"Hey mate, want a pair of speakers?" It usually starts like that. Next comes the story which has many versions, but always it's shady and suspicious and you immediately sense that something is dodgy. You're not sure if they really are clearing excess stock sent by mistake, or if they are trying to unload stolen speakers quick. It's a clever trick designed to get you to make a decision before you have a chance to realise what is going on. They count on the fact that some people are opportunistic enough to go for it and part with their money. The fact that some may think they are getting stolen goods only enhances their game as it works as a distration from the truth. The reality is, these speakers are worth very little. They certainly aren't worth thousands.
If you meet the White Van guys ...
Don't believe a word they say about their value. Some have bargained them down to a very low price. I've heard one case where they were sold for $50 at a service station. If you want some cheap party speakers, or workshop speakers then see how low they will go. Offer them $100 then walk away.
So what is the scam?
It's simple - they are dirt cheap el crappo speakers often sold for more than they are worth to people who get excited by the chance to pick up $6k speakers for a grand. In reality they are worth much less than that. They make a quick sale and run on pretty low overheads. The scam has been around a long time because it works. Even if only one in ten bite, it doesn't take long to drive around in a truck and find 10 people.
So what do I do now?
Think of it this way - you've just paid for an education. It wasn't quite as rewarding as you'd hoped but you can redeem the situation. In fact, you might be able to improve these cheapies. Here are some suggestions you could try:
1. Knock on the box - is it hollow and resonant or reasonably solid and dead? You might consider adding some braces internally.
2. Remove a driver and see what kind of lining is inside the box. You might consider adding lining if there is none. That can clean up the sound a little.
3. Find the crossover. Take a photo of it and see if you can make a schematic of it. Chances are they use cheap rubbish parts and a crossover that is so lean on parts that the drivers have little chance of working properly.
4. Listen to the treble. Does it sound exaggerated? If so, find the tweeter impedance and add an L pad. I've described how to do this in my blog. Use the search function above (sorry I'm being lazy with the link).
5. Consider measuring the response. I have a blog post about what you need - search for "basic measurement setup" in the search box.
This is the start of a good education! You've already paid the entrance fees, why not sit in on the lessons?
Or you might consider an entry to the world of DIY. The surprising fact is that with DIY, you actually can come up with something that matches the deal they promised you. $1k can be enough to put together a $5k speaker.