BBB: Consumers Say They’re Powerless to Return Defective Products from Online RetailerSeptember 23, 2019
Milwaukee, Wis. – Consumers from around the world are telling the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Serving Wisconsin that it’s difficult to get products to work that they purchased from POWR Co., an online retailer of cell phone accessories, and even harder to return the defective items and receive a resolution.
The company, which uses a UPS store in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin as an address, has an F rating, the BBB’s lowest possible rating, and has received 43 complaints from consumers since January 2019. Complainants have come from Arizona, California (3), Florida (4), Illinois (3), Massachusetts (2), Maryland, Maine, Michigan (2), Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina (2), New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York (4), Ohio (2), Oregon, Pennsylvania (3), South Carolina, Tennessee (2), Texas (2) and Virginia. Complaints also have been received from Australia, Dubai, England and South Africa.
The company has not responded to any complaints filed through the BBB.
A consumer from Raleigh, NC wrote: “I bought what was advertised as a 'wireless' phone charger, but when it arrived, it would not work unless it was plugged in - hence not truly 'wireless.’ … When it arrived, it did not function in that way and so I began a series of email correspondence with the company to request a return for a refund. Despite their website advertising ' Fast Shipping' 'Easy Returns', 'Satisfaction Guaranteed' - the only promise that was kept was the 'fast shipping.' I have tried to resolve with the company directly but was not able to.”
The company has not responded to other requests by the BBB, including two requests for basic information, a request to substantiate claims on its website, and a request for the company to address the underlying causes of a pattern of complaints. Specifically, complainants have told the BBB that: Their purchased items were never received; The products they’ve purchased are defective; They’re asked to return defective products at their own expense; The company doesn’t honor its warranty; and they’re told by customer service that they are using the products incorrectly.
Most of the complaints involve the purchase of wireless chargers, and most of the complainants say they’ve lost between $40-$165 apiece.
In addition, complainants say that they’re not able to reach customer service after multiple attempts and that the company doesn't respond in a timely fashion purposely, in order to surpass the 30-day return period on its website. The company’s website, www.powr.co, lists the company's address, which is a UPS store, and several email addresses, but no phone number. Many of the complainants state they purchased the products after seeing the company’s Facebook advertisements.
“A reputable company stands behind its products and responds promptly to customer concerns,” says Jim Temmer, President/CEO of the BBB Serving Wisconsin. “Customers shouldn’t have to jump through so many hoops to return products that either don’t work or weren’t as advertised.”
In April and May, the BBB asked POWR Co. to substantiate the claim on its website that its product, "POWR Premium Wireless Car Charger" is the "#1 rated car charger in the world." According to the BBB’s Code of Advertising (COA), businesses must substantiate objective advertising claims.
In addition, because the company is constantly offering products on sale, with previous prices listed, the BBB asked for substantiation that the products were offered at the former or regular price. “Former” prices must be actual prices at which the advertiser has openly and offered the product for sale, for a reasonably substantial period of time, in regular course of business, and in good faith, according to the COA.
To file a BBB complaint against POWR Co., go to www.bbb.org/complaints.
In addition, BBB offers these tips for hassle-free online shopping:
- Research before you buy. Check out a company’s profile first at bbb.org to see the company’s BBB rating, complaint history, customer reviews and more.
- Look for contact information. Search the company’s website for a physical address, phone number and email address so you’ll be able to reach the company later if there is a problem. If the website doesn’t have any contact information, you may want to choose a different company.
- Pay by credit card. If you pay by credit or charge card online, your transaction will be protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act. If the product arrives defective, or doesn’t arrive at all, you can dispute the charge on your credit card and temporarily withhold payment while the creditor investigates them.
- Check out the terms of the deal, like refund policies and delivery dates. Can you return the item for a full refund if you're not satisfied? If you return it, who pays the shipping costs or restocking fees, and when you will get your order? A Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rule requires sellers to ship items as promised or within 30 days after the order date if no specific date is promised. Many sites offer tracking options, so you can see exactly where your purchase is and estimate when you’ll get it.
- Keep detailed records. Print or save records of your online transactions, including the product description and price, the online receipt, and the emails you send and receive from the seller. Read your credit card statements as you receive them; be on the lookout for charges that you don’t recognize.
ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2018, people turned to BBB more than 173 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.4 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Wisconsin which was founded in 1939 and serves the state of Wisconsin.
###Contact:Lisa Schiller, Media Relations414-847-0655