04.10.07

The plot thickens

Posted in fastmemorymanscam at 8:49 pm by blog

So still having no luck getting my money back from “fastmemoryman” aka emartbuy, i decided to do some research.
It turns out, that he has defrauded many more people, the evidence is all over the internet… A quick google for “fastmemoryman” reveals several people who have been ripped off by him.

It would seem that he bulk buys tech items, computer memory and memory cards etc, which varies wildly in terms of quality and source. Some of it is good quality branded goods, while other stuff is cheap generic garbage. He attains his high ebay score by selling some of the quality goods at a minimal profit, while also selling cheap unbranded garbage and sometimes masquerading it as branded goods. In my case, he got hold of some DDR SDRAM modules which happened to use Micron branded components.
Now these particular components in question, are intended by Micron to be used to construct 512MB memory modules, some unethical and nameless company has bought a bulk load of these modules, and double stacked them to produce 1GB “high density” modules. Now this is all well and good, cheap unbranded generic memory with poor compatibility has it’s place and if he sold it as that it wouldn’t be so bad. The problem stems from his method of selling, he claims this memory is manufacturerd by Micron, who are a reputable memory manufacturer. Now while some of the components may have been manufacturerd by Micron the final module is not, and the components are being used outside of Micron recommendations. To use a car analogy, A Ford is still a Ford even when it has Michelin tyres fitted. It does not become a Michelin car simply because some of the components were made by Michelin. Ford assemble the various components into a cohesive unit recognised as a car, and Michelin could not be held responsible if the tyres Ford selected for use on their car were intended for different uses, for instance if Ford put Michelin branded tyres intended for use on pedal bikes on the car.

A good description of what high density memory is, why it is almost always unbranded, and why reputable manufacturers such as Micron or Samsung would never put their name to it can be found here:
http://reviews.ebay.com/Myth-Low-Density-vs-High-Density-memory-modules_W0QQugidZ10000000001236178

Another way he scams unsuspecting buyers, is in the postage.
I bought 3 memory modules from him, and he charged me £6 (6 British Pounds) per item for the postage, even tho i purchased 3 items at once. These items arrived in a single envelope (he saved money on packaging) and with postage stamps attached to a value of £0.95 (the cost to ship a single module in the same way is also £0.95). Thus, he reduced his shipping costs by two thirds by sending the three items at once, and yet passed none of these savings on to the purchaser.
Also, £6 is rather an unreasonable cost shipping, considering that the padded envelope can be worth no more than £0.30, and let’s add in £0.75 handling – a very high estimate. This makes the shipping cost to be £2 for a single item, and £2 for 3 items. Yet he charges £6 for one item, and £18 for 3 items, netting himself £16 profit at no extra work.

Add to this his “returns policy” which states that seller pays for return postage and does not receive their original shipping costs back. Thus, even if the buyer returns the item and receives a refund according to this policy, fastmemoryman makes a profit of £4 on each defective memory module sold and returned, while still having the defective module to use against another unsuspecting buyer.

Incidentally, this policy is illegal under the UK’s “Sale Of Goods Act” which states that a merchant selling an item must cover any and all costs associated with repair, reimbursement or replacement of defective goods, for the protection of consumers.

So back to my case, despite repeatedly requesting to send the item to the UK address, fastmemoryman insisted that i must send it internationally at my own cost. However, i called up the company he uses for distribution in the UK and they were more than happy to accept a return. So why would he say otherwise? The only reason can be, that he wants to discourage people from claiming refunds or replacement by hiking up the shipping cost.

So i sent the item to the UK address, and it got forwarded back to fastmemoryman. I then receive an email stating:

Your returned item was received, tested, and determined to be in working order. It seems there is a compatibility problem since the module is working on our end. The
module you ordered is high density (dual in line 128×4). Your motherboard only supports low density modules (64×8).

