Sharing the story about how I got scammed on Facebook Marketplace and how you can avoid this happening to you in the future too.
Do your research kids, Facebook Marketplace gives friends and neighbors the opportunity to “safely” sell used goods… or so I thought. In my case, it gave a terribly run small business the ability to promote and sell without the attachment of the actual business. Because it was coming from someone’s private Facebook page, the 1 star rating and terrible reviews were not even affiliated. Let me start off by saying this post is not meant to be bitter. I’ve had my moment of anger towards this human. He is your typical pathological liar who happened to maneuver through Facebook Marketplace in a way that produces scam like scenarios and I’m here to share my experience.
My hope is that this is educational so this doesn’t happen to anyone else.
I’m a serial review reader. I get it from my dad. My dad always taught me that you can buy anything online as long as you do your research, read reviews and know what you’re getting into. We failed this time around. Big time. But it’s okay, it will all be okay. We are currently working through the process to resolve this little laundry debacle that we got ourselves into.
First things first, a little background story. I needed a laundry unit for my townhome. Appliances are expensive, and I was on a budget. I know so many people who have used Facebook Marketplace, it’s there to be a trustworthy resource – I mean, you can see your neighbors and people in your area, you can check out their profile and see your mutual friends. So I noticed this guy selling refurbished appliances. Used and working conditions… GREAT PRICES, and he delivered and installed. We had a handful of mutual friends but I didn’t know him. I reached out wanting more info on one of his listings. When I wasn’t getting much response, I moved on. My mom kept thinking about the price. It was a good deal. So she decided to reach out via her Facebook account. He responded normally. Fast forward, he exchanged his address for us to come see the laundry unit and meet him. This is a normal next step, no obligations. We head to the NoDa neighborhood of Charlotte about 10 min away to meet with him, he was late but we proceeded to wait. He had an appliance repair warehouse with tons of options. We looked at the options and picked one out, paid (via a credit card, praise be) and scheduled a delivery.
Looking back there were already ways we could have stopped this. It didn’t even cross my mind to look up his “business” while we were waiting for him to come meet us. We didn’t find out he had a business or it’s name until we showed up to the warehouse – I’ll get to that later.
Delivery Day #1 – I had a time window between 4-6pm and I had a scheduling conflict so I called him a few days beforehand and requested if he could arrive closer to 4pm instead of later into the window, no problem. Day of, no word from him beforehand. I called him at the time of delivery to check in and he said he was having some issues and didn’t have the time to make it that day. We rescheduled.
Delivery Day #2 – Another no show. No call beforehand, so I had to call him and I got the excuse of all his delivery people being busy. Poor planning? Scam? We started seeing it at this point, but he was rescheduling with me.
Delivery Day #3 – His “delivery team” showed up with the unit. Got it into my townhome and it doesn’t hook up properly. The plug and the outlet are different, but seems like an easy fix. He said over the phone that he can come back and fix it to complete the install on another day, no problem.
Day #4 & Part 2 (to fix and complete install) – No time was set for this day, he said he would call me and let me know what worked for him…. I had to track him down again and get him to commit to a time frame. Another no show. I waited an additional hour and still no show. This was when he stopped responding. We had the laundry unit but it does not hook up or run for all we know. So we have his product, but where do we go from here?
*communication is clearly NOT his strong suit*
Turns out, this guy is doing this to people all over Charlotte. You can read the news article here. Not communicating, not delivering product that people are paying for, and even delivering faulty product. Am I one of the lucky ones who actually has received product.. even though we don’t even know if it works? This guy has now blocked both my mom and I, he wasn’t returning or answering our calls or texts for days – I took it to facebook as any millenial would and he responded there. But not for long, because he un-friended, un-tagged, and blocked us on social media too. The last thing I said to him was this…
” Learn how to communicate. Please. For the sake of your business. Communication and customer service will make or break you.”
And that’s all I have to say about that. As of today, this guy’s BBB rating is an F, and all of the comments and complaints about him are carbon copies of my situation. I hope that this guy is shut down soon and that this doesn’t happen to anyone I know, or anyone at all.
HOW TO AVOID THIS
There’s a handful of questions I wish I had asked, things that I wish I had done now that I see all the red flags I should have noticed to avoid this all. In reality, this isn’t the traditional “gift card scam” that we all keep hearing about now a days – and in the mix of it all, it all just seemed like this guy was terrible at communication and staying organized. Here’s a few tips for avoiding this happening to you or anyone you might know… thing I wish I did.
- DO YOUR RESEARCH | This looked like it was just a guy selling a used appliance on Facebook Marketplace. I saw we had mutual friends and stopped there. GO FARTHER. Does this person have a business? Is there a business page? When you get the address, do more research. Look into it.
- ASK SPECIFIC QUESTIONS | Don’t be afraid to ask tons of questions. It’s like the good ole days of buying something on CraigsList, I used to ask for additional pictures, ask for dimensions, what would the pick up or delivery look like, etc. Make sure to get all the information on the product before you put time and effort into going to look at it or pick it up in person.
- BRING SOMEONE WITH YOU | I did this one, my mom and I went together – but I feel the need to put this out there. Always bring a buddy. AND if you have a delivery for something, always have someone with you at your home for the delivery.
- DO MORE RESEARCH | If you find someone selling as an individual on Facebook Marketplace that turns out to be a business (like I did) Do more research. This brings me back to the fact that we didn’t find out he had a business or even it’s name until we showed up to the warehouse to purchase the product. Even a simple instagram search would have shown me that he had only 3 photos, and a simple facebook search or google search would have shown at least one of the previously scammed customers complaints.
Moral of the story, Do your research. If you made it this far, thanks for reading. You must like a good dramatic story, and I like your style. Let’s be friends and watch reality TV together.