay for an ABBA More Gold Japanese LD. He claimed that he bought Brazilian ABBA GOLD and MORE GOLD DVD, so he wanted to sell his LD. . We agreed on the price and I sent him a MO. After a week, I did not get any response. I kept on contacting him for almost a month but no reply. He was quick with response at the beginning. So just watch out for this thief (luckily he only took me for $18.00). 


#7 - James Healy (eBay ID Datasmiths)

STORY RELATED BY PLUM

On 10/9/03 I won a LD copy of "Greed" from a James Healey (eBay ID "Datasmiths"), and made payment of $26.95 via PayPal on 10/10.  On 10/28 I sent an email to his eBay address, as I hadn't yet received the disc.  I sent two more messages, with no replies, and on 11/3 posted negative feedback on eBay.

On 11/4 I recived an email from him using a new address, saying that he had been ill and falled behind on his shipping, and that I should receive my LD in about 5 days. It hasn't arrived as of 11/11. I've noticed that several other users had received their eBay items since my auction, although there were some who didn't receive their discs until they made a complaint through PayPal.

He has some positive feedback, with users praising his product, but many complain of very slow shipping.  He is a slipshod seller, and if not outrightly dishonest is not dependable and should be avoided.



Update 9/22/04 - Email response from seller James Healy: 
 
Hi Josh,

I was just going over your great site, and found my name on the “bad trader” list.  I was selling discs on ebay last year, and did get sick, and did fall behind in my shipping, and did get some negative feedback, but I thought that I had made good with everyone after I recovered.  If you have an email address for “plum”, I will gladly contact them to straighten out or refund to them any money or disc they feel they are still owed.

Sincerely,
James Healey

Unfortunately, I no longer have that email address, but I hope the two parties can contact one another and work out their differences.


Update 10/27/04 - New email received from third party Elliot J. Huntley:
 

I too bought a video off James Healy. It would seem that he changed his ebay ID from Datasmiths to Rarevids2002 and began listing rare items he didn't have, selling them, not sending them (obviously, as he didn't have them in the first place) and then relisting them. In the past six months alone he has ripped off 17 ebayers, the feedback for which can be seen at the link below:

http://feedback.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewFeedback&userid=rarevids2002

It is not a pretty sight. 

All of which renders his pleas of innocence on this site as utter rubbish. Of course it's possible (though unlikely in view of the contemptuous feedback), that he honoured his pledges under his old ID and formed a new one with the specific aim of ripping people off. 

My own view is that Healy should be pursued by The Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) which works in partnership with the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C). If there is anyone out there who like me intends pursuing Mr Healy for their videos or a refund, the link to the IFCC's website is: 

http://www.ifccfbi.gov/index.asp

Hopefully they will be able to put a stop to his fraudulent and criminal activities that really do seem to be beyond the pale. 

Note: I have personally had no dealings with Mr. Healey and no way of knowing if indeed "Datasmiths" and "Rarevids2002" are the same person. I just post the complaints and leave it up to the reader to decide.


#8 - Bluewater Tennis Company (eBay ID bluewater-tennis-company)

STORY RELATED BY RICHARD BLIGDON

I won an auction for a Pioneer CLD-990 ($100 US + $25 S&H. $150 CAN in the end, I think). There was NO email contact from the seller, so naturally and as a new Ebayer, I was getting worried. My emails to him were unanswered (he later claimed he was "out of town on business"). I registered a "negative feedback" after not receiving an email from him after several days.

Well, talk about letting the hornets loose!

He started phoning my house (EVERY half hour) claiming he wanted to resolve this, then again one time in the space of a few minutes to see IF I'd cleared the answering machine and was ignoring him, which I was as I had caller ID and preferred to resolve it by email! Then his last few messages became "intimdating."

He sent me threatening email and later a message that, "If you send me '$20.00 U.S.' to clear this silly negative feedback you've made against me......etc, etc... or a  negative report is going on your record!"

Extortion! Abusiveness!

I complained to Ebay, but too bad I forgot to include the email headers with the message!

His record, if he's still on there, shows other complaints, too.


#9 - eBay ID terrortroll, splatterfiend666 and numerous other IDs
714 Lookout Dr. #6
Los Angeles 90012

STORY RELATED BY SHELLY MYERS-BIGANE

This guy has registered every week or so under new names, sells videos and DVDss that he obviously doesn't have, and then becomes NARU'd after he scams tons of people out of their money.  I got ripped off for a VHS of Crowhaven Farm, and have ben in contact with several of his other victims.  He always puts his address on all his listings, never has pics, and usually only has a 1 day auction time.  He keeps the "Buy it Now" under the $25 total that eBay will refund buyers for bad deals. This guy has been listed under numerous names in his PayPal account too.


#10 - Adam Rosen (eBay ID shugarecords)
Chicago Area

STORY RELATED BY WHITNEY KULWICKI

This shyster sells on Ebay under the name: shugarecords. I bought an LD from him that was listed as "near mint" condition. When I received the disc, it had a crack spanning the entire radius on one side, rendering it unplayable. When I left negative feedback, he left me negative feedback in retribution, accusing me of lying about the condition. There's no way the disc was damaged in shipping, as the shipping box was in perfect shape. Looking through his feedback, he has exaggerated (or flat-out lied) about the condition of items in his auctions in the past.

After this incident, I received emails from a couple of other Ebayers who had the same issues with this guy. They bought items described as "near mint" which were damaged, some to the point of being unplayable. 

Buyer beware!


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