Police are warning residents in Christchurch to beware of two scammers driving a white van claiming to sell cheap home theatres.
A number of people have been approached by two men offering to sell the items in car parks, at malls, service stations, KFC and by door knocking, police say.
"The sellers told potential buyers that the systems were worth far in excess of what they were selling for, offering the explanation that they had overstocked and had to get rid of the goods," says Detective Senior Sergeant Anderson.
When buyers got home they realised the goods were non-branded knock-offs with no serial number and the warranty provided was worthless.
"This scam relies on members of the public thinking they are getting a bargain," says Snr Sgt Anderson. "On face value it is not a criminal matter, and the principle of 'buyer-beware' applies."
Police urge buyers to buy from a reputable source, and to never feel pressured to make a purchase without research.
Police say white van scams have occurred internationally for a number of years. They typically involve a company importing products such as phones, speakers and home entertainment from overseas at very low prices. Customers are given a receipt and warranty, but don't realise they will have to deal with unknown, overseas companies.
Snr Sgt Anderson says a similar situation was happening in Auckland and Hamilton earlier this year.
Information can be given to police through the crime reporting line on (03) 363 7400 or anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.