regret to report that it could
seem as forum.thinkpads.com member Brad may
have used the Marketplace of forum.thinkpads.com to commit fraud
against me. The (very long and very sad) story is this:The pre-story:
In the spring 2008 I was looking to buy a fingerprint-reader equipped FlexView-T42 ThinkPad for my mother, as discussed in the thread WTB: T42 w/15” SXGA+ LCD (FlexView) & fingerprint-reader
. Note that emphasis in that WTB-thread is very specifically
on a T42 with
. In reply to that WTB-thread I received a PM from user Brad
who offered me a 2373-L4U which according to the ltwbook
has a fingerprint reader (the T42 offered by Brad’s also had this). The condition of this T42 was stated to be: “Lid has a minimal amount of normal wear and the palmrest and keyboard look new”
. Brad offered me this T42 for $475 (plus shipping) on June 12, 2008. Although this was a quite expensive price for an out-of-warranty T42, and although I had already shortly before bought another T42 for this purpose (bought via eBay, and refurbished by James, member jamiphar), I accepted Brad’s offer, partly since Brad at that time had a fine reputation on the forum, and partly also because I wanted to give the best of these two T42’s for my mother and then to keep the second as a spare. I asked Brad to upgrade this “his” T42 since I wanted it be like-new, and Brad agreed to this and upgraded the CPU (to a PM745, which I supplied); replaced the LCD cover (I bought and had supplied the new cover), replaced the palmrest/fingerprint reader, upgraded the stock CD-ROM to “new-in-box” DVD-RW (FRU 39T2729) which he supplied, replaced the CMOS battery, and swapped the stock HDD to a new-in-box 100 GB/7200 rpm. The total cost of this out-of-warranty, fingerprint-equipped T42 ended being:
a) The T42 itself: $475
b) The LCD cover replacement: $50 (labour only, as I bought and had supplied the part)
c) The new CMOS battery: $10 (part and labour)
d) The new palmrest/fingerprint bezel: $60 (part and labour),
e) The new 100 GB, 7200 rpm HDD in a sealed box: $110 (bought from Brad)
f) The DVD-RW (“sealed in the box”, FRU 40Y8622/39T2729): $60 (bought from Brad)
Total cost incl. refurbishment-labour, but excl. shipping = 475+50+10+60+110+60 = $765
After completing all upgrades, Brad wrote in a mail on July 31, 2008: ”Your T42 should be ready to ship Friday”
. This shipping however did not happen, because in a mail of Aug. 6, 2008 Brad wrote: “I am still testing your T42. It is working nicely and looks great!”
Brad continued and continued and continued to postpone the shipment… and promised and promised and promised to ship “soon”. In a mail e.g. of Dec. 24, 2008, Brad wrote: “I am afraid that I have failed miserably with your ThinkPad shipping request. You probably already know that though. I apologize that I wasn't able to get you the ThinkPads in time for Christmas. I kept meaning to get them out did not. Hopefully real soon....”
Long story short, Brad never shipped this T42 that I had agreed to buy on June 12, 2008
. I ended having to go to New York myself
to pick it up in Brad’s home on May 2009
…. almost a year after agreeing to by it (!). Another big reason for going to New York was to try to settle another very unsatisfactory matter with Brad, which will be described later in this post.
After bringing this specifically and explicitly requested-to-be, and refurbished to “like-new” fingerprint-reader
equipped T42 back to Denmark, it unfortunately turned out that the fingerprint-reader does not
function (the motherboard is simply defective!), and also that the “new-in-box” DVD-RW sold by Brad did not
function. Both these items have been thoroughly documented by me to be defective. Brad has acknowledged both defects (as a comment to this, Brad wrote: “I apologize for not checking that”
), and Brad has offered a discount/compensation to cover for the defective mobo, but this discount/compensation has never been received. Also, Brad has promised to ship a replacement fully working DVD-RW (I returned the defective drive to him in Dec. 2009), but this new replacement DVD-RW (FRU 39T2729) has also never been received from him (since he never shipped it to me!).
Bottom line with this restored-to-new T42 sold-as-with-working-fingerprint-reader
is that I am very
disappointed with very specifically, very explicitly seeking for and then buying and spending a significant
amount of money on it ($765 for an out-of-warranty unit!), just to discover that one of the main parts/reasons (the fingerprint-reader) for agreeing to buy this specific machine turns out to be defective. Highly unsatisfactory
– and likewise highly unsatisfactory is Brad’s speed (or rather: Total lack of!) seeking to cure the problems. In my opinion, this behaviour is not
worthy for a senior forum member such as Brad, hitherto having had such a fine reputation on the forum.End of pre-story.
Regret to say, this is not the only negative feedback I have for Brad. Unfortunately, there is a whole lot more. Read on.
