June 09, 2008

Better Business Bureau (BBB) became aware of a scam Friday June 6 when it started receiving inquiries via telephone, email and web chat regarding a company offering electronics and computers at their advertised “110% guaranteed lowest prices” and is allegedly located in Lubbock.

Nan Campbell, president of BBB serving the South Plains of West Texas stated, “The consumers who have contacted BBB have stopped just short of ordering the electronics they were looking at and decided they ought to check this company out with BBB before sharing personal information with them. It all sounded ‘too good to be true’ and they didn’t feel they could trust the company.”

The company, VIL MALL, INC., is somehow showing up on internet searches for less expensive electronics and computers. Consumers have been skeptical of the advertised prices. Even more surprising to one Lubbock consumer was the physical address being used: 6002 Slide Rd., #F8, Lubbock, TX 79414 which sounds very familiar to those of us who live in Lubbock – it is the South Plains Mall!

BBB staff checked with the South Plains Mall office and found that Suite F8 is the local Eddie Bauer retail store and that there is no Vil Mall listed as a tenant in the mall. The manager of the Eddie Bauer store also knew nothing of this company. The web site states that billing is done from an address in Spain and one in Italy. The testimonials issued on the site are very compelling. The phone number given on the web site for Vil Mall, Inc., 806-577-4783 is registered as a local land line through Level 3 Communications which is out of Colorado. BBB staff attempted to call the company but found the phone to be disconnected.

“BBB cannot stress enough caution in doing business with this company. This company’s web site does not offer a secure site for payments and is really tempting because they are offering products for hundreds, if not thousands of dollars off what the product would sell at retail stores. An example a caller gave BBB is a television that retails for around $4000 would cost in the neighborhood of $1000 through Vil Mall,” continued Campbell.

BBB offers the following tips for safe shopping online:

  • BBB encourages online shoppers to always check out the company before doing business especially if you do not know them. Find out where the company is physically located and check out the company with BBB.
  • Consumers should do some comparative shopping in their retail market – there is a lot to be said about having a “bricks & mortar” store to go to in case there are any issues with the product.
  • Always look for a secure method of payment and check the company’s online privacy policy.

Red Flags for recognizing online fraud:

  • Beware of pressure for an immediate decision
  • If a seller requests payment in cash by private courier or by check or money order
  • Don’t trust an offer for ‘free’ products
  • Look for the glitzy website or flashy email ad with CAPITAL LETTERS, dollar $sign$ and !!!explanation!!! points
  • Watch out for “get rich quick” appeals

Visit to find reliability reports on local and national companies and charities or call 806.763.0459 or 1.800.687.7890.