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BBB Warns: Online retailer amasses complaints of non-delivery and misleading ads

(KVOA) - The Better Business Bureau (BBB) reported it's experiencing an increase in complaints related to online retail purchases. It's warning consumers to be aware of the pitfalls of shopping on unfamiliar websites.

According to the BBB, Balma Home, purportedly based in Dallas, Texas, currently has an “F” rating with BBB Serving North Central Texas due to its failure to respond to 62 complaints filed against the business and its failure to resolve 3 complaints. The BBB said customers reported that they never received retail items purchased online, from podcast microphones to exercise resistance bands.

The BBB said customers reported that when they attempted to call or email the company, the phone numbers were disconnected and the emails bounced. The company received 116 complaints in the last 12 months from customers in 32 states in the United States and in Nova Scotia, Canada. An additional 89 customers, who weren't seeking a resolution, posted negative reviews.

The BBB said it began an investigation of Balma Home in July 2020. It was prompted by this influx of consumers complaints and scam tracker reports alleging that Balma Home failed to deliver purchased items and was inaccessible when consumers attempted to contact the company. During this investigation, BBB said it found that that the company was not formally authorized to conduct business in Texas.

The BBB said it reached out to Balma Home, to request that the company provide documentation regarding its authority to conduct business and requesting that the company take steps to eliminate a pattern of complaints found by BBB investigators. To date, Balma Home has failed to respond to BBB’s requests.

The BBB said several complaints also made allegations of misleading advertising tactics.

"A customer in Council Bluffs, Iowa, told BBB, 'Balma Home’s website has false advertisements and they refuse exchanges and refunds. The website says that they have a 30-day return policy and a 100% satisfaction guarantee. However, when contacted they will not let you return your order or give you your money back,'" the BBB said in a news release.

The BBB said it has specialized investigators, that pursue allegations of false and misleading advertising, as well. These investigators enforce a set of advertising standards known as the BBB Code of Advertising. According to the BBB Code of Advertising, advertisers should only use “satisfaction guarantee” if they intend to refund the full price of the product at the customer’s request.

Tips for smart shopping online and the latest online purchase scams can be found on the BBB's website.

Alexis Berdine

Alexis Berdine is an Investigative Multi-Media Journalist at KVOA.

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