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Don't Get Burned Buying "Hot" Equipment

by Robert Garment, Executive Editor | May 17, 2006
This week's message is simple: look before you leap when the deal seems really great. The equipment could be stolen.

I'm bringing this up now because DOTmed has been working with the BBC on their investigation of a rash of thefts from U.K. hospitals, and the BBC has sent us the makes and serial numbers on 10 stolen systems, mostly endoscopy and ultrasound equipment. Some of this equipment is listed in this week's DOTmed News.

Could the problem impact you? If you happen to buy a stolen system, you can be charged with receiving stolen property, or at the very least, have it confiscated.

If you're unaware a system is hot, it's very likely that the seller (i.e., the crook) may never deliver the goods. And you can kiss your payment goodbye.

The way to avoid all these problems is to demand proof of ownership, either in the form of a title or original bill of sale. OK, sure - these things can be forged. But more likely, you'll get "I lost it" or some other excuse.

If the seller can't prove ownership, stay away. You're not only asking for trouble, you'll probably get it.

DOTmed makes a big effort to promote honest dealings among used medical equipment buyers and sellers. Exercise caution. If you're not careful, or if you're greedy, you can get painfully burned.