Better Business Bureau is urging consumers to be cautious when purchasing goods through online classified listing sites after several consumers allege a seller failed to deliver merchandise found on craigslist.org
, a business bearing an “F” rating with BBB, has generated seven complaints in the past 13 months alleging that after consumers paid deposits for sheds, doll houses or chicken coops, the seller failed to deliver the merchandise or produce refunds when requested.
A North Highlands woman said she made a deposit toward a shed last June. “I made several attempts (to receive) the shed,” said the woman. ”On every occasion Mr. Shook made an excuse of why he couldn’t make it. I demanded a refund.” As of May 8, 2012, the consumer still has not received her shed or a refund.
Complainants report the seller claims his name is Kevin Shook, Kevin Dean, Murphy Dean and Chuck, with addresses reported in Fremont, Manteca, Oakdale and Tracy. The common link between the complaints is use of the business name “Darling Crafts”. Consumers have also reported five different email addresses being used by the seller.
Three of the street addresses reported by complainants appear to be private mail boxes. Better Business Bureau has been unable to locate a business license or a fictitious business name filing for the seller.
“I ordered a chicken coop from Kevin on craigslist,” said a Yorba Linda man. ”I have yet to receive it. There’s no working phone number and I’m not sure if the address is correct either.”
The seller did not respond to complaints lodged with BBB or additional inquiries made by a BBB investigator. One consumer received a refund.
“Buying items from an unknown seller is always risky,” said Gary Almond, president of BBB serving northeast California. “In these cases, consumers allege the seller failed to deliver as promised. Consumers should always take precautions when ordering online.”
Better Business Bureau offers the following tips for consumers who purchase goods through online classified sites:
• Avoid paying large upfront fees. Pay for a project as it progresses and have the payment schedule written in a contract before any work begins.
Search the internet for the company or seller. Use a search engine or check them out at bbb.org
• Pay using Paypal or a similar payment system. Using cash, check or wiring money offers little recourse if something goes awry in the business transaction.
As a business-supported nonprofit organization, Better Business Bureau's mission is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBB sets standards for ethical business behavior, helps consumer identify reliable businesses through BBB Business Reviews, sets standards for truthful advertising, evaluates and provides reviews of charities, educates consumers, and offers dispute resolution services. More than 87 million consumers rely on BBB for Business Reviews, consumer tips and scam alerts. To learn more, please visit www.necal.bbb.org.