by Kyle Swenson
Earlier this month we clued readers in on an alleged scam hitting up a number of Northeast Ohioans. To recap: Indiana-based bogus tech company Top Ten Imports, of shitbox iHeater infamy, came to town peddling an offer in the ad sections of local publications for discount laptop PCs. The large-print offer promised that if consumers acted fast they could snag an “EZ Book,” a computer that ran at $600 in stores, but for a limited time only, could be yours for only $179! Well, the products that arrived were more Gameboy than Gateway, and bilked customers dismayed to find that the company had a no return policy.
According to the Better Business Bureau, the company has racked up 122 complaints from unhappy customers. Unfortunately, most of the buyers were well-intended seniors or parents who thought they’d stumbled upon a legit deal, a Recession-age oddity.
We’re bummed to hear our public service announcement hasn’t spread.
The company's phone lines are still live, and if you’ll please have your shipping address and credit card on hand, you can have a bum product shipped to your door. We’ve heard from more recently jilted customers, so we’d thought we’d share another crappy consumer report.
Robert Buckingham was one well-intended buyer. The West Park resident bought two EZ Books, presents for his pair of teenage daughters. When he opened up the box, however, he wasn’t happy.
“I looked at the screen and was like, ‘My god this thing is small.’ I fired up the browser, and it locked up. Terrible,” he tells Scene.
Buckingham — who isn’t a novice when it comes to computers — also gave us some insight into the EZ Book's operation: “I had the Wi-Fi hooked up and it was working fine. But then it would go in and out, in and out, and when it would go out, it would lose the Wi-Fi password, so I’d have to reenter the 25 character password,” he explains. “The kids are not going to deal with this, old people are not going to deal with this, and I’m not going to deal with this.”
When he order the computers over the phone, Buckingham said the operator told him he’d be able to ship back the products if he wasn’t satisfied. Well, when that eventuality arrived, Buckingham found his receipt inside the box — which explained the company’s no refund policy.
Not one to be jilted, he called up the credit card company and had them cancel the order after Top Ten failed to return his initial calls. He’s bummed, but glad it didn’t cost him.
“I just wanted to surprise my daughters,” he says.