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Daily deal woes prompt warning from BBB

West Vancouver business draws 45 complaints

THE Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to be wary of daily deals websites after a West Vancouver company reportedly failed to respond to 45 complaints lodged against it through the agency in the space of a year.

Cooldroids, which sells electronic components, has been promoting its products online through daily deal sites and Dealfind. com.

Customers who tried to buy merchandise from the company by taking advantage of the promised discounts have complained to the BBB that they had not received the items they bought, that parts of their purchases were missing and that when they tried to contact Cooldroids they got no response, according to Mark Fernandes, spokesman for the bureau.

"These people paid money, (and) in a lot of cases did not get any products, had an issue with their product, or couldn't do refunds," he said.

Ingrid Reston, a Cooldroids customer, told the BBB she spent a month waiting for the android tablet she had bought on, intending to give it to her son for Christmas. When it finally arrived, her son discovered the tablet had been shipped without a power cable, she said.

After repeatedly trying to contact the company, Reston lodged a complaint with the BBB. A month later, the power cord was delivered.

"It was very frustrating," said Reston.

Teambuy apologized for the problem, but the experience has made Reston more cautious about buying from a daily deal sites, she said.

"I probably would really look twice if I saw the name of a company (to determine) whether it would be legitimate or not," she said.

Fernandes said most of the companies selling their products through a daily deal website are legitimate, but they don't always have enough stock to handle the demand and are sometimes unable to adequately communicate with their customers.

Andrew Hutchings, cofounder of Teambuy, said their experience with Cooldroids has changed the way they screen potential vendors and provide quality assurances. Now vendors are asked to provide their stock, and a cap will be put in place to prevent the site from accepting orders once the stock is sold out.

The BBB recently reported a spike in complaints similar to the ones it received about Cooldroids. In a release earlier this month, the bureau cited the Cosique Beauty Company as a business that also appears to have had difficulty fulfilling orders after selling its products on websites such as Teambuy and Dealfind.

The organization has several suggestions for online shoppers who are looking to make purchases through daily deals sites: Prospective shoppers should check out the company they are buying from, read the fine print associated with the purchase, verify the daily deal website's refund policy and pay with a credit card.

Credit cards offer a chargeback option in the event goods have not been delivered within a specific period of time.

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