Consumers, including a Dundalk, Md. woman, have turned to Better Business Bureau with complaints about online retailer Npodz.com. The complaints allege that purchased t-shirts were not received. Some complainants report receiving an e-mail from the company saying the "item has been shipped," though it never arrived. Others report receiving shipping and tracking information that could not be verified.
Npodz.com has an "F" rating with BBB. During the past three years, BBB has received 47 complaints from customers across the U.S. and Canada. The company's failure to resolve the underlying cause of the pattern of complaint and lack of responsiveness contribute to the failing grade. BBB Serving Wisconsin, where the company is based, attempted numerous times to contact the company and work with them to resolve these issues.
BBB recommends the following tips when doing business with an online retailer:
Check first. Look up the BBB Business Review on bbb.org for detailed information about the company including owner information and history of complaints.
Verify. Don't do business with an online retailer if you cannot easily find and verify a physical address and working phone number.
Pay securely. Be sure to only use secure websites with the prefix "https" rather than just "http." Use a credit card to pay for items you purchase online so that you can dispute the charges if there is a problem (bank debit cards do not offer this same level of protection). Never pay using wire transfer or prepaid debit cards, as these cannot be easily tracked or retrieved in the case of dissatisfaction or fraud.
Comparison shop. Be leery of advertised prices that are much lower than retail or trusted online competitors. Everyone is looking for a bargain, but tantalizingly low prices should be a red flag.
Pay close attention. Many phony websites are scams designed to steal your credit card and other personal identifying information. It's easy to spoof the design, colors and text of legitimate sites. Look at the web address and avoid sites with "http" instead of the more secure "https;" look for spelling and grammatical errors; watch for area codes that don't match the supposed physical location of the company.
Check for security seals. When shopping online, look for the seals of trusted organizations and confirm that the business's use of the seal is legitimate (it should link back to the certifying organization's site). If you see the BBB Accredited Business seal on a website, make sure it links back to the company's BBB Business Review at bbb.org. Any other link could be a fake.