Incredible savings via facebook

I’ve noticed recently, say the past couple months, a proliferation of ads on facebook that offer products at unbelievable savings, e.g. electric scooters that retail at $899 for $19.99. Similar items at less than 1/10th the ‘retail cost’.

The ads look pretty professional and appear legitimate, even offering PayPal as a payment option.

How can they possibly offer these types of savings? Am I wrong in assuming that using PayPal provides the buyer with foolproof protection against scammers?

They’re scams. Counterfeits at best. Vaporware at worst.

I’ve fallen for outright fraudulent facebook ads at least twice.

Me too, but twice in one day. If it had been sequential I might not have got bit the second time. Ordered clothes, both orders say they were shipped, weeks ago, and now when I try to get back to that company’s website, it’s gone. I probably just gave my info to Chinese hackers, is what I did.

My gf has ordered dresses two different times. Each dress arrived long after it was ordered and in each case the dress was very poor quality.

In the early days of the internet we were told to never click on an ad. It’s advice I’ve followed ever since. If I want to order something online, I will google the product or company and go to their website.

It is a rip-off invariably. If sounds too good to be true, it is.

Child of mine ordered something, guessing that was the case, thought worth taking a chance. Figured it was safe since paid through PayPal and could get refunded.

Item never arrived, even though company sent shipping/tracking updates, that once pursued with the carrier proved to be false.

They ended up buying locally.

Save yourself the time and trouble.

I once made the mistake of clicking an ad for a nice Hawaiian shirt that I thought looked neat. I usually give pretty much any purchase a lot of thought, but I like neat shirts [hi, my name is Lancia and I’m an addict.] and wanted to snag that one while I could. I paid with PayPal right then.

Total fucking scam. After weeks of waiting, with no confirmation, I contested the charge with PayPal. They sent an email that said something to the effect of “the seller has indicated an a shipment was made, and provided tracking information. We consider this matter closed. Sucks to be you.” A few weeks later a package arrived from Korea (!!!) with a cheap, poor quality shirt that wasn’t even the right size or the right pattern. I literally walked it into the house and straight to a trash can.

Now if something pops up on Facebook that looks interesting (I’ve been getting a lot of ads for XL neck ties lately, which I confess I also like) I’ll google for them and go to the website directly. If it’s legit, I’ll make the plunge.

protip if any website selling commercial products looks dodgy, find the “about” section, copy and paste the first two or 3 sentences of their description into Google, and see what pops up. Scummy websites tend to use the same (vague and generic) “about” verbiage on their websites. A fellow Doper taught me that and it has served me well.

I ordered four things from Wish. A damascus knife, a printed T shirt, some masks, and a set of archery bracers.

The Knife- they sent a picture of a knife, having modified the listing after the order :face_with_symbols_over_mouth: Paypal refunded.

T shirt was made of crap material, and too small. :poop: Paypal refunded.

The masks were the absolute cheapest kind you can get, but Ok for that price. Came very slowly.

The bracers came two months late, but were kinda nice actually, and well worth the price.

I have ordered three other things from FB, and they all never came, so I canceled thru Paypal.

Only one thing was exactly as advertised, a fire starter thing for camping- made in America. If the product comes from China dont bother. It will be later, if it comes at all, and it will likely be cheap crap.

Beware of any ad where they censor the comments- they will screen out any bad reviews that way.

Make sure you see various real people actually say they got the product and it was as advertised. You can check for “real” by clicking on the name.

I’ve bought a few of these scams in order to make videos about them on my channel - one of several things typically will happen:

  1. They send you a really shitty knockoff of the advertised item
  2. They send you some cheap trinket (just so they can present tracking data to PayPal)
  3. They take your money and send you nothing at all

Paying via PayPal does not guarantee protection.
In my investigation of these scams, I also went through the refund claim process - and there are two different ways this will play out:

  1. The seller claims it was an honest mistake and offers a refund on return of the item, but you have to return the item to China, via a tracked method, which in many cases would cost nearly the entire value of the refund, so you don’t bother, and the scammers keep the money
  2. Paypal processes a refund and you get your money back.
    It’s about 50/50 by all accounts.

Here’s what happened in the latest one I looked at (scenarios 2 and 2 from the above): What Happens When You Order A $29 Mini Laptop From A Facebook Ad? - YouTube

Remember: if it seems too good to be true…

Mangetout - thanks for the explanation of how PayPal deals with disputes. I guess the scammers only need to succeed a very small percentage of the time to make it worthwhile.

I got taken for a scam by a Facebook advertiser and PayPal was no help. I “bought” a drone for $50. A month or two later, I got a pair of pink “flip-flops” that would have been rejected by the local dollar store. I filed a claim with PayPal and they said that the shipper showed that I had received a package (which was true). The fact that the contents of the package did not resemble the item ordered didn’t seem to matter. I am disappointed with myself for not doing proper research and with PayPal for not backing up their fraud protection.

Correct - they are apparently adept at spinning these stores up quickly, raking in a lot of money, then getting away before all the scam reports come through. I suspect that towards the end of any given scam, they have already disappeared with the profits and PayPal is covering the loss when they refund the customer.
One other thing to note - Facebook does almost nothing to stop this from happening - if you report one of these ads, they most usually just ignore the report (but hide that specific ad from you so you don’t see it again)

Any Facebook ad promising fantastic discounts is almost certainly a scam. My page was targeted with ads for a raised bed gardening system that normally sells for around $299, at the fabulous price of $79. I don’t think so.

I would be extremely leery of any deal emanating from China, Southeast Asia, Russia or former Soviet satellites on Facebook, eBay, Amazon or similar sites unless you’re dealing directly with a known reputable company.

Indeed. A month or two ago I saw an ad for guitars. The message was something like we’ve got too much to store and we’re shut down. They promised to sell great Gibsons for $99 - normally $1200 or more. I grew suspicious and did the research. There were hundreds of these ads through Facebook under different names and with the same basic model.

I began reporting them. Three or four per day. I reported them as a scam. Facebook didn’t care.

Sounds like the pitch for one of those auction sites.

“I got this Macbook Pro for only $20!”

It’s possible she did, but of course she fails to mention it cost her $2000 in bid fees. These sites can be totally on the up-and-up, but it’s still for suckers.