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Website I ordered nursery furniture from has fairytale reviews

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I am pregnant with my first child and ordered nursery furniture from mrhousey.co.uk. I was sent an invoice for £449.10, offering a discount if I paid by bank transfer. I’ve heard nothing since. When I call I always get the same man who says my order is on hold, and that I need to speak to the manager, who is always in the warehouse and can’t take calls. I’ve requested a refund but this can’t be done without the manager. I fear this company is preying on young families.
CR, Thame, Oxfordshire

It’s not surprising you trusted Mrhousey since 61% of reviewers on Trustpilot rate it as “great” or “excellent”. Look closer, though, and there’s something off about those reviews. Five-star ratings couched in stilted, formulaic English are interspersed with one-star reviews from irate customers who claim to have been left empty-handed. It’s the same story with its sister company, kiddic.co.uk. Both websites are reassuringly stylish and offer furniture direct from European manufacturers, but the English should cause buyers to pause. “Mrhousey is a truly unusual still very reliable UK shop to buy furniture,” states Mrhousey’s home page. The companies, registered as Fromthemakers Ltd last November with a lone officer, are run from a virtual business address.

Fromthemakers declined to comment, but you were refunded soon after I made contact. Others are still waiting and, since many were encouraged to pay by bank transfer, they are not protected by credit and debit card refund rules. Trustpilot says: “We have issued a formal cease and desist letter following evidence of fabricated reviews. A public consumer alert has been published on their profiles.”

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