9 On Your Side Consumer Alert
Teen taken for a ride that never came
A 14-year-old learned the hard way about what it's like to get ripped off.
Reporter: Tammy Vo
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Daniel Delacorte, 14, feels like he's been on an emotional roller coaster. He was thrilled to finally be able to buy a pocket bike, anxious as he waited for it to arrive and disappointed when it never did. He wants everyone to know what happened to him and called 9 On Your Side.
Pocket bikes are miniature motorcycles and are popular with teenagers. Daniel wanted one ever since he was eight years old. He kept bugging his mom for one year after year and she finally approved when Daniel turned 14. She told Daniel that he would have to save money to pay for it.
"I would go to my nana's house and clean up her backyard and do a lot of chores and she would give me money" said Daniel. "I eventually saved up enough, $276. I was so excited. As soon as I got the exact amount I went home and ordered it."
Daniel bought the Grand Prix MTX bike online from a company called USA Pocketbikes. The company says on it's wesbsite that the bike will arrive in five to seven business days.
Jennifer Boughton, Daniel's mom said "I was proud of him that he saved the money. He put a lot of effort into it". Daniel spent his afternoons, waiting for the deliveryman to come but he never showed. Daniel called USA Pocketbikes.
"I kept asking, when are they going to send it out? They kept saying, it's pending shipment and waiting to leave the warehouse" said Daniel. He says, for weeks they strung him along. Daniel showed KGUN 9 emails from the company that say the bike was pending shipment and that if he needed to cancel his order, the would understand. So, that's what he did. The company confirmed in an email that the refund would come in ten days. Months have passed and still, nothing.
"As a parent I knew he was taken advantage of. It was hard to explain to him and he didn't want to believe it" said Jennifer.
Daniel tells KGUN 9, that at one point the company claimed that they were going out of business and going through bankruptcy. If that's the case then the company shouldn't be taking any more orders, right? 9 On Your Side called USA Pocketbikes to discover that not only are they still taking orders, they're promising to send them out within days.
KGUN 9 also contacted US Bankruptcy court to find out if the company is really going through bankruptcy. They say, they have no record of the company filing for bankruptcy. KGUN 9 called USA Pocketbikes to find out what's going on.
A woman who answered the phone told Reporter Tammy Vo, that the company can't discuss anything with her because it's private information. She also said that that the company was never in touch with Daniel and his mom about a problem even though Daniel had provided KGUN 9 with documentation that showed both sides had been in touch. The woman from the company told KGUN 9 that if Jennifer called, they would resolve the issue. So, she did. A frustrated Jennifer told KGUN 9 that after calling, a manager at the company told her that the refund the company had promised in an email was "on hold" because the company's account was shut down. A manager at USA Pocketbikes eventually told Vo not to call them again.
9 On Your Side met with Attorney General, Tom Horne to find out what's a kid to do? "It's unbelievably outrageous" said Horne. He suggests that consumers always pay by credit card. If you're suspicious that your item will not show up, call your credit card company immediately to dispute the charge. Jennifer had already done that but unfortunately, it was too late.
So here are the steps to take if you feel you're being taken for a ride.
File a complaint with the Attorney General's office in Arizona and in another state if that's where the company you've purchased from is located.
Then, file a small claims complaint in court. If a judge rules in your favor, you can try to collect. Horne says it can be challenging especially if the company is out of state.
For Daniel, it will likely cost he and his mom more than what they lost on the bike, to collect. Daniel regrets not checking out the company first because it received an "F" with the Better Business Bureau.