Your Dell Dimension 3000 has an INTEL 865 chipset, your Dimension 3100 has and INTEL 915GV, and your MSI K8T Neo-FSR has a VIA 8235/8237 chipset that only support low
density memory. The specs may be right but you ordered high density and you need low density. Below is the compatibility list from your auction. You can see that
these chipset are not listed:

Known to work with:

VIA P4X266A,
VIA KT266 (except ASUS KT266)
VIA KT333 (except ASUS KT333)
VIA KT600 (except ASUS KT600)
VIA PT800
VIA PT880
SIS 645
SIS 648, 648FX
SIS 746FX
SIS 756
VIA KM400
K8T800
K8M800
KT 880
KT 400 (except ASUS KT400)
KT 400A (except ASUS KT400A)
SIS 661FX
SIS 655
SIS 650GX
SIS 650
NFORCE 3 250GB
ULI Chipsets
Intel 915
Geforce 6100
NFORCE 4 SLI

You can either upgrade to a compatible low density module for an additional $18 USD each which includes shipping, or receive a refund according to our refunds policy
(see Ebay) for your returned item. Please make payment at the link below. In the payment for box we need “PAYMENT FOR 1GB LOW DENSITY UPGRADE “.

So here he tries to claim that the machines in which i have tested the memory are not compatible. He claims that the Dimension 3100 has an Intel 915GV chipset, and yet the Intel 915 is listed as being compatible, you’d think these chipsets would be close enough together as to be virtually the same. He also claims, that my MSI K8T Neo-FSR uses an incompatible chipset, in this case a VIA 8235/8237. Now, someone less stubborn or with less technical knowledge may simply accept this, and pay him extra or claim a partial refund (and therefore he profits via his extortionate shipping and gets to sell the lowgrade memory to some other unsuspecting victim). But i thought i’d dig into it further. It turns out, that the VIA 8235/8237 chips are not full motherboard chipsets, and that they are “South Bridge” chips, which are the motherboard components that controll USB, IDE, SATA and the like. As opposed to the “North Bridge” chips which are what interface between the CPU and Memory.
So, i find the MSI specs page for my K8T Neo-FSR motherboard, which is at:
http://www.msicomputer.com/product/p_spec.asp?model=K8T_Neo-FSR
Now if you look closely at that spec, you will see it uses a VIA K8T800 chipset, the same VIA K8T800 chipset which is clearly listed as being compatible on his original listing.

So he has tried to trick me into thinking my motherboard is not among the machines listed as being compatible, even tho it is.
He has also failed, despite repeated requests, to detail exactly how he tested the memory and came to the conclusion that it was not defective. I already stated that the memory would in some cases function for several hours before causing a crash, if all he has done is inserted the memory and let the machine do the usual crude memory test most PC’s do at startup, then of course it would appear to be working.

I will make more posts as and when there is progress, for now i will make one last request for a full refund, before reporting this to UK Trading Standards.
I have also taken it upon myself to report fastmemoryman’s fraudulent listings to ebay, that is the listings where he is mislabelling a low grade unbranded high density memory module as having been produced by a reputable brand, and i am in the process of contacting these memory manufacturers to inform them of how this guy is misrepresenting their brands with low quality goods.

Cold Call Annoyances

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:47 pm by blog

I get a lot of calls from companies wanting to sell me something, or offering their services… And here are a few of my biggest gripes:

Calling from witheld number – If you call from a witheld number, i won’t answer your call. I want to be able to recognise who is calling so I can decide if I want to answer it or not. If you don’t hide your number, you increase the chance of the call being answered and/or called back. So, why hide your number unless you have something to hide?

Leaving voicemail… If your leaving a voicemail, think first.

Voicemails like “Hi this is Joe from BlahCO”. Great, now what the hell is BlahCO? Unless your calling from a huge organisation that everyone will immediately recognise, or a company with whom i’m already doing business, you really must qualify what your organisation is. Otherwise, how am I to know? It’s incredibly arrogant to assume i will have already heard of your company.

