Scammed by internet, better to buy local

April 11, 2019

Mike Wilcox Editor/Publisher

Sometimes I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed. Many times I don’t heed my own advice. As many of you know I’m a huge proponent of shopping local, but when it came time to buy solar lights for my backyard, I was captivated by what I saw on Facebook, thus I placed my order with an online company.

After placing the order and providing my credit card information I was confused to learn the order was coming from China. Everything about the ad and the product exuded an American theme, thus I thought I was buying from a company in California. In fact the website gave a California address.

Oh well I decided to keep the order as is. After all they told me I would have my solar lights in four to five days. When a couple of weeks rolled around and my wife asked “What happened to the lights you ordered?” it was a reminder that I needed to contact the company and see what was going on.

Of course they said they are in route right now and I should have them in a day or two. Of course that was not the case. Another week rolled around and the package arrived. Excitedly my wife and I opened the peculiarly small package only to find we had received lights all right- but nothing like the solar lights we had ordered. Our package contained 24 colored light bulbs- bulbs that the dollar store would charge normally a $1 for.

Of course my excitement quickly turned to anger. I fired off a nasty email to the company, and of course as with many internet scams, I never received a reply. It’s a week later and I’m still waiting to hear how I can return this package of cheap light bulbs and in the process get my money back. I’m not expecting much. I got screwed and it’s my own fault.

It’s my own fault because I didn’t make my way to the local hardware store to make my solar light purchase. I failed to practice what I preach- which is to always buy locally. If I had purchased my lights locally I could have inspected the product before I purchased it. I could have easily returned it with a full refund if I didn’t like what I had purchased.

Lesson learned. Pretty pictures on social media will never entice me to buy by internet again. I’ve become a believer that it is much more important to view the product you are actually going to purchase, than to have the dubious convenience of ordering from your easy chair.

Buying locally protects your ability to return an item and get a full refund if you decide later the product is not for you. Buying local means the product you purchase is typically of much higher quality than a purchase from Amazon. Buying local means the money you spend will stay in your local community providing jobs for local people who work at small businesses that are the backbone of the community.

Amazon, Ebay and others have attempted mightily to destroy local businesses. Many have “bit the dust” because they have been unable to compete with pricing and delivery. I’m here to tell you, however, as consumers we have to do all we can to keep local businesses prosperous. I’m also here to tell you it shouldn’t be a difficult decision. Shopping local always trumps shopping by internet. You will never get the service and quality from Amazon that you get from your local merchant.

Trust me, I’ve tried both and local businesses and goods are better 99% of the time.

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