Better Business Bureau serving the Northwest and Pacific has issued a Pattern of Complaint alert regarding Pacific Pike, an online retailer headquartered in Salem, Oregon. BBB has received 55 complaints over the past 12 months and 123 customer reviews; 95% allege Pacific Pike took their money but never delivered the ordered products. In a small percentage, products were delivered, but consumers report the items were substandard and not as advertised.
A North Alabama consumer reported seeing a Facebook advertisement for a purse and was taken to the website to purchase. She said the company stated that there was a two-day cancellation window, however, when the consumer tried calling the number provided, it did not work, and emails were also not returned. The consumer’s card used to purchase the purse was debited but no purse has been delivered, 8 months after the transaction.
According to BBB records, Pacific Pike never responded to customer inquiries. BBB also reached out repeatedly to owner Eric Owens to try and resolve these claims. In most cases Owens did not respond to BBB communications and, in February, advised BBB to stop emailing him.
BBB investigates all complaints and customer reviews to ensure that a transaction has occurred before publishing them on a company’s profile page. This is done regardless of whether a business has BBB accreditation.
BBB advises consumers to exercise extreme caution when ordering products from online retailers and offers the following tips for online shoppers:
- Know the advertiser. Check out the retailer’s BBB Business Profile and customer reviews at bbb.org before shopping. Make sure you are shopping with a company who has a good track record.
- Check a site’s security settings. If the site is secure, its URL (web address) should start with https:// and include a lock icon on the purchase or shopping cart page.
- Shop savvy. When shopping online, take your time and read the fine print before submitting your order. Look for a return policy; although many online orders can be returned for a full refund, some may have restocking fees. Most online stores provide tracking information once an item has been shipped. Know before you buy.
- Shop with a credit card or use PayPal. In case of a fraudulent transaction, a credit card or PayPal provide additional protections and allows you to dispute any unauthorized charges. Debit cards, prepaid cards or gift cards don’t have the same protections as a credit card.
- Keep documentation of your order. Save a copy of the confirmation page or email confirmation until you receive the item and are satisfied.
- Keep a clean computer. Being on unfamiliar sites can lead to malware or viruses being downloaded on to your computer. Make sure you have the most up to date firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware software. Check for and install the latest updates and run virus scans regularly on your computer, tablet and smartphone.
- Know your rights. Whether shopping retail or online, know your rights. According to the FTC, orders made by mail, phone, fax, or online should be shipped by the date promised or, if no delivery time was stated, within 30 days. If the goods cannot be shipped on time, the shopper must be notified of the right to cancel and receive a refund. Consumers also have the right to reject merchandise if it’s defective or misrepresented; otherwise, it’s the company’s policies that determine if the shopper can cancel the purchase and receive a refund or credit. Be sure you understand return policies before you buy.