Emma Cottons never sent my quilts. Is this a scam?

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By Christopher Elliott

The quilts Jerry Dowdy ordered online from Emma Cottons never show up. He tries to uncover answers — and a refund. Find out what he discovers.

Question

I recently ordered two quilts online for $119 through a site called Emma Cottons. I followed a link for a special on Facebook — order anything over $100 you got free shipping.

The company directed me to pay through its PayPal link. I received a confirmation of my order immediately. After the first day, the link stopped working. I emailed them a total of five times asking the status of my order. I received two separate responses, both saying my order was “in production” and would be shipped shortly. Then Emma Cottons stopped responding completely.

Their company only has an email contact with no physical address or phone number. I have discovered they operate under a few different names: emmacottons.com and emmacottons.net. Both links are now dead.

I searched the internet and found recent incidents of people with similar complaints. I also found a Facebook page that has these defunct links in their sponsored ads. Please write about this company to help others not to make a similar mistake. — Jerry Dowdy, Denver

Answer

That’s easier said than done. As you note, Emma Cottons is closed.

When a business takes your money but doesn’t send you the product you purchased, you have options. The first is to be patient and to ask about the status of your quilts. You did that and kept a nice paper trail of your correspondence between Emma Cottons and “Sophia,” a company representative. Nice work, by the way.

Your next step is an appeal to someone higher up at the company, maybe by sending another email that politely asks about the status of your quilts. This simple next step proved to be almost impossible to take. My researchers tracked this team to a new company called Amelia Quilt, which had closed as well. You also did some sleuthing and found what appeared to be a parent company based in Vietnam. (Related: This PayPal invoice scam almost got me. Here’s how to spot it.)

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Red flags were flapping in a gale-force wind for you by now — and for me.

Emma Cottons won’t respond. The Fair Credit Billing Act can help

The final option? A credit card dispute. A federal law called the Fair Credit Billing Act protects you from charges for goods and services you didn’t accept or not delivered as agreed. The law requires that you file a chargeback within 90 days of the transaction. Although you had used a PayPal link, you paid with a credit card, so you were protected.

By the way, I have nothing against PayPal. But when you find a business through Facebook offering cut-rate quilts and asking you to settle up with PayPal, don’t walk away — run! A legit business has an established site and accepts credit cards. Your setup smelled a little scammy. (Here’s our guide to unauthorized PayPal charges.)

The takeaway: Be careful when ordering anything found on social media. It’s too easy to set up a scam on Facebook or any other social media and then disappear and set up a new business. I’m confident the quilts you found through Emma Cottons or Amelia Quilt will soon be sold through another shady online business that sets up shop on social media.

You disputed the $119 charge and received a full refund from your credit card company.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter. He is based in Panamá City.

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