Since February 2016, Better Business Bureau (BBB) has received 124 complaints nationwide on an online retail business located in Longview, TX. Consumers allege that Wholesale Boutique Deals fails to deliver goods, is neglectful in issuing refunds and does not respond to customer inquiries. BBB advises consumers to research companies before shopping online.

Wholesale Boutique Deals is a retailer of children and ladies clothing and accessories. Their products are marketed on their website and Facebook where over 105,000 people ‘like’ or follow the business.

An Emory, TX woman reported that she contacted the business multiple times and never received any information regarding the order. In March, an order was placed for two shirts. The customer informed BBB that she was told the items would ship by early May, however, as of December, she has received neither the items nor a refund.

Consumers report that they rarely receive a response when calling the phone number listed on the website. Facebook messages and emails receive automated messages informing customers to wait several days for a response, but most customers say they never receive a response.

Fifty-two percent of the complaints remain unresolved. The business currently has an ‘F’ rating, the lowest rating on BBB’s scale.

“As we are in the midst of the holiday season, many consumers will be ordering products online,” said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB serving Central East Texas. “Without doing your homework, however, you leave yourself vulnerable to purchasing from companies who have a questionable track record.”

BBB offers the following tips for consumers shopping online:
• Know the advertiser. Check out the retailer’s Business Profile and customer reviews at bbb.org before shopping. Some of the best deals are only available online, but make sure you are shopping with a company who has a good track record.
• Check a site’s security settings. If the site is secure, its URL (web address) should start with https:// and include a lock icon on the purchase or shopping cart page.
• Shop savvy. When shopping online, take your time and read the fine print before submitting your order. Look for a return policy; although many online orders can be returned for a full refund, some may have restocking fees. Know before you buy.
• Protect personal information. Read a site’s privacy policy and understand what personal information is being requested and how it will be used. If a site doesn’t have a privacy policy, you have no way of knowing what they will do with your personal information.
• Shop with a credit card or use PayPal. In case of a fraudulent transaction, a credit card or PayPal provide additional protections and allows you to dispute any unauthorized charges. Debit cards, prepaid cards or gift cards don’t have the same protections as a credit card.
• Keep documentation of your order. Save a copy of the confirmation page or email confirmation until you receive the item and are satisfied.
• Keep a clean computer. Being on unfamiliar sites can lead to malware or viruses being downloaded on to your computer. Make sure you have the most up to date firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware software. Check for and install the latest updates and run virus scans regularly on your computer, tablet and smart phone.

BBB serving Central East Texas fosters a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising and by investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses. Please go to bbb.org or call 903-581-5704 24 hours a day for information on businesses throughout North America. To report a fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices, go to BBB Scam Tracker.