Friday, January 02, 2009

Scamwise Banshee--veinglory

"Scamwise Banshee", hee. Apologies to Tolkein but that is striking me as funny right now (perhaps due to an overdose of decongestant medications). It would be defined as: "a person who, having been conned, is very keen to warn others and generally diss the institution that conned them."

This isn't about publishing, it is about my ability after 10 years of university education, thirty-six years of life on this planet and plenty of relevant experience... to still get conned.

The TV advertisement for the "Liquidation Clearance Expo" sounded good. I have been to liquidation sales in the past and done rather well. Companies do sometimes decide to get rid of a big lot of last year's models of whatever and sell them off. I have some very nice jewellery from a liquidation sale.

The Liquidation Clearance Expo is for computers, MP3 players and other electronics. So I popped down to the Renaissance Convention Center to see if I could get a good deal. I could use computer speakers, iPhone accessories, and possibly a new desktop if the deal was good.

Warning sign number 1: People exiting the expo noticeably not laden down with boxes and bags.

Warning sign number 2: The hall being used is one I know to be fairly small in size.

Warning sign number 3: You need to pay for a ticket to get in. The price is not posted.

Idiot number 1, namely me, has come all this way, after work, with a headcold, in the dark and nasty weather, and is not in a hurry to just turn around and go home. So I justify it to myself. They wouldn't need much room to display electronic goods. And it is cold, so those people might all have cheap MP3 players in their overcoat pockets--or the computer people might deliver. And the ticket price might cut down shoplifters. (I mentioned the idiot thing, right?)

So, I pay my $9 to go inside to see a 'sham wow'-type product and liquid detergent selling stall, one with hideous costume bling, one with terrible cat's-pee-smelling perfume, one with appalling men's pimp-style clothing that would have been considered a little garish even in the mid-Eighties, one with [insert another derogatory word because I am running out] knitted and printed clothing no doubt bought for pennies from some third world country, one with a dismal selection of picked over and shop-worn shoes, one with cheap plastic toys and cliched 'waterfall' prints, and three with grubby refurbished computers and some obscure car stereo products.

All of this, mind you, at maximum reasonable retail price given what total irredeemable tat it all was.

What should I have done to avoid being scammed? It's simple. I could have gone around to the exit and asked the people there if the sale was worth the ticket price. Failing that I did go around to the entry and warn a few people going in. As I walked away again I could hear one lady saying: but we've already driven all the way over here..."

p.s. for the purpose of key word density: liquidation clearance expo, renaissance convention center, Schaumburg, scam, not worth it, nine dollar cover charge, don't do it, run, run away, save yourself while you still can, liquidation clearance expo.

Edited to add: the parent company is BlueStar Shows. If you are disatisfied you might try requesting a refund directly and/or via the BBB. You can email Marriott here.

Jan 21, 2009 update: After a second email the Renaissance Convention Center has offered to send me a refund and I have provided them with a mailing address for the check. Persistence pays off.

Feb 10, 2009 update: Although they never at any point contacted me directly, Bluestar shows shows offered a refund to resolve my BBB complaint, which I have accepted. So I will cash that check and return the one from Marriott. I would encourage everyone to pursue a compliant about these shows through the BBB, where Bluestar shows still has an 'A' rating. I would note that although I had retained my ticket/receipt I was not required to produce it.


Anonymous said...

Ditto -- There were no $149 laptops as advertised, at least when I got there .. Prices were in line with ebay prices.. no real liquidation deals.. laptops ranged from $299 to $899..

Anonymous said...

I live in the Chicago northwest suburbs, just a few miles from Schaumburg. I have a friend who is a police officer in the area, and he says that you can assume almost everything you see for sale at "liquidation sales" and Saturday flea markets (like the ones they have at the Allstate Arena) are selling nearly 100% stolen goods. Same goes for a lot of what you see on Ebay.

veinglory said...

I did not see computers or MP3 players at the prices advertised, and the TV ad also never mentioned an entry fee. And if the selection is this bad on Friday night I doubt the weekend will be any better.

Anonymous said...

I must thank all of you very much- you saved me a 2 hour car drive followed by a big scene that I probably would have made at the door! I attempted to look up info on the expo but after almost 2 hours and a phone call to the convention center- this site is the only one to give ANY info! If I wanted to go to a flea market- Uncle Johns is 20 minutes from my house- I know what to expect there! Once again I thank you! Sheila from Demotte, Indiana!

