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Old 04-10-2010, 10:37 PM
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Default Major customer issue.. any help appreciated :)

Hi everyone, I'm wondering if you could please assist me with this issue.

Basically I run a small computer repair business in my area. I have a customer who I think is attempting to pull a fast one over a insurance claim.

He apparently had a flood last year, got a friend to sort out his electrics, and alarm issues, and mentioned he had 'all this computer gear which is flooded, do you know any computer engineers?'. My friend mentioned me, and this guy contacted me, and told me his issues.

He had around 5 pc's, and other assorted hardware, which he wanted writing off, and being issued with a engineers report, for insurance purposes. He brought round all the pc's and "OLD" hardware, for testing.

Each pc I tested was fully working, so returned them to him in the same state as they came in. (I made a note of all serial numbers, and hardware inside, and still have it in my database).

The "OLD" hardware, I could not test, as I did not have the associated hardware to test each, ie socket 7 boards, needing a cpu, memory, pcmcia modem cards etc..

Now my 'customer' told me, that all this hardware was worth a fortune to him, as the prices were astronimcal. (which they were many years ago).

There was also other items of hardware, including a pixeltec? sp camera, and hardware, which I have no knowledge of, dont know how to test the items, and told him so.

He said, oh its ok, they were all inside, and got flooded, just write them off, and I will pay you! Major alarm bells started ringing..

Fast forward 12 months, to last week, when he contacted me again, stating that hes only got another 4 weeks, before the insurance claim is closed, as nothing has been done about it.

He asks me, if I still have the other items of hardware, I told him no, that everything was disposed of approx 6 months ago. I tried umpteen times to contact you, via email, no reply. Mobile (changed no), landline went dead, and could not hold the items any longer, as they were all taking up space in the workshop. He didnt like this, but had no choice in the matter.

He then said, do you have the pixeltec camera etc, as I know someone who will give me 1500 for it all, the insurance will be paying me 3000, and I will give you 500 from it, just for that alone!. This 'someone' would integrate it into their systems. Again I told him no, I dont have anything, and what your saying is tantamount to insurance fraud, of which I'm, having no part of.

He then contacts me last week with some more items, which were 'flooded'. Asking 'Can you send me a copy of your letter headed paper, together with what you would put down on the insurance report, I will do all the legwork for you, email it back over to you, you sign it, post it back, and when im paid, ill give you something out of it!.'

Again major bells ringing..

I tell him, that I cannot, and will not do that, as I'm not going to get myself into this kind of situation. He agrees with this, and then sends me a spreadsheet of the items, which he wants writing off..

The total 'new' cost of these items, is in the region of 6000, as its all like for like.

This is where it gets interesting..

example, he has listed
Desktop HP 5750 s/n xxx Athlon 64bit x2, dual core, 4gb ram, 500gb drive, litescribe dvdrw, nvidia geforce 8400gs graphics card.

In place of this, he wants a HP RP5700, Intel Dual core E6400 2gb, 250gb drive. 979.95 Together with an extra 2Gb ram 64.61, a Radeon HD4650 Graphics card 77.02, HP Litescribe writer 34.08, and an extra HP 500Gb drive 74.03. Multiply this by 4, and its a huge cost..

I rang him earlier, asking what speed the cpu is inside the machines, and he tells me, oh i dont know, its on the hp website.. (as theres a list of approx 8 cpu's which could of been fitted), and comes back with a athlon 3.8ghz d/c. I tell him that there is no 8400gs listed as spec on that machine, and he tells me, oh it must be the big one at the end..

I mention that the costs of each additional piece of hardware, he wants including is far in excess of what any customer can purchase it for, and he tells me, that it has a HP memory stick inside it, and I want it to have another HP memory stick inside, the costs are what are on the website at the moment!

There are other assorted items, too, ie Yamaha CRW-f1sx CDRW external SCSI., where he has put down a costing of 349.95 for!. These can be purchased for as little as 20-30 admitadly on ebay, but all this is causing me major issues.

Another thoughts just come to me, last week, in the conversation we had, I mentioned, that if the pc's were to be disposed of, then personally I would data wipe all details off the hard drive.

