The following posts and emails are presented as they originally appeared. No content has been added to the originals! The only changes made are as follows:
All of the original posts to rec.arts.sf.starwar.collecting (rassc) and rec.toys.misc (rtm) are still available for viewing through Dejanews. There are approximately 270 articles in the Dejanews archive with reference to Renhoeck that were posted between January 5th and February 5th, 1996 (including five or six rather colorful posts of my own). Of these, 27 are from Renhoeck@aol.com.
I would like to thank the following people for gladly allowing me to quote their words here:
Subj: FS: A-Wing,Skiff,Shuttle,ETC Date: 96-01-05 16:46:32 EST From: RenHoeck
Star Wars Vehicles and Figures for sale: For most I have more than one available if you're interested in more than one. Dealers and Overseas orders welcome.
A-Wing: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $150
Imperial Shuttle: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $75
Tatooine Skiff: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $150
Sandcrawler: Loose, C-10, does not come with remote: $40
Millenium Falcon: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $45
Slave I: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $35
AT-AT: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $50
AT-ST: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $15
Y-Wing: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $25
Snowspeeder: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $25
X-Wing: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $15
B-Wing: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $25
TIE Fighter: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $15
Darth Vader TIE Fighter: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $20
Cloud Car: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $15
12-Back Han Solo: C-9, card has very minor ding in bottom left corner.
Bubble is crystal clear. card is punched. $250
Han Solo (Carbonite): Loose, C-10, COMPLETE (Does not come with coin): $70
Luke Skywalker (Stormtrooper): Loose, C-10, COMPLETE(Does not come with coin): $60
EV-9D9: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE(Does not come with coin): $25
Lando Calrissian (General): Loose, C-10, COMPLETE(Comes with coin): $40
Jabba the Hutt: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $15
Boba Fett: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $8
Darth Vader: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $8
Han Solo: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $8
Luke Skywalker: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $8
Luke Skywalker (Bespin Outfit): Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $8
Princess Leia: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $8
Chewbacca: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $8
C-3PO: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $8
R2-D2: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $8
Lando Calrissian: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $8
Yoda: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $8
Obi-Wan Kenobi: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $8
Stormtrooper: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $5
Death Star Droid: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $5
Nein Numb: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $5
IG-88: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $5
R5-D4: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $5
Emperor: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $5
Admiral Ackbar: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $5
Sy Snootles: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $5
8D8: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $5
2-1B: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $5
4-LOM: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $5
TIE Fighter Pilot: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $5
FX-7: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $5
Power Droid: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $5
Imperial Commander: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $5
Ugnaught: Loose, C-10, COMPLETE: $5
E-Mail me at: Ren Hoeck@aol.com
For most I have more than one available if you're interested in more than one. Dealers and Overseas orders welcome. Buyer pays for shipping & handling. If you are not satisfied with your purchase, I will exchange it with the same item or another from this list up to the equal value.
A lot of us responded to that original post. I replied to Renhoeck that I was interested in the A-Wing and Sandcrawler. Considering the price and condition, I figured that both pieces would be gone by the time I read the post. "Fortunately" for me, the two items were still available:
Subj: Re: FS: A-wing, Skiff, Shuttle, Han Carbo, ETC Date: 96-01-06 03:27:49 EST From: RenHoeck To: PaulLeve A-Wing: $150 Sandcrawler: $40Assuming you're in the U.S., I'll go ahead and cover the shipping. Your total is: $190. Send it to:
StarBase Collectibles 2851 S Davidson Wichita, KS 67210
Subj: Re: FS: A-wing, Skiff, Shuttle, Han Carbo, ETC Date: 96-01-07 16:16:40 EST From: RenHoeck To: PaulLeve
In a message dated 96-01-06 21:00:51 EST, you write:
< < Before I send out the check, I just want to confirm the condition of the two vehicles. I just want to be positive that both items are original, complete, and in mint C-10 condition before we make the transaction. (I understand that the Sandcrawler is missing remote, but are other parts there?)
Do you still have the Luke Stormtrooper?
Thanks a lot and as long as you let me know everything's A-OK, I'll send you a check Monday. By the way, I am located in the states -- Springfield, MA.
-Paul > >
They are all Mint and definately complete. And yes, I do still have the Luke Stormtrooper. My personal guarantee is that if you're unsatisfied, I'll replace them with either the same item or others up to your total from my list. Let me know if you also wanted the Luke.
Again, that guarantee... I wrote back to Renhoeck and asked if the Luke Stormtrooper came with helmet and gun. He never got back to me.
