If you spend any time online or on social media you’ve no doubt run into a few eye-catching ads. The Internet is full of offers and deals that appeal to not just your wants but needs. The problem is many of these ads are scams set up by con artists that have no plans on delivering on their offer. ShopSkyer customers are now dealing with the aftermath of trying to get their money back after being swindled by the online scam.
ShopSkyer.com advertised on Facebook and other social media outlets folding mobility scooters for a steal of a deal at $69.99 (tax included). Customers flocked to the offer and eagerly awaited receipt of their scooter to help with mobility. Unfortunately, many received nothing at all. But some did receive a package. However, it definitely was not what they had ordered. What they received is a small package valued at $5.00 US, containing a pair of socks, sunglasses, and a small fanny pack. Not at all the folding scooter the customers expected. One senior that was conned by ShopSkyer recorded the unveiling of their package on YouTube for others to see.
ShopSkyer preys on consumers that are looking for an economical way to help their elderly or disabled loved ones get around easier. Some that bought scooters are on social assistance or have limited income, and are now trying to get their money back.
ShopSkyer, who also operates as TopShopLine, ignores customer emails and complaints. Their websites are no longer active and they are more than likely on to their next victims, operating another phony website to swindle others out of their money.
The actual mobility scooter the scammers are advertising, costs about $2750. The manufacturer has also issued a warning to the public to beware of online scams using their product.
Shopping Online—Pay By Credit Card
One of the smartest tips to remember when shopping online is to pay with a credit card. Using a credit card provides certain protections and advantages other payment options don’t carry. For example, if you make a purchase and don’t receive the order; you receive something different from what you ordered; the items are misrepresented; or there is some other problem; you have the ability to file a dispute with your credit card company. While you may be able to dispute a charge if you paid by debit card or a service like PayPal, you will be out of the money you paid while the matter is being reviewed. With a credit card, you are not out of any money right away. You also typically have 60 days to dispute the charge, so if you discover a problem a few weeks after purchase, you have time to take action.
Watch for Warning Signs
Shopping online can be risky. Without going into a physical store, you are relying on the business to deliver just what they offer. And far too often, customers run into fraudulent retailers and are left trying to recover their money. Before you buy online, look for red flags that the offer may not be on the up-and-up. Here are a few tips to help you.
Watch out for ads on social media. While this platform is a great way for small businesses to advertise, there are a multitude of scams that use the same means to swindle consumers. Be careful when clicking links and responding to offers you see on the Internet. Also, keep in mind these crooks often run several websites at once under different names so they can maximize their attempts to con the public.
Even if the website looks attractive, don’t be fooled. Check for contact information. If the business does not provide their phone number, address, or viable contact information, shop elsewhere. In the case of ShopSkyer , they have no phone number or address for consumers to contact them, only an email address that they do not respond to. They even took measures to hide their identity by making the website domain registration private—another red flag.
Before you click to buy, check online for any reviews and complaints about the business. Start by searching for the business on checkbca.org or call us to inquire on the business. Business Consumer Alliance operators can help you with consumer tips and even look at the offer to let you know if there are areas of concern.
Make sure to read all the terms and conditions before you enter your payment information and agree to the sale. Check for the return and refund policy. Also check for shipping information. If the merchandise is coming from outside the United States, delivery time may be longer than expected, size and style may differ, and items may not be the same quality as you may expect. Always practice safe shopping habits when making online purchases.
What If You’ve Been Scammed Already
Scammers often thrive because their victims remain quiet. No one wants to fall prey to a con, but with thieves getting more and more creative and aggressive with their tactics, it is sometimes hard to avoid. This is why it is important to warn others. Start by leaving a review or filing a complaint with Business Consumer Alliance. Share the information with others you know by word-of-mouth and on social media, especially if you initially saw the offer on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or any other social media site. Also, report the incident to the site so they can take action to remove the phony ads. Your efforts can save someone else from being scammed.
Check out BCA’s interview with KNBC news about ShopSkyer in the video below:
UPDATE 9-13-2019: The company has since shut down the ShopSkyer website, but may be operating under another website. The video below is a follow-up story: