tl;dr – Do not buy these headphones, they are terrible! MX 686G Sports in-ear headset

I have a three pronged rant today for you, and you can thank Andy Webb at Be Clever With Your Cash for this 🙂

You see, I went to a small Fincon 1 London event a while ago and he made a very good point that while many blogs and websites endorse products and services they recommend, there are not as many that give out the warnings to avoid others that they’ve had bad experiences with.

The way the incentives are often aligned (i.e. commission for recommending customers) this is hardly surprising, but the negative reviews can be just as, if not more, useful to us all as consumers. Thinking about the popularity of TV shows such as Watchdog, Rip Off Britain, and good ole Martin Lewis himself who’s made a great name on both TV and web of warning people off things as well as recommending deals; it seems like people really do find this sort of thing useful.

So, I thought I better start using my small corner of the internet to do the right thing and warn you all when I come across the occasional bad egg out there!

This epic story started with my trusty old running headphones that started to buzz on the low frequencies, signifying that the drivers were on their way out, so I started looking for some to replace them. Having previously bought and loved Sennheiser products I though I’d stick with them as a trusted brand and got onto google to search for some new sports headphones.

And so it begins…

Avoid Stans online store at all costs!

This is a simple one. Just don’t do it folks. Here is the link if you want to take a quick look:

Stans (crappy, possibly fake) Online Store (<– DEFINITELY NOT AN AFFILIATE LINK!!!) 🙂

They had some headphones that looked like the newer version of my old ones for around £35, which I was very happy to pay. So despite receiving the the first obvious warning sign that the website looks like a dogs dinner 2, I proceeded to the payment page. It was then that I received my second and what should have been final warning:

They clearly showed the Paypal sign but I couldn’t click on it to pay via Paypal!!!

Hmmm…. You know that saying when something seems too good to be true?!

Stupidly, I just wanted these headphones at all costs (even if it meant paying £35 and knowing I might never actually receive them. Eh!?) and continued to payment. I made my only smart move during this whole debacle by paying by credit card, as I know they can offer protection. I used my Amex Platinum Cashback card as I know they are really good at reimbursing you for dodgy transactions very quickly 3.

3 weeks later… and I still had no sign of the ‘phones despite having a tracking number and dispatch email. So I check the tracking site, which gave me some hope that I may actually receive the headphones as it looked kind of legit; I tried to google around the courier, “”, to see if this was a real courier and couldn’t find anything to suggest that this was dodgy. The tracking page said this:


After another few days I started to get impatient again and tried to contact the courier, and apparently they don’t have an email address you can contact (WTF) so you had to tweet them. I also contacted Stans online store and look at the email address I got a reply from:

And this is the reply I got from PostNL via Twitter:



At this point it was clear that I’d made a mistake in dealing with this company and the chances of me seeing my headphones we’re slim to none. I persevered one more time and contacted both Stans random “customer service” email address and PostNL one more time. Here is the tweet I sent them and the reply:

Did you catch that?!

A gateway only means that we do not handle the parcel…

We are not the sending nor the receiving party…


Seriously what is the point of this thing if the tracking company can’t find out where the parcel went? This is not tracking, this is simply some words on a screen. The parcel could be in Timbuktu for all I or PostNL know, or the sender for that matter to be fair to them.

I finally got on the blower to Amex and explained the situation, and they reimbursed me straight away as I had thought and hoped they would do. So no damage done apart from a bit of wasted time and energy, and maybe a few more grey hairs to add to my collection 🙂

What really gets my goat about this is how Google can put this anywhere near the top of their search result pages when you select the “shop” section. I mean a very quick search would have found out that the company has a very bad reputation:

Check out the reviews here 

You could argue that I should have done due diligence before ordering but I still have to question why Google are putting companies that are practically fake companies at the top of their searches. The company is registered in the US according to, yet using a service to hide their real location and identity, and clearly sending stuff from China.

