BBB Consumer Alert: Original SOE Gear

  
     
February 20, 2017


MEMPHIS, Tenn. - BBB is warning consumers nationwide about Original SOE Gear, an internet business based out of Camden, Tenn., that offers custom manufactured tactical gear. Although the company’s website states: “We are proud to say that we have never had an unsatisfied customer,” BBB has received 13 complaints from across the U.S. in the last 3 years, 9 of those in the last 12 months. Original SOE Gear has failed to respond to 9 of those complaints, earning them an F rating.

Complaints allege that consumers did not receive merchandise they paid for or had to wait an unreasonable length of time before their merchandise was shipped. A consumer from Mercer Island, Wash., told BBB that he paid for 3 orders but never got the merchandise. “I ordered three orders in roughly 30 days. I read the waiver for wait times, but it has been over 1 year 4 months since my order, no product yet.”

A Bethel Park, Pa., man told BBB, “I have had two orders open with SOE for over 11 months that have not been fulfilled and I have been refused a refund.” A Stamford, Conn., man who asked for a refund after waiting ten months says he received a “profanity laden reply with insulting content” and a refusal to accommodate his request.

Many complaints allege that the business owner responded to inquiries about shipping delays with profanities and vulgarities. A Provo, Utah, man told BBB that the owner responded “with an incredibly hostile and vulgar email” when he asked to cancel his order after not hearing from the company for 20 weeks. A Minot, N.D., man said his inquiry also generated “a rude and vulgar response.”

Some complaints allege that the business owner threatened or tried to intimidate customers when they asked about delivery times. Several consumers reported the owner’s rude and unprofessional behavior, telling BBB that the owner created YouTube videos mocking them in an attempt to “intimidate, threaten and shame customers who inquire about shipping delays.”

According to the Federal Trade Commission’s Mail Order Rule, issued in 1975, sellers who solicit buyers to order merchandise through the mail via the Internet should have a reasonable basis to expect that they can ship within the advertised time frame, or, if no time frame is specified, within 30 days. The Rule also requires sellers to notify customers of delays in shipping and offer a refund if the customer chooses not to wait the additional time.

BBB offers these tips for shopping with an online retailer:

  • Prior to placing an order, check out the company at bbb.org. You can read reviews and complaints filed through BBB on the company’s BBB Business Profile. If others have had problems getting products delivered or receiving refunds, you may too. 
  • Remember that a nice looking website doesn't necessarily mean the company is reputable. Look for a physical address, then Google it and see what’s there. Look for a phone number, then call it prior to ordering to see if you can speak to a company representative. Be wary of websites that only communicate through email or online chat.
  • Ask when the item will ship and know how the company will contact you in case of a delay. FTC rules require companies to tell you when a shipment will be delayed and give you an opportunity to cancel the order and get a refund.
  • Pay with a credit card, not a debit card. You have more protections with a credit card if your order never arrives.
  • Print out and keep confirmation of the order with the promised shipping date, any other documentation of your order, and any correspondence with the company.
  • Know what the return policy is. Are there special steps you must take before packing the item and sending it back?
  • Don't get your item at all? File a complaint at bbb.org and ftc.gov and start a dispute with your credit card company.