Fort Myers woman claims trickery in $3,000 beauty purchase
FORT MYERS, Fla. – A woman reached out to WINK News Call for Action after claiming she was tricked into buying $3,000 worth of cosmetics she did not want or need.
Margie Davison initially went to Edison Mall to purchase a new skirt. While there, she talked with a woman at a cosmetic counter selling Deep Sea Cosmetic products.
“When I walked past [the kiosk], she just took hold of my arm and she said, ‘I’ve got a nice surprise for you,'” she recalled.
But what started out as talking ended up with Davison spending more than $3,000 over the course of nearly 90 minutes.
“She really never said would you like anything,” Davison said. “She just said ‘here’s something that would really be good for you,’ [and] put it in the sack.”
Before she could leave, Davison said she signed three credit card receipts – not realizing the total cost until she got home.
The first receipt was for $424. Nearly an hour later there was a charge for $2226. The last purchase, made 30 minutes later, was for $530.
“You think you’re a pretty intelligent person until you get home and you realize you’re really dumb as a stump,” Davison said. “I thought why would she do three bills? Because if she would have done it all on one bill and I would have seen how much. I would have just been shocked.”
Davison said the shock of what happened sunk in as soon as she got home. She looked at her six bags and her three receipts and felt like something was wrong.
“I thought ‘boy Margie, you are a dummy,'” she said. “You just really got ripped off.”
Looking for a refund
Sheila Davenport, when told of what happened, agreed with her friend’s assessment of being ripped off.
“When she told me the story, I was just flabbergasted about what had happened,” she said. “I realized that she was a victim of a scam. And I could see the hurt inside of her of being taken advantage of.”
Davison and Davenport returned to the mall and demanded a refund.
“When we got there, there was no professionalism, there was no customer service, there was no corporate office,” Davenport said. “We asked for the corporate office. It was somewhere out of the country. We tried to talk to one of the sales people there and she just didn’t have any information about what company she was working for.”
Frustrated, Davenport contacted WINK News Call for Action.
“I know you could get to the bottom of it and I felt like if everyone could know about, it would be good,” recalled Davenport of making the call to WINK.
Who’s in charge?
The WINK News Call for Action team tried to contact the company owner, but could not find the name of the business. There was no business in Fort Myers registered to Deep Sea Cosmetics, the products being sold at the kiosk.
The name at the bottom of Davison’s receipts said “Shai and Etan,” but a quick search found that business closed in March.
Davison made her purchases in July.
Finally, we asked the City of Fort Myers for all business tax receipts registered at Edison Mall’s address. Every business operating in the city is required to pay an annual business tax in order to do business within city limits.
“Deep Sea Cosmetics” nor “Shai and Etan” were on the list.
Confronting the owner
WINK News Call for Action reporter Lindsey Sablan brought Davison and Davenport back to the kiosk to get answers.
Erez Hershcovitz, the kiosk owner, told Sablan he just bought the company under the name “H Beauty.” Herschcovitz also said his company did not take returns, which is stated on Davison’s receipt.
The same receipt that said “Shai and Etan,” not “H Beauty.”
When asked how Davison was supposed to know what his company’s return policy was when the company name was not on the receipt, Herschcovitz said, “That’s a good question. I don’t have an answer for that.”
But Hershcovitz did have one question for Davison: “Did any of the employees made you to sign a receipt?”
“No they didn’t but here’s what they did do,” she responded. “They’re good. They are good. They’re slick and as they’re talking to me they’re putting stuff in the bag.”
Hershcovitz took Davison’s name and number, saying he would talk to his partner in Israel and call her back.
Davison received a call from “H Beauty,” telling her they would refund half her money, $1590, and let her keep all the products.
“I feel like that’s fair but it wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been for WINK Call to Action,” Davison said.
H Beauty tax status
WINK News Call for Action checked with city officials regarding the tax status of “H Beauty.”
The company had not filed a business tax receipt as of Friday.