If you buy from a Facebook ad, use PayPal for payment and a fraud results and expect Facebook or PayPal to come to your assistance, you may be disappointed.
You see ads on Facebook offering goods and services that seem too good to be true, but you simply can’t avoid checking them out. You know the ones I’m talking about. Of the hundreds that turn up unannounced each day on your feed occasionally, you see something that is of interest to you. In my case, it was a battery-powered, hand-held chainsaw pruner ideal for trimming olive trees.
Out of interest, I clicked on the ad to find out more and was astounded that it featured a famous brand at a ridiculously low price. Better still, I could pay with PayPal and thought that I would be covered if the goods were fake or not delivered.
I proceeded with my order and discovered the company I was dealing with was Yokawa Network Limited. Japanese sounding name, right? What could go wrong? Well, you guessed it, everything!
Days later I received an email with a shipping consignment and tracking number and a link to a site to check on the progress of my delivery. That was the first alarm bell – the goods were being shipped from China. OK, I have ordered stuff from China before and even though it took a while to reach me, it finally did.
However, weeks passed and with no sign of my miracle tool with the miracle price. Worse still, a check on the tracking site reported that my package had already been delivered on a date I was at home all day.
As a check, I entered my consignment number on Google and a number of other tracking sites turned up. All claimed the parcel had been delivered but all had differing information on the route and even the courier company that supposedly came to my home. One showed a firm that does not even operate in my country!
Another search on Google revealed what I was now expecting. I, and many others, had been scammed. All the reports online were similar to my own experience so I turned to PayPal for resolution where I was told I had to first contact Yokawa through the PayPal portal and only escalate the matter with PayPal if that was unsuccessful.
Yokawa did write back and told me the goods had been delivered and they were not entertaining any other scenario. So it was back to PayPal. A few days later I was informed that because Yokawa had proof the goods were delivered I had no claim for a refund.
Despite pointing out to PayPal that I was not the only person scammed and that all it had to do was search Google for proof, PayPal steadfastly refused to do anything else. It seems the company does not have access to Google or the internet! Matter closed.
I thought I should raise the matter with Facebook that they were allowing fraudsters to advertise on the platform but couldn’t find the original ad, it was long gone.
In summary, many of the firms advertising on Facebook are China-based and have developed a ‘sophisticated’ way to falsify shipping information and send you to tracking sites that are also fraudulent. They claim the goods you ordered have been delivered when they clearly have not been, and by courier companies that don’t even exist in your country. And if you think PayPal will support you or refund your money, forget it. They will side with the fraudsters saying they have proof the goods were delivered – the same fake information provided to the hapless customer.
Shame on Facebook for continuing to run the ads and shame on PayPal for treating their loyal customers as if they were the criminals. I no longer feel PayPal is trustworthy so I am closing my accounts. Beware of anything from Yokawa Network Limited selling hand-held battery-powered pruners. But there are many others out there and you won’t know the trader until you make payment so stick by the old adage – if it seems too good to be true, it usually is!
In this case, with so many documented cases on the internet, PayPal and Facebook (and also Pinterest it seems) must have been aware of the scam yet allowed it to continue. And how many other similar scams are going unchecked? Does this make them party to the fraud? What regulatory body can the hapless victims turn to?
I’ve never been one for heavy-handed regulation but maybe it’s time big tech was called to order.