Beware of angry women carrying knitting needles!
Since January 1994, when my newspaper took its baby step into cyberspace, I've been a big fan of online shopping.
Yes, the Web is great for tracking news, locating old boyfriends, or grabbing and stacking whatever you need to win an argument. But, it really excels as a vector for goods and services!
Where else can you drop large amounts of money in a flash, with no crowds, no parking lots, no rude salesclerks to impede your path to financial penury?
And I have shopped and shopped. Not only for tickets, but real estate, socks, bathing suits, tablecloths, Christmas presents, shoes, repair parts for appliances, you name it. Anytime. Anyday.
All of this makes it easy to understand how deliciously facile it was for someone to bilk me. Oddly, I associated (note the past tense) shopping hassles with brick-and-mortar stores, but put my full, unadulterated trust in Web pages, the folksier the better.
Enter an un-named ranch, seemingly an Oregon paradise for all manner of sheep, with an online yarn and knitting shop offering a full range of knitting needles, including a brand I've come to love but can't find in any local stores. Silly me, I ordered one of each on their handy online order form and, in a flash, sealed the deal with a payment from PayPal.
Ah, sweet ignorance!
The real ranch clearly was a PayPal-enabled cash machine, sucking funds from my bank account (and others) directly into theirs, while they never had to lift a finger, or interrupt their lounge time on the beaches of Maui, or wherever they were actually situated.
When nothing came in the mail over the course of 10 days, and when my ever-so-polite emails did not evoke a response, I called and actually got the surprised seller on the phone. Probably because I woke her up! I blame time zones. Said seller promised to put my package in the mail the next day.
A week later, I sent another email, then followed up with a call. Full voice mailbox; call later. I did. Still full.
A quick Google search unearthed a veritable knitting empire, with storefronts on just about every commercial e-Main Street. Not surprisingly, the list of "reviews" from unhappy customers was long. There were many, many angry ladies out there, waiting for their knitting supplies.
I'm not sure which was worse: not getting “my” needles or getting lost in the PayPal Resolution Center maze. One menu led to another, which led to another, which took me right back where I started.
For those who prefer the frustration of voice communication, PayPal offers a parallel universe by phone. Apparently no PayPal user has ever been bilked , because nothing resembling "fraud" is on the resolution menu.
Well, let me tell you, I filed a "dispute" today and give PayPal one week to try to reach the elusive seller. Hint: Look for beach towels imprinted, Sucker!
Next week, I call their county sheriff’s office, then the Oregon Attorney General.