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BBB warns consumers of online appliance scam

RALEIGH — The Better Business Bureau has recently received a number of reports through BBB Scam Tracker of customers claiming to have paid for products and services that they never received. Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern North Carolina warns consumers of fraudulent websites claiming local addresses and selling appliances at discounted prices.

On June 2, BBB initiated an investigation on a suspicious business after receiving a customer complaint form. A resident recently lost $279 to scammers when they purchased an appliance from a fake website. They were unable to make contact with the business and realized quickly that it was a scam.

“With more people shopping online in an effort to social distance, scammers are using fake websites and discounted pricing to lure in shoppers,” said Mallory Wojciechowski, president and CEO of BBB serving Eastern North Carolina. “We’ve recently seen an uptick in online appliance scams, even impacting local residents, so it’s important for consumers to be aware and know how to avoid being scammed.”

There are multiple websites that fit the same web design template as the one reported, and offer home appliances at discounted rates. The contact addresses listed on these websites are all Walmart locations, and not the actual location of the businesses. Additionally, the phone numbers listed go to a Google Voice account. These sites include:

  • OvenDeals.com uses a Durham Walmart address (5450 New Hope Commons Dr. Durham, NC 27707)
  • CoffeeGuuru.com website is currently down.
  • Vacuumsspot.com uses a Goldsboro Walmart address (4350 US-70 E. Goldsboro, NC 27534)
  • Gocoffeemaker.com uses a Chapel Hill Walmart address (12500 US Hwy 15 501 N, Chapel Hill, NC 27517)
  • Coffeeeureka.com uses a Cameron Walmart Address (2800 NC-24 #87 Cameron, NC 28326)
  • Dysonguru.com uses a Dublin, GA Walmart address (2423 U.S. 80 W, Dublin, GA 31021)
  • Shopcoffeemaker.com uses an Indianapolis, IN Walmart Address (7245 US 31 S, Indianapolis, IN 46227)

So far there have been 15 unanswered complaints, several currently open complaints and at least five reports on BBB Scam Tracker. BBB has attempted to contact the businesses by mail, email and phone, none of which have been a valid contact method. As mentioned above, all websites uses addresses belonging to Walmart stores. The phone numbers are directed to Google Voice accounts and the email addresses have all come back as undeliverable.

BBB offers the following tips when shopping online:

  • Shop with a credit card. In case of a fraudulent transaction, a credit card provides additional protections; it’s easier to dispute charges that you didn’t approve. 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. Be sure to know and understand the return policy and keep this documented with your purchase records.
  • Look for legitimate websites. You can determine the URL is secure by looking for “https”, a lock icon to the left of the URL, and for Apple products the entire URL will be green.
  • Research the business. Before making a purchase, search for the business at bbb.org to see their letter rating, reviews, complaints, and other crucial information.

To report a scam, go to BBB Scam Tracker at bbb.org/scamtracker. For additional information on scams, visit bbb.org.