Asking me to call you back on an 0845/0870/09 number. – This is a NO NO. I will not under any circumstances call you back on an 0845/0870 kickback number. Why should you make money from me calling you? Give me a regular 01/02 number, or a freephone 0800.

Giving vague information on voicemail “Hi this is Joe from BlahCO, i have an opportunity you might be interested in could you call me back”. An opportunity for what? Your not gonna give me any information? Why should i call you back only to find out that it’s of absoloutely no interest to me whatsoever? Even worse if you expect me to call a kickback number, and actually pay you for the privilege of hearing that you have nothing to interest me at all. If you want me to call you back, give some useful information as to why.

Only giving a phone number – I might not want to speak to you on the phone. I sometimes work weird hours, so i’m not available during your working hours. I also want to decide if and when i talk to you. I prefer time to consider things, not be put on the spot on the phone. Leaving me an email address through which i can communicate with you is much easier for me, and far more likely to get you a response.

03.15.07

Patents, and Microsoft FUD

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:48 pm by blog

I was reading a story on the Microsoft/Novell deal, where microsoft were stating that linux violates several patents, and threatening anyone using a distribution other than novell’s.

So far, they have not shown any of the patents linux is supposed to violate, nor have they showed parts of linux code which they believe to violate patents. Now, why is this? If microsoft were concerned with protecting their patents, would they not disclose them and have the matters addressed?

More likely, they have no real claim and are merely trying to scare people out of running linux, because after all scaring people away from the competition is cheaper than making your product better.

More interesting however, is that microsoft products do definitely violate patents. This is not just FUD, they have been found to be violating patents in court, for instance the recent Eolas case.

However, most countries simply don’t need to worry about software patents, as software patents are only valid in a small number of countries anyway.

So in short:

Linux might violate patents, microsoft claims but has shown no proof.

Windows does violate patents, proven in court.

03.03.07

How to defraud ebay, the emartbuy.com way!

Posted in fastmemorymanscam at 11:31 am by blog

It seems there’s a great way to defraud ebay users, and best of all, it doesn’t violate their policy. Sure, it may be immoral but aparrently doing this is perfectly fine according to ebay. So first, a little history, you see i learned of this scam in the time honored way of being suckered by it.

I was browsing through ebay, looking for somewhere i could buy some additional memory for a computer of mine. There were plenty of cheap sellers in the US, but i don’t like to buy internationally because of the various difficulties involved, it is always better to deal with local sellers. So i was presently surprised, to see some fairly cheap (not the cheapest, but not bad) memory being offered for sale that claimed to be in the UK. The item i found was this:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=270084335932

Clearly marked as being in the UK, the seller had loads of them available and the price was reasonable. I read the description, and noted that my motherboard chipset, the VIA K8T800 was listed as known compatible, and that they listed the company name and website, emartbuy – www.emartbuy.com on the listing. I visited this site, and was immediately presented with a choice between USA and UK. Great i thought, they clearly have a UK office and do business in the UK.

So i placed the order, paid for it, and within a few days received the memory. I eagerly put it into my machine and turned it on, and, nothing… The fans were spinning, the drive was spinning, but nothing on the screen. I put my old memory back in, and the system behaved as normal, so i tried again with only one of the new modules inserted. This time the screen came on, and the system started on it’s power on checks. Half way through, it froze and wouldn’t respond to any keypresses. I tried the other modules with similar and often erratic results, sometimes the bios initialization would complete, but i could never boot an OS. Sometimes the system would be able to load the “memtest86” program, but this never ran for more than a few minutes before detecting memory errors. Frustrated by this, i rechecked the listing and reconfirmed that my motherboard was listed as being compatible.
So i attempted to contact the seller, but to no avail, frustrated i contacted them through paypal. This time they responded, confirming that my motherboard is compatible and asking me to return the defective memory. But here’s where it gets worse. The auction had clearly stated the memory was located in the UK, but when asking for a return this company demanded that i ship it to the US, at my own cost. Nowhere on the original listing had any mention been made of this, and indeed the word “return” in combination with the listing stating the item was in the UK, would imply that returning it would involve returning it to it’s original location in the UK, and not a costly and time consuming international shipping exercise.
This company also only gives you 14 days from receipt of the item in order to return it, yet they freely admit that shipping internationally can take up to 15 business days (that is, up to 3 weeks including the weekends).
They then went on to say that misleading buyers like this is not against ebay policy, and that it’s perfectly ok to demand a return to an arbitrary location that was not once mentioned in the original listing.