He asked me how much that would be, and I quoted him at 25 per machine, as I use 3-5 passes, it takes time etc.. to be told '25 sounds a bit too much money for that, can you make it 20 each, and add it to the quote, also how much does it cost to dispose of an item?', I told him its 5 per item, ie tower, monitor, keyboard mouse etc. 'Oh cool, add that to the list too'.

I am thinking of writing this email off to him, and see what he says..

Hi xxx

I've had another look, and thoughts about the pc list etc.

The only way I could possibly do anything regarding these items, it to physically have them here, check the specs of each, ensure that every item is completely faulty, then could do a insurance report etc, together with comparative costings.

I can't simply do a insurance report, and write them all off without seeing each item in question.

The reason being, I do a lot of insurance work, for all the insurance companies, and should anything be amiss with your claim, then I do not want to be party of any allegations, or false claims.

If you would like to drop the machines, and assorted hardware off, then I will gladly go through them, and check everything prior to writing the report out for you.

Now does this sound a little 2 faced of me?, or should I simply tell him to go forth. This claim sounds like it's going to run into the 000's, and the majority of it looks false.

I've been seriously thinking of telling him to go forth, I have worked long and hard to get where I am now, and am not willing to risk anything. My reputation is worth far more, then what he is asking me to do.

But im also thinking of trying to get hold of his insurance details, and then speaking to a claims manager, as I really do think this is a major insurance fraud..

Judging by the comments he has mentioned to me, and the spreadsheet given to me, then as far as I can see, it is blatent insurance fraud. I'm not saying that every single piece of hardware or equipment is faulty, and damaged by the 'flood', but for there to be so much of it, and from what I have tested working something is amiss.

Any thoughts??.. Sorry for the ramblings, I have typed this up whilst its still fresh in my mind..

Any questions, please dont hesitate to ask..

thanks for your time, and for reading war and peace.. part iv

be safe

cadishead computers
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Old 04-10-2010, 11:17 PM
hardtoremember hardtoremember is offline
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My opinion is very simple. You do not and will not be any part of any fraud of any sort for any reason. Tell him to move along and make sure you have all of your notes ALONG with his bill handy.

It seems like a sure bet that anything you send to him will be altered. You are much much better off to remain OUT of this situation.

I would drop him immediately and make it extremely clear to him that you will not now nor ever be involved with him.
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Old 04-10-2010, 11:22 PM
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J-Bob J-Bob is offline
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Bad news bears, keep away from this fellow.

A shady character like this will end up getting you in trouble- you hang around [SIZE=1](or talk to)[/SIZE] him enough and the police could go 'why didn't you report him to someone?' [SIZE=1][or the like][/SIZE]

Cut the cord!
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Old 04-10-2010, 11:58 PM
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Cuban_Tech Cuban_Tech is offline
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Keep that guy away from you; he will sink your boat if you keep him around. Insurance fraud is big no no.
This isn't about fixing computers. It's about fixing users.

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Old 04-11-2010, 12:49 AM
IAMPC IAMPC is offline
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Next time he contact you, tell him you will report him to his insurance agency if he keeps contacting you. End of story. I'm not sure why you even keep in touch with him.

Last edited by IAMPC; 04-11-2010 at 12:50 AM. Reason: Typo
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Old 04-11-2010, 03:20 AM
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My opinion is you already know to much about his intent and should report him to keep yourself out of trouble.
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Old 04-11-2010, 03:36 AM
Alan22 Alan22 is offline
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My thoughts....if you're an honest person, do the honest thing. If you're not an honest person, then do whatever you want. From your post it appears you are honest and know what's the right thing to do, which is to basically cut him loose.

But, now you may be in an interesting situation. What are the laws in your area concerning the knowledge of a potential insurance crime and any obligations to report it? I don't even know what the laws are in my area concerning this and would most likely seek legal advice just to protect myself. Remember, ignorance of the law is no excuse.
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Old 04-11-2010, 07:53 AM
Carus Carus is offline
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your reply sounds entirely appropriate, you cant sign off on anything untill you have deemed it damaged, that is being honest, and imo that is how you should handle yourself
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Old 04-11-2010, 03:37 PM
Eddie Eddie is offline
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Run for the hills!
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Old 04-11-2010, 03:43 PM
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Run for the hills!
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