BBB Lists Top 10 Most Common Counterfeit Gifts


Staff Report



Attorney General DeWine Files Consumer Protection Lawsuit Against Alleged Craigslist Scammer

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today (Jan. 12) announced a lawsuit against a Columbus man accused of failing to deliver home improvement services that he advertised on Craigslist and sold to consumers.

Jeremy G. Leeper, doing business as Custom Hardwood Floors, is accused of violating Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act and Home Solicitation Sales Act. In the lawsuit, filed in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, Attorney General DeWine seeks reimbursement for affected consumers and an end to any violations of the law.

According to the lawsuit, Leeper offered home improvement goods and services, specifically refinishing or installing hardwood floors, but then failed to deliver any of the goods or services. Leeper also allegedly refused to provide refunds to consumers.

Five consumers have filed complaints with estimated damages totaling approximately $2,585.

To help consumers avoid home improvement problems, Attorney General DeWine offered the following recommendations:

  • Research a company before making any payments. Search for complaints on file with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office or Better Business Bureau. Also conduct an internet search with the name of the business and words like “reviews” or “complaints.” Be skeptical if you find no information. Some operators change business names regularly to make it harder for consumers to detect their record of shoddy work.
  • Get multiple estimates. For a large job, consider contacting at least three different businesses before making a final selection. Keep in mind that the company that gives you the lowest estimate may not necessarily deliver the best results.
  • Check your cancellation rights. If a seller does not have a fixed place of business or comes to your door to offer services, you may be entitled to a three-day right to cancel the contract under Ohio’s Home Solicitation Sales Act. Make sure you receive detailed written information about your cancellation rights.
  • Make sure verbal promises are put in writing. Get a detailed written contract including any verbal claims the contractor makes and other important details, such as the estimated cost of the work, the expected start and end dates, and the names of the individuals who will perform the services.
  • Be wary of requests for large down payments or cash payments. It’s reasonable for a contractor to require a down payment, but be skeptical if you’re asked to make a large down payment (such as half or more of the total cost) before any work begins. If possible, pay in increments as the work is completed. Also be wary if you’re asked to pay in cash, which will be difficult to recover if something goes wrong.

Consumers who suspect a scam or unfair sales practice should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioProtects.org or 800-282-0515.

Columbus — In today’s brand-obsessed culture, a good deal could leave you with bad merchandise. Individual sellers online or untrustworthy businesses may sell counterfeit items, giving consumers a cheap impression of the product, or disappearing if buyers request a refund. When it comes to name-brand products, Better Business Bureau wants to help consumers avoid purchasing a fake.

Here is BBB’s Top 10 Most Common Counterfeit Gifts List:

  • Purses, shoes and leather goods
  • Smartphones, computer tablets and other electronics, including Beats headphones
  • Gift cards
  • Software and computer games
  • Sports memorabilia and apparel
  • Watches and jewelry
  • Sunglasses
  • Perfume
  • Blue jeans
  • Sporting event and concert tickets

Consumers can avoid purchasing counterfeit gifts by being cautious and knowing what to look for. BBB has the following tips to help protect consumers from buying fake versions of popular items:

  • Shop in established stores and on reputable websites. Look up reviews and search for the business at bbb.org.
  • If you’re shopping online, look for a return policy. If there isn’t one available, simply move on.
  • If the website does not have proper contact information or the product is not shipping from within the United States, it is most likely counterfeit.
  • Don’t buy online if you are redirected to an external online payment system during checkout.
  • Beware of deals that seem too good to be true. If a normally expensive item is being sold for a very low price, it could be a red flag.
  • Buy directly from the brand’s store or website. Some items require authorized vendors to sell their merchandise. It’s better to go straight to the source when it doubt.
  • Be careful buying brand-name merchandise and big-ticket items from online marketplaces like eBay and Craigslist where you cannot inspect the products before you buy them.
  • Ask for a certificate of authenticity on autographed memorabilia.
  • Have an independent appraisal done to verify the value or jewelry or artwork.
  • Buy sports merchandise that is officially licensed by the NFL, NBA or other sports organizations.

For more information on finding businesses you can trust, follow your BBB on Facebook, Twitter, and at bbb.org.

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Staff Report

Attorney General DeWine Files Consumer Protection Lawsuit Against Alleged Craigslist Scammer

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today (Jan. 12) announced a lawsuit against a Columbus man accused of failing to deliver home improvement services that he advertised on Craigslist and sold to consumers.

Jeremy G. Leeper, doing business as Custom Hardwood Floors, is accused of violating Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act and Home Solicitation Sales Act. In the lawsuit, filed in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, Attorney General DeWine seeks reimbursement for affected consumers and an end to any violations of the law.

According to the lawsuit, Leeper offered home improvement goods and services, specifically refinishing or installing hardwood floors, but then failed to deliver any of the goods or services. Leeper also allegedly refused to provide refunds to consumers.

Five consumers have filed complaints with estimated damages totaling approximately $2,585.

To help consumers avoid home improvement problems, Attorney General DeWine offered the following recommendations:

  • Research a company before making any payments. Search for complaints on file with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office or Better Business Bureau. Also conduct an internet search with the name of the business and words like “reviews” or “complaints.” Be skeptical if you find no information. Some operators change business names regularly to make it harder for consumers to detect their record of shoddy work.
  • Get multiple estimates. For a large job, consider contacting at least three different businesses before making a final selection. Keep in mind that the company that gives you the lowest estimate may not necessarily deliver the best results.
  • Check your cancellation rights. If a seller does not have a fixed place of business or comes to your door to offer services, you may be entitled to a three-day right to cancel the contract under Ohio’s Home Solicitation Sales Act. Make sure you receive detailed written information about your cancellation rights.
  • Make sure verbal promises are put in writing. Get a detailed written contract including any verbal claims the contractor makes and other important details, such as the estimated cost of the work, the expected start and end dates, and the names of the individuals who will perform the services.
  • Be wary of requests for large down payments or cash payments. It’s reasonable for a contractor to require a down payment, but be skeptical if you’re asked to make a large down payment (such as half or more of the total cost) before any work begins. If possible, pay in increments as the work is completed. Also be wary if you’re asked to pay in cash, which will be difficult to recover if something goes wrong.

Consumers who suspect a scam or unfair sales practice should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioProtects.org or 800-282-0515.