Friday, April 30, 2010

Beware of Etsy Scam

Hi friends!

I wanted to give you all some updates and news of what's been happening in PIN TOPPER LAND! I guess it's safe to say I have some interesting info I want to share with all of you especially those that run Etsy shops of your own. I don't want to alarm anyone but I do want all of you to be informed that there is a very sneaky scam artist out there who calls herself Arden (no last name).....I was contacted by her because she was looking to purchase a large quantity of "corporate gifts".. She inquired about my Alice in Wonderland sets and was hoping to purchase 40 sets!. She asked if I could send her a sample (which I told her I don't do "samples")...anyway, she promised she would send the sample back after her rep made a decision. Well, even though my heart said no I still did it and I learned the hard way....... it's been a couple of months and 30 + emails later (most of which were from me because she was a very vague/rude responder). Without going into all the details I just wanted to let you all know to be very careful about who you send samples to etc. I found out that her real name is Valerie Hawk Hoffman/Koffman/Arden and she has the Attorney General of Connecticut after her and seems to have ripped off hundreds of people from what I have read in the forums, Rip Off Report.com, "Callin' Out Etsy" and just Google in general. I have filed a report with the Attorney General of Maine and am awaiting a response to see what the next step is. She is without a doubt a very fragile person who has so many lies going on she can't even keep her stories straight. It's been extremely frustrating to say the least. I can't believe how much time I have wasted in the past couple of months trying to get blood out of the Arden/Valerie turnip!!!!! I really hope someone helps set her straight as it is very sad to think she spends her time doing what she does. Anyway, that's the scoop on that : )

New News: I heard back from the attorney General of Maine yesterday and they said they are unable to do anything about this because it's a business to business complaint!!! That's terrible!!! I still fell like I need to take this further but I don't know what to do? Any ideas?

Thanks everyone for reading this! I thought I should get the word out there to expose this person fro who she really is.

 Have a great day~
Gigi

6 comments:

Joanna said...

Sorry, no new ideas, but I think just blogging about it makes a difference.

Todd said...

Hi - I and several ladies from our garden club were scammed by Valerie Hawk Hoffman in 2003 ... she also used aliases back then as well, pretending to be someone else when I called her.

She claimed that I was the only person to ever complain about her "auto-ship" and "auto charge" policy that was never disclosed or approved by her customers. But later admitted to always winning with the credit card companies when people complain (Valerie, how can that be if no one ever complained? Right?)

Over the course of several weeks, I stopped counting all the lies she was telling. She told so many that she was contradicting herself in the very same conversations - wasn't smart enough to keep it all straight.

In my honest opinion, she's seriously unstable and probably a pathological liar as well (unable to control her lies). She admitted in her "seminar" in 2003 to having past psychological issues, claiming that her herbal remedies saved her life. That may be the case, but I don't think it cured her ... She's still got serious issues. Again, IMHO, if she didn't actively try to rip people off, she'd deserve our pity.

I think the large number of consumer complaints (including ours) in CT got the attorney general involved ... and the matter is still moving forward 7 years later. There's even a case pending against her husband David (not sure for what though). The wheels of justice may turn slowly, but eventually they'll grind down the Hoffmans.

I can't believe Valerie re-opened business in Winter Harbor, Maine after she was literally run out of Connecticut. FreshRemedies.com is apparently her new front, but at least she now discloses her "auto-ship" policy on her website, which she didn't do when it was called Sunrise Herbal Remedies in CT. Even her "WhoIs.com" registry information for FreshRemedies.com is a lie ... showing her "Arden Koffman" alias and a fake address that is a combination of their Maine and Florida ones! Truly pathetic.

Anyway, I agree that getting the news out about people like Valerie is a great way to proceed. Hopefully blogs and internet reports will help protect the people who live near her in Winter Harbor, Maine and Palm Beach, Florida from her scams ... but I'm personally thrilled that the CT-AG is taking the matter seriously.

Thanks for getting the word out about her.

All the best,
One of Valerie's victims in CT

Gigi Minor said...

Wow Todd! I am amazed by your story! I wish you much luck and success with your long ongoing case!Please keep in touch as I would love to hear what finally comes of it!
Yes I am well aware of the lies that she tells and them being so numerous she can't keep them straight. At one point she ranted at me defending that SHE DID NOT LIVE IN MASSACHUSETTS BUT THAT SHE DID INDEED LIVE IN CALIFORNIA!

I responded by saying that I never said she lived in Mass....and California? Wow that's a new one! All she had to do was re-read our long thread of emails back and forth to know what state she did live in! Apparently she doesn't even know that!!!!

It boils my blood that she has kept up with this nonsense for years! I hope the people of CT have better luck than those in Maine...or at least until it all catches up to her there.

I will keep speaking out on this until she's stopped!

FIGHT THE POWERS THAT KEEP HER AFLOAT!

Patty said...

Getting the word out on the internet may help some people. Would it do any good to contact the Better Business Bureau. I suppose they'd give you the runaround too tho.

My Life Under the Bus said...

So sorry you got hit with this . This has been in and out of Etsy's forums forever. It is unbelievable how she keeps coming back for more - what nerve !

Sharon said...

Gigi --I am sorry that this happened to you. I love your work and while I am no where near as successful as you are, I am always suspicious when people ask for free samples. Follow your heart! One thought (in hindsight I know but just in case you are ever tempted again) would be to charge for the sample and offer a refund (or credit on the larger order) upon it's return ... if you're dealing with a scammer they will quickly disappear ... and if not well even better :-)