Man scammed $400 after generator purchase ends up being 35-pound weight

It looked brand new and even felt about as heavy as one. 

But when Kevin Dean opened the box to the newly-purchased generator he had hoped would get his family's home powered back up, he made an unfortunate discovery. 

"They were all excited, ‘we are going to have power, watch some TV, do whatever we want to do’ and when I opened the box everyone was shocked," he said, talking about his family.

Dean was one of the hundreds of thousands of customers to lose power from the severe weather over the past few weeks. Like many caught in the cold with no way to warm their home, Dean went shopping for a generator.

Like many times during a disaster, it can be tough to find the right supplies. 

"Lowes was sold out, Home Depot was, everyone was sold out," he said. "So I found this gentleman on Facebook and he had a generator for sale."

Dean had used Facebook Marketplace before. It can be rife with scammers, which is why he agreed to do the transaction for one he found for $400 at a public place.

"I met him at Nine mile and Greenfield and the box looked brand new. It had the straps still on it and the tape was on it," he said. When he got home and opened it, he instead found a 35-pound weight in the box.

The seller hasn't responded to messages from Dean, who has since taken his complaints to the police department. 

It also didn't solve Dean's original problem. When he went back on Facebook Marketplace, the next generator he found online he purchased after ensuring it was in the box. 

Law enforcement frequently reminds people to be on their toes for scammers after disasters. People both online and in person will prey upon someone's desperation when they're in need of help and Facebook Marketplace can be a hotbed for illegitimate sales.