At more or less the same time as posting the above fingerprint-reader T42 WTB-thread, I dreamt of the ultimate ThinkPad for myself, which I considered being a T61 motherboard transplanted to a 4:3 T60/p chassis, and equipped with a FlexView/IPS UXGA LCD; this project is/was discussed in the thread Parts for the ultimate 15” T60 UXGA FlexView w/T61(p) mobo?
Since the parts needed for this project is both very hard and very expensive to obtain here in Denmark, compared to in the USA, I therefore sought an experienced “partner” in the USA to help me get the parts (many US-sellers won’t ship out of USA), and also to help assemble this ultimate ThinkPad. I therefore asked Brad if he would be able and willing to help me get this ultimate T60. What I specifically wrote Brad was the following “business proposal”, which I suggested via mail on Aug. 10, 2008, where I asked if Brad was interested in entering into an informal “co-operation” with me where I should buy used T42’s via eBay, which Brad should then refurbish and sell via the Marketplace. This project would, if agreed to, be to the benefit off all parties; to me, to Brad and to the forum-members, since the latter would in this way get the opportunity to buy refurbished, thoroughly tested ThinkPad’s from an expert, trustworthy seller with a fine reputation, and that the forum-members would therefore avoid the eBay-gambling. What I wrote in my “business proposal” to Brad was the following:
In my mail to Brad of Aug. 10, 2008, entitled Business proposal!, Johan wrote:
Although you may perhaps find this mail a bit unusual, I nevertheless don’t hesitate (that much…) to send it – because I am having a very clear sense that you are an openhearted and relaxed fellow!
As indicated by the ”subject” of this mail, I have had an idea that you might think is fun, and would perhaps want to participate in – and to very clearly emphasize the keyword here is ”fun”, and neither ”a lot of tedious work” and/or ”many concerns”… just fun, and hopefully a bit of profit especially for you!
OK, let’s get to it! The thing is that I am having great fun browsing eBay, mainly for/after ThinkPad-items (and mainly T42/T60 stuff, that is all I know about), and sometimes I think I see bargains (auctions ending) passing by just in front of my nose… and then I wonder: “Why I am not able to share this just-passing-by bargain with some forum friend?” And this is why I write! Because I would like to ask you, Sir Borax, if you perhaps would have any interest in entering into a small ”joint venture” with me, where I put in a bit of ”venture capital”, and you for your part only invest a bit of your time? What I very specifically have in mind is to ask: What if I win a cheap T42 on eBay, and you then receive it, refurbish it to the extent necessary, and you then sell it again? The profit made on this I suggest will be split between us with 75 % for you and 25 % for me (as you do the work!). The profit for me will be put in the ”Brad-bank”, and will solely be used for some day when I ask you to help me again (= be used to pay for your service to me). According to this model, you will have some work (and income from that), and also some ”raw profit”, whereas I will have fun and access to your “free help” some day in the future.. when I have “saved up” sufficiently in the “Brad-bank”!
If buying a ThinkPad on eBay for, say, $250, and you then having to use one hour to refurbish it (for a ”sell-able” condition), and it needs parts for, say, $50, and you then being able to sell it for, say $450, then there is a direct profit here of: 450-250-50 (parts)–one hour Brad labour (at your hourly rate). I don’t know what you would charge for the labour, but say you e.g. charge $75, then that would still leave a profit of 450-250-50-75 = 75 (in addition to the 75/Brad-labour). This surely doesn’t sound much, I agree, but if you perhaps have a stock of ”OK, still-usable part”, then the $50 part would be less… and the potential profit would be higher! If then being able to pick up a nice ThinkPad now and then… then the profit might be interesting after some time?
All I want with this is to ”play” on eBay now and then, when I (or you!) stumble across something sufficiently interesting, and I do have a sufficient strong economy (“venture capital” you might call it) for such play… so even if I/we buy something, and don’t get it sold (of have to sell with a loss), then I will take on me the FULL economical loss… all you would invest (and ”loose”) would be your time, if the sale even won’t cover your work/labour. If, however, this proposal is of your interest, then there is also the ”fun” in it for me, that I may perhaps one day have ”saved” so much in the ”Brad-bank” (”profit-labour!”) that I could again ask you to refurbish any other ThinkPad? And that’s all I want to use “my profit” for!
This may all sound a bit spooky (unusual!) to you, Brad, but I have simply come to think of it because of the below exact ThinkPad’s, which are coming up for end-or-auction on Tuesday, and which I guess will sell for around the $200-250 mark. As a couple of these are even still being IN-WARRANTY (!!), the ”refurbishment-burden” on you would in such case be much less, and the profit-potential would be larger! Note that I won the T42 you just received from the same buyer for only $162.45 + shipping ($186.40 in total), and the one I won for my Mother (http:///cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=370057621182) I got for only $192.05 + shipping (that one even still being under warranty - and James said that its cosmetic condition was one of the nicest he had ever seen!).
