You’re pregnant! These can be two of the most exciting words anyone hears. But who would imagine your impending bundle of joy could put you at risk to be a victim of a scam? The Better Business Bureau warns consumers to be critical of baby and motherhood gift cards sent to them by a “Jenny B.” These cards are not from a friend, but part of a questionable marketing scheme by Mother’s Lounge, LLC.
Mother’s Lounge is a company out of Pleasant Grove, Utah that sends gift cards for their different online businesses. To date, BBB serving Northern Nevada and Utah has found fifteen affiliate businesses, including Thoughtful Gift Cards and Canopy Couture. These gift cards are sent all over the U.S. and Canada in an envelope which appears to have lost its return label, although it never had one in the first place. This is an unethical marketing tactic meant to make the envelope look like mail from a friend.
Inside is a card congratulating the recipient on their recent pregnancy and an array of gift cards and coupons for motherhood and baby items. BBB believes that “Jenny B” is Jeanette Pierce, the owner of Mother’s Lounge and the other online entities. BBB is unsure what mailing lists the business is using, but not all the women who receive these mailings are pregnant or have children.
In the past, consumers have complained that using a gift card for an order appears to increase the shipping cost. BBB questioned Mother’s Lounge’s owner, Jeanette Pierce, asking about this issue, but no response was received. BBB believes the business should modify or discontinue the advertising campaign as consumers are confused and the price for a product or shipping should not be increased when a gift certificate is used.
In BBB’s review of over 55 complaints and Scam Tracker reports for Mother’s Lounge, consumers who have purchased from these websites reported receiving lower quality products than expected. When purchasing or using gift cards, your BBB recommends you read the fine print.
Search the card’s packaging and the card itself for any fees, expiration dates, and terms and conditions. Some organizations charge service fees or will limit the gift card to “in store only” purchases, making it useless for online shopping.
It’s important to buy from sources you know and trust. Visit BBB.org to see a company’s BBB Business Profile and to find trustworthy BBB Accredited Businesses. Make sure to look up the business at BBB.org to view its rating, complaint history and reviews from past customers.
Rebecca Barr is Boise Marketplace Manager of the Better Business Bureau Northwest + Pacific, serving the Snake River Region from Ontario to Jackson, Wyoming. For more information, visit bbb.org or call (800) 218-1001.