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‘He stole the money from us. It kills me:’ Basketball team loses money after placing order online

MUKWONAGO —  A junior basketball league lost money after taking a shot with an online retailer they'd never used before.

Lately, Annie Madson has been feeling helpless on the sidelines.

"You took money from our kids. That's basically how I look at it," Madson said.

Annie Madson

Madson is the head coach of the 5th-grade team for the Mukwonago Junior Indians. In all, about 110 kids participate in the Junior Indians program on 11 teams.

In the fall, Madson arranged for all Junior Indians players to order customized socks.

"Almost every kid ordered a pair -- at least one pair. Some ordered two, three, four," Madson recalled.

Based on a recommendation, she placed the order with Team 1st Custom Socks -- an online business based out of Washington State.

The company cashed a check for more than $1,600 dollars back in October but the socks never came.

"It's just one of those things that makes you kind of lose faith in humanity a little bit," Madson said.

Parents wrote personal checks for the socks, but the Junior Indians program isn't going to cash them, which means the program is out money.

As a result, the league may have to make concessions next year. 

"It took away from them and they're just kids. They just want to play basketball and have fun, and if we have to take something away from them because he stole the money from us -- it kills me," Madson said.

The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau has issued many warnings about fake retail websites.

"You want to make sure that a place actually exists, so look for addresses, look for phone numbers and then you can use Google maps," explained Jim Temmer of the Wisconsin BBB. "Just because it's a good price, don't think automatically that it's legitimate."

However, this case doesn't seem to fit that mold.

Team 1st Custom Socks is owned by Kyle Templeton, who wouldn't speak to FOX6's Contact 6 on the record.

The BBB doesn't have a history of complaints about his online business, nor does the Washington Attorney General's Office.

It appears this was a side business that did well for a few years, and then took a downward turn and is no longer taking orders.

In an email to Madson, Templeton described problems with his manufacturer and offered no good news about when a refund is coming.

"I can't describe how awful I feel to leave you hanging," Madson read from the email.

For the Junior Indians, this may end up being a lesson in accepting personal foul, loss and moving on.

"The money that we work really hard to get, we need," Madson said.

Like many athletic programs, the Junior Indians made their payment with a check. Had they paid with a credit card, they would have been more likely to get their money back. That's something other programs may want to keep in mind when doing business online.