So a little over a month ago I had an ad come across my Facebook feed for a mechanical Bluetooth keyboard. I had seen these before and knew they usually go for over $200. This one was only $59.99 minus a $3 discount so $56.99. Shipping was another $7.79 bringing the total up to $64.74. I figured the keyboards had come down in price or this was a Chinese copy. Either way I was in the middle of some write’s block and thought this would be techy and gadgety enough to get me writing again.
Fast forward seven weeks as I was very confused when a thin envelope showed up in the mail. The keyboard looked full sized in the add and there was a slot to hold your tablet. There was no way that would fit in this envelope. What was in the envelope was a Bluetooth tablet keyboard just like the one I bought a year ago for $20. It was a classic switcheroo.
Naturally the store I ordered it from by following the link in the add was gone and initial emails went unanswered. My only option was opening a PayPal dispute. Once I did tha,t I received an email from the seller offering a 10% refund because they keyboard was, “a very fine product.” I’m sure it was, but it wasn’t even close to what was in the add and ten percent returned didn’t bring what I paid down to the twenty dollars I paid for the tablet keyboard I already own.
A second email followed increasing the amount to 15% of what I paid. That’s $8.55 for those interested. I decided to wait for PayPal to come in and save they day with a full refund. That’s almost what happened. In order for the full refund PayPal told me they needed proof that I had shipped the item back to China, at my cost of course. I learned that the cost for shipping would be $42. I’d net a refund of $23. That’s still better than the last offer of $8.55 from the seller and I could have kept the keyboard. Thanks for nothing PayPal.
The lesson here, aside from anything that is too good to be true is and don’t buy anything you see in a Facebook or Instagram ad, is scams exist because they work. The sellers, most likely based in the US, know most people won’t pay over forty bucks to ship an item overseas for a $65 dollar refund. Even if I had accepted their 15% refund I would have only received $8.55. They still would have $48.44 or about twice what I paid for the tablet keyboard I already owned. I suppose I should have paid the $42, shipped the item back and ensured that the scammers received nothing. But I would only receive less than half of what I spent. It just didn’t seem fair to me. Facebook didn’t care because they had already made their money off the ad. Even PayPal didn’t care because, like the seller, they knew no one would spend that much to ship back an item for refund so they wouldn’t worry bout the refund and losing their fee. I suppose, in the land of online shopping you’re all on your own.