Don’t get scammed when shopping for evening wear

This fall, as high school students prepare for the fun of a homecoming dance, one thing they shouldn’t worry about is whether their dress or attire will arrive.

But the Akron Better Business Bureau reports several local families and others nationwide who are being scammed by online retailers who do not deliver their goods.

In an alert on Friday, the BBB warned consumers to be aware of scams when ordering clothing for homecomings or other events. Many fake sites lure customers with a discounted price, but orders are never received after the items are purchased and personal data may have been compromised.

The scam “is disappointing and saddens me to hear people losing out,” said Shannon Siegferth, president and CEO of Better Business Bureau Akron, which serves Ashland, Medina, Portage, Richland, Summit and Wayne. “The online scams we hear about all year, continue to advance their technology and approach.

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” Siegferth said. “Visiting a company’s website, checking reviews and verifying if it is an accredited company with BBB are all best practices when buying online. We advise consumers to ensure that the company they are looking to buy from clearly and prominently provides a direct and efficient means of contacting the company.This includes a telephone number, physical address and email address.


Local Customers Scammed By Fake Homecoming Sites

The BBB said a local parent lost more than $150 trying to buy her daughter a pair of shoes she could wear to Homecoming. She ordered from Bowmanra.coma new website that was just launched on August 5th. The only method of contact for the company is by email, the BBB said.

Another consumer ordered a dress from The company sent a confirmation code, fake tracking information, and status updates. Her daughter’s reunion came and went, but the dress never arrived. This website was less than a year old and has been taken down, the BBB said. The company’s Facebook page has only been active since last July and does not contain appropriate contact information.

BBB did not hear back from the companies when they asked for a physical address and phone number to provide to consumers. I have also tried to contact both companies and haven’t heard from either.

here are a few tips

The BBB suggests taking the time to research a new website. Carefully examine the URL to see if it imitates well-known brand names. Research the age of the domain, using caution with new websites. You can do this by going to and search the domain registry to locate the date, Siegferth said. “This database also provides information about the owner of the domain and the last update of the site, she said.

Look for the “https” in the URL (the extra s is for “secure”) and a small padlock icon on the address bar. Read the content of the website carefully, looking for typos or anything else that indicates the website was created quickly. Also look for multiple ways (phone, email, physical address, online chat) to contact the company, not just an email address or online form.

Siegferth also recommends using a form of payment that can be reversed (i.e. credit card) when purchasing online. Using a credit card allows a level of protection for the consumer by encrypting information sent over the web, she said.

Paying online with a debit card increases the risk of fraud. Additionally, suspending your account that has been defrauded using a debit card could leave you without funds for a period of time and disable the payment of recurring bills such as utilities, mortgage and insurance, she said.

Finally, if you know of a scam or have been scammed, Siegferth asks readers to please report it to BBB scam tracker ( and the Federal Trade Commission (online or by phone at 877-382-4357)

Betty Lin Fisher

Learn more about the widow’s sentence

Last week I shared an update on a topic of column on which I wrote this summer about what is called the widower’s or widower’s sentence. I had written about a widower from Suffield who was upset that his rate had increased after his wife’s death.

The practice occurs when some insurers increase a person’s car insurance rates after the death of a spouse. The state of Delaware prohibits the practice.

After:National consumer group calls on Ohio to end widowhood sentence

The Consumer Federation of America, a national consumer advocacy group, contacted me and did a mini follow-up of a National study 2015 which noted at the time that several auto insurers were increasing rates for widows by an average of 20%.

The group did a mini-study of major Ohio insurers last month and called on the Ohio Department of Insurance and insurers to stop using the widow penalty.

Using the same driver profile and address of a 35-year-old man or woman living in Akron with a perfect driving record, the group discovered that Progressive charged the widow’s penalty.

In the first test, the group found that the six-month incremental premium for a 35-year-old married woman was $187, but if she was widowed, her premium jumped to $204. And in the second test, the married woman’s premium was $202 and the widowed woman’s premium was $218.

I had contacted Progressive on the Monday of the week I was working on the column for comment. I didn’t hear from them until my Friday deadline.

However, I got a response from progressive spokesman Jeff Sibel a week later. He apologized for the delay and asked if he could provide some clarification:

“Our experience with losses shows that the single note is actuarially more appropriate for widows than a married note would be,” Sibel wrote. “For Progressive customers whose spouse died while actively insured with us, we continue to assess the driver in the same classification they had prior to their loss. This applies for the remainder of this duration and all subsequent policy durations. Although we continue to consider the widowed driver as “married”, there may be factors (such as number of drivers, vehicles and household color) that impact the rate when a policy needs to be renewed. .

In a follow-up email, Sibel confirmed that a new widowed or widowed client would be considered single and unmarried.

Michael DeLong, research and advocacy associate for the Consumer Federation of America, said the group still considers new customers who are widowed or widowed to be classified as single as the widow’s penalty.

“The insurance company treats widows differently from people whose spouse has not yet died. The fact that they have an exception for existing clients doesn’t mean they don’t abuse widows, just that they abuse them a little less,” said DeLong, who called the Ohio Department of Insurance. in last week’s column to stop the practice. also sent a letter to the commissioner after the column was published.

“The company basically says, we’ll keep you on if you’ve been with us before, but if not, widows don’t need to apply. Even if it’s only a small penalty, there’s no reason the Department should allow insurance companies to charge widowed drivers more than married drivers for coverage required by law in Ohio,” DeLong said.

Some announcements

My column will be on hiatus for a few weeks as I serve as one of two reporters for the Beacon Journal’s mobile press room at Firestone Park. Journalist Anthony Thompson and I will do general reporting on the Firestone Park area. If you have story ideas, contact Thompson at [email protected] or me at [email protected] You can find out more about the mobile newsroom at

For those of you preparing to purchase Medicare Advantage plans, open enrollment begins October 15. I’m also working on some stories with tips for shopping and events in the area to help you with your decision. It is set to be published in the Beacon Journal on Sunday, October 16.

Beacon Journal reporter Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or [email protected] Follow her @blinfisherABJ on Twitter or To see her most recent stories and columns, go to

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