The AlliWire Incident(I'd just like to note that I'm not a customer of AlliWire, nor am I associated with Alliwire. Just an interested bystander)
Back before the XBox 360 was released, when it was a matter of great hype, an outfit called Alliwire.com, operated by one Dillon Millsap, a 17 year old, started advertising pre-orderable XBox 360. No payment by PayPal or credit card. Make what you will of that.
He collected about 300 orders (maybe more) and then: this. Note that the original message has been removed; those message-boards are rather heavily censored (the excuse being use of naughty words; whole threads are, however, deleted).
So, on 21st November at 11:58, it is revealed that the business has been scammed on its first shipment of XBoxes, to the tune, apparently, of $39,000 (this was not the entire price of the systems; half the money was paid upfront). Interestingly, the day before, alliwire seems to have tried to buy replacements. And then there's this.
At this point, there is still a second shipment from a third party on the way, and alliwire is definite that the replacement for the first shipment will deliver on Dec 1st. Since they're still negotiating on the previously mentioned website that seems optimistic. It now seems that no shipments ever turned up, although it is difficult to be sure because of the continuing forum censorship.
Now, it seems that anything between 300 (1st shipment count) and 477 (last mentioned order number) consoles are involved. If we assume that the selling price was $300 (the cull of the forums prevents me from putting forward a more accurate figure, though we see from remaining posts that some people ordered $600 or more all told), then that is takings of between $90,000 and $143,100. There was a loss of $39,000, according to alliwire. So far, 108 refunds have been issued; that's $32,400. Thus, unless the company's own list of refunds is wrong, or I've made other mistakes somewhere, there's from $18,600 to $71,700 outstanding, possibly a lot more. The company is still issuing refunds. It seems to be the case that there will be no consoles for anyone.
That said, what's going on here?
I would be very interested to see which states those people refunded are from. It would also be interesting to know whether alliwire is a registered company, and if it's registered then under whose name. The owner being 17 complicates things for anyone looking for refunds, I would imagine. (All checks were made out directly to Dillon, by the way). Did a police report relating to the defrauding of alliwire ever turn up?
Now, this all looks very bad. However, there are signs that the whole thing may have been legit. It seems that at one point they were taking credit card orders with PayPal, and stopped because of running up against PayPal regulatory issues. If this is the case, it indicates that they were above-the-board; customers would be able to do credit card chargebacks.
Oh, the company's offerings were spam-vertised over various forums by one 'mouse_8b', who's also a moderator on the AlliWire forums. Tsk.
The whole thing interests my nosy, nosy mind, and there are a lot of unanswered questions. I'm nosing about on their forums, and also on the 'Just in Case' forum set up by customers. There may be updates on this topic.