February 26, 2022
The cover of my Tent-In-A-Box shed was ripped to shreds in the high winds at my house.
The fabric cover of the shed is multilayered rip stop nylon. After three years of use it just could not withstand the elements.
The shed covers my water well-head and needs only to insulate the equipment from the occasional freeze and blowing dirt. It is light weight and easily lifted off the equipment to give well maintenance personnel easy access.
i contemplated building a wooden shed with a removable roof. The cost of wood is so high and replacing the existing cover is so easy that i decided to shop for a replacement cover.
At ShelterLogic the replacement cover is as expensive as the shed with frame included.
So i went to the wider WEB.
Unbelievably, i found a cover for half the price of the Amazon product at a website named KUCAPU. It bragged of thicker material than the original cover. It will probably stand up to the weather better, i thought.
In hind sight the operative term was “unbelievably.”
The website looked legitimate.
The reviews were mostly positive.
They took PayPal for payment.
i closed my eyes and clicked the “BUY” button.
The vendor gave me a link to a tracking site where i watched the package delivery process from China to my house. It took six weeks to arrive.
Eventually USPS sent me an email saying that a package had been delivered. i was so exited. i drove to my mailbox expecting to see a pickup notice from the Post Office. The shed cover would be in a large box.
When i opened my mail box there was a small plastic envelope with a China return address.
Inside the envelope was a small child’s tank top shirt.
i contacted the seller. They apologized for their mistake, promised to send the right item and gave me another tracking code. The tracking service was the same as before, but this time the delivery only took four weeks. The last two entries on the tracking page were “Item already delivered” and “Item might be lost.”
Once again i contacted the seller. They apologized for the Postal Service losing my package, promised to send my item again and gave me another tracking code.
This tracking page looked almost identical to the previous one. After 4 more weeks my purchase failed again to be delivered.
i did what i should have done in the beginning.
i looked for inconsistencies on the website:
There were many.
The web address was not the same as the company name. The product descriptions were not detailed. The reviews were all too positive.
i Googled the vendor:
“New website, possible scammer.”
i Googled the tracking page:
“Fake tracking page for the purpose of scamming.”
i called PayPal.
The attentive customer service representative took my transaction ID, asked if i wanted to open a dispute, then put me on hold.
Two minutes later she came back on and said that she had successfully set up the dispute. It would be as much as 30 days before a resolution could be made.
Then, “One moment please,” she said.
“Sir, I have just been informed that your dispute has been closed and that a refund has been applied to your credit card.”
She referenced the vendor’s history of sending a different item than was purchased and then stringing the customer along until the PayPal refund period expired. Since i was still within the time limit, PayPal unilaterally refunded my money.
After all the cautions I neglected to take, using PayPal was the right thing to do.
Using a third party payment method such as PayPal or Apple Pay protects the security of your credit card from scams like this.