The Better Business Bureau is issuing an alert is issuing an alert regarding an online Alabama retailer.
As of September 4, 2019, BBB has received 79 complaints on the business from consumers all over the United States--its current rating is an "F."
Most complainants report purchasing fishing apparel on the business’s online store, 5x3nation.com, but never receiving their orders.
Complainants also report experiencing issues receiving refunds. When they question the business about their orders, they are told that their items are “in the mail” or “will be shipped out tomorrow.” In addition to filing complaints, many consumers mention leaving comments on the 5x3 Fishing Facebook page that go unanswered.
Chad White of Brookwood, Alabama tells BBB he first heard about the brand from his grandson. He says he was not really an online shopper, but the brand’s message - “5 Fish By 3 O’Clock” - really spoke to him. When Mr. White did not receive the order he placed in January, he said he responded to every marketing email he received from 5x3 for six months before he decided to file a complaint with BBB.
He says the owner, Jake Freeman, was very responsive when he first began questioning him about the status of his orders. When he messaged him, Mr. Freeman would ask Mr. White for his order number and then respond, “There was a backlog on it, and we’re shipping [it] out tomorrow.” After getting the same response several times, Mr. White says the business owner eventually told him they would issue a refund. Mr. White says he has been waiting on the refund for several months now and has given up contacting the business about it.
Mr. White told BBB he has ordered from 5x3 in the past, but did not have any trouble with the business until recently. “I spent probably $500 on hats from them last year. I’d get them within a month,” he explains. Many other complainants who filed with BBB share similar stories. According to BBB files, 5x3 Fishing has been operating since 2013, but did not start receiving complaints until early 2018.
5x3 Fishing LLC’s owner posted an apology on the 5x3 Fishing Facebook page on April 9, 2019.
The post is as follows: “No negative comments please as I am dealing with each person individually on these issues. My deepest apologies. Over the last several months 5X3 has gotten a tarnished name and I want to personally take the blame as the owner. I took on to many ventures at once buying a couple other businesses and letting 5X3 fall to the way side. Not intentionally at all. I have said things under stress to customers that I regret and want to apologize for and I will contact them personally to try and make things right. All remaining orders that are backdated are being sent as we shipped almost 200 orders yesterday and I want to offer partial refunds, extras or gift cards to customers with extended delays. Growing pains, oversight, not paying attention....call it what it is and that’s poor business decisions on my part. I forgot our customers and without customers there is no 5X3. I tried to “reboot” the company back a couple of months ago and it didn’t go so well either so what we have done is hired people to come in and restructure the business putting customer service at the forefront. We are placing our customer at top of the pyramid of the 5X3 business model. I am human and have made huge errors and I am making changes to make our customers #1 again. We are going to stop preorder and keep items in house that ship with 48 hours starting in the coming weeks. I have customers and staff to reach out to that I need to apologize to and I will make this priority starting today. Once again I want to thank all our valued customers and look forward to reaching out to people the rebuild confidence and make 5X3 what is once was. My sincerest apologies to all.”
BBB has received over three dozen unanswered complaints since the apology was posted in April. BBB has attempted to contact the business regarding the complaints and has only received responses to nine of the 79 complaints filed to date.
BBB advises consumers to use caution when dealing with online retailers. Always thoroughly research businesses before choosing to do business with them, and use credit cards as opposed to debit cards in the event charges must be disputed.
For more information on how to find a reputable business, visit bbb.org/shoppingonline.