Within days of the original FS post, several people posted to rassc looking for references on Renhoeck. Chris Caira commented that he was making a rather large purchase so he wanted verification before mailing out the check. I contacted Chris and told him what I had ordered. It seemed that he also had two C-10, loose, complete A-Wings reserved with Renhoeck! Considering the rarity of this ship, it is highly unlikely that someone would have three of them all loose, mint, and complete.
After a lot of behind the scenes networking, it became clear that Renhoeck had promised out quite a few of the more rare items on his list. The accusations started flying on rassc....
Subj: RE: RenHoeck Date: 96-01-07 15:18:07 EST From: RenHoeckHello, all. Since I posted my sale, I've been totally swamped with replies! I'm trying to reply to everyone as fast as I can. I've been hoarding up the ships and figures for years now, in anticipation of the rerelease of Star Wars to raise the prices. However, I'm going to become a father soon, so I've got to sell as much of it as I can now. I've been aquiring the best condition toys since I've started collecting. So when I say it is loose, COMPLETE and C-10, that means that ALL the parts are there (not counting any paperwork that might've come with it) and it is MINT. I spend several hours a day online trying to answer everyone, so I really don't have time for those that have to ask if it's complete or not, because if it wasn't, I would have said so. And if anyone is unsatisfied with my merchandise, I'll replace it with another of the same item or any other items from my list up to the value that you paid. As I've said, I've been collecting for quite a while, and have duplicates of all my ships. I hope to get an updated list out as soon as I can. As for the way I operate: For the most part, if you spend more than $100, I'll always try to cover the shipping. I do not do COD orders. I've been burned way too many times doing that. I'll keep trying to answer everyone if possible. If you haven't gotten a reply yet, it might be for a few reasons: 1) I haven't gotten to your e-mail yet. 2) AOL's annoying way of not automatically saving e-mail once it's read. Some e-mail's I read first and try to answer later, and sometimes forget to hit the "Save as New" button 3) Those that ask me if it's complete or what condition it's in after I've already stated that it's Mint and Complete. It's nothing personal, but I get tons of e-mail a day and just don't have time to reply to twenty people or more all asking those kinds of questions. For those of you asking for references, I really don't keep track of that sort of thing. I've never been asked for them before. I do post on the internet newsgroups rec.toys.misc , rec.arts.sf.starwars.collecting , and rec.arts.sf.marketplace , so feel free to ask there about me if you wish. I hope this answers any questions you may have. I'm not the kind of person who gets the money and never sends the merchandise. Thats called Mail Fraud, punishable by jail time. As a soon to be father, I'm not stupid enough to pull that sort of thing.
Even though Ren claimed that he had posted to several Usenet newsgroups in the past, a Dejanews search had come up blank. (No past articles posted by Renhoeck@aol.com in the archive.) No one on rassc or rtm had ever heard of this guy before! That is, until a reference came forward:
Subject: I've dealt with RenHoeck@aol.com before From: firstname.lastname@example.org (azeroth) Date: 1996/01/09 Newsgroups: rec.arts.sf.starwars.collecting
I just wanted to say that I've dealt with RenHoeck before. It was about a month or two ago. I ordered a MIB Star Wars Cantina. He was very fast in getting it out to me, and packaged it better than most other purchases I've made on the net. I was very happy with my purchase and look forward to doing more business with him.
Also on the 9th, Gus posted the current count of ships that Renhoeck had on reserve:
"8 A-Wings!, 8 B-Wings, 8 Y-Wings, 7 Tatooine Skiffs!, 5 Jawa Sandcrawlers!, 4 TIE Fighters, 3 Slave I's, 3 Darth Vader TIEs, 3 Imperial Shuttles, 2 X-Wings, and a partridge in a pear tree"
This was only a list of items that Renhoeck had given confirmation on and was by no means all of the merchandise he had promised out. Considering the rarity of such items as A-Wings and Tatooine Skiffs, it is highly unlikely that one person would have amassed such a stockpile of them, especially all complete and C-10.
A Dejanews check on Azeroth showed only a few posts made during the weeks prior to Renhoeck's initial FS post. Some others did a little digging into the identity of Azeroth:
Subject: *SCAM ALERT!! RENHOECK/AZEROTH* From: email@example.com (Cyrano) Date: 1996/01/10 Newsgroups: rec.arts.sf.starwars.collecting
I too sent my request into RenHoeck@aol.com. I listed SEVERAL items, ALL of which I was told were available.
I find it curious that the ONLY person to write a reference for "RenHoeck" is "azeroth":
[Azeroth's post deleted]
Michael's (azeroth's) server "SouthWind Net" also happens to be in Wichita KS, the same city in which RenHoeck's unlisted "StarBase Collectibles" is based:
Wichita, KS 67210
Not convinced? Take a peak at when the "two" of them have posted on our group.
