The general concensus of opinion was that Ren was buying time at this point and had no intention of sending the merchandise. After patiently waiting for another week, the packages did arrive, but their contents weren't exactly what had been expected...
Subject: Package arrived from RenHoeck!!! From: email@example.com (ScooHall) Date: 1996/02/01 Newsgroups: rec.arts.sf.starwars.collecting
O.K., please hold the flames. I was one of those people that gave in to the old RenHoeck-promises-the-world scam. I sent my $275.00 to him the day he advertised his sale (1/8/96). I sent it before any of the info came out about him on this newsgroup. I was just crossing my fingers and hoping. He kept putting me off and I was just getting ready to call the postal inspector, when what to my surprise, his package arrived today! He neglected to tell me that the vehicles he promised me all fit into a videotape case! He sent me plastic micro-machine type toys of each of the vehicles. I was astounded that he would charge $275 for: a Millenium Falcon, a Slave I, an AT-AT, an AT-ST, a Y-Wing, a Snowspeeder, an X-Wing, a B-Wing, a TIE Fighter, a Darth Vader's TIE Fighter, and a Cloud Car. Is it just me, or did he lead everyone to think that he was selling the vehicles for the figures?!? I have copies of all of my e-mail transactions with him, but cannot access the past posts by him to this newsgroup. Does anyone have a copy of them or know how to get a copy of them? I would really like to take legal action on him for this, but I don't know if I have a leg to stand on. I would appreciate any advice or help.
ATTENTION ALL HUMAN BEINGS WHO ARE FANS AND USERS OF THIS AND ALL INTERNET NEWSGROUPS, ESPECIALLY REPRESENTATIVES OF AOL AND THOSE WHO EXPECT EQUITY AND DECENCY ON THE INTERNET!!!!!
I HAVE FINALLY RECIEVED MY "ORDER" from Ren Hoeck for which I paid $125 and have been anticipating for sometime.
HOWEVER! TO MY UTTER DISMAY (BELIEVE ME I ALMOST HAD A HEART ATTACK) WHAT I FOUND IN THE PAPER WRAPPED VIDEO WAS.........
a. a letter..
b. a Sandcrawler
c. a Darth Vader TIE FIghter
d. FIVE Imperial Pilots
WHILE ON PAPER, THIS SEEMS TO FULFIL MY ORIGINAL ORDER, REALITY PROVES DIFFERENTLY. WOULD ANYONE LIKE TO HAZARD A GUESS AT THIS POINT AS TO THE CONDITIONS OF THE ITEMS IN THE BOX??????!!!!!!
MICRO MACHINES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! $125 for tiny little plastic things that I can easily get for a mere less than $20 at my local TRU or Target!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
AS YOU ALL MAY GUESS.... I AM A BIT SHALL WE SAY..... PUT OUT... BY ALL THIS! I HAVE DECIDED TO JUST POST THE ACTUAL LETTER SO ALL OF YOU OUT THERE CAN READ IT!!!
StarBase Collectibles P.O. Box 12771 Wichita, KS 67277 Jeff Kahan 6210 S Main Houston, TX 7005
Hello. Enclosed are the items you ordered:
Loose, Complete: Sandcrawler, Darth's TIE, EV-9D9, 6 Imperial Pilots
If for any reason you are unsatisfied with your purchase, you may exchange for another item(s) from my original list up to the value of your purchase. Sorry, as stated in that posting, No Refunds. You can no longer reach me at the original address where you sent the payment (on Davidson) street). My new addres is listed above. Please direct all mail to that address. Thank you for your business. I look forward to dealing with you again.
WELL!!!! HERE YOU HAVE IT!!!! I AM CURIOUS AS TO WHETHER ANYONE ELSE RECIEVES SIMILAR "ITEMS" FOR THEIR ORDERS. ,
AS FOR YOU MR. REN HOAX OR STARBASE COLLECTIBLES:
YOU WILL SOON BE UP FOR MAIL FRAUD AND FALSE ADVERTISING IF I HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY ABOUT IT!
ANYONE ELSE HAVE OTHER IDEAS OF WHAT NASTY THINGS WE CAN DO TO THIS DESPICABLE EXAMPLE OF A BUSINESS DEAL???
THE TIME HAS COME: I CALL UPON THE HONOR OF ALL JEDI AND NON-JEDI TO HELP PURGE OUR NOBLE NEWSGROUP OF SUCH DETESTIBLE FILTH!!!
THANK YOU ALL FOR LISTENING.
Jeff Kahan (aka Oboewan)
After the initial shock of the situation wore off, rassc was flooded with posts condemning Renhoeck's actions (and even threatening a little bodily harm!). It is important to note that there was not a single "I told you so." There was no gloating on the part of those who publicly warned against dealing with Renhoeck. As a whole, the newsgroups voiced universal outrage against Ren and offers of support for those he scammed.
Subject: Re: Ren Hoeck: general information.... From: firstname.lastname@example.org (ScooHall) Date: 1996/02/02 Newsgroups: rec.arts.sf.starwars.collecting
It looks like my cleared check made out to "StarBase Collectibles" was endorsed by a "Brian Kettler."
I am still trying to figure out if Kettler and Frank are two different people in league with one another or if they are different aliases of one person. Anyone have any ideas?
It was later confirmed that the aol account with the Ren username was registered to Douglas Kettler and that the checks were endorsed by Brian Kettler. Scott contacted several agencies concerning mail fraud charges and received a copy of a letter that Brian Kettler had submitted to the Better Business Bureau in reply to the mail fraud accusation. (The letter basically brought up the same points that Kettler presents in his February 5th post below.)
