Connect with us

Headphones / Speakers

Finally Approached By The White Van Speaker Guys!



I’ve been hearing about this speaker scam going on in parking lots across America for the past 10 years or so, and I was finally approached by the “White Van Speaker Guys” over the weekend in a mall parking lot!

If you’re unfamiliar with the scam, here’s the gist of it:

The typical white van speaker scam involves one to three individuals, who are usually casually dressed or wearing uniforms. They drive an SUV, minivan or a commercial vehicle (usually a white commercial van, which may be rented inexpensively) that often displays a company logo. To find suitable targets, the van operators set up their con in moderately-trafficked areas, such as parking lots, gas stations, colleges, or large apartment complexes. Alternatively, they may target people driving expensive cars and wave them down. The marks (victims) are usually affluent, young people, college students, or others thought to have large amounts of disposable income.

The operators often claim that they work for an audio retailer or audio installer and that, through some sort of corporate error (warehouse operator mistake, bookkeeping mistakes, computer glitch, etc.) or due to the client changing the order after supplies were purchased, they have extra speakers. Sometimes, it is implied that the merchandise may be stolen. For varying reasons they need to dispose of the speakers quickly and are willing to get rid of them at “well below retail” prices. The con artists will repeatedly state the speaker’s “value” as anywhere between $1800 and $3500, prices often purportedly verified by showing a brochure or a magazine advertisement. They will usually also have an official-looking website verifying their claims.

If the mark declines the offer, the scammer uses various high-pressure negotiation sales tactics. Among these techniques are producing glossy material that details the quality and high retail value of the speakers, and bombarding the potential customer with technical jargon, whether correctly or incorrectly used. If still unable to convince the mark that he is turning down an incredible offer, the con artist will almost always lower the price significantly. Some con artists will even suggest that, since the customer got such a great deal, he should pay a little extra as beer money for his supposed benefactor.

In my case, they were actually driving a GREEN mini-van, and the driver who approached me looked like Manny from Modern Family.

He rolled up next to me as I was walking to my car, and the dialog went like this:

Manny: Hey man, you wanna buy some home theatre speakers?
Me: No thanks.
Manny: No problem.. Mind if I ask you a question? Why did you say No?
Me: I’ve already got home theatre speakers.

And with that he drove off. I was tempted to screw with this guy, but I was already in a hurry.

Hard to believe that this scam is still going strong almost a decade later! But you really can’t stop these guys, since technically they’re not doing anything wrong. They’re just selling crap-quality speakers with an over-inflated MSRP, and it’s the buyer’s greed that does them in.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Can’t believe that people fall for such a scam? Ask around, there’s sure to be someone who’s been taken by them.

Sujeet Patel is the founder of Guys Gab, the definitive men's lifestyle blog, and he's one of the biggest car enthusiast you'll ever meet. He's been fortunate enough to turn his passion for cars into a full-time job. Like they say, "If you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life."



  1. Rich Lavene

    January 30, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    I have never heard of this! I’m so out of the loop….but I did just pick up some great speakers in the parking lot of my mall! 😉

  2. Francesco

    January 30, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    I’ve never been approached by The White Van Speaker Guys, but I know several people who have. I can’t believe that this scam is still going strong.

  3. Anthony

    January 31, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    So….what you’re saying is that you bought a new home theater system over the weekend?…

    • CJ

      January 31, 2012 at 3:18 pm

      Haha, yeah right.. I’m so OCD, I spent almost two months researching each component in my home theatre system before buying anything. 🙂

      • Francesco

        January 31, 2012 at 7:17 pm

        I’m the same way CJ.

        Anymore I just want a nice receiver and center channel speaker. I don’t require a full home theater system right now.

  4. Danny

    May 12, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Its not a scam… The scam is the corporate world brainwashing u. All the speaker guys do is cut out a middleman and capitalize on a market. Its called capitalism. Don’t hate.

  5. Jessica

    January 14, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Wow, so some guys who most likely have a hard time getting jobs in an office because of some choice made in the past – goes out an gets a job that is LEGAL to better their life and people want to think its a scam. Tell me did anyone not get a home speaker system? Did anyone get robbed by these people? Did anyone get an empty box instead of speakers? So I am waiting , were is the scam?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *




Recent Comments