The world of the marketplace is a fickle one.

No-shows, not-as-advertised, or just plain rude encounters are just a handful of the complaints that one may come across in their search for the perfect deal.

But now, Saanich Police are warning residents to beware of fraudulent electronic sales.

On Wednesday, June 23rd, an individual was approached by two suspects in a commercial parking lot in the 3900 block of Shelbourne Street asking if they wanted to purchase a home theatre projection unit.

The deal included a projector, speakers, and a theatre screen, all of which were packaged in what appeared to be original condition. Once a price was negotiated, the buyer paid cash and the transaction was completed.

Once the buyer took the unit home, they quickly discovered the contents were not as advertised. The speakers were old and defective, the projector was an outdated model that was not as advertised on the box, and one box contained heavy cement blocks.

Beware of counterfeit items. Second report of electronics purchased from suspects selling out of a van in a parking lot….

Posted by Saanich Police on Friday, June 25, 2021

For those saying “Well, why didn’t they check the box?”

You’re not completely wrong.

But while the sale of the items was not criminal, the false claims about the merchandise were; meaning, it constitutes a criminal charge of fraud.

According to Saanich Police, the suspects were operating out of a van that was tracked back to a rental company from the Lower Mainland.

A similar incident occurred in the same parking lot back in March,, which was reported and investigated by police. The suspects, in that case, remain outstanding.

Saanich Police have provided some tips to protect yourself from fraudulent sales and sellers:

  • Purchase electronics from a reputable electronics store.
  • Ask to inspect the contents prior to purchase.
  • The seller says the items are “extra or surplus stock” from an install.
  • Check and compare the model and serial number to the items inside the box. – Slow down and take your time. Research the make and model online.
  • Cash deals to avoid sales tax may be a sign of a counterfeit operation.
  • Walk away if the seller(s) becomes aggressive or if the price is too good to be true. – Selling electronics out of a vehicle is a warning sign.

Saanich Police are asking anyone that has purchased counterfeit electronic item(s) or wants to report suspicious sellers, to call 250-475- 4321.

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