INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Websites are all over Facebook, advertising clothes for next to nothing. A shirt for $7... a dress for just $12... but are these items the real deal or are they just a rip-off?
FOX59 put a few to the test to find out if these looks are legit. We ordered three different items from three different Facebook sites: Rosegal, Sammy Dress and Trendsgal.
Each site claimed our orders would arrive within 7-25 days and they did. We took our purchases to Magnolia Boutique, an Indy-based online store. The boutique ships out 700-800 orders weekly and it relies heavily on social media to appeal to the thrifty shoppers.
“They’re not stupid, obviously they know that people want stuff that’s in demand,” said Susan DelPriore, owner of Magnolia Boutique.
Our first item was a blue and white, long-sleeve dress. We purchased it from a Facebook page called Sammy Dress. Including shipping we paid about $14. When we compared the picture to the actual dress, it wasn’t exactly the same, but still wearable.
“The dress from the picture looked like a work, professional kind of dress. This just kind of looks like a long T-shirt,” said DelPriore.
Our second purchase was a white, lacey sleeveless dress from a Facebook page called Rosegal, with more than 8.3 million likes. Including shipping we spent just over $11. The barely-down to the hips, see-through “dress” was supposed to be a medium
“Oh my gosh! This would fit my 7-year-old daughter perfectly,” said DelPriore.
Our third try was a brown, what appeared to be, leather jacket. The price was about $23. We ordered a medium and the hood barely fit over our heads.
“That one (in the picture) is distressed, and beat up and there is no distressing in this whatsoever on this,” said DelPriore.
We ordered from three different sites but noticed they were all shipped from the exact same address in China, even down to the building number.
We also noticed there was an important accessory missing on most of the pictures on the pages, the model’s head. During our investigation, the pictures on two of our items changed and included the model’s head.
“If you see a shot of a model with her head cropped off, there’s a reason why they did that. They stole that photo from someone and they don’t want them to know it,” said DelPriore.
The Better Business Bureau told us they’ve gotten complaints about similar Facebook clothing sites.
“It’s very, very difficult to get your money back once you`ve done business with those people. Law enforcement is probably not going to be able to help you out there. A lot of those government’s kind of turn their head, really don`t do much about illegitimate businesses in their country,” said Tim Maniscalo, President of Central Indiana BBB.
On all three of the sites we ordered from, there are pages and pages of online comments from ticked off customers, complaining about the quality of their clothes and others claim their order never arrived.
“I don’t even know if it’s knockoff, it’s almost worse because they’re aren’t even knocking it off, they’re giving you a version that`s not even close to what it is or they’re giving you nothing at all. It’s fraud is what it is,” said DelPriore.
FOX59 did find an online statement from the China-based company that supposedly runs the three sites we ordered from and others. The company claims they take this problem “very seriously.”
Customers have 30 days to return their purchases, but they’re responsible for the cost of shipping. We took our purchases to UPS, who told us it would cost more than $50 to ship all three items back to China. We spent $48 to purchase all three items.