You’ve probably seen ads pop up on your social media feeds, advertising products you might find appealing. But a local celebrity couple says they learned a tough lesson, after trying to buy products they found through those ads.
Tito Puente, Jr. is the son of the legendary musician, Tito Puente. He lives for the moments he’s on stage, sharing his music with his fans. How he looks is almost as important to him as how he sounds.
“I do have an extensive wardrobe,” Puente said.
When an ad for a unique jacket popped up on his Facebook page, it caught his eye.
“I love it, it’s so cool looking and it was gold, oh man, it was shiny,” he said.
“Yeah, it was very shiny,” his wife, Rosalie Lebron said. “Liberace shiny.”
The artist says he ordered a 3XL, but when the jacket arrived it was several sizes too small.
“I looked like ‘Little-race’,” he said laughing. “It was too short.”
He first exchanged it for a larger size, but Puente said when it still didn’t fit, he asked for a refund.
Around the same time, Lebron saw an ad on her Facebook feed from a different company for a toy she thought would be perfect for her granddaughter.
“It’s a singing elephant, who doesn’t love a singing elephant?,” Lebron said.
When she clicked on the ad, Lebron said she was taken to a website called Atisy.com.
“And immediately it said only 5 left, 39.99, free shipping,” she said. “So I’m thinking, wow, that’s a great deal. So I screamed out to Tito, ‘Let’s get it! Order it now!’”
That was in November. By February, tracking information for the elephant said it was still in transit, somewhere in China.
“We tried to call and we get no answer,” she said.
Puente said he didn’t think twice about making the purchase because the ad appeared on their Facebook feeds.
“I thought it would be vetted and it would be safe,” he said.
According to Facebook, anyone can buy ads on Facebook and Instagram and even though they do make sure an ad is associated with an actual website, they don’t verify the business itself.
“Anyone can set up a website, take pictures, set up shop, set up an e-commerce website and take credit card payments and pay for these ads,” said Cinthya Lavin, spokesperson for the Better Business Bureau of Southeast Florida.
Experts recommend doing your homework on a company before making a purchase. You should always pay with a credit card, Lavin said. If so, you can dispute the charges through your credit card company.
Puente did get his money back for the jacket. As for the elephant, Atisy.com told us in an email that they had shipped the toy but they think “it got lost”. They promised to reach out to Puente and issue a refund. The couple, meanwhile, said they’ve learned from the experience.
“We should be more cautious,” Lebron said. “I know I’m going to be”.
After our interview, Lebron said they received the elephant on February 21st , even though they never heard from the company.
Because they used PayPal to make the purchase, Puente could have filed a claim through PayPal to try to recover their money.
You can research a company on the Better Business Bureau’s website.
It’s also a good idea to look at reviews and comments on a company’s social media page to get a sense of the experiences other consumers have had with the company.