Scam Alert: Beware When Selling Used Laboratory Instruments!
Dark Daily (http://www.darkdaily.com/) recently spoke to Phil Johnson, founder of MYCO Instrumentation Source in Renton, WA to get his advice on buying used laboratory equipment for an upcoming special report. In the course of the conversation, it became apparent that Phil had some vital intelligence to share with our readers about the selling of used laboratory equipment.
Johnson tells us that many laboratories selling their used equipment fall victim to a “scam” instigated by some companies offering to buy this equipment. According to Johnson, the laboratory equipment reseller buying the piece of equipment offers 25% of the agreed-upon price in advance. This reseller’s agreed-upon price is often two or three times what competing resellers are offering, so the laboratory takes their offer. After the reseller picks up the piece of equipment, the reseller does not pay the balance of the money. When questioned about this by the laboratory, the reseller states that the piece of equipment had undisclosed damage, and it was not worth the agreed-upon price.
At this point, the laboratory has few options. They can reclaim their piece of equipment, but they will end up paying to transport it back. Plus, they will likely have a new piece of equipment already, so there is no need or space for the old instrument. They can use their legal recourses to get the money from the reseller, but that may end up costing almost as much as the actual value of the used equipment. The scam succeeds because the laboratory often ends up having to settle for the 25% down payment as payment in full when they could have gotten twice as much in advance from a reputable reseller.
“It’s just like selling a used car,” said Johnson. “Would you agree to take 25% up-front and to receive the rest after the car had gone home with its new owner? I think not!” Johnson went as far as to put a full-page advertisement exposing this practice in Medical Laboratory Observer suggesting people contact him for more information, but he got a frustratingly low response. “People just don’t understand the risk involved in selling used equipment and they turn into victims.”
Johnson suggests that, whether you are buying or selling used laboratory equipment, you should take the following precautions:
1. Get references
2. Ask them how long they’ve been in business
3. Look into their Better Business Bureau (http://www.bbb.org/) record for complaints
4. Check their Dunn and Bradstreet rating (http://www.dnb.com/about-dnb/15062603-1.html)
The risk associated with accepting a higher selling price from an unknown or disreputable laboratory equipment reseller does not warrant accepting a higher price that you may never receive. Trust your instincts and don’t get fooled!