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Be aware of social media ad scams during Valentine's Day gift search

BBB: Thousands of complaints every year
Be aware of social media ad scams during Valentine's Day gift search
Posted at 4:40 AM, Feb 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-10 19:11:27-05

When searching for that perfect Valentine's Day gift, you might not want to click on a social media ad that takes you to an unfamiliar website. If you aren't careful, what you see might not actually be what you get.

The ads on social media advertise unbelievable deals and limited time offers, but before you click, buyer beware.

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

"I was looking for a remote-controlled helicopter," said Madron

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," said Madron.

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

As an added bonus the US Army replica helicopter was 40% 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," said Madron.

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," said Madron

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," said Madron

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

Angie Barnett with the BBB warns, "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.

In Colorado Delores "Donnie" Kamrass stays connected to her family through Facebook, especially since her mobility has been limited by a fractured hip.

She saw an ad for an unbelievable deal on a mobility scooter going for $157 and decided to buy it.

"I thought, well, what the hell, we could have some fun together just going up the bike paths and stuff," she said. "I was really excited because I thought it would make our lives better and more fun."

Weeks later, though, all that came in the mail was a plastic toy.

"We went out right there and we got this, this ridiculous doll," she said. "It's worth maybe a quarter if that."

When she contacted her Citi credit card to dispute the charge, she said, the merchant claimed the scooter had been delivered and the charge was not reversed. However, Kamrass said, after contacting the news about her experience she got a call that the charge was being reversed.