______ azeroth posts: !!!!!NEW BOB X-WING LUKE...!!! January 5 at 3:23 azeroth posts: !!!!!LOOSE FIGURES FOR SALE!!! January 5 at 3:35 azeroth posts: !!!!!POTF LEIA FOR A DOLLAR!!! January 5 at 3:26 azeroth posts: !!!!! WTB OLD JUNK SHIPS!!!!!! January 5 at 3:35 RenHoeck posts: FS: A-wing, Skiff, Shuttle... January 5 at 4:09 RenHoeck posts: FS: Han Stormtrooper $10 January 5 at 4:10 RenHoeck posts: FS: TIE BOMBER $300 January 5 at 4:10 ______
There is no doubt in my mind that azeroth and RenHoeck are the same person. Whomever this person is needs to read a little about MAIL FRAUD.
[Information about agencies to contact in case of mail fraud deleted.]
The climate around rassc began to change rapidly. The newsgroup quickly polarized into those who didn't trust Renhoeck and those who felt he was being falsely accused. Considering that the one reference that came forward was questionable at the very least, people began to ask the questions that a lot of us were thinking. To answer some of the questions and accusations, Ren posted his second defense:
Subj: MSG From RenHoeck Date: 96-01-10 15:29:19 EST From: RenHoeck
I'll try to answer everyone's questions here. First off, I'm NOT this Azeroth person! I will not give out my name and nmber because I don't want anyone calling me and neither does my wife! My e-mail box is FULL of responses, which I'm trying to get caught up on, and everytime I get online, a dozen people start instant chatting with me. I'm a VERY busy person. Yes, I do run this business from my home. As I've stated before, Ive been hoarding all the Star Wars ships for years now in preparation for the 20th anniversary. The exact amount of each item I have is MY business. I'm keeping track of what I have. Whatever you've ordered from me, you WILL receive it! I DO NOT practice Mail Fraud! (Someone else posted the names and addresses you can use if someone does cheat you through the mail. I don't hhave those handy, so could someone please repost it under the heading "mail fraud" or something?) I'm selling now because I'm going to be a father soon and I could really use the money. I work two jobs right now, so when I'm home, either I'm sleeping or trying to answer my messages. As of today I have a lot of personal things I need to do, so I won't have much time to go through my e-mails. If you've purchased from me, or have any other questions, E-mail me at TempRen@aol.com Please, DO NOT e-mail me at that address to buy anything! I specifically created that address to be able to get everyone's e-mails that have already purchased from me so that I don't have to sift through a bunch of WTB's. I will try to answer all my mail at that address.
Cyrano's warning about the identity of Azeroth raised quite a few eyebrows. Gus Lopez dug even deeper and gave the first indication of who might really be behind the anonymous Renhoeck username.
Subject: Background check on RenHoeck's customer From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Gus Lopez) Date: Fri, 12 Jan 1996 21:52:32 GMT
Someone by the name of Azeroth (email@example.com) posted to these groups saying he had prompt and reliable service from our friend, RenHoeck. Cyrano noted that Azeroth and Renhoeck are both based in Wichita, KS and speculated they might be the same person because they had similar log in times (but not overlapping times).
Here's some more evidence:
If you check the finger files at Azeroth's machine for firstname.lastname@example.org you get:
Login: michael Name: Michael Frank Directory: /u/michael Shell: /bin/ksh Last login Tue Jan 9 13:48 (CST) on ttyp0 from ts1 No Plan. From a backwards directory search, RenHoeck's address traces to L. Frank at 2851 Davidson, Wichita, KS. (Phone number available upon email request).
Only one reference has stepped forward and it was someone with the same last name, in Wichita, with similar log in times. I'm sure there are some of you out there who will say this is just coincidence too. :^) So, to those of you who still think the plethora of circumstantial evidence against RenHoeck is just coincidence, I invite you to send off your money orders to RenHoeck asap. :^)
The questions surrounding Renhoeck and his legitimacy ranged from polite inquiry to all out accusations. "Tengu" (Rob Gerbracht) assembled a list of questions on all of our minds and posed them to Ren through rassc.
Here's the deal, Ren. You may very well be telling the truth, you may very well be honest, and you may very well be Yoda. And if I'm picking on you this much and I'm totally wrong, I'll be the first to apologize. But the facts are simple:
-You seem to only defend your credibility when there are droves of posts questioning it, and not until. If I were in your position, I would be busting my ass trying to clear my name at every moment.
-Though you state you don't want people calling you, what would prevent YOU from calling a prospective buyer? Or are you completely disinterested in that, too?
-Cyrano made some very serious connections between you and this 'Azeroth' i.d. Cyrano's at least been here for a while, he's posted stuff and helped folks out- have you done anything to challenge such a reputation?
