COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Several women said they were ripped off by the owner of an online shoe store. The women waited months for products they paid for that they never received, so they called Better Call 4 to share their message with other shoppers: Buyer beware.
“The company is called Monkey Feet, and they make these little children’s shoes, if you can see. Very cute,” said Kristin Arvallo of Mesa, Ariz..
Arvallo found Monkey Feet, a children’s online shoe store, on Facebook. Courtney Burke of Norristown, Pa., said she liked Monkey Feet’s low prices.
“I’m ashamed to admit it, I spent over $2,000 on kids’ shoes because it was hard to pass up a $10 deal,” Burke said.
Linda Ainger of Broadview Heights, Ohio, often bought shoes for her young granddaughter. “Never had an issue, never had a problem,” Ainger said.
No problem — until early 2021.
“We started noticing our orders that were supposed to be delivered in March, April, May — were not coming in,” Arvallo said.
The group of women said customers started getting emails from the company about the delays, blaming COVID-19 and supply chain issues.
“When the orders first started becoming delayed, she would start offering gift cards,” Burke said, adding that they could only be used on the website. “So you were incentivized to, instead of asking for a refund, to take a gift card, and foolishly, I did that for three of my orders.”
Chelsea Lindsey of Clayton, N.C., also opted for gift cards.
“Every order you placed, she would throw a minimum of an extra $10 on those gift cards,” Lindsey said.
More money to buy more shoes, that these women said never came. They began airing their grievances on Facebook, eventually creating the Monkey Feet Buyer Beware group.
“We started noticing, it’s not just us,” Arvallo said. “There’s people all across the United States. There’s, at first we thought, hundreds of women. Now, we realize it’s thousands of women.”
Many of those members joined the group after October of last year, when the company suddenly issued a mass cancellation of orders.
“You’re looking at about, a little over 57,000 orders that we’ve calculated from order numbers that were either canceled or not shipped,” Arvallo said.
These women said they’ve been waiting for the products they ordered as far back as January of 2022, and are still out hundreds of dollars each, unable to get refunds.
Better Call 4 tried to reach out to the owner of Monkey Feet, but did not receive an answer. The store’s website and social media accounts were also shut down.
“We’re all looking at it as, it’s a loss for us now,” Burke said.
At this point, the women said, they just want other buyers to beware.
“We want to make sure that this isn’t happening to more people, and we want to find out why no one is, at this point, jumping on board to help us,” Arvallo said.
Monkey Feet has an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau. The women filed complaints with BBB, with the attorneys general in Florida and New Jersey — where the business was established — and with the Federal Trade Commission.
The FTC said it located 24 responsive complaints about the company. The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office received 52 complaints since August 2022, and said 37 are still open. The Florida Attorney General’s Office said it is “actively investigating Monkey Feet USA at this time.”