Facebook is well known for spreading fake news and now there’s evidence they’re spreading fake ads.
In a column today on his website Tech.pinions, noted tech industry analyst and president of Creative Strategies Tim Bajarin describes his experience when buying products he discovered on his Facebook feed.
Over the past five months, Bajarin purchased three products in which the companies took his money and never delivered any of the products.
The first product he bought was a CPAP cleaner, a product designed to clean and sanitize his CPAP machine, a device used for those with sleep apnea. Bajarin was attracted by the ad because the cleaner was a third of the cost of the most popular cleaner on the market.
He explained that the ad was professionally done and that he never gave consideration to the company or where it was located. He purchased the product and five months later has still not received it. The company hasn’t responded, he has no phone number to call, and the email address appears to be bogus.
The second product he bought on Facebook was a folding workbench, purchased as a Christmas gift for a friend. He bought it in November and he writes that it still hasn’t been received. Successive emails sent in the weeks before Christmas promised it was on its way, and after emailing again in January, he received similar promises. Again, no phone number and no recourse.
Both of these products were from Chinese companies that have now have gone silent.
The third product, purchased about a month ago, was a retractable ladder, and it has not yet arrived. When he found the name of the producer of the ad, TimeForBuy, he discovered it’s a company located in Moscow. Emails to the company have gone unanswered.
You might expect Facebook to offer some help, but Bajarin found that, unlike Amazon, they offer no guarantee that the products sold on their site will be delivered or are even legitimate. When he complained to Facebook, they told him to “report it to the local police.” Facebook also suggested he should find the original ad and, under the “seller info” tab, report the seller to Facebook by filling out a form. The ads from the first two sellers were gone, but he reported the third seller. After several weeks, he has had no response from Facebook.
Bajarin checked around and discovered others who have made purchases on Facebook and found similar experiences.
Considering how long it took Facebook to take responsibility for fake news and then apologize profusely, you’d think they would be sensitive to how their platform can be abused. Now that there’s a proliferation of fake ads, the company shows it doesn’t care and takes no responsibility.
My advice: don’t buy products advertised on Facebook unless they are from legitimate companies that are well reviewed elsewhere, such as on Amazon, because Facebook just doesn’t care if you get ripped off. Better yet, if you see an ad on Facebook for a new product, buy it elsewhere from a company that will provide you with follow-up support.
Remember, Facebook provides automated tools for anyone to post ads with little human oversight. Based on Bajarin’s experiences, there’s a good chance that the ads may be fake. Another example of why Facebook is a place to avoid.