If it sounds too good to be true...

“Once upon a time,” isn't that how all good stories begin? So let's start this one the same way.

Once upon a time, my wife gave me a pair of agave ornaments as a gift. Made of rusting metal and spray-painted with color accents, they're a striking presence:

A friend of ours was very taken with them and wanted his own. My wife referred him to the Etsy store of the artist where she'd bought mine, and that was the end of it.

Actually, no. That was just the beginning, as we were to find out later on.

One day, our friend—let's call him Gull for “gullible”—came across an online ad on Facebook for metal agaves that looked very similar to mine. Very similar. But the price was a fraction of what my wife had paid. In fact, you could buy three agave sculptures for the same price, with free shipping to boot! This felt like a cosmic gift to Gull so he went ahead and placed an order. Delivery took months, but the box finally arrived.

But let's pause here for a moment because I, too, have seen these ads on Facebook now. I don't know how Facebook's algorithms decided to show them to me, but one day they started to pop up. Here is one:

Needless to say I clicked on it to see what it was all about. After that, my Facebook feed started to fill up with more and more of them: 

These are just a few examples. Essentially they all feature the same photos, but are from seemingly different stores with bizarre names: Amornetwork.com1, Beinggoodate, Calltoyo online, Cloudniceday, Coobletes, Cycaddale, Eeinside, Entenju-h, Figured, Goaftershine_1, Happiesmangh. Mirrorfjj01, Nicefeaturing.uo, Nightoff In, Nowshopa shop, Playwithlovely, Soft-loyals, Winter & sunsun, Wintoistore. These are the ones I've managed to track down by frequently refreshing my Facebook feed.

The store called “Beary” really knows how to sell the product:

Non-fading! Good luck! Blessing!

USA Owned and Operated! Fast Delivery! Satisfaction Guarantee! And authentic!

Another store, “Ancoin,” goes even further with promises of immortality and endless fun:

In case you had any doubt, they are made of metal:

And look at the price for something so authentic! genuine! immortal! fun! metal! hand-made! Even better: the more you buy, the cheaper it gets.

If you try to leave the store without buying, you get an even sweeter deal:

In light of all that, you'd have to be superhuman to resist. I, for one, can't blame our gullible friend Gull for getting in on the action.

OK, back to where we left off. Gull's box finally shows up, from China no less:

It looks a bit small, considering the agave sculpture he ordered is supposed to 21 inches tall. Maybe the leaves fold in the middle even though in the photos they look like they're all one piece?

After Gull opens the box, he's initially confused, then relieved. This isn't his agave sculpture all, but something else. But what?

He has no recollection of ordering anything that might match this, whatever this is:

It looks like the kind of foam cushions florists use for flower arrangements.

And this?


Slowly, it's beginning to dawn on Gull. He's been scammed. 

Gull brings the box and its contents over to our house, and we figure it out. The foam round is the base of the agave, and the plastic “fins,” for a lack of a better word, are the leaves. Duh! It's a do-it-yourself project! Immortal fun, one might say!

At least the scammers were generous. There's enough material for five agaves! 

Here's the fake and the real thing side by side:

Gotta love the ingenuity behind this scam!

It may not have been exactly what Gull had expected, but it made for a good laugh.

For Gull, there's a happy ending. He filed a claim with PayPal, and within an hour (!) he received a full refund. PayPal must be aware of this particular scam. Who knows how many others fell for it?

But there's one more victim, arguably the biggest one: the artist who created the metal agaves and whose images and intellectual property were stolen for this scam. His name is Omar Wysong, and he sells his work through his website, Topanga Patina Art, and through this Etsy store. All pieces are handmade in his workshop in Los Angeles. Wysong does honest work at an honest price, and I feel bad he was targeted by these scammers. Based on this notice on his Facebook page, he's aware of the scam:

If you like metal art in the garden, take a look at Omar Wysong's Etsy store and buy from him. Don't be like Gull—if it sounds too good to be true, it is.

As for the foam-and-plastic agaves, they're pretty much useless, seeing how even slightest bit of movement makes the whole thing fall apart. 

