Court Order Permanently Halts 'Bait and Switch' Electronics Buyback Scheme
Once consumers sent in their electronic devices, the defendants dropped their offer price to as little as three percent of the original quote
A Federal court has granted a request from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the state of Georgia to permanently bar the deceptive business practices of an electronics buyback company that misled consumers about the amount of money it would pay them for selling their used smartphones, tablets, and other devices. The court also ordered the company's owner to pay more than $42 million.
The court agreed with the allegations in the FTC's complaint that Laptop & Desktop Repair, LLC and its owner, Vadim Olegovich Kruchinin, earned millions of dollars by promising to buy back consumers' used electronic devices for much more money than the defendants actually provided.
According to the complaint, after consumers provided basic information on the company's website about the type and condition of the electronic device they wanted to sell, the defendants would provide consumers with a quote for the amount a seller would receive for the device. Yet once consumers sent in their devices to the defendants, the defendants dropped their offer price to as little as three percent of the original quote.
The complaint also alleged that consumers were typically only given a few days to accept or reject the offers and had trouble contacting the company's purchasing department to reject the offer and retrieve their devices.
Per the terms of the judgement entered by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, the defendants are permanently prohibited from marketing or from promoting used electronic buyback services and from engaging in the deceptive activities outlined in the complaint.
The court also ordered the defendants—who have done business under a variety of other names including cashforiphones.com, cashforlaptops.com, ecyclebest.com, smartphonetraders.com, and sell-your-cell.com—to pay $42.4 million.
A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Kruchinin—who reportedly fled the United States after the FTC and the state of Georgia filed their initial complaint against him last year.