SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) — Better Business Bureau received several complaints regarding a fake website that appears to be selling cleaning supplies during the pandemic.
According to 21 complainants, in 13 states, the website, us.homekitchengoods.com advertised essential items at the onset of the coronavirus outbreak, charged customers, and failed to provide refunds when the items never arrived.
Customers attempted to purchase hand sanitizer, toilet tissue, and disinfecting wipes from the website. Orders ranged from $35 to $85.
Some consumers also mentioned to BBB that Home Kitchen Goods used advertisements on social media, namely Facebook, to lure individuals to the site. BBB has issued an “F” rating to Home Kitchen Goods for failing to respond to all 21 of the complaints that it received in 2020. The website was mysteriously deactivated after BBB investigators reached out to the company directly.
Customers alleged that once they realized that the items had not been shipped, they searched for contact information for the company. There was no telephone number or address listed to contact the seller directly.
Kitchen Home Goods was only accessible via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Once customers reached out to Home Kitchen Goods, almost every complainant told BBB that they received an email promising a refund. Yet, months later, customers still have not received either the purchased goods or the refund.
In March, a Warren, MI, resident told BBB they placed an order for some disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer on homekitchengoods.com.
She received a shipping notification, then a week later received another email stating they would be sending her a refund but provided no further explanation. It has been almost two months, and the consumer has not received the products or a refund, and she was not able to get ahold of the business because the website disappeared.
“Always take an extra minute and do your research when buying from an online company, especially the companies you find via an ad on social media,” said Melanie Duquesnel, President & CEO of BBB Serving Eastern Michigan & the Upper Peninsula. “Scammers are well aware that many people are turning to online retailers as essential items are out of stock in your local stores.”
BBB advertising investigators also challenged the business, asking that it provide proof that it ever intended to sell the items that it advertised. BBB also requested that the business provide basic contact information to customers. According to BBB’s advertising guidelines, known as the BBB Code of Advertising [u7061146.ct.sendgrid.net], advertisers may not use untrue, misleading, deceptive, or fraudulent ads. Furthermore, advertisers should be prepared to provide proof of advertised claims to BBB upon request.
BBB has noted a spike in the number of websites that have appeared selling essential goods during the coronavirus pandemic. Because of the urgent need for these items, customers often take a chance by attempting to purchase from pop-up or fly-by-night websites. BBB offers guidance about protecting yourself when making online purchases [u7061146.ct.sendgrid.net] and has issued in-depth warnings about schemes involving COVID-19 [u7061146.ct.sendgrid.net].
BBB encourages all customers to report advertisements that they believe to be false, misleading, confusing or insincere offers to sell to BBB AdTruth.
Additional Coronavirus information and resources:
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