© Gerhard Bock, 2021. All rights reserved. No part of the materials available through www.succulentsandmore.com may be copied, photocopied, reproduced, translated or reduced to any electronic medium or machine-readable form, in whole or in part, without prior written consent of Gerhard Bock. Any other reproduction in any form without the permission of Gerhard Bock is prohibited. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States and international copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Gerhard Bock. If you are reading this post on a website other than www.succulentsandmore.com, please be advised that that site is using my content without my permission. Any unauthorized use will be reported.


  1. One (minor) reason (of many) why I don't Facebook. Though the syntax "Non-fading! Good luck! Blessing!" and "Counterfeit must be investigated" is a very obvious tip off.

    Imagine what exotic-pest-infested plants must be arriving daily.

    Amazon is getting just as bad.

  2. Tequila plant for endless fun!

    Oh boy.

  3. A sad story of our times. I've noticed activity of a similar nature in Instagram ads.

  4. I have purchased one of Omar's beautiful agaves and have also seen these fake ads in FB many times.
    I've emailed him with the image and ad and also post about the rip-off in the comments section of the ads.

  5. I was sucked in and received ugly plastic strips. I comment every time I see the product advertised on Facebook. I'm up to number 19. I live in New Zealand, so their reach is far and wide!!!

  6. Insightfulyou is another one of their many names. The box finally arrived from China. One of the plants wasn’t even close in color to what I ordered nor did they have the hole drilled and the rod to anchor to the ground that was supposed to be included. I have had 8-10 emails back & forth and the have refused to refund my money even though 100% satisfaction money back guarantee is advertised. Got SCAMMED!

  7. I got fucked too.i haven't received anything in months. The package tracking stopped working too.

  8. Thank you for sharing this! I was considering purchasing them but on Amazon they had horrible reviews so I knew something was up. Much rather get the real thing and support the amazing artist who makes these!

  9. Unfortunately, it seems that Omar Wysong is no longer making these -- or responding to any inquiries. So I hope to find another source.

    1. I wonder if he gave up because his designs were copied by cheap Chinese imposters?

    2. Well I guess Jason Loveman's comment answers my question about where to find the GOOD agaves after wading through all of the examples of the cheap ones. (Which became confusing) So I assume I should look elsewhere. DRAT!

    3. Update January 6, 2023: Omar Wysong's website still lists a variety of metal agave sculptures for sale: https://topangapatinaart.com/shop/

    4. Yes, he doesn't respond to inquiries though. Web orders from the site will still charge your credit card and send an automated response though.

    5. Do not order from Omar Wysong. His website is not permanently closed. I placed an order for 3 agave sculptures in April of last year and I have not received my order. I talked to him several times since placing my order. He has moved to Mexico. Now he is not answering my calls or texts. He took my money and others and moved to Mexico.

    6. Wow, I'm really sorry to hear that. I hope you'll get your money back from your credit card issuer.

    7. No, I could not get my money back because the timeframe. I had been talking with him and said that he was behind in filling the orders. I continued to follow up and he stop answering my calls and ignoring my texts. I don't think he ever planned on fulfilling any orders because he knew he was moving to Mexico and took all that money on orders to help him move. He took a lot of people's money. I paid over $700 for 3. I still call him every week and I also text him every week. DO NOT ORDER FROM THE WEBSITE.

    8. That's terrible! Keeping my fingers crossed that somehow he will come through...

  10. I actually bought these metal plants from a Facebook ad and have to admit, I’m sitting here, on my deck, looking at metal plants that look EXACTLY like the ones the author of this post purchased (not the counterfeit ones). I love them and have ordered two more for the front of the house. The second order is coming from a different company I believe so we’ll see if I receive the counterfeit/fake ones.

  11. I ordered 2 Metal Agave Solar. I ordered and paid for the 21 inch and received 2 - 12 inch. One metal plant the solar was broke. They also said free shipping and then charged an extra 10.00 to the tax. I have emailed them at least 10 times with pictures with a measure tape showing I did not get the 21 inch. I sent them picture of the broken one and they said I could glue it. They insist they sent the right size even with a measure tape showing a 12 inch. I didn’t know I was ordering from China! A lesson learned never again! I reported to the Better Business Bureau but I’m sure noting can be done. The company name was Authenticagave!


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