New York Daily Photo Analytics

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Horse Trading

The Internet has provided new opportunities, including the ability for individuals to hide easily behind a cloak of anonymity in cyberspace. In the case of online businesses, it has also enabled many to create barriers between customers and live agents, one of the frustrations of the modern consumer.

I have owned a business for 35 years in New York City. I am old school when it comes to customer service and believe a business that takes your money has an obligation to provide easy phone access and transparency. Many companies do pride themselves on this and advertise as such on their websites. Others, even though reputable such as Amazon, offer no phone number on their websites. There are sites that do nothing but provide customer service telephone numbers for large companies.

Unfortunately, even when businesses have a physical presence, a visit in person to the offending store is no guarantee of satisfaction. When it comes to unscrupulous merchants, New York City has had a long history as a place with a fair number of weasels who drastically overcharge, lie and cheat in a variety of ways. Electronic shops in Times Square are notorious. But, overcharging alone is not a crime, so let the buyer beware, even in the world of bricks and mortar.

I was recently in the market for a no contract cell phone. The phone options for this are often limited. An unlocked phone can be configured by the phone carrier, and just a short stroll away from Verizon and AT&T on Broadway in NoHo is the CeX (Complete Entertainment Exchange), a dealer who buys and sells unlocked cell phones (along with video games, DVDs,CDs, computers and other digital electronic products).* My single previous experience was when I had accompanied someone who purchased a unlocked iPhone.

So, before my visit to Verizon, I decided to quickly drop into CeX and peruse the wares. I was greeted with locked doors, gates down and a number of ominous looking documents duct-taped to the shop doors and windows: CLOSED BY COURT ORDER and RESTRAINING ORDER, which warned that "Removal of property from these premises is prohibited, and the following activity is prohibited: use and occupancy." Below that was the reason: "Criminal possession of Stolen Property." In looking at online reviews, some alleged that CeX knowingly traded in stolen laptops. Apparently the NYPD was also aware. Whether in cyberspace, Times Square or any place with the character of the Wild West, beware of horse traders :)

*I was surprised to learn that CeX is not a mom and pop operation but one of over 100 stores in the US, Canada and the UK, where the corporation was founded in 1992.


Mary P. said...

A friend and I were just discussing the inability to keep our lives private in the new YouTube culture. Apparently the nefarious can manage to circumvent that, though.

Philwebservices said...

very informative..thank you for posting this one....

Anonymous said...

What a funny prank to play on a shopkeeper on April Fool's Day: In the wee hours before the store opens. affix similar signs and a lock to the entrance and watch the arriving shopkeeper's perplexed face and reaction to the sight. Hilarity would ensue!

Anonymous said...

Is this the one in Astoria off Steinway?

Brian Dubé said...

Jephrox - This is the one at 657 Broadway in NoHo. Does anyone know if this is the only store which has been closed?

411 New York said...

Isn't 657 Broadway in SOHO and not NOHO?

Brian Dubé said...

411 New York - It is north of Houston and therefore NoHo.

411 New York said...

Ah! That's right. They're between it and WSP.
I noteice the NYPD searching Bing this week for info on Astoria so it looks like that is next.

It's a shame though. Thouse who have store credit are going to loose out too.

Anonymous said...

Seinway street is still open, as our the others.

NYPD clearly jumping the gun again.

I used to work in a pawn shop not far from here which was a mom and pop business, we were law abiding with many decent regular customers and always cooperated with the police.

Every now and then they would raid us and close us down, even though we were not doing anything wrong or had any property reported stolen.

they made the owner agree to some stupid rules they put in place, raided him a couple more times, fined him some more, in the end he sold up, putting me out of a job.

I dont blame him, i blame the NYPD

they prefer doing this than catching the real bad guys on the streets as these people usually dont fight back.