Again: I know that this is most likely an unusual mail to receive, Brad, but I couldn’t resist the temptation first of all because you are such a pleasant person to work with (!), and next because of your obvious highly knowledgeable background in ThinkPad’s, and furthermore (and not the least!) because I have a 100 % sense of your completely honest nature, and finally also because I have the impression that you may have some sort of convenient access to IBM/Lenovo spare parts (perhaps you have a big pile of parts?). All this sort of contributed to this ”business idea”.
Again, to emphasize, the fundamental idea of this ”joint project” should be based on – and only aimed at! – fun for both of us, and a bit of profit for you… and to save some ”money-in-the-Bard-bank” for me! A win-win situation, in my opinion, provided of course you think likewise. Again, to repeat: If we go ahead with this, I will pay for items (and shipping) won on eBay, you will put in your time – and spare parts needing to pay for before items can be offered for sale, I will also pay for them. I will take all the economical risk. You only invest (and risk not to be covered for) your time… but of course we wouldn’t buy a lot of junk, just to have huge spare-part expenses and a lot of work for you; this idea is only fun if there is some bargains that are easy to pick up! It’s not that I have so much money that I want to throw them away, but for, say, $1000 I am willing to ”play” to see if there is anything in this idea for both of us, or not.
Please let me know if you have any interest in this suggestion, Brad – and if possible before Tuesday afternoon (my time), as this is when the above four particularly interesting auctions ends. NB: The seller also has a number of PM735 (1.7 GHz) T42’s on auction the same day, but I haven’t checked specifications on them; I have focused on the PM745’s with 15” FlexView/IPS.
PS: We don’t need to set up any papers/contracts if we go ahead with this; I would consider this as a ”gentlemen’s agreement” with you, and need nothing else.
To this suggestion, I immediately received the following reply:
In his reply to my mail, received on Aug. 10, 2008, Brad wrote:
Thanks for emailing.
I thank you for thinking of me for your business proposal. Your fun offer is very generous and I am honored and would be pleased to work with you. I do not have a second thought about it.
I am all in 100% and look forward to working with you.
That is all I have to say about it. Let's play!
So, after Brad agreed to this proposal, I started buying T42’s on eBay, and in Aug. and Sept. 2008 I bought in total 22 (twenty-two) FlexView T42’s. These were all shipped to Brad and refurbished and offered for sale by him on the Marketplace via the two threads FS: T42 15" SXGA+ FlexView, in-warranty, worldwide
and FS: High-end T42 15" SXGA+ FlexView LCD, warranty, worl
where many forum members may easily recognize the original first posts in these treads as being composed by me.
In total, in the summer of 2008, I invested $5048
in these ThinkPad’s and parts needed to refurbish them (parts such as HDD caddies and covers, AC/DC adapters, base covers, LCD covers, RAM, HDD etc).
Brad offered the twenty-two T42’s for sale via the Marketplace, sold thirteen of them and in total collected $5270
from buyers, as documented in a mail from Brad to me received of Oct. 6, 2009. Of these $5270 collected (received) by Brad, he claimed that $496 was shipping cost, that $1050 was parts supplied (= sold) by Brad, and that $1040 was Brad’s labour/”refurbishing” cost. In other words, Brad has used this co-operation (entirely funded by me) to sell his own parts + his labour for $1050+$1040 = $2090
. After subtracting these $2090 + $496 (shipping cost) from the $5270 collected, Brad therefore still kept $2684 directly stemming from Johan’s $5048 investment. These $2684 is obviously (at least to me) not Brad’s money, yet he kept them in his wallet.
Unfortunately, and in despite of his initial promise: “I am all in 100%”
Brad after a while totally lost his interest in trying to sell the remaining eight T42’s (22-13 = 9 but one of the T42’s turned out to have a non-charging mobo); Brad continuously neglected requests to “bump” the FS-thread, and despite many promises Brad also never listed the remaining T42s on neither eBay nor on the New York or Long Island Craigslist. Bottom line, the thirteen T42 were sold with a total loss of $23 (loss after paying Brad the $2090+$496 covering his expenses for parts + labour + shipping). Nine T42’s were left for sale, when Brad lost interest in this project or “co-operation”. Of these nine, the three were still covered under IBM warranty until mid-May 2009, potentially adding value to their selling price. Unsold laptops, purely bought and intended for rapid resale, such as these T42’s, is loosing value every day. This issue is of course most of concern for the owner who wish to sell them.
