Some of the more important lessons in life are the very ones I seem to be destined to learn over and over and over and over again. This one should be tattooed on my forehead, backward, so I see it every time I look in the mirror: DO NOT BUY ANYTHING FROM A FACEBOOK ADVERTISEMENT, YOU GULLIBLE DOOFUS.
I’ve been burned so many times at this point that it should be permanently etched on my brain, but apparently not. You’d also think Facebook would be embarrassed at the level of false advertising that goes on on its platform, but we all know that Facebook’s monitoring department, if it even exists, seems to be sound asleep during office hours. They don’t know, they don’t care. It’s the digital equivalent of the wild wild West up in there.
First of all, when you go to the websites for these companies, there is no indication of the location of their offices. That’s a red flag. More often than not, you’re dealing with products from China or some other distant nation. That would be fine if these companies had the same business ethic that we do, but they most definitely do not.
You will also notice that these companies have nothing but 5 star reviews. Read them closely and you’ll get the distinct impression that they were all written by the same person using different names, and that person’s first language isn’t English.
These companies are not really concerned with repeat business or customer satisfaction. They’re all about getting money from as many people as possible as quickly as possible, and then disappearing once everyone gets wise to their tactics. They’ll often pretend they’re going out of business or have limited stock to get you to hurry up and part with your money. Once you discover what a piss-poor product they’ve sent you, you’ll find that refunds are less of a policy than they are a suggestion. In fact, you get the impression that their employees are penalized every time they give a refund.
Here are a few of my experiences:
Facepalm Number One: I ordered a pair of shoes that would have gone perfectly with my wedding ensemble. The website comments revealed that their sizes run a bit small, so I ordered two sizes up and hoped for the best. The shoes arrived 6 weeks later than they said they would, and this was pre-pandemic. In fact, they arrived at the 11th hour. They were so narrow and small that a 10-year-old child probably would have found them uncomfortable. I can’t imagine how minuscule the shoes in my actual size would have been.
Given the size discrepancy, I’m sure that company got a lot of complaints, and yet they still did not adjust their size chart. That shows you how much they care. The price was really good, until you factor in the minor detail that you are paying for something you could never wear. I had to run down the street the day before the wedding and buy the first pair of basic black shoes that I could find in my size. I was too busy being blissfully wedded to even worry about a refund for the tiny shoes. I’m sure some very tiny person at the Goodwill enjoyed them.
Lesson learned? Of course not.
Facepalm Number Two: I saw some really, really cool shirts by a company called Comfyrs.com. Everything in their catalog was right up my alley. It was hard to choose. I even bought one for my much skinnier sister. When the products arrived, I kid you not, 8 months later, the shirts that were supposed to be my size were so tight that I had trouble getting back out of them. And the one that I wanted the most, shown here, was a medium, even though I had ordered an XL (and in retrospect should have ordered a 3XL so it would actually be an XL sized shirt.) The shirts were also polyester, not cotton.
I contacted the company about just the one shirt. I figured the other issues were my own stupid fault. I asked them to send me the one in the right size. They said send a picture proving I had gotten the wrong size. I did. (I was willing to cooperate at first because it would have been a cute shirt, had it worked out.)
They responded, “Dear customer, Thanks for your order. As the return shipping charge is high and need a very long time till we received. We sincerely suggest if you will consider again to keep the item. As I see, the style you bought is really popular and cost-effective, maybe you can give it to a suitable friend/family as gift or transfer it to colleagues/neighbors. Which would be perfect. Meanwhile, we would like to make up 5USD gift card for you in this case for our sorry. So you can buy some other items you like and suitable. How do you think that?”
Uh, no. I said send me a prepaid FedEx ticket and I’ll send you the shirt. Meanwhile, please send me the right size or refund me for the shirt. They offered me 10 percent of its cost. They also said that even though it had been shipped to me from San Franscisco, I’d have to pay to return it… at my expense… to Hong Kong.
I kept asking them why I should be penalized for their screw up. We went round and round and round with this for about 6 weeks. Then, since I had purchased it through PayPal, I finally resorted to doing a dispute with them, and got my money back.
Now, you can find reviews and warnings about Comfyrs all over the web. This site had 86 percent of all the reviewers giving it one star. Of course, the company did not respond to any of these negative reviews. And when you attempt to go to their website, it has disappeared. It seems that their Hong Kong address was a vacant building that hadn’t been occupied in about a decade.
