BBB Tip: Buying a pool online? Don’t fall for scams
Milwaukee, Wis. – Summer is here, and after months of social distancing, many Americans are itching for a getaway. However, fears of the coronavirus are keeping most Americans away from their usual vacation spots. Rather than packing up the car or catching a flight to their preferred beach, Americans are planning for a summer spent in the backyard. This year is shaping up to be the summer of staycations, and scammers are ready to capitalize on a spike in consumer interest in above ground swimming pools.
Home-bound Americans are trading the usually crowded beaches for their own backyard oasis. While some have reinvested the money they would have spent on a tropical vacation in a new RV, others are opting for a swimming pool they can enjoy all summer long. From Michigan to Texas, sales for above ground swimming pools are rising, and that means scammers are taking notice. Pools are suddenly so popular that some sellers can’t keep them in stock.
Above-ground pools are more affordable than in-ground pools, and they can even last long enough for families to enjoy them for many years to come. Plus, they’re relatively easy to install, making them a quick fix for quarantine boredom. Above-ground pools are just the latest addition to a long list of hot-ticket items that consumers want to make the summer of coronavirus a little bit easier. As trustworthy companies run low on stock, consumers are more likely to turn to suspicious websites.
If you’re in the market for an above-ground pool this summer, BBB offers these tips:
- Beware of prices that seem too good to be true. Scammers often lure in their victims with prices they don’t want to pass up, but you might end up paying for a pool that never arrives. Or, the pool you receive might not be different from what you expected.
- Confirm the company’s physical address. Some scammers use a fake address, and some might not list an address at all. If you can’t confirm the company’s physical address, it could be a scam.
- Pay with a credit card or another secure payment method. It’s possible that you could follow all the tips and still fall victim to a scam, but if you pay with secure methods, you’ll have a greater chance of successfully disputing the charges.
- Check with BBB. You can find trustworthy companies to buy from at BBB.org.
Sign up for BBB Scam Alerts.
For more information or further inquiries, contact the Wisconsin BBB at www.bbb.org/wisconsin, 414-847-6000 or 1-800-273-1002. Consumers also can find more information about how to protect themselves from scams by following the Wisconsin BBB on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2019, people turned to BBB more than 183 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.8 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Wisconsin which was founded in 1939 and serves the state of Wisconsin.