It's not too often I get caught by a scammer. I'm actively suspicious when online shopping outside of a retailer's site or Amazon. Still, I have been caught a time or two. Interestingly enough, Facebook was the enabler in both cases.
The first one was a couple of years ago. I saw a really neat t-shirt that I thought my son would get a kick out of. The ad said "$10 t-shirt" so I checked it out. I wasn't suspicious enough when the first thing that happened on clicking the link was the site asked for my credit card info. The shirt was indeed priced at $10, so I figured that even if they charged another $10 for shipping, the shirt would be worth it, even calculating in the exchange rate from US to Canadian. It would make a neat gift for his birthday, which was coming up. I plugged in my credit card info, name, address, the works. I figured the next thing would be the cart showing my one t-shirt. Instead it said something along the lines of "thanks for your purchase".
Moments later, in my email, appeared a message that congratulated me on being 1 of 100 winners of a free t-shirt and had a link to use to claim my free shirt. So I clicked it. This time though, I received an immediate notification that my purchase had been processed. What? I checked with my banking software and saw that my credit card had indeed been charged for this new "free" shirt, as well as my previous order for the $10 shirt. In all, it was now almost $50 of charges - definitely not the $20 I had anticipated.
I immediately clicked the "contact us" email in the confirming message. I wrote out a detailed account of what had happened. By now I was ticked off. I just wanted to cancel the whole order and get my money back. What happened next was mind boggling! They wrote back to say that the order was now shipped and could not be stopped. Barely three minutes after placing the order they were trying to tell me it was shipped. Well I was having none of that! After much back and forth over email, where they offered me a percentage off my next purchase (which I refused); and then a $10 refund (which I refused); they kept waffling around. Finally, I provided bad feedback on the transaction, using the handy dandy link they had sent asking for feedback immediately after the purchase. When they reached out and begged me to remove the bad feedback, I told them I expected a full refund by a specific date and that if I did not receive the refund, I would not only NOT remove the bad feedback, but I would spread the story all over Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. so that all my followers would have it. (They didn't need to know I had probably 12 people that would be interested.) They finally caved and I got my money back.
So now to the latest adventure. I saw an ad on Facebook. This company claimed to have purchased returned items from places like Amazon and stated they had created mystery boxes. For $30 per box, $59 for 2 boxes, you would receive one (or two) mystery boxes. The ad had a slick video that showed people packaging up fantastic stuff into these rather large boxes. Testimonials had people saying how pleasantly surprised they were on opening their boxes to find things like speakers for their iPhone, some kind of power tool, clothes, jewelry, etc. The boxes they were unpacking were full and they were thrilled with the value received for their $30.
So I bit. I bought two boxes, figuring at the very least I would get stuff worth the price of the boxes.
Last week I received a small package in the mail. It was basically a Purolator-type pouch folded in half. Inside was a pair of possibly the ugliest earrings I've ever seen, together with a small, ugly, striped sweater, that wasn't even in a pleasant colour or made from good quality yarn. It was scratchy to the touch. There was also some earbuds. The last thing in the envelope was a label with an email address in very small print.
I had no idea this was my TWO mystery boxes. I used the email address to contact the company to find out if they had inadvertently sent the wrong stuff and ask what I had ordered. When they responded that they were sorry I was not happy with my mystery box, it dawned on me. Now I was angry! I had ordered TWO mystery boxes and received three small items in half a Purolator bag. I was ripped off.
I reached out again and said that I wished to return the items for the refund they offered. I asked for their address.
Over the course of at least half a dozen exchanges back and forth, they kept insisting that I should keep the items and forget returning it because it would be too expensive for me to send it back. And all along I have kept insisting that they should let me make that decision and to send me their address. I'm still waiting.
Finally I reached out to PayPal. They took in the details and after a short investigation, made the refund. Thanks PayPal.
I really hate scammers.