CBS Dallas-Fort Worth heard about horror stories from some customers of these Facebook-advertising discount sites.
One local woman tried to buy a sweater from a site called Rose Gal. Not only did it take a month to arrive, but “When I opened it, this really rank smell came out of the bag, like mildew or food.”
All of which might have been tolerable if the smelly sweater looked like what she’d ordered. Not only was it shorter and tighter than the product in the photo, the front of the sweater had been sewn shut with black thread.
To see if the numerous online complaints about Rose Gal and other sites were justified, CBS DFW’s Cristin Severance ordered items from four different online retailers advertising on Facebook.
One of the items — a dress from a company called TB Dress — never showed up and the site is not responding to questions about where it might be.
The four other items disappointed, even at their low price. The $13 shirt from Rose Gal was shorter and tighter than advertised. The site’s leather jacket “looked plastic” and had a floppy collar.
Nasty Dress lived up to part of its name. The $25 red wool coat ordered from the site was “falling apart, nearly ripped when I tried it on, the sleeves were too short and a part of the coat wasn’t sewn on.”
And while She In advertised a $23 dress that was mustard-y in color, Severance ended up with something that looks like safety yellow. Perhaps She In was trying to make up for that discrepancy by sending her two of them?
On the one hand, you can say “buyer beware” or “you should know better,” but that doesn’t relieve these retailers of their obligation to sell the products they advertise. But since most of these sites are based overseas and can just change names at whim, it can be difficult for regulators and law enforcement to track them down — especially if they are located in countries that don’t really care if some customer halfway around the world was rooked out of a few dollars.
One company that should care and can do something about these sketchy ads is Facebook, which is making money by promoting these sites.
“Facebook prohibits advertisements that are deceptive, false, or misleading, including deceptive claims, offers, or business practices,” the company tells CBS in a statement. “We are investigating these claims and if we discover violations we will take appropriate action.”