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Zoey, JD
Zoey, JD, Criminal lawyer
Category: Fraud Examiner
Satisfied Customers: 24048
Experience:  Active member of the NYS bar since 1989
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I ordered a dvd set from a US firm called whycostas on 26 April.

Resolved Question:

I ordered a dvd set from a US firm called whycostas on 26 April. despite repeated emails to them I have heard nothing but since learned they are connected to a non-existant company, and either never send the goods, or else their dvds are obviously redone from VHs and of very poor quality. Other customers have got nowhere with them. A number of website links indicate they are fraudulent. They have had my money but I have had nothing. What chance is there of getting my money back?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Fraud Examiner
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 2 years ago.

Hello,

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will be assisting you with your question.

Unfortunately, although the internet gives us the ability to take advantages of bargains all over the globe, there is no bargain when as a result you don't get what you pay for. Buying low-ticket items from abroad can be especially problematic.

In the first place, by purchasing abroad, you are dealing with a company that is outside of the reach of your laws and of your consumer protection agencies. A law suit would be impractical because it would make more sense to mount it in the US and it would cost you more in time, effort, and legal fees than you spent on the DVDs.

In the second place, this particular company doesn't want to be found and may not actually be in the US at all. Their website has no contact information except for a telephone number that traces to a telemarketer call center and where, according to complaints, one cannot get through to leave a complaint.

Their site registration isn't helpful either. The site owner's location information seems to be a post office box in the Seychelles. You can see this for yourself by going to www.domaintools.com and running their WHOIS.

There's no question about the fact that if you've been defrauded you would be able to sue or try to get these folks prosecuted, but if you can't find them in the first place that's a pretty insurmountable stumbling block. And, as you have found, it's one that you share with many others. (see link)

If you cannot reach them, and you paid by credit card, you can turn to your card carrier for buyer protection. If you haven't waited too long for the goods to arrive, you may be able to get them to do a chargeback.

If not, working on the assumption that they are a US company, you can at least report them to the various US consumer protection organizations and agencies. I don't know what good that may do as far as getting your money back, as this company does not appear to be operating lawfully, but at least it will be free for you to do so. You have nothing to lose by trying.

Contact the Better Business Bureau and lodge a consumer complaint against them. You can do that right on the BBB's website. As a non-profit organization committed to protecting consumers, the BBB will try to intervene on your behalf and to resolve your problem if they can find the company and if the company is willing to work with them.

From there, if you know what US state this company is supposedly headquarted in, you would want to file a consumer complaint with the State Attorney General's Office. Otherwise just file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and give them whatever information you have on them.


These government agencies will not usually intervene on any one person's individual situation. But when these last two agencies get enough complaints to see a pattern and practice of unethical business dealings they can, and do step in. They haul the company into Federal court where the companies usually settle for enormous fines and heavy government sanctions. The money the government collects is distributed among those defrauded by the company. So even if it takes a while, you want to be file these complaints.

You can post your story on sites such as ripoffreports.com, scamdex.com, scambook.com, scamXposer.com and any others along those lines that you can find.
This may slow them up and warn others. You may contact their webhost and report the site as a fraud and ask that it be taken down.

Apart from hiring a consumer right's lawyer and sue for fraud or breach of contract these are your only real options.

I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news but this is the nature of internet fraud. Scammers can literally vanish into cyberspace and leave you without any real remedy.


Hope this gives you some direction. Good luck!

Zoey, JD, Criminal lawyer
Category: Fraud Examiner
Satisfied Customers: 24048
Experience: Active member of the NYS bar since 1989
Zoey, JD and other Fraud Examiner Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Sorry for delay getting back, disappointing outcome but not really unexpected. As this was a card payment I'm going to my bank to see if they can help.

Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 2 years ago.
They should help if you didn't wait too long before making the claim. If you complain within the first (and sometimes the second) billing period, they will hopefully reverse it for you.

Good luck!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Zoey, Just letting you know that despite the complete lack of contact with whycostas and the customer problems that have been raised online, which strongly indicated that this was a scam, the DVD set has just turned up! No notification or explanation for their lack of courtesy. The set has obviously been transferred from other discs and the quality is better than expected, after all the negative comments I read, but in some episodes the film freezes and jumps, although with a good deal of careful wiping, I think they will play. I only tried 4 of the discs so far. Maybe I'm luckier than some.


When you think it costs nothing to send an email there is no excuse for their non-response so it's their own fault if they get masses of complaints for that and for sending second-rate goods.

Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 2 years ago.
They are, of course, doing more than sending out second rate goods. They are bootlegging, which is a crime.

But at least you did get the product, and you're right, it puts you in better shape than most of their customers. I hope they all play well enough for you to enjoy them.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Dear Zoey, A further follow-up, after watching 2 episodes last night, they froze several times despite frequent wiping, and it makes them nearly unwatchable. To my regret I had a refund from the bank, but following receipt and first trial runs, I cancelled my case and refunded the money to the bank. Maybe I should have waited and just returned the goods as unsatisfactory. I intend emailing whycostas for what good it will do.


The bank's investigations, which first showed that this order came via the Seychelles, found that the makers of these dvds, and there are a great many similar on their site, are based in China, which is confirmed by the label on the package. However, I can't tell from all the lettering if any of the label shows a return address, but if they bootleggers I don't suppose it would. Maybe you can pass this info on to whatever fraud office can deal with it, because this company needs to be stopped. Hard to get at being in China I guess.


Unless you have any queries I don't think I'll need to do any more follow ups, so I can finish your rating next time.


Best regards, Phil

Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 2 years ago.
Hi Phil,

I'm sorry to hear the ultmate outcome. Yes, because they are bootleggers they will be very hard to find. Their location information is deliberately contradictory because they don't want their whereabouts known, a sure sign they are up to no good.

Wouldn't hurt to lodge a complaint with Actionfraud.police.uk and with Trading Standards. They have no jurisdiction in the Seychelles or in China, but they might be able to warn others or convey the information to foreign authorities.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Zoey, I emailed them again yesterday by using the form on their own homepage this time. Naturally no answer (yet). I figured jurisdiction would be a problem, but if it helps to give this to the FBI or whoever deals with overseas problems, what appears to be an address on the package, is printed like this: "Miss Li, TEAMSUN SANZHOUCUN DADAO, HAIWU LU, PINGZHOU NANHAI NanHaiQu FoShanShi GUANGDONG 528200."


If only DVDs were issued region free in the first place we wouldn't have this problem. Maybe someone ought to put this to the producers.

Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 2 years ago.
Thanks, and I agree completely about the regions!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

What more information do you need?

Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 2 years ago.
I don't need more information. That was an auto-generated email from JA. Sorry for any unintended confusion.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Ok, thanks Zoey. I think that wraps it up, I'll just have to write off my £33 as I'm sure I'll get no response. I've already rated so have a good day.


Best regards, Phil

Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 2 years ago.
The problem with dealing with any company out of your country is that you end up without much legal leverage in a situation like this. Write it off as a life lesson.

Have a great summer!

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