NBC 5 Investigates Online Business Advertising ‘Free Dog Beds'

Freebies can be really hard to pass up, but one North Texas woman tells us an online retailer is using a giveaway to loop shoppers in and take their money. For many, it all started with a free dog bed.

"Flip the Trend" offers a variety of products: clothing, gadgets and even furniture.

But its most popular item could be a free dog bed. You just pay the shipping.

Valerie Session of Fort Worth woman thought it was a sweet deal. She was only charged $4.99.

But that bed never came and the Better Business Bureau said she's far from alone.

"In fact, we've gotten dozens of complaints in about 24 states, including Texas. So that company is definitely on our radar," said Rick Bousquet, Regional Director of the Better Business Bureau Heart of Texas.

Session says she contacted them numerous times but got no response.

"I tried chat and they are always closed," she said.

Other consumers across the country sounding off as well. One consumer said, "'Flip the Trend,' what a scam you are. Taking tons and tons of innocent people's money without providing a product."

"Unfortunately, they have not been responding to any of those complaints as well," said Bousquet.

The Bureau said when it tried to contact the company at its listed address in Chicago, the post office sent the letter back of "undeliverable."

There's another major concern.

"This company did try to align themselves with a non-profit organization," Bousquet explained. 

The Forgotten Dog, a non-profit that rescues, rehabilitates and rehomes dogs-put out this warning:  "We have never been involved with Flip the Trend, nor did we ever agree to sponsor any free giveaways through them."

After demanding a refund for weeks, Session finally got her money back.

Flip the Trend's website has since been taken down.

We tried calling the business but the number was disconnected.

Online shopping has become more popular than ever, but unfortunately, every website cannot be trusted.

So before you click purchase, here are Samantha Chatman's Solutions:

-Check company reviews on the BBB's website, Yelp and also Google reviews.

-Pay with a credit card if you're shopping with an unfamiliar business, you'll have more protection.

-Keep a paper trail.  That way, if you need to dispute a transaction with your credit card company, you'll have proof that can back up your claim.

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