HOUSTON - A Houston grandmother says she was scammed out of hundreds of dollars trying to buy laptops for her grandchildren. She says what she got was junk made to look like new.
Many families are still looking for low-cost laptops, computers, and tablets for their kids to attend virtual school.
Bettye Adams thought she saw a deal for her grandkids, but it left her with a broken heart instead.
The Apple logo on one laptop peels right off.
"This is the sticker. They put a sticker on it," said Bettye Adams.
For one, the Apple logo of the laptop peeled right off and in taking a look inside another one, keys are missing. Additionally, the motherboard was nowhere to be found and Adams says it came with only an extension cord, not a power cord.
She says she paid $500 dollars of her daughter's money for four laptops for herself and her grandkids.
"I said ‘Oh, no, no!’ I just started crying. And she said, Mom, we've been had," said Adams.
"They’re shells. There's nothing in them. They don’t even turn on," her husband added.
It all started after seeing two men with Best Buy shirts selling them from a car in a parking lot on Main Street in Southwest Houston. Adams says the men said that they worked in the Best Buy shipping department and the laptops were overstock from the store.
"I feel like I let her down," said Adams. "I should have been the bigger person, not to fall for their scam. It made me feel real bad."
To avoid a situation like this, families needing laptops can save big money buying refurbished models at local stores, such as Top Tech Experts.
"You do want to buy it from a reputable shop, something that has a warranty," said Alex Diaz, co-owner of Tech Top Experts. "That way, if you do have any issues, you know where you can go back and get it taken care of."
He says refurbished laptops and computers start anywhere from $150 to a few hundred dollars.
"You can save quite a bit of money because they're usually business-grade computers," said Diaz.
Goodwill of Houston Computer Works Store also sells refurbished laptops, tablets, and computers for a fraction of the cost.
Prices that that won't leave you feeling ripped off as Adams was.
"They asked me if I want to prosecute if they get caught," said Adams. "I told them yes."
The Houston Police Department is investigating.
Best Buy sent us the following statement:
"What happened to this woman is terrible, and unfortunately, criminals continue to target consumers with many different scams, some of which include posing as well-known brands like Best Buy or Geek Squad. If someone sees a person selling Best Buy products outside of a store, they should treat it with suspicion and report it to local authorities immediately, as well as the Federal Trade Commission."
You can also buy refurbished computers from national retailers, such as Dell, Walmart, and Best Buy.