Fake mobility scooter ad tricks Ontario senior

An Ontario senior said he lost money after attempting to buy a mobility scooter that appeared to be heavily discounted in an online advertisement.

“I just don’t feel good about it at all, because I hate being scammed,” said Errol Welsh of Caledon, Ont..

Welsh said he had been considering buying a mobility scooter to help him get around as he gets older.

“I’m 74 years old and my legs are not in the best shape, so I know eventually I’m going to need one,” he said.

Welsh said he saw several foldable mobility scooters on pop-up ads on social media sites that had been heavily discounted from $600 to just $48. New mobility scooters can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000.

To take advantage of the deal, Welsh said he bought a mobility scooter in April for $48 but never received it. He was told there was an issue with shipping and he would get a refund so he bought another scooter for $75, but it never came either.

“They offer me a refund and I keep asking but it never comes,” said Welsh.

Companies such as Lowes have had to fight back against fake online ads that show products with massive discounts that are not legitimate.

Bed Bath & Beyond went bankrupt this year and there are some online ads claiming to be selling their merchandise, but the Better Business Bureau (BBB) issued a warning that said some sites may not be legitimate.

A fake advertisement for a mobility scooter.

The BBB said scammers are taking advantage of big changes by targeting unsuspecting consumers with “going out of business” sales and that you’ll see an online ad on social media for a massively marked-down product.

The website you are directed to looks legit, but if you take a closer look at the domain name or email address it reveals you aren’t on the official site, the BBB said. Shoppers making purchases through these sites never receive the products ordered and emails go unanswered.

Janita Pannu with OPIIA Inc, a digital marketing agency that helps businesses with online advertising, said you need to watch out for red flags such as extremely low prices and no customer service number to call.

Pannu advised not clicking on ad links, going directly to the company’s website and researching where the product will ship from.

“Also when a price is too good to be true it probably is. You should think what is the best discount they have ever offered or if the product is discounted 80 or 90 per cent possibly that is unrealistic,” said Pannu.

Pannu advises to try and deal with local retailers if possible and added, “try to take on deals that are local, try to see if the seller is willing to meet you or get on the phone with you.”

Also watch out for emails or texts saying you have an order ready for pick-up when you don’t, she said.

Welsh he said he was concerned the scooter price was too good to be true and plans to be more careful in the future.

“I just want the public to be aware that it’s a scam,” said Welsh.

You should also be careful clicking on pop up ads which could contain viruses that might be downloaded onto your computer or phone. The best advice is to deal with reputable retailers through their website that you find yourself.