I don’t think that consumers should be forced to check numerous scam/review sites every time they make an online purchase, and many less savvy online shoppers won’t even know those kind of services exist in the first place. So a slap on the wrist for Google while I’m at it as well (Hah! Taking on all comers today here aren’t we!) and the Sennheiser Mx 686G review

This post is getting quite long already so I will simply copy the review I tried to post on the review system of these headphones:

Absolute rubbish
Bought these to replace some older Sennheiser running headphones which I bought approx 4 years ago for £26, they were superb. These are £40 and sound like a £2.99 pair of headphones, no bass, tinny, I have returned them as they are not fit for purpose. Shame on you Sennheiser for producing such a poor audio experience, when you used to be relied upon for quality. Approach with caution or avoid entirely is my advice!!!

I think you get the picture there but if you want more of the same check out the one star reviews on amazon which I actually fully agree with on this occasion.

Unfortunately the review system wouldn’t let me publish mine though, because it apparently:

  • contains inappropriate content
  • mentions the specific price

Not really sure what was inappropriate or why you can’t mention the price but there you go.

So an admittedly small shame on you Very for trying to moderate my review, which I think was totally justified.

Apart from that though Very were very 4 good and refunded the money even though I sent them back way past the 30 day money back period, so fair play to them


Finally, some good headphones

I’ll try to finish on a positive note – here are some decent sports headphones from Sennheiser:

Some good quality running headphones!

Alas, it seems you can’t buy these anymore*, especially not for the not so princely sum of £30 that it cost me way back in 2011 when I bought them. The nearest you can get now it seems are these bad boys (<– Amazon affiliate link**) for an inflation busting £65. Now they do have an extra fancy cord on them which doesn’t tangle as easily and also has a volume control on it, but I’m not really sure if that is worth the extra wonga. Also who know’s if Sennheiser have reduced the quality of the driver components as they have done for the £40 headphones I did buy? I mean, they may well have improved them dramatically for all I know, but I just wouldn’t know because I never bought these ones.

*In fact: I just searched eBay and it seems you can still buy them, although these are the classic “Standard Shipping from China/Hong Kong/Taiwan” so god only knows whether they are the real deal or even if you are going to receive them. The price is certainly right though! I would love to buy them in the name of research for part II of this post but I’m done with trying to buy headphones for now… haha.

**Please note: Although I’ve dropped an affiliate link here this does not mean I am endorsing these headphones!!! I haven’t bought nor tried them so cannot possibly say how good or bad they are. They just look a bit like the old ones I have, which are pretty damn good. If you do end up buying a pair let me know because if they are good I will probably buy a pair, but don’t want to risk £65 on finding out when I have a perfectly serviceable pair (for now) already!



Well there you go, I now feel I’ve contributed to make the consumer world a better place.

And as luck would have it the buzz on my old headphones went away pretty quickly so I can just continue using these for hopefully a long while yet.

What about you? Have you ever had an online shopping experience that was sub par, or come across a blatant scam website and fallen for it?

Let me know in the comments below!


  1. Fincon is the now huge finance website/blogger convention that is put on Phil Taylor from PT Money (no, not the darts player 🙂 ), every year in the US of A. I got to meet some really cool bloggers including PT, JD Roth from Moneyboss and previously Get Rich Slowly fame, and Brandon from the MadFIentist, as well as many others who were all extremely nice folks as you’d imagine the PF blogger crowd are 😉 . Anyway enough name dropping from me, back to the post…
  2. Seriously, did you click on the link? I mean… just look at it!
  3. A few years ago we had about £70 taken off the card from some carpet shop in New Jersey, USA, that was clearly not us. A quick phone call and they refunded the money straight away and then do their investigation and chase up the merchant. I was happily surprised with this process, thinking that there would be a 3 month long investigation before we saw any of our money back! Not sure how many other CC companies do it that way round but either way very impressed by Amex!
  4. HAH! 🙂