Summer is here and after months of social distancing, many Americans are itching to take a short vacation. However, fear of the coronavirus keeps most Americans away from their usual vacation spots. Instead of packing up the car or taking a flight to their favorite beach, Americans plan a summer in the back yard. This year is going to be the summer of stays, and scammers are poised to take advantage of a surge in consumer interest in above-ground swimming pools.
Home-bound Americans are trading the normally crowded beaches for their own backyard oasis. While some have reinvested the money they would have spent on a tropical vacation in a new one Camperothers choose a swimming pool that they can enjoy all summer long. Of Michigan to TexasSales for above-ground swimming pools are increasing, and that means scammers are attracting attention. Pools are suddenly so popular that some sellers are no longer able to keep them in stock.
Above-ground pools are cheaper than underground pools and can even last long enough for families to enjoy for many years. Plus, they’re relatively easy to install, making them a quick fix for quarantine boredom. Aboveground pools are just the latest addition to a long list of hot ticket items that consumers are looking to make the summer of the coronavirus a little easier. With trustworthy companies running out of inventory, consumers are more likely to turn to suspicious websites.
If you’re in the market for an above-ground pool this summer, BBB offers the following tips:
- Beware of prices that seem too good to be true. Scammers often lure their victims with prizes they don’t want to miss, but you could end up paying for a pool that never arrives. Or the pool you get may not be any different from what you expected.
- Confirm the company’s physical address. Some scammers use a fake address, while others may not give an address at all. If you can’t verify the company’s physical address, it could be a scam.
- Pay with a credit card or other secure payment method. It is possible that you followed all of the tips and still fell victim to a scam. However, if you pay using secure methods, you have a greater chance of successfully denying the charges.
- Check with BBB. You can find trustworthy companies to shop from at BBB.org.
Read BBB’s tips on hiring a pool contractor. Find a pool operator near you.
If you come across a scam, we ask that you report it to our BBB Scam Tracker at BBB.org/scamtracker, and you can learn more about common fraud cases at BBB.org/scamtips.
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BBB of Greater Maryland contributed this article.