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We have come to understand that most people believe what they see on Facebook and Instagram. In the age of fake news and everyone with an agenda, it’s hard to believe, isn’t it? There were uproars around the election regarding Facebook postings, but one of the most problematic activities on Facebook receives no headlines.
The issue is scammers. We define scammers as 3rd parties, mainly located outside of the USA, that pretend to be the Brand company to sell items to consumers they never intend to ship! They develop clever ads and websites that make people think they are the real thing, but they are not. This would never occur on platforms like Amazon, as they verify companies and their advertisers, but it does on Facebook.
Did you know you can set up a business page on Facebook and start running ads right away? There is no verification of the company or its products. For example, you can set up a merchant account to take credit cards and run scams for about 30 days before things catch up with you and the credit card company shuts you down. Then you set up a new Facebook page and ads and start over again.
This is happening day in and day out of Facebook and many consumers are being ripped off!
We invented an innovative product, the Lounge Wagon, about a year and a half ago. Since we first offered this product through Kickstarter and Indiegogo, we have been deluged by scammers on Facebook pretending to be us and taking money from unsuspecting consumers. To make matters worse, when the person who purchased from the scammer doesn’t receive their order, they google Lounge Wagon and contact us. They want to know where their order is, and we must inform them that they have been scammed. We direct them to complain to Facebook and seek retribution from their credit card company.
There is all sort of shady things every day on the internet. I know it is virtually impossible to get a fake website shut down in some foreign country…but having to deal with scammers on Facebook in the USA? That is just not right.
Facebook must care more about its quarterly financial performance than they do about its users. We are not talking about differences of opinion here. We are talking about actual companies with patented products, trademarked names, and copyrighted Images that are victims of scammers on Facebook.
Facebook’s answer is to make the brand the policeman of their network. Brands need to find the ads and the pages and report them. But many people have been defrauded before we ever hear about it. Facebook NEEDS TO VERIFY its advertisers. That simple. If they do not enact this, they again prove revenue is more important than you and I.
We’ve had to deal with several scammers on Facebook over the last couple of years. Unscrupulous companies that take pictures and videos from our Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns, and our website and pretend to be us on Facebook to scam unsuspecting people. We have tried to fight this on Facebook with limited success.
Just to set the record straight, we invented the product. We have a utility patent on it, a trademark on the name, and copyrights on the images and videos. We are a Vista Chamber of Commerce and Better Business Bureau member. We are a California LLC, pay taxes, and have been a legitimate company in business for over six years.
As a small e-commerce business, we depend upon Facebook, Google, Amazon, and others for us to be able to share our innovative outdoor gear story to adventurers everywhere.
To make matters worse, Facebook decided that we have made enough noise about this and decided to suspend our account. As a result, they have denied a small business one of the essential marketing platforms of today. How can we appeal this or talk to someone to clear up the misunderstanding? We can’t. Facebook does not answer calls on suspended accounts, nor will it respond to inquiries. We have sent oodles off messages to Facebook Concierge without any result. We even messaged Mr. Zuckerberg directly without a response.
We contacted the advertising salespeople from Facebook, who said they could not help. Once they knew they couldn’t sell us any more advertising, they dropped all communications.
So, we are a legitimate business with excellent products and are at a disadvantage to other companies because Facebook has determined that we are not good enough for them. Of course, I would not raise this concern in a perfect world with many options. But in today’s world of e-commerce, Facebook, Google, Instagram, TikTok, and a few others are an oligopoly.
Facebook must understand their impact on small businesses and their employees’ lives. For six months we’ve been without access to our primary community communications and advertising platform. Despite all the emails, forms, messages that we have sent nothing has provoked Facebook into helping us. We are but one company, many others can be found on the forums.
Facebook, you need to take responsibility for your platform and verify advertisers and provide support for businesses that support you!