Whitehouse calls for crackdown on phony apparel websites

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — There’s no shortage of legitimate online retailers, but U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse says there are websites out there who prey on consumers and don’t deliver what they promise.

You’ve seen the ads online, offering bargains that are just too good not to click.

“There’s a big, it appears, emerging scam of selling people cheap, lousy products that have been misdescribed for purposes of getting their business,” said Whitehouse.

Rhode Island’s junior senator is pushing the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to crack down on fraudulent clothing websites. In a letter to the agency, Whitehouse said the websites “…use stolen photographs and deep discounts to lure consumers into buying products that are indeed “too good to be true.”

The letter goes on to say, “We believe these websites are engaged in unfair and deceptive practice, and urge you to use all of the tools at your disposal to take immediate action to protect consumers from inadvertently falling into the tricks and traps of these predatory websites.”

“American consumers, when they go to the Internet and buy something, should have some assurance that what they bought is what they paid for,” Whitehouse said Tuesday.

Whitehouse also noted that refunds and returns are nearly impossible for customers who aren’t satisfied.

A spokesperson for the FTC confirms they received Whitehouse’s letter but declined to comment on whether action will be taken.

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