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Scam #7: Counterfeit Products

BBB receives thousands of complaints each year
Posted at 9:09 AM, Dec 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-18 10:09:01-05

Some products are sure to sell-out this holiday season but before searching for them on unfamiliar websites, you need to know the 7th Scam in our series on the "12 Scams of Christmas."

We're talking about Counterfeit gifts.

And new this morning, we meet a man who didn't get quite what he paid for, not even close.

Ray Madron, a retiree, wanted a new gadget to mess around with.

"I was looking for a remote controlled helicopter."

And just like that, the perfect one showed up on his Facebook

"It was a nice looking ad and it showed it, it had video of it and the whole thing."

He liked the features, sounds, and remote control functionality.

As an added bonus the US Army replica helicopter was 40 percent off.

Ray bought it for $60 and waited 4 to 6 weeks for it to arrive.

But when he received the package it wasn't what he ordered

"I was kind of surprised because it was a toy geared for 3-year-olds up."

He thought maybe it was a mistake, then saw similar complaints on the company's Facebook page

"And once I found that there was a lot of people on there saying do not buy it's a scam, and they had pictures of the same product I received."

So he filed a claim with PayPal

"They said that they were willing to do a partial refund of $29."

It says right here in PayPal's purchase protection for buyers, that if you're sent a product significantly different than described, you're covered.

Ray pushed back and PayPal agreed to give him a refund if he mailed the product back to the company, in China

"I went to the post office it was $33 to send it back to China, and I went to UPS just to compare, and it was $100 at UPS."

Not wanting to risk losing more money, Ray accepted that his money was gone

Angie barnett with the BBB, "When you find these products and the price is too good to be true, in this case they really are."

The Better Business Bureau has received thousands of complaints about counterfeit gifts.

They can be hard to spot online, especially when bogus sites use real photos, but price can be an indicator

"There are unique items, there are high demand items, we find them on websites for less than what we know they normally cost, and we send them our credit card information, order the product and we get not just a counterfeit but a much inferior product."

Ray said the same ad has popped on different websites. And he wants to warn others tempted into buying the high-tech helicopter to do their research, or risk overpaying for this piece of plastic.

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