Scam site using Austin address fails to deliver masks amid COVID-19 crisis
As cities across the country have begun mandating face covers in public places, the demand for N95 and N99 masks have continued to increase. While some have made masks at home or have found legitimate companies selling masks, many have fallen victim to price gouging, counterfeit products, and online scammers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Heavezt LLC, an online retailer advertising the sale of N95 and N99 masks, has become the focus of an investigation as BBB continues to receive consumer reports against the company. Thus far, BBB has received 16 complaints, reviews and BBB Scam Tracker reports from consumers across the country. Of the 16 consumers, 14 of them told BBB they never received their orders after paying anywhere from $29.99 for one mask to nearly $500 for several. The two consumers who did receive the masks informed BBB that the quality was subpar and stated the item was not the N95 mask advertised on the site.
Additionally, complainants tell BBB they are unable to reach Heavezt LLC after not receiving refunds on their cancelled orders. Some consumers reported asking for a tracking number, only to receive fake numbers or told tracking numbers were unavailable.
Consumers paid Heavezt LLC primarily via Paypal and report being charged without receiving confirmation that their order had shipped. One San Antonio woman purchased 16 masks from Heavezt LLC for $484.60 and says she was unable to reach the company by phone or email. A New York resident reported to BBB, “this fake company was clearly set up to profit from the (coronavirus) pandemic and is stealing money and frauding people during a crisis.” Another stated, “it is ridiculous that (in) a time like this they are (scamming) people. This is serious.”
BBB’s investigation found that the business’s website was created in January 2020, the same month the first case of COVID-19 in the United States was reported. Initially, the website listed an Austin address linked to a coworking space, however, this address was removed from the website after an update on April 2, 2020. The website now lists a return address in London with a domain registration listed in Morocco. To date, Heavezt LLC has not responded to consumer complaints or BBB’s attempts to contact the company.
Better Business Bureau serving the Heart of Texas offers these tips to anyone searching for N95 and N99 masks online:
ABOUT BBB®: For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2018, people turned to BBB more than 173 million times for BBB Business Profiles on nearly 5.4 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The International Association of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for the local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB serving the Heart of Texas, which serves 105 counties and has offices in Austin, Bryan, Corpus Christi, Fort Worth, Midland, San Antonio and Waco.