You’d think that this nightmare would have put me off Facebook ads for life. But no…
Facepalm Number Three: I have always, always wanted a quilt but could never afford one. When I saw this picture in the Facebook ad by a company called Antcozy, I was hooked. It looked absolutely gorgeous. The website said this was a handmade item made to order with “so much love”, just for you.
Should I have asked myself why it was called a “quilt blanket” rather than a quilt? Probably. Should I have zoomed way, way, way in on the picture to discover that the “quilt” wasn’t made of individual patches of material, but instead was one big print with fuzzy edges and random stitching? Definitely. Should I have wondered why the description made no mention of quilt batting? Abso-freakin’-lutely.
All I was thinking about was that it was pretty, affordable, and I’d finally have the quilt of my dreams. Made just for me. A day or two after I placed the order, I was informed that the quilt was “in production”. Images of Appalachian women sewing away on someone’s front porch. Hooray for good communication!
When it arrived, I was horrified. It definitely did not look as thick as the photo indicated. In fact, it was so thin that I’d probably shiver beneath it in the height of an Arizona summer. Packing blankets are of higher quality. This was mass produced dreck. It was still colorful, but it was no quilt. The price I paid would have been a steal for a quilt, but it cost about 5 times more than what this blanket was worth. It has now got pride of place on the guestroom bed. I look at it as my penance for being an idiot.
Lesson learned? Kind of. Briefly.
Facepalm Number Four: Then I saw this picture in a Facebook ad by a company called Derandy.
Isn’t it cute? It looks like it’s made of patches of velvet or chenille, and that it has depth and texture. And this company made a point that the products came from an American location. Yay. Surely that’s a good sign.
When placing the order, I discovered that if I bought just one more item, I’d get free shipping. What the heck. A lot of their shirts looked pretty, so I chose this one. (I think I was dazzled by the sparkles.)
Countless weeks later, when the package arrived, I could tell I was going to be disappointed before I even opened it up. It was thin and light. These were not shirts of substance. This is what I got.
Polyester prints once again. The collar isn’t even the same in the first one, and the glitter was just a super pixelated part of the print which would fool no one. These were shirts that even women with 80 years of bad taste under their belts would never be caught dead in. I’d be laughed right out of a nursing home if I wore one of these shirts on a visit. Little old ladies would be pelting me with the tennis balls from the feet of their walkers.
I don’t know which was more disappointing, the shirts themselves or the fact that I had fallen for this scam yet again. I went to the website and discovered that if you scroll waaaay down, you get the pictures of the actual product. And they warn that they cannot be responsible for “faded prints.” At least they can say they warned you. If, unlike me, you had bothered to scroll down, that is.
Again with the round and round about a refund. It was an 87 dollar purchase, and they offered me 30 bucks. When I refused that, they offered me 45. I threatened to do a PayPal dispute, and they offered me 55. Finally, they said that if I wanted a full refund, I’d have to return the product. I said fine, as long as it’s going to an American address.
This time, my stupidity only cost me the 16 bucks it took to mail their crap back. I also learned another handy tidbit while doing research for this post. If all the pictures in a catalog have the models heads cut off, those pictures have most likely been stolen from another site. It has something to do with copyright. So, somewhere out there, the actual quality products exist via a different company, but at a price I can’t pay. And as they say, you get what you pay for. I had paid for cheap knock offs.
So why don’t I ever learn? I think several factors are at play. First, I hate to shop. I’d much rather have things arrive at my door. The pandemic has gotten me used to that. Second, I can’t seem to let go of the belief that most people are honest, and most companies stand by their products and care about customer satisfaction because their motivation is repeat business. And third, I really want to believe that there are still quality, affordable products in this world. Somewhere.
I have to say that I felt slightly less silly recently when Dear Husband ordered a portable telescope. It was portable, all right. When it arrived, it was the size of one’s index finger, and, of course, couldn’t magnify anything for shit.
So there you have it. I live in hope that you can learn my lesson since I apparently cannot do so. I wonder what fresh Facebook hell will arrive at my door next. I shudder to think.
Now is the perfect time to stay off of Facebook and read a good book. Try mine! http://amzn.to/2mlPVh5