Ever hear the old adage,
“You get what you pay for.”
Well, never was it more true than trying to get a red carpet look for nothing. These pictures are funny, as long as you’re not the one getting suckered. BuzzFeed News has exposed some scams perpetrated through Facebook ads that’s pretty shocking…
If you’re a woman on Facebook, there’s a good chance you’ve seen this kind of ad before: a gorgeous dress or a flattering top, from a website you’ve never heard of, for just $11.99, or some other too-good-to-be-true price. It has a Facebook page with perhaps millions of likes, zero to few complaints, and professional-grade graphics featuring models or celebrities like Katy Perry. The page posts links to its website every few hours, accompanied by pictures of women in stylish outfits.
But you’re unlikely to end up with anything close to what the pictures promise. They’re merely an entry point for thousands of women who have lost money to an opaque group of Chinese clothing companies in recent years, operating under a trove of names like Zaful, SammyDress, DressLily, RoseGal, RoseWe, TideBuy, Choies, and RomWe.
While the sites and their products may seem like small fry, the money involved is anything but. Analysis by BuzzFeed News shows that at least eight of them are connected to one Chinese e-commerce company that made more than $200 million in sales in 2014. That same year it was acquired by one of China’s best-known clothing companies, a publicly-listed giant run by one of the country’s richest men.
The story goes on to detail the scams and TONS of dissatisfied customers…
Bolstered by stolen images, aggressive ads, and images of security certificates from places like PayPal and Norton Security, the sites regularly sucker consumers into buying clothing straight from China — and it often bears little resemblance to pictures they saw online.
If and when the garments finally arrive, shoppers say they’re frequently small enough to fit children, their color is off, and they are made from flimsy materials. Sometimes they smell like chemicals. Customer service, typically located in China, is barely reachable, especially when it comes to returns and refunds.
This isn’t news to many: While there are some satisfied customers out there, thousands of complaints about such sites have piled up on TrustPilot, SiteJabber, and the Better Business Bureau’s website, and more have been lodged with the Federal Trade Commission. Multiple Facebook groups have been created to warn other would-be consumers, and some news outlets have tested the sites for themselves, experiencing the same poor results.
But the sellers keep thriving, especially on Facebook, where the social network’s loose policing and massive scale make it the ideal place to target women looking for a deal.
After the article appeared just a few days ago, the outcry was so great, this happened. Andrew Bosworth, Facebook’s VP of Ads and Pages:
“One of our most important goals with Facebook ads is to present experiences that are relevant and high-quality. We understand the gravity of this issue and we’re taking it very seriously. We’re looking at ways to incorporate new signals that will help us identify which of the over 50 million active businesses on our platform are delivering products and services that are overwhelmingly unsatisfactory to people.
As you pointed out in the piece – the challenge isn’t just with ads or posts on Facebook, but also the experiences people have with businesses off of Facebook. It’s a complex problem, but we are working on it and will do everything we can to make sure people trust and enjoy the content they see on Facebook.”
You can read the whole long, but info-packed story here. And below are some of the examples of unsatisfied customers. Be warned and share this story with your friends to get the word out!