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Facebook-Fashion-ForwardThe Gorgeous Fashion Bargain That Wasn’t

Almost every woman on the planet loves a bargain. Especially when it comes to pretty things and fashion. So too have a number of men been known to get their fashion game on when the price is right. Sometimes you’ll see a design and think to yourself, “I can’t afford this” and you’ll let it go. Other times you’ll try and find the same thing at a cheaper or discounted price, even if its second hand. So what happens when you are scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed, and a little ad appears on the right hand side, showing you the exact dress or outfit you wanted, brand new, for less than $20?

Inside your head you’re screaming “SCORE!” and you make that purchase (along with a few other items that all look just as fabulous). What a luck! Swimsuits, jewelry, shoes – if you want it, this site has it and at an ultra-discounted rate.

However, when your package arrives and you open it, the wonder and excitement you are filled with, very quickly turns to dismay and disbelief as your size M dress looks like it was made for a middle schooler. It becomes glaringly evident that the workmanship on the article of clothing is so vastly different and inferior to the picture that initially caught your eye online. The picture or advert you clicked clearly depicted the item as cotton, but the garment in your hand seems to be made up of mismatched, different fabrics and feels a lot like plastic or worse.

Things get just as scary if you are a L or XL – often your sizes are not available in stores so when you see that an online advert caters to your size and measurements you jump right on that bargain. But the supposedly formfitting dress that arrives and is now sitting unglamorously on you bed looks like it is better suited to being a cover for your SUV – oversized, shapeless, and nothing like the picture portrayed. Even worse, a lot of these bargains smell heavily of putrid chemicals that you wouldn’t want anywhere near your body.

With nothing but disappointment you make up your mind to return the item for a refund. Here’s where the “fun” continues. Trying to contact the website’s customer service with your complaint is a lengthy process. Typically located in China, customer service responds with little enthusiasm especially when it comes to returns, (which you pay for), and refunds, if you manage to get them, take a lifetime to reach you.

While there may be one or two happy customers out there, the vast majority of these fashion scams have elicited innumerable complaints lodged with the Federal Trade Commission by unhappy patrons. A simple Google search will reveal the hordes of complaints and Facebook groups warning others about this scam. Although these fashion scams are linked to various other pages on and off of Facebook, the fact that there are multiple sites like this on such a viral social platform such as Facebook, makes it hard to warn every single consumer out there.

Adding to the difficulty of getting the scam shut down is the fact that the sites seemingly have all the right security certificate images such as Norton Security and even PayPal. So people continue to fall for the scams. An investigation into the matter shows that many of these sites (which include Rosegal, RoseWe, Zaful, SammyDress and many others) are all linked to the same publically traded company in China and that most are connected to one of the richest men in China.

By no means should you avoid online shopping or products from China. For the most part the vast majority of retail products are “made in china”, are of good quality and when purchased through reliable online stores, will not be a scam. The problem lies in not doing your research before clicking that pay button on your new bargain. As mentioned above, a simple Google search could save you a lot of time, money and angst.

However, if the “It’s less than $20” justification still has you figuring why not get it cheaper if it seems to be the same thing, just remember, you ultimately get what you pay for. Without a little research you could easily find yourself paying a lot more money trying to fix an impulsive online buy, than if you went to a trusted and well known online retail store.