-On the last point, you have also stated you are a poster to this newsgroup and to other toy newsgroups. But according to a simple Usenet archive search, your first posts 'as' RENHOECK started right when these sales of yours did- you have no priors for any of us to base anything on.
-VERY IMPORTANTLY; in your latest defense post you state: "The exact amount of each item I have is MY business." This is a fairly callous attitude, when it really is OUR business too. If the participants of this newsgroup want to buy from you, they at least have a right to know the true conditions of the sale.
-Finally, I have a big-time semantics question for you. If you are this serious, hoarding collector, then why is EVERY item you have for sale loose and in C-10 condition? If you bought so many of these rare items like the Skiff and A-Wing, why did you feel you had to open every single one? Were you having the mother of all space battles, or did you just not like the prospects of getting a higher price for mint-in-box items? And if you bought them all up at garage sales, which is the other possibility; then how are they ALL in C-10, perfect condition?
I'm sorry if I've gone on to long here, but I think my point is well illustrated. You can't go through a cathedral throwing rocks at windows and then just say you were trying to hit a bird. The users of this newsgroup have some serious questions, and you seem to have this flippant 'swamped-guy' attitude about them. I sincerely apologize if I'm entirely incorrect, but if you won't at least respond to the questions listed above, Ren, why the hell should any of us deal with you?
Considering that Tengu's questions were being voiced by many of Ren's potential customers, he had to respond. (Remember, at this time there were still people who were defending Ren and possibly considering buying from him.)
Subject: RE: Tengu's MSG FOR RenHoeck From: email@example.com (TempRen) Date: 1996/01/12[Tengu's forwarded comments deleted.]
I'll try to answer all of your questions as thoroughly and politely as possible. Feel free to post this and forward it to as many others as you'd like. First off, your comment about my "flippant 'swamped guy' attitude". Do you EXPECT me to have all the time in the world to sit in front of the computer? I DO have a life, you know. My box IS full, and AOL's e-mail service thoroughly Sucks! I can understand everyones cautious attitudes, but a few of you are just going too far. I have stated, repeatedly, that everyone that orders WILL get their merchandise! I DO NOT believe in mail fraud. You people DO have my address! You keep making accusations of how I'm ripping people off, and you have NO PROOF WHATSOEVER! And as for Gus Lopez's comment about how its odd that I should "suddenly sell out of everything instead of gradually selling out", it's because truthfully, I haven't completely sold out, I'm just so swamped with orders, plus dealing with everyones unfounded accusations, I don't have the time, nor the patience, to process any more orders. After my current orders are taken care of, I'll probably auction off the leftovers. And after the many responses I got, I'm definately going to raise my prices. I'm going to keep a list of everyone I sell to as references, who you can all contact if you wish. And your comments about "If you bought so many of these rare items like the Skiff and A-Wing, why did you feel you had to open every single one?" This is what I'm refering to in that you've gone too far. That's just plain idiocy! I NEVER said that I bought them all in boxes to begin with! You're just ASSUMING! As I've said, I've been picking up everything I can here and there for years. If I need pieces from one item to complete another, then I'll do that and sell the incomplete one at the flea market or something. And as for how many I have of each item, that IS my business. You have NO need to know that information. When a store has a sale, they usually don't let you know they have cases of the item in back. When I sell at flea markets, I only put one of each item out at a time. It's a legitimate sales practice. As I've said many, many times before, everyone who orders WILL get their items, and I WILL NOT keep the money and run. That's ILLEGAL, and not something I'm stupid enough to try. For those who have placed an order on me and put it on hold, e-mail me if you still want to do business. For those who want to wait again until I have more references, that's fine too, but I have the right to raise the prices. I've always been an honest dealer, and I've tried to answer everyones questions. But I don't need to give out my number, and some of you have taken this little "crusade against RenHoeck" just a little too far. I can understand your caution, but the slandering and name calling (c-10 weasel-boy? c'mon, give me a break! How lame!) was totally uncalled for. For those who feel they need to continue posting bad things about me without any real cause, please e-mail me a copy so that I can respond. Thanks for your time.
It is interesting to note that Ren did not answer the questions concerning Azeroth and the claim of past posts to rassc, rtm, and rasm. The part of this response that caught many people's attention was the threat to raise prices after Ren's customers received their merchandise. As several people pointed out, this is essentially charging for references.
Things quieted down for a week or so as everyone settled in to wait and see what the result would be.
Subject: New MSG from RenHoeck From: firstname.lastname@example.org (RenHoeck) Date: 1996/01/25 Newsgroups: rec.arts.sf.starwars.collecting
Hello, all. I intend to get everything shipped out by this weekend, time
permitting, or on Monday at the latest. Sorry if I haven't been able to
personally respond to everyone's e-mails, but my time is rather limited.