Retailers are selling their products on craigslist with increasing frequency. More than ever before, buyers can find deep discounts on cars, appliances and other big-ticket items from companies selling multiple items.

However, in many cases, these retailers are using craigslist to defraud their customers. Ads that claim to come from an “authorized dealer” selling “brand new” items are often false. What can you, the customer, do to protect yourself?

A Recent Case

According to Randy Mac’s “Randy Responds” program on NBC 4, Los Angeles craigslist appliance purchasers have been scammed recently by a company called “Black Friday Outlet,” which operates out of Ontario.

Local customers bought appliances from Black Friday that were advertised as “new” and “under warranty.” Neither of these claims were true, and the customers found out too late, when they realized they had been scammed and the manufacturer would not honor their expired warranty on products that were actually refurbished, not brand new.

Our own attorney Todd M. Friedman, who has appeared numerous times on Randy Mac’s program, has received some complaints about this allegedly fraudulent retailer and he is considering bringing a lawsuit.

His reason?

“[T]o get them to stop advertising these products as new, so customers aren’t duped into buying used or defective products.”

Not A New Story

This story – companies misleading their buyers for a profit – is about as new as Black Friday’s “new” appliances. It’s been going on for years, and the Black Friday outlet out of Ontario is certainly not the only such company to be accused of scamming its customers in this manner.

Protect Yourself

This type of fraudulent sales practice is everywhere. It is up to you, the consumer, to protect yourself from this type of scam.

A few things you can do to minimize your risk when buying on craigslist:

· Make sure they are authorized dealers

· Make sure the products come with a manufacturer’s warranty

· Make sure the products really are new as described

· Whenever possible, check the actual item you are buying to make sure it functions properly

However, even with the best precautions, you might get scammed. If this happens, the best thing you can do is call the authorities and work with an experienced lawyer who can help you protect your rights in the marketplace.