One of this year’s popular gift ideas is what appears to be a handmade quilt adorned with gaming or movie characters and other pop culture images. Holiday shoppers have been enticed by online stores that appear to offer trendy products at an affordable price. However, in many cases, people who ordered these quilts never receive them. The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about things to look out for when shopping online.
Since September 2018, BBB has received reports on Scam Tracker from more than 125 frustrated customers, including local North Alabama residents, and a number of BBB offices have received complaints and calls from consumers about companies operating under a variety of names. While some may be legitimate companies that were overwhelmed by holiday orders, others are undoubtedly scams. BBB is investigating to try to determine which ones are fraudulent.
Consumers report being fooled by authentic-looking ecommerce sites, which highlight positive customer reviews and photos. One consumer wrote: “I did a quick search before buying from them, saw what I now know was a fake page of rather authentic looking positive reviews. Website looked legit, allowed for multiple payment options, and even had a decent return policy.”
Most victims report similar experiences. They find the ecommerce site through an online search or a social media ad. When they place an order through the site, they initially receive a tracking number and confirmation email. However, when the quilt doesn’t arrive weeks later, they can’t find the company’s contact information. In some cases, the website has shut down entirely.
This report describes a typical experience: “I was able to track progress through the website for about a week. Now the website is gone, emails are not responded to and I have not received what I ordered. There is not a way to get in touch with their so-called customer support.”
These online stores use a variety of names. The most recent reports to BBB Scam Tracker include complaints about Gigi Blanket, Campreme, Amelia Cotton Quilt Company, and Sleepious. Additional names reported to BBB by consumers include: Weirdo Stuff, Emacotton.com, Ecrafta.com, Uscrafta, USA Crafta, Umovietee, Kathleen Quilt, EMA Cotton, Cotton Blanket, Ecrafta, ARA Cotton, Joyce Quilt, Ducha, and Elsie Quilt. BBB believes some of these sites may be run by the same people.
For tips on smart online shopping, check out BBB.org/ShoppingOnline.