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AG warns of 'drop-shipping' and online rip-offs this holiday season

Posted at 9:42 PM, Nov 25, 2019

MUSKEGON, Mich. — Online scammers are targeting your pockets this holiday season, with a common rip off tactic called "Drop-Shipping."

In some cases, buyers never receive the items they paid for.

"I’m normally a pretty savvy online shopper, I like to think but this time they got me," Rhonda Walbrink said.

Rhonda Walbrink was scrolling Facebook this month, on her feed was a link to a brand of boots she’s been eyeing.

"I was intrigued and never owned a pair of Bogs before, but I like the brand and I really liked the prices that popped up on this website," Walbrink explained.

Rhonda bought three pairs for $70.

"I received an email right away confirming my order and I also received another email that the payment had been processed that day. A few days later I received an email with tracking info and the point of origin was China," Walbrink added.

Walbrink says that was a little concerning but she figured it was just take longer to ship.

Two weeks later she got a notification that her boots were delivered.

"The day that I received that email I happened to be working at home, and no products were delivered to me, no products came to my door or my mailbox," Walbrink said.

She tried contacting the seller and found there was no phone number on the website, only an email address.

Through some more digging Rhonda found the legitimate Bogs Footwear website, they look eerily similar.

"I just advise other shoppers to be aware and do your homework with some of these online stores, because it looked very legitimate to me, i thought it was real," Rhonda said.

Rhonda emailed the seller asking for a refund, she has not heard back.

The state issued a consumer alert about "drop-shipping" this week.

The Better Business Bureau says cases like Rhonda’s are fairly common, but drop-shipping itself is not illegal.

"What we see from a lot of these complaints we get, five words, I saw it on Facebook," BBB serving West Michigan Communications Manager Troy Baker said.

"Find some place that you trust that is selling it, it might be a dollar or two more, but you know you are going to get it and get it in time," Baker recommends.

"Doing that research ahead of time and making sure you’re getting that product from somewhere you trust, is going to save you a whole lot of problems," Baker added.