Thursday, March 05, 2009

New TV

(Sorry for all the TV jargon in this post)

I bought a Panasonic TH42PX80B TV the other day - a 42" 720i plasma beast. My old CRT TV lasted me more than a decade and it wasn't broken, but wifely pressure saw me splashing out.

I do like it - a good picture, a decent remote, and I've bought a component video cable for my Wii, and it turns out my crappy old £30 DVD player is a Panasonic too (who knew?) so the DVD controls on the TV remote control work. I was thinking of buying a new DVD player with decent hardware upscaling and an HDMI out but I don't think I'll bother now (even though they're only £50 now). I've seen Blu-Ray in our local Sony shop (me and Mr Boy pop in there on Saturdays to watch 5 or 10 minutes of Blu_Ray WALL-E but they're too expensive for me (the players, not the disks.) WALL-E looks just great on Blu-Ray, extremely crisp and great colours. Incidentally, the first time I watched it, I forgot it was animated for the first half because it's so beautifully done..

Anyway, my point is, while I was shopping around to find the best TV at the best price I came across something I haven't seen before - websites purporting to sell TVs and computers cheaper than everyone else, which are just scammers.

At first, I thought I wanted a TV capable of 1080p (which is the highest HD quality) so I looked at the Panasonic TH-46PZ80B. A 46" monster, it's £900 from Amazon including shipping, which was more than I wanted to spend. So I looked on Froogle, as you do, ordered by lowest price first, and I found a site called UnionTechPC (which doesn't seem to be in the Froogle results now). Quite a bit cheaper - but when I registered it only accepted Western Union payments. Ah, Western Union, the scammer's friend - you send money, the scammer withdraws the money, no goods are ever shipped: Western Union is only good for transactions between trusted parties, as they themselves know. Plus, no SSL on the checkout page, very suspicious. A quick search finds this page and this page. You'll notice if you view those pages - or if you register at UnionTechPC - that they are now accepting credit card payments, of course no goods will be received and you just gave your card details and security code to a bunch of scamming scum.

So there you go: if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Google the name of the website you're thinking of buying on, or if you can't find anything post on somewhere like the AVForums to see if, at least, anyone has successfully bought from the website. Doing a WHOIS search (which tells you who owns the website) is a good idea too: see the results for UnionTechPC: hmm, registered in January this year, the contact is a person not an organisation, the contact address is a PO box, dodgy, dodgy and dodgier. Just because they offer credit card payments is not an accreditation (though if they don't it's fairly obvious they're not legitimate) as above. Be careful out there..

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