When it comes to last-minute holiday shopping, don’t just shop for a good deal online.
The Better Business Bureau reports nearly 300 customers have complained about GoTrax’s products, including electric scooters and bikes and hoverboards.
Tanisha Nixon reported her case to the BBB after purchasing an electric scooter for adults from GoTrax through Amazon.
“That’s another reason why I went with that company, because they have adult scooters like (the ones) you see downtown,” Nixon said. “It was that kind of scooter, electric. It had a speedometer, a headlight, a radio, you know. It was a nice scooter.”
Months later, the nearly $300 electric scooter stopped working.
“It started having some technical issues,” Nixon said. “I reached out to the company, and, you know, they requested the receipt and things like that.”
Screenshots show that Nixon sent the receipt and pictures of the scooter to the company. She said the product had been collecting dust in her garage.
“I would email them, and they would email me back, (asking me to) send pictures. So I would send them the pictures, and then they would email me back. So it was just like a vicious cycle.”
Nixon eventually lost hope and reported the company to BBB.
“GoTrax is a company that we received wind of back in May,” said Jason Meza, the BBB’s regional director of San Antonio.
Meza said, on average, customers pay $180 to $200 for a GoTrax product, but when hundreds of customers report not receiving a product or getting a faulty one without a refund or response, the BBB said it is considered a scam. The BBB’s website currently reports 286 complaints where consumers reported little to no relief.
(With) a hoverboard, you’re only losing the face value of the product. (They are not) a company that keeps going back for more (money),” Meza said. “They try to promise you the world, and you just don’t end up getting anything.”
It’s a pattern happening more often, especially during the holidays.
“Every in-demand product and every season holiday season, there is that one product everybody wants,” Meza said. “We see a lot of retailers (trying to get it out of stock and) a lot of shady retailers at the same time.”
According to GoTrax’s website, they are an American-based company and “continually take customer feedback to redesign and improve them.” However, Meza said the BBB has yet to establish contact with GoTrax.
“There are consumers, victims, from over 41 states across the nation. So, it’s an emerging scam,” Meza said. “For this particular company and many others, I mean, it’s tough because, you know, you could be dealing with a retailer not even based in America. If that’s the case, then prosecution is few and far between.”
The BBB states victims should start a paper trail of communication with the company and report it to several agencies, including the BBB, the Federal Trade Commission and the State Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.
“We can help lead prosecutors in the right direction,” Meza said. “But in the end, the consumer is left to play defense to know the warning signs before they go into a shady retailer’s situation.”
When shopping during the holidays and for in-demand products, customers should thoroughly read the reviews for the product, use online tools to research the company and carefully read through the company’s website.
“If the website has grammatical errors, they’re just missing contact information (or) it’s just a form you fill out and there’s no email address (or) phone number, be highly leery that it could be a shady retailer online,” Meza said.
Another safety factor is your method of payment. GoTrax lists cash apps as a form of valid payment on its website. However, the BBB urges shoppers to use a credit card.
“The best valid way to enter payment with a retailer online is through credit card,” Meza said. “You’re using a merchant, a third-party merchant who is in their best interest to stop a payment if they encounter fraud. Within 60 days (and) over $50, by law, the credit company has to help you dispute that charge or fight the charge.”
To report a scam to the BBB, click here.
ALSO ON KSAT.COM