HOTTOPIC: Don’t get scammed by cheap clothing sites

It’s called “fast fashion” — rapidly producing for the masses the trends showcased by top designers, often using cheap materials and sketchy labor practices. Clothes appear online or in stores for hundreds less than designer brands, but their poor quality means they don’t last long. And the cycle starts again.

Fast fashion brands’ ads overwhelm websites and social media. Names like Modlily, Dresslily, Lilligal and Rosegal (yep, many are soundalikes) tout images of svelte models in stunning gowns or chic girls in the latest boho looks — as well as unbelievably low prices.

“There are literally hundreds of these brands, though many of them are actually owned by the same company in China,” BuzzFeed reported in 2016.

Before committing your cash to one of these sites, even if $20 or $30, know the warning signs. Brit.com’s “10 Tips and Tricks for Buying Clothes Online Like a Pro” emphasized these primary ways consumers can avoid bad e-clothing purchases:
1. Check the company’s specific size chart and order accordingly.
2. Read reviews — several, not just one.

Fortunately, the internet has banded together to spread the word on “scam” companies.

Aside from sites like Knockoff Nightmares on Facebook, where photos are posted of the most heinous crimes against fashion, several bloggers and fashion sites like Refinery29 maintain lists of “online clothing scam companies.” Research on these sites, as well as the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission, to learn if a company has been cited for fraudulent practices.

Doing a Google Image search can also alert you to bad deals. Some scam clothing sites use photos from legit designers and retailers to promote their wares, BuzzFeed reported. At images.google.com you can enter a search term or URL or upload a photo to find other instances of use.

For its part, Facebook — where many of the ads for such companies have proliferated — told BuzzFeed in 2016 it would look into these companies more closely.

“We understand the gravity of this issue and we’re taking it very seriously,” Facebook Vice President of Ads and Pages Andrew Bosworth wrote to BuzzFeed News, as reported by Business Insider.

And in 2018 the company launched a tool for ad feedback, according to Quartzy.com: “The tool, which you can get to through the ‘Recent Ads Activity’ link in the ‘Explore’ navigation bar, gives users a way to tell Facebook about problems they’ve had with things like shipping time and product quality. Facebook can’t get customers their money back if they’re unhappy, but if a business gets enough negative feedback, Facebook will let it know it has to correct the problems. If the negative feedback continues, Facebook will reduce the number of ads it’s able to run on the social network, and might ultimately ban it.”

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