In Sept. 2009, Brad finally shipped me two of the nine T42’s and some of the parts I had had delivered to him (I asked Brad to ship me these two T42’s on Nov. 23, 2008
, but he didn’t do it until Sept. 2009
Since Brad had effectively/silently terminated the co-operation long before autumn 2009, I decided to donate two of the T42’s around Christmas 2009 for the kids of an American forum.thinkpads.com member (Brad shipped these) in stead of just having them remaining “in stock” (forever?) with Brad. Today, mid-July 2010, there are still five T42’s left in Brad’s possession (one of which has a non-charging mobo). Because this “joint-project” has obviously been effectively terminated by Brad, I have since the summer/autumn 2009 continuously asked Brad to ship all my remaining items in his possession (which also include a T60 UXGA LCD that I had bought for my ultimate ThinkPad-project, and after agreement had delivered to Brad’s address). Brad has numerous
times during the past year promised that he would ship all my items at or before specific dates, and that he would also transfer all the money to me that he still owe (and still keep in his pocket), at or before specific dates, but nothing
simply continue to happen… Brad just continues to write “sorry” and then makes a new promise which also turns out to be false. This has gone on for around a year now. Today, July 14, 2010, which is almost two years
after Brad and I entered this “co-operation”, Brad still keeps five of my T42’s and a number of ThinkPad parts, value in total more than $1000.
When I picked up the (turning-out-to-be:) defective-fingerprint-reader T42 (the 2372-L4U) at Brad’s house in May 2009 in Long Island, NY, Brad handed me $700 in cash with no explanation of why this small amount (there was a intense feeling of being ashamed radiated from him at that time, offering no explanation of why he did not hand me e.g. $2000?).
In Nov. 2009, I decided to contact forum.thinkpads.com owner and SeniorAdmin
, Mr. Bill Morrow, to ask for his help about how to solve this sad story. I explained the whole situation as outlined above. Mr. Morrow was very kind, and replied back to me:
In his reply to me of Nov. 11, 2009, BillMorrow wrote:
i took the cowards way out and only asked brad "whats up with you and johan"..without forwarding anything..
i take it from his reply that he IS embarrassed and somewhat chagrined..
let me ask you what would be a good resolution to this business, for you..?
i have no problem being the middleman and helping you and brad out to resolve this issue..
Apparently Mr. Morrow’s brief mail to Brad did cause some embarrassment for Brad’s part, because on Nov. 25, 2009 I received a PayPal payment from Brad of $220. Apart from that, nothing else happened. Since Nov. 2009 I have received nothing
from Brad (except from a number of promises, none of which have been kept). Today, Brad still owes me more than $1030 in cash, plus all the items which he still keeps in his possession, plus the replacement T42 DVD-RW.
The reason why I have entitled this post: “Fraud committed via forum.thinkpads.com by user Brad?” is that I consider it fraud
to collect money on behalf of me, and then keep
both the money owed to me as well as keeping my items. It should be clear to everybody, that the items bought for resale (some of which were in-warranty at that time) have lost much value being “in stock” for two years. Unfortunately, I do not believe that Brad is concerned with this issue.
Meanwhile and subsequently, Brad has continued to use this forum to sell his own ThinkPad’s and parts (e.g. here
). I have to say that I find this continued forum-selling-activity very unsatisfactory to witness, since Brad is at the same time is continuously neglecting to ship me my items and to pay me all the money which he has collected and is still keeping and still owe me. Such behaviour does not seem to be in line with the forum gentlemen-rules which I believe is supposed to exist here (?).
I have full documentation for all my purchases of ThinkPad’s and parts, including documentation for that everything has been delivered to Brad. All I have written in this post is true. In case some forum Moderator of Administrator should nevertheless hesitate to believe this, I offer the forum.thinkpads.com SeniorAdmin access to my private e-mail account, where all correspondence between me and Brad can be found, and where eBay and PayPal documentation (incl. payment confirmation) is also available.
For more than a year I have been extremely
patient with Brad, giving him plenty
of opportunities to honour all his promises and obligations taken on by accepting to enter this co-operation as he initially agreed to. I have for very long
protected Bard’s fine reputation on this forum by not – until now – posting this negative feedback. It is therefore with much sadness that I can think of no other last chance to get Brad to pay me what he owes me, and get him to ship me all my ThinkPad’s and parts, than by posting this. I have tried to call Brad many, many, many times via the phone (at home, at work, to his mobile) to try to sort out this whole “thing”, but my calls are never being picked up… maybe Brad simply do not wish to talk to me?
I have simply no idea of why Brad is treating me like described in this post, since I have always been totally honest, friendly, helpful, understanding, open, relaxed and extremely
patient with Brad. Today, in mid-July 2010, I just think that this affair has gone way too far
. I have completely lost all faith in Brad’s promises. I have no idea of what to do.
In conclusion, by posting this I kindly ask the forum.thinkpad.com members for suggestions and help about to end this very sad matter. Thank you very much in advance for any constructive help.
With deep regret and much sadness having to post this,