Anonymous said...

You just saved me and my boyfriend a trip down there. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much, this is the only site I could find describing the Liquidation Expo - you saved my husband and I a trip and $18.00

Anonymous said...

Wow thank you so much for saving us the trip and the money! We were headed there today and couldn't find any info on it!

Anonymous said...

thanks a million you saved me a trip

Anonymous said...

One of three laptop sales booth I talked to was not in distress / liquidation mode at all.. Just selling stuff at normal prices.. surprised? .. so was everyone else.. there is no "liquidation" here.. If you just want to buy regular priced stuff / something like ebay, then pay the $9 to get in.. otherwise stay away from this stupid "renaissance liquidation expo in schaumburg" ..

Anonymous said...

Thanks - you saved us the money and the time and our kids the time that they could be playing at home.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, I figured that thing was a scam but my wife was insisting we go. after I made her read this I no longer have to make the trip and waste my time and $$

Anonymous said...

Thank you thank you thank you

Anonymous said...

To sum it up it was the most one of my most awful experiences. I live in Schaumburg so thank God I can say that I didn't drive there from Indiana like some of the people I encountered there. It was dirty, the vendors were beyond rude, and the merchandise was far from how they advertised it to be on television and radio. I reached my limit when I was actually accused of stealing the coat that I wore into the venue. One of the vendor kept insisting he was selling one like the one I had on, I told him that he had no Columbia merchandise and that he had to be joking (all off brand names were being sold). Then he continued to follow both my mom and I around. After only spending 15 minutes there I was insulted and appalled, so I went to the manager and demanded a refund (it clearly states that no refunds will be given). After getting louder and louder in front of all the unsuspecting people waiting in line to purchase tickets he was glad to give me my money back so I would leave. ENTER THIS PLACE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Don't go in expecting too much or you will be greatly disappointed. I find it unbelievable that the renaissance convention center would allow such a place to rent/lease their space, it really has changed my opinion on them. Save your $9 and see a movie instead.

Anonymous said...

yea every thing you read about this place being bad is true.
this message has been approved by the mayor of schaumburg

getupmom said...

My son and three friends just got back from this. They say pretty much what the others who did go in. They did not demand refunds, so the money is down the tubes. Can any of you tell me the name of the promoter or where they saw ads for this show? Any info is appreciated.

veinglory said...

The company responsible for these shows is:

They are not BBB accredited.

Anonymous said...

This place is a monumental rip off.

This place is not making money off merchandise mainly because it is stolen goods or it literally fell off a truck and is crap to start. Most importantly they make their money off the admission ticket price.

I was halfway expecting this when I was in line after realizing nobody was carrying anything out the door. Thought I would give it the benefit of the doubt.

I was wrong. I have see better merchandise at the carnival. NOT KIDDING!

Watch your wallet, and keep your loved ones close. These folks are some true criminals.

The fact that this convention center let in this bunch of scam artists makes me wonder if I will ever go to an event there ever again. For a newer convention center you would think that they would want respectable business coming their way.

It must be the economy and they must be having a hard time making rent cause for this weekend they let in the traveling gypsy crew from the back alley.

The following is an in depth detailed account of the merchandise at the event on saturday evening.

The PC vendors:
Selling windows 98 era desktops. Not hooked up to monitors so I dont know if they work.

Laptops: Could have found better deals at bestbuy during christmas/probably now

Digital Cameras: $39

No Name Brand listed - small handycam tupe camcorder. Bigtime POS! only kind they had.

Jewelry - Better quality at the carnival.

Pimp Suits - Shotty quality, loose threads at seams. Dont even know why I was looking in that section but Yeah, I was.

Stereo Equipment -

Mostly BOSS speakers,amps I did see some kicker 10" subs but cant vouch for their authenticity.

Some pioneer head units but who knows could have just been the box.

Other electronics-

Older PC keyboards
ALL PC/Laptop are at least 2 years old most are over 5yrs old.

Off brand Ipod clones

Clothing Section:

Looked pretty picked over and I was there at six tonight on sat. All of it looked like it had been previously owned. Not necessarily worn but owned by someone and broke in. I did not even look at the leather jackets but from a distance it did not look like real leather.

ALL brands I have never heard of.

A bunch of scents hookers would not wear much less a chick you care about.


All sorts of decals are right when you walk in blocking your view of what you are about to walk into. Car decals and other crap.

