• August 11, 2020

Deals that are too good probably are - Odessa American: Business

e-Edition Subscribe

Deals that are too good probably are

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Sunday, October 7, 2007 12:00 am

It’s the weekend, and you’re dashing to complete a list of errands.

As you pull into the parking lot of a neighborhood mall or store, you see some enticing signs for “high-quality” equipment, furniture, jewelry or artwork that’s displayed on the blacktop.

The advertised prices are extremely low and worth checking out, you decide. Think again — you’re about to get taken.

It’s known as the “white van” or the “parking lot peddler” scam.

People driving white vans or sport utility vehicles pull into a parking lot to display their wares. The packaging looks legitimate, the merchants will swear that the products are not stolen and assure you that they can be returned if you aren’t completely satisfied.

What they don’t tell you is that they’ll be long gone by the time you discover the products are defective, not high quality or counterfeit brands.

The salesperson’s “satisfaction guaranteed” or “return for full refund” claims are worthless.

It’s best to exercise similar caution when evaluating goods displayed on card tables set up on busy sidewalks.

The merchants will assure you that the purses are designer brands, the jewelry 24-carat gold and the watches top quality.

While the prices may be attractive and the merchandise tempting, think about your recourse should you not be satisfied with your purchase.

Are you going to be able to track down that particular sidewalk vendor again? If he’s not there, do you know the name of their business and its physical location? Were you provided with a business card with contact information or a sales receipt with a printed return and exchange policy?

Chances are, the answer to each of these questions is “no.”

At the very least, contact your local Better Business Bureau and ask about the merchant and the manufacturer of the product before making a purchasing decision. The BBB may have a report on the company with helpful information.

BBBs also hear the heartbreaking stories of complainants after the fact.

The stereo speakers don’t work or can’t be configured properly. The furniture smells of chemicals and appears to be “used” rather than “brand new.” The jewelry has left a green mark on their skin. The purse is counterfeit.

Unfortunately, sidewalk vendors and parking lot peddlers travel quickly through town.

They don’t stay in any one place for very long before moving on. If you fall victim to a white van scam, contact your local police and Better Business Bureau.

At the very least, your call can help warn others who may be tempted by the “great” deals.

Check out the website www.permianbasinbbb.org or call 563-1880.

Odessa, TX

Current Conditions

Humidity: 24%
Winds: SSE at 14mph
Feels Like: 94°

Your Extended Forecast


High 101°/Low 75°
Clear. Lows overnight in the mid 70s.


High 104°/Low 76°
Abundant sunshine. Highs 102 to 106F and lows in the mid 70s.


High 105°/Low 76°
Sunshine. Highs 103 to 107F and lows in the mid 70s.
Online Features

Pet Central


Having a pet is a lot of responsibility, and we’ll help by giving you lots of tips and tricks! More >>



Our fitness articles will help teach you how to work out with gym- and home-based exercises. More >>



Enjoy the crosswords challenge in our free daily puzzles, from the harder Sunday crossword to the quicker daily. More >>



Every Sudoku has a unique solution that can be reached logically. Enter numbers into the blank spaces so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 to 9. More >>

  • ALL-ACCESS: Subscribe to our e-edition and premium website at myoaoa.com.
    You can read your daily newspaper without taking a walk to the driveway.
    Look back at yesterday's newspaper, or issues from months ago with our archive feature.
    Call circulation at 432-337-7314 to sign up today.