Attorney General Sam Olens, FTC halt multi-million dollar scam
Published 9:00 pm Monday, October 10, 2016
ATLANTA — Attorney General Sam Olens announced that the State of Georgia and the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) have charged Laptop & Desktop Repair, LLC, an electronics buyback company, and its owner, Vadim Olegovich Kruchinin, with violating the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act and the FTC Act through a long-running scam in which they promised consumers “top dollar” amounts for used electronic devices and then paid them only a fraction of the quoted amount after consumers sent in their devices.
Laptop & Desktop Repair, LCC (“LDR”) is a Nevada limited liability company, also doing business as cashforiphones.com, cashforlaptops.com, ecyclebest.com, smartphonetraders.com, sell-your-cell.com. Its owner Vadim Olegovich Kruchinin also goes by the names Vadim Kruchin, David Kruchin, David Vadim Kruchin and Dave Kruch. Since 2011 consumers have lodged thousands of complaints against LDR with the State Attorneys General and other state authorities, the FTC and the Better Business Bureau.
The complaint alleges that, through its numerous websites, LDR induced customers to sell their used smartphones, laptops and tablets with assurances of high payments. According to the complaint, consumers who provided information about the make, model and condition of their devices received online quotes that promised attractive prices. However, despite the company’s assertions that consumers would receive the amount quoted for their devices, consumers claimed that after mailing their devices to the company, they were told they would only receive a small percentage (often as little as 3%-10%) of the promised amount.
Consumers who subsequently tried to reject the significantly lower offer and get their devices back, allegedly found it nearly impossible to do so. Although the company represents that consumers can reject the “Revised Offer” by calling LDR’s Purchasing Department, consumers allege that the company regularly hangs up or puts consumers on extremely long holds. Furthermore, the Rejection Period allowed by LDR is very limited (usually three or five days), sometimes made even shorter since Saturdays and Sundays are counted in that period despite that fact that the Purchasing Department is closed on weekends. The complaint notes that very few consumers who actually succeeded in reaching LDR by phone found the company willing to honor its original quotes or to return their devices.
The complaint alleges that the company has made millions through this bait-and-switch scheme. It has deceived consumers into turning over their devices for far less than the amount quoted and then resold them at a profit on Internet sites such as eBay.com and Newegg.com, among others.
The United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia-Atlanta Division has issued an order temporarily stopping the defendants’ practices and freezing their assets.
“Our actions to stop this scheme and hold the defendants responsible will protect Georgians and consumers nationwide from being victimized by this scam,” says Olens.