Shammy Station:

Not the Sham - WOW that Vince wants to sell you on TV. But The shammy pro or some crap. The TV ad said beware of imitators. THis is what they were talking about.

Try to spread the word about this and even call the Schaumburg renaissance and complain.

I will email this thread to them so they can read what a how much the public likes beign scammed by their choice of bookings!

Just go to overstock or ebay and save your time and money.

Dont let the gypsies get your money!

The gypsies also go by

Blue Star Productions

Unknown said...

Thank you all for this information. Seems like this is the only place on the web that has any thing to say about this event. Even the Renaissance ( Mariott) website doesnt say anything.
Instead I will do something else on Sunday.

Anonymous said...

here are the details for this thing, yeah it reeks of a scam for sure. Could the Better Business Bureau get involved?

Anonymous said...

At least they could have had a side-show geek. That might have been worth a nickle's worth of entertainment.

Really, sorry to hear this happened.

veinglory said...

Oh totally, either some freaky act or a cute guy/girl (whichever applies) who flirts with you. That's the usual deal for getting ripped of by a sideshow.

veinglory said...

I registered a complaint with Marriott and BBB yesterday and requested a refund from Bluestar. So far no response except from Marriot Customer Care who will "share [my]thoughts with executive leadership at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel and Convention Center". I sent them a screen shot of their name all over that TV ad.

Fiona Glass said...

This really sucks, Em. Is there an equivalent of Trading Standards in the US that you could complain to?

veinglory said...

This is what the BBB (Better Business Vureau) doe sin the US. While BlueStar is not BBB accredited you can still process complaints through them. i was astounded to find they had only one confirmed complaint. I hope other people follow my link--you can lodge a complaint by email and they will follow up on it and add it to the tally if not refund is forthcoming.

mistone69 said...

Wow! I went to one of these bluestar shows over the weekend here in Michigan and it was the biggest scam I have ever seen! 80% brand names? Overstock inventory from local stores? Thats a joke. It was more like a 4 car garage sale, selling stolen crap from the 80's and 90's from the back of a beat up van!! Everything was covered in dust, boxes all torn open and taped back up, computers that looked like they were thrown against the floor a few times, fake gold jewlery being sold for more than what you would pay at a department store, trying to sell old and used video games for $15, when you can get them at well known store for about $6, and the list could go on. We were all SCAMMED big time and it makes me so mad that they can get away with this!!! We paid a total of $23.00 to enter this 4 car garage sale..walked down 2 isles and left. Upon walking many people were complaining and very mad. I did write the company and I wrote the BBB, as did our friends. I hope all of you do the same, at least write the BBB.. this company needs to be STOPPED! Such a shame!

Gary said...

I am a marketing major at Canisius College, and originally thought the ads as "too good to be true".

I then looked on the bbb site, saw they had an A rating and was impressed. But then I began to look at the products they "sold". The ad is a scam itself, the in dash car montitors show a Panasonic LCD for $159. This sells for over $1,000. Let alone the "ghetto" clothing and no name products. They are desecrate for a reason, to get people to feel obligated by paying the entrance free. Then will buy something because of the opportunity cost they put into the event.

Simply put I did not attend and will buy my things on the internet. There are many sites that offer 60-80% discounts like etc. The old saying comes into play "you get what you pay for".

mphfrom77 said...

I have been planning out a whole house entertainment system for someone this past month and this is the week I am finally purchasing everything. I have put in hours of research...and let me tell you the internet is great. Almost too good. I learned more than I thought I wanted to about the proper equipment needed, me being a noob to this. Then the commercials for this "liquidation" aired and of course I researched, and now I'm posting. I will now NOT attend the show in my town. Thanks everybody!
By the way, after I have been researching for electronics, speaker wire, coax cable, speakers and especially HDMI cable, I have walked through Best Buy, HH Greg, RadioShack, Home Depot, Walmart, and Sam's. Let me tell you, the internet is the place to be. It time consuming and strenuous, but necessary. I specifically remember being in Best Buy, midway through my research, and thinking, "wow this is weird, one of my favorite stores is a total ripoff and I never knew it". And I'll never enter it the same way again. Do yourself a favor and check out, they have ratings for online electronics stores. There are a hundred reputable "American" online retailers with incredible products, many products you can't find on store shelves, that are half the price and twice the quality. If you need cables of any kind try Blue Jeans Cable (1st) or Monoprice, for example. But really, ANYTHING you need to purchase, cars, anything. Thanks everyone!