Spy Zone USA
Using the Internet as pressure - I get a refund!

Would you call this fraud?

I was looking for a way to record cell phone conversations. When I searched the web for digital recorders and microphones I found Spy Zone USA - a Florida company who sells stuff on the Internet like Spy surveillance equipment, Mini Cams, Stun gun tasers, Nanny Cams, digital voice recorders, night vision equipment, night vision goggles, spy store, wireless spy cams, wireless spy cameras, night vision glasses, digital spy cams, wireless hidden cameras, video surveillance systems, and infrared goggles.

One item they had was called a "cell phone microphone" which was described as something the fits in your ear and it hears what you hear.

I thought - wow - that's what I need. That solves the issue of how to connect it to the voice recorder because most cell phones have specialized plugs that don't allow you to just plug in any off the shelf mic. So - the idea that this mic fit into your ear seemed like the right solution. The price - $35 - was a little steep - but I thought that it might have to be something that was specially designed to work in the ear canal - so I bought it.

It took forever for it to arrive. Nearly 2 weeks. I had ordered a digital voice recorder from a different outfit and was already having fun playing with it. But what I got was very different than what I expected. I didn't get a microphone - I got a $2.00 earphone. The attempted to rip me off!

I ordered a $35 Microphone - but all I got was a $2 earphone. An earphone is not a Microphone!

Having been an electronics tech for 30 years I did know that under the right circumstances that a speaker could be used as a mic in much the same way that if you're desperate enough you can use a crescent wrench to pound in a nail. I actually did try it to see if it worked. And - I did get a very little bit of audio. The levels were about 30 decibels below mic levels and the sound was like being in a barrel - which is about what you get when you try to turn a speaker into a mic. But as far as being something useful - not hardly. I realized immediately that I had been defrauded.

Obviously I was unhappy about this so I emailed sales@spyzoneuse.com to demand a refund. These are the emails I got.

Looking at their Claim - You be the Judge!

I can type all I want - but there's nothing like a Side by Side Comparison. I recorder 2 MP3 files using the same digital voice recorder. Not one I bought from them! I'm using a SIMS SVR-M7245V.This recorder records MP3 files and I then copy them to my computer. These files are unaltered - straight off my system.

Using the internal pin hole mic built into the voice recorder - talking 6 inches away from the mic - This is what it sounds like with the internal built in mic.

Then - I plug in the SpySoneUSA product into the mic jack and I made this recording using their product. You may have to turn the volume up on your speakers because there really is some audio there. But as you can see, there's a big difference between a microphone - a real microphone - and trying to use what is essentially a speaker as a microphone.

They claim that they didn't defraud me. The item they lists was titled "Cell Phone Microphone". They say that they advertised it the description area as an " microphone / earphone". Well - that ad is somewhat confusing - and confusing on purpose - as it turned out. It's worded in a way to give the illusion that they stated what you are getting.

Suppose I went to a hardware web site looking for a miniature hammer to drive in small nails. Suppose they had a product that they called a "Tack Hammer" but in the description they described a "hammer / wrench". Then when you get it - it's a wrench and they say - well - you can pound nails into wood with a wrench! Well - that's what they did here. There is a big difference between an ear piece speaker and a microphone and it's about as big a difference between a tack hammer and a wrench. What they tried to sell me wasn't what I ordered. And it's not like they don't know what's going on. I'm sure that when they ordered this product that it didn't come in a box that said "microphone" on the outside. It would come in a box that said it was an earphone.

What I ended up doing

The idea of a real microphone in the ear canal did seem like an interesting way to go. I found an old cell phone headset from and old cell phone that I no longer have. This headset was an earphone and mic and I took it apart and removed the tiny mic element from the unit. I then got some shielded audio cable and a miniature plug from Radio Shack and soldered it together. It works much better - but not quite what I need. I'm still getting a buzzing sound from the RF that the cell phone is transmitting. I'm still looking for a ferrite inductor of some sort to put in the line to block the RF. The project is still a work in progress.

What I'm hoping to do is to record some real cell phone calls to produce an AT&T sucks page. AT&T has oversold its bandwidth in the San Francisco Bay area and the packet loss is so bad that their service is useless. I wanted to record what packet loss distortion sounds like so that consumers can hear it. Cell phone companies take advantage of the ignorance of consumers and let them believe that the problem is their cell phone or a bad signal when in fact the problem is neither. The problem is that when they oversell service the audio gets choppy because real time packets are lost - and it's their fault. It's like selling 250 tickets to a show that has 200 seats and telling the consumer its their fault they can't sit down.

I Decided to Warn Consumers

At that point I decided that this company is just too crooked to not do a web page about. Even if I got a refund by bullying them in the web - what's going to happen to the next person who orders this item from them? It's not like they are going to stop ripping people off. So - in the interest of consumer protection I'm publishing my experiences with Spy Zone USA in the hopes that it will prevent others from being ripped off like I was.

And - I hope that you - the reader - will see this web site as an example of how consumers can get even with those who rip you off. I would encourage anyone who gets burned by a company to build a sucks page. This really does work and it make you feel much better after doing it.

I am naturally an ass hole - and this gives me a was to channel that in a useful direction. Spy Zone USA can be reached at sales@spyzoneusa.com. Send them an email and tell them you read about it here! Let them know that they are being exposed!


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