Beware of fake web sites selling products

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onsalesurplusdepot.com warning.The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about web sites claiming to sell discounted merchandise that are luring customers with ads on Craigslist but not actually delivering on orders.

The web sites, onsalesurplusdepot.com and onewayclearancehouse.com, say they sell surplus products such as gym equipment, tools and toys obtained from warehouses, distributors and liquidation auctions.
Customers who have ordered products are instructed to pay with Green Dot MoneyPak cards, which are pre-paid cards bought at certain retail stores. The web sites explain the payments are processed through PayPal, but that they don't accept direct PayPal payments.

Nick LaFleur, media relations specialist with the BBB in Tucson, Ariz. told Consumer Ally that the web sites have changed names several times but the scam is always the same. The ads placed on Craigslist often don't have contact information. Instead, customers are directed to another web site. The sites have photos of the items for sale, but the images appear to be ripped off from the web sites of the companies that make the products, he said.

A contact number and email address are listed on the web sites. However, consumers who've tried calling say they've never spoken to anyone and always get a recorded message instead.

Other red flags include:
  • No known address for the companies. In the case of onsalesurplusdepot.com, only a Pullman, Wash. location is listed.
  • Both web sites were created within the past month or two.
  • The BBB has been unable to verify that these businesses are properly registered.
  • Customers who have sent emails to the addresses listed on the web sites have received the same generic email in return.
Amy Hinojos, an Alabama resident, told Consumer Ally she was devastated to learn about the scam. She and her husband ordered a $750 playground set for their two-year-old daughter in May.

She said they corresponded with someone by email. The emails explained that their play set would be shipped to them by a certain date. After a couple of weeks, however, the play set had not arrived. They tried calling and emailing but received no response.

"Their web site was done so perfectly," she said. "We thought we were getting a legitimate gift for a legitimate price."

Hinojos said she had an uneasy feeling and started doing research online. That's when she discovered numerous other people had complained about the same web site. She said they also contacted Green Dot to see if the company could help them track down where the money on the card was redeemed, but they were told no.

LaFleur said it's difficult to know where the scammers are located, but it's possible they're operating out of another country.

"If that's the case, it could be extremely difficult to shut them down and the only thing you can do is educate consumers as far as what to look for when shopping online," he said.

The BBB offers tips and a warning to consumers about using Green Dot MoneyPaks.
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