Subject: Whining about RENHOECK From: email@example.com (RenHoeck) Date: 1996/02/03 Newsgroups: rec.arts.sf.starwars.collecting
gee, everyone stop whining! I NEVER said they were Kenner toys. In the terms of my sale, I stated that for anyone who was dissatisfied could exchange it from other items off my list (whatever I had left). Therefore, I legally DO NOT have to give refunds! You people just love to whine and moan about how you were ripped off. I say that's bull. I told you the items I had and the prices I wanted for them. I'm sure as hell not the first to be accused of selling too high and I won't be the last. Everyone got what they paid for. And I wish you other people who never even dealt with me would just shut up. What do you have to complain about? I was not dishonest in my dealings. I told you what I had, the price I wanted, and that if you weren't happy, that I'd exchange it. In buying from my, you agreed to those terms. What I did was perfectly legal, and perfectly honest in my opinion.
America Online has its own Star Wars collecting board that is not accessible without an aol account. Most of the posts that appeared on that board were the same as those on rassc and rtm but there were a few exceptions. This one really shows what Kettler was made of.
Subj: Re:RE; REN HOECK A BIG RIPOF Date: 96-02-04 18:42:46 EST From: RenHoeck
Ha Ha. You dorks don't frighten me. Hell, I don't even live at those addresses! Anyone trying to find me will be disappointed. I'm not trying to hide, I just won't deal with any of you looneys face to face. Anyone needing to contact me for exchanges or something of that nature have my P.O. Box. I try to check it weekly when I'm in Wichita.
Subject: ANOTHER MSG from RENHOECK From: firstname.lastname@example.org (RenHoeck) Date: 1996/02/05 Newsgroups: rec.toys.misc
Okay. Let me try to address many of the points that have come up.
1. In mentioning the paperwork that might have come with the ships, I was referring to the instructions for the playsets and the customer surveys that offer you a chance in their drawing to win free figures.
2. Gus Lopez: The Sandcrawler I mentioned to you was the X-Ray fleet one.
3. The things I mentioned that you people like to call misleading was not intended to be. I said that the Sandcrawler did not COME with a remote, not that it was missing the remote. The same for some of the figures and the coins. The Lando General DID come with a gold coin (he's made by JustToys). I stated these things because I did not want to be flooded with people asking questions like if they came with these items. I have dealt on the net many, many times before, and have always been amazed at the sheer stupidity of the questions I get asked, like "Is it complete?" when I've already stated that it is. My address was totally FLOODED with requests after I posted my sale, as I expected, and I didn't want to waste money paying for online time when I thought I could answer those questions in the post. I did not intend to be dishonest. I just don't feel like spending hours detailing everything for my posts. I try to answer all of the general questions, and then ask individuals questions when they ask them. None of my customers ever asked me who the manufacturer was. I didn't think it was all that important.
4. As to the no refunds policy, I mentioned in my post that if anyone was unsatisfied, I would exchange it for other items off my list. Those who did business with me did so knowing that any unhappiness with their purchase would be taken care of on a exchange basis, not a refund basis.
I hope I've addressed all of the points everyone has made. If you'll go look at other people's sales posts, you find that most of them aren't very detailed either. I wrote mine up in what I saw to be the typical internet posting style.
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 96 17:07:02 -0800 From: Gus Lopez
To: email@example.com Subject: Re: FS: A-Wing, Skiff, Shuttle, Han Carbo, ETC
In article <firstname.lastname@example.org> you write:
> Sandcrawler: Loose, C-10, does not come with remote: $40
I'll take this! Does it have the door, stairs, and elevator?
From: RenHoeck@aol.com To: email@example.com (guslopez) Subject: Re: FS: A-Wing, Skiff, Shuttle, Han Carbo, ETC
Re: your questions on the Sandcrawler, the answer is yes. So for it, plus the TIE fighter and X-Wing, your total is $75 (includes $5 for shipping). Send it to:
StarBase Collectibles 2851 S Davidson Wichita, KS 67210
While contacting people to ask for permission to use their material on this page, I asked Scott Hall if he would mind providing an update on the situation.
Subject: Re: My page Date: Tue, 23 Jul 96 09:54:39 -0500 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Scott Hall) To: "Paul Levesque"
Well, I wish there was something to update. I have filed with the Texas District Attorney, the Kansas District Attorney, the Better Business Bureau, the National Fraud Bureau, and the US Postal service. The only one who seems to still be working on it is the US Postal. However, I don't think that much will come from that either. Apparently, Mr. Kettler fled all his addresses after the scam. The above offices usually send a letter to his address and when it is returned to them, they just send you a letter stating that they couldn't contact him and if I find a new address for him, to send it to them. As if it is my job to do the investigation and research for them! I have discovered that most of these organizations will not take serious interest in the case unless there is a significant amount of money involved. I am still waiting to hear from the Kansas City Postal Inspectors, who supposedly have my case file, to see if whether or not they are going to investigate. As for the others who were also scammed, I have not heard from them. I have e-mailed them several times asking for updates on their cases, and have not heard from them. As far as I know, I am the only one still fighting this thing. (I have heard a couple of times from Jeff (JKAHAN@OWLNET.RICE.EDU) and Dan (email@example.com), but the last time I heard from Jeff was May 8 and the last message from Dan was June 7). I am basically waiting to hear the final word from the US Postal Inspectors. If that route fails, I am considering filing suit against him. I have a good lawyer, and even though I can include all my court costs in the suit, I am not sure if I can put the money up front to file and proceed with the suit against him. Oh well, we will see if and when that time comes.