Update, July 29, 2009:
This post was originally written in September 2007. Since then, it has received quite a bit of attention. The company has purportedly been sold to other owners, who have taken the initiative to undo much of the damage done by the previous owner. According to the BBB there have been very few issues within the last 12 months. In the two years before that, there were 241 complaints. That’s sufficient to say that, as a company, TopDJGear is improving their reputation, their practices, and their company.

I’ve been contacted by representatives of TopDJGear, and they explained that they are trying very hard to become a solid, reputable business. This is a very hard thing for any company to acknowledge, and often it is harder to implement. However, after all of the difficulty, the companies that are willing to say “Sorry, we messed up”, and then go about fixing the problem are usually better for consumers to work with in the long run.

Even though most of the information in this post is extremely out-of-date, it still contains some good advice on what to do if you are the victim of a scam from any online business.

Sometime ago, I was setting up a CD DJ system for myself and friends to use. I found a decent mixer, got some CD decks, but I still needed to put everything in a case for easy transportation. Luckily, I found one on an online store, for just about the price I wanted to pay. That store was TopDJGear, and it began a fight that would last from April until the end of August. What follows is extremely shortened from what actually took place.

Once I had ordered everything, I started getting happy emails telling me that my stuff had shipped, but one from TopDJGear was not forthcoming. I received my mixer, and then the CD players. Yet I hadn’t seen anything from TopDJGear. I emailed them asking for a tracking number, and got no response. I called them, and got no response. Finally, I managed to get a response out of one of their employees, but it only said that the item I wanted was on backorder, and it would be a couple weeks until they had more. This was to become a familiar mantra from them very quickly.

After the weeks had passed, I again contacted them asking for any information on my shipment, but again I received no response. By this time, I was pissed, and suspected shady business practices. So I emailed them again, saying that if I didn’t have information by the end of the week, I’d call in the law. Surprise, surprise, I got a phone call from them not an hour later. I guess I scared them. Their agent said on the phone that they could not, and would not offer the item I requested at the price I paid, due to the fact that they had none, and they’d have to order more. I suspect that’s illegal.

They gave me two options: I could take a lower priced item, and they’d refund the difference, or they would just give me my money back. I chose to take the money; I didn’t want anything more to do with them. Of course they didn’t come through, and of course I didn’t expect them to. So I decided to let the professionals handle this, and went to my bank—the people that handle my credit card. I related the story to them, and explained why I didn’t think they were going to refund my money. Thankfully, my bank was extremely understanding, and immediately gave the money back. They had me fill out some paperwork, and issued a chargeback to TopDJGear. I understand those can be costly for the merchants. I figured that the credit card people would have many more tools to fight naughty businesses that I did, and I was right.

So, with my money in hand, I happily forgot about TopDJGear. A few weeks ago, I received notification from my bank that TopDJGear had accepted the chargeback. They really didn’t have any other choice. During this whole ordeal, I checked the BBB listings on TopDJGear, and it was not pretty. They had 30ish unresolved complaints, and a very bad rating. Just for fun, I put my story in as well. So lessons learned from this affair:

  1. Always pay with a credit card, not PayPal. Credit card companies can do nasty things to bad merchants like TopDJGear; PayPal can’t do squat.
  2. If you’re dealing with someone who isn’t inclined to give you your money back, call in the big guns. Get your bank involved, and the credit card companies. They’re ruthless.
  3. Mention legal action. It gets people’s attention.
  4. Mention fraud or scamming. Everyone takes that stuff very seriously.

After all this, I started looking up searches on Google, like “TopDJGear reviews”, or “TopDJGear bad experience”. Even just “TopDJGear” has a lot of negative review links. I was astounded by how many people this company has scammed. I wish the authorities would do something. In fact, I’m writing a letter to the New York Attorney General’s office, and if you’ve had bad experiences with this company, you should do so as well. The AG office pays attention to complaints by consumers. If you think TopDJGear is a scam, don’t just sit idly by; do something about it so others don’t suffer.