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Taking Advantage Of Large Corporation Retailers

The following is a story of  someone I knew briefly in college.  I’m telling this story because it’s an interesting story, but it’s for entertainment value only, please don’t think about mimicking his technique!

Today, with all of the camera and security mechanism attached to merchandise, I’m willing to bet that theft from stores is at an all time low.  I’m sure it’s lower than it was in the past before such theft deterrents devices and cameras existed.  But if you are a clever person with little scruples you can still get away with theft, even with big-ticket items.

A while ago, I had a friend that unfortunately had a problem with his shower, in particular with a certain part.  Unfortunately, when he went to order the part, it wasn’t possible to get the piece individually.  Angry and smart, he came up with a way around having to purchase a $400 dollar replacement system.  Not to mention the additional cost of installation of an entire new shower door.

To get around the exorbitant expense, here is what he did:

  • He went into a local hardware store and bought the entire kit.
  • He then called the support line and complained that the kit was missing certain parts.
  • He then identified the part that he needed, and a few extra parts too.
  • The company then shipped him the supposedly missing pieces.
  • Once he receive the additional pieces, he then proceeded to return the original kit to the store saying something along the lines that it was the incorrect model.
  • Next he used the piece that the company shipped him, effectively getting a free shower part for free (obviously).
  • He then sold he other pieces to a friend that he knew needed such pieces for his shower (at a greatly reduced price of course).
  • He joked that he could have sold the pieces via other means for more money, but I won’t go there…

He justified his actions by saying that they should have provided the piece individually for sale.  Had they done that, he said he wouldn’t have done what he did, etc.  He seemed to feel pretty guilty about it, and I don’t think he will do that again, but who knows.

I’m guessing that less than 1% of the population uses techniques like my friend and that’s why he was able to trick them, saving himself a bundle.  That said, I’m sure if this become a regular occurrence, large corporation would have to come up with a deterrent to counter this sneaky method of theft.

What do you think, and what should be done? 

Pretty clever, but wrong of my old college acquaintance, huh.  I think this is a riskier move these days, especially with the advanced computer system applications and databases.  I don’t think I would want to try such a bold move…

I hope he doesn’t still do this!


14 Responses to Taking Advantage Of Large Corporation Retailers

  1. We recently had a similar problem with a fixture, a part of it was broken and no way I could get just that part, but had to buy the entire fixture.

    Nope didn’t attempt anything creative like this!

  2. One of my biggest pet peeves is not being able to get spare parts when something gets broken. I think companies deliberately do it to increase their new product sales. I hate, hate, hate it.

    I don’t condone the actions, but if companies start taking things to extremes, it leads to consumer backlash like this one. I feel bad for the inventory/assembly manager at the company. He probably got dinged for something that wasn’t even his fault and a decision someone in marketing probably made.

    My washing machine had a similar problem. I needed one small part and the closest thing I could buy as a spare was the whole tub assembly which was $400. I did end up buying a new washer, but a different brand. Did the company end up making out in the end for their parts practice..probably not.

    • I’ve had problems with my washing machine too. I had to go on ebay to find the part. Sometimes resellers will go through that medium to push parts.

      I wonder if there is a secondary market on ebay for quality used parts… hmmm… Maybe dumpster diving pays off in the end if people use ebay to sell them?

      I do the same as you! If I feel I get wronged by one company because of their oversight, I go with a different company!

  3. I had to replace a art in my shower and I went online and was able to buy the part I needed from the manufacturer. It was higher priced, but it was possible.
    If your friend does this routinesly where does he draw the line? It is certainly questionable ethics.

    • I just knew him in college. Super smart guy, I’m sure if he searched for the part these days (especially with the online markets), he would be able to find the part. Then again, maybe he has made it a side business ripping off the big corporations… who knows…

  4. What your friend did was plain old stealing unfortunately, and he took it to a new level by reselling parts too. I have no idea how you stop this practice from happening if you are a company though.

    I wonder if he feels bad about this now tha the has gotten older??

    • Yeah, it left a yuck taste in my mouth after hearing about it. He was almost proud. It’s like he was saying “Look how smart I am”. But other think the same thing but realize that it’s theft.

      I hope he feels bad, but I doubt it…

  5. Good move by your friend; I’d definitely do the same -unless I was forewarned when contemplating the original purchase that individual replacement parts would not ever be available should breakdown occur, etc. Were that the case, then shame on me for disregarding the potential pitfall.

  6. I wouldn’t have the nerve to pull a stunt like that. Not right. But, I do get a kick out of others trying tactics like that, it’s like a Squirreling Gone Wild story! 🙂

  7. […] Money Reasons writes of someone he knew that had a creative way of getting spare parts, and taking advantage of the system. What do you think of this person’s ‘creativity’? […]