So here’s how the scam works:

Find an address in a far away country, somewhere that it’s very expensive to ship anything to (Cuba, Burma, Iraq, The McMurdo Antarctic research station).
Obtain a large amount of broken items that are usually expensive (when working), since broken items are usually worthless you should be able to get stacks of defective junk cheaply or for free. Alternatively, you can ship random junk.

Put the defective items up on ebay, but don’t mark them defective, instead offer a refund or replacement guarantee. Tell buyers where the items are currently located, and wait for the suckers to start bidding.
When someone wins, add some extra to the shipping amount to cover not only the shipping and packaging cost, but also a small profit for yourself, and send them their broken merchandise.
Before too long, you will start getting complaints, but this is no problem because you have a returns policy, the buyer can return the item at their own cost and you’l refund them, so the buyer is mailing you asking for your address. Just give them your far away address, remember it’s not against ebay policy to do this. Don’t forget to request the buyer send the item insured, lest it be lost in transit.
Now with any luck, the buyer will consider the cost of shipping too expensive to bother, and just drop the whole thing.
And just incase they don’t, you can refund them their payment less the shipping cost, so worst case is you make the small profit on shipping, and a small amount of interest while your holding the buyer’s money. And don’t forget, international shipping takes time, so you can hold on to that money for a little while longer and make a little more interest.

keziefoods.co.uk are cheeky bastards

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:20 am by blog

I was trying to buy some exotic meat, and i came across a company called Kezie Foods that appeared to offer what i was looking for. I filled out their online shopping cart with what i wanted, and proceeded to the checkout. This checkout required me to register, which is fair enough, so i went to the registration page:
http://www.keziefoods.co.uk/registration/
I filled out the details, and noticed the subscribe to newsletters option at the bottom of the form. I intentionally left it unchecked, as i didn’t want to receive extra junk mail.
When i clicked submit, a piece of javascript kicked in and automatically checked the newsletters box! Seriously, go try it for yourself…
So, i immediately cancelled my order and sent them a mail demanding they remove my details from their system ASAP and explaining why. To this i received no response, until several weeks later, i received a copy of the newsletter!
Yes, the very same newsletter i explicitely did not want, and clearly demanded they remove me from the list. I have sent them another mail, which i suspect will also be ignored so i will be calling them on monday to complain.

02.26.07

Baggage weight restrictions on planes

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:20 pm by blog

A friend of mine was recently at an airport, trying to check on for a flight… They have a weight restriction on the amount of baggage like most airlines. Now, my friend is very small and doesn’t weigh much… Yet her bags were over the weight limit. Meanwhile a fat guy was checking in on the adjacent desk, his bags were within the weight limits but his weight alone was clearly considerably more than my friend and her bags combined.
So the question is:
If the airlines are truly so concerned about weight on the plane, why don’t they weigh the passengers as well as the baggage, and charge them accordingly? If weight is a concern, why can a 400lbs chunker with 30lbs of luggage (thats 430lbs) travel for less than a 120lbs girl with 40lbs of luggage (thats 160lbs)? Not to mention the fact that someone so fat takes up more than their fair share of space, leaving you nowhere to put your arms if your sat along side.

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