Contact 2: O’Fallon, Ill. family shares bad experience with Big Baller Brand

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O'FALLON, Ill. - If this is your introduction to the loquacious Lavar Ball, here's what you need to know: he's the father of three basketball-playing sons. His oldest, Lonzo, is a rookie on the Los Angeles Lakers.

"I know my son is going to be better than Steph Curry," Ball once said.

Never one to cower from controversy, Ball grabbed headlines last fall for his spat with President Donald Trump. The president played a role in securing the release of Ball's middle son, LiAngelo, from a Chinese jail after he and two teammates on the UCLA basketball team were caught stealing from a store while on an overseas trip.

Trump called Ball very ungrateful and fired back on Twitter, saying he should've left the three players in jail.

But the thing that's gotten Lavar Ball the most attention is his "Big Baller Brand," a lifestyle apparel company he founded in his Chino Hills, California home.

"If you have a following, they're going to buy it," said Ball.

That following caught the attention of O'Fallon, Illinois teenager Grant Sohn.

"The father, he was very charismatic, all the hype surrounding him," Grant said.

Grant asked for some "Big Baller Brand" gear for his birthday.

"They went on the website and picked out a t-shirt and a sweatshirt that he would get and this was well before his birthday," said Dave Sohn, Grant's father.

When the order didn't arrive, the Sohns emailed the company.

"We got just a generic response. 'Thank you for your patience. We're working through this problem,'" Dave said.

Weeks passed, as did Grant's birthday, and the shipment never arrived. Without a customer service number to call, the Sohns could only send emails to Big Baller Brand. As for the responses they received?

"We figured out now it's a generic response from their customer service," Dave said.

Cases like this led the Better Business Bureau to issue "Big Baller Brand" an F rating.

"We're not talking about 5 or 10-dollar t-shirts here either. There are shoes they sell for $300, $400, $500. A simple t-shirt is $50," said BBB St. Louis investigator Don O'Brien.

The Sohns filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and eventually canceled the transaction with their credit card company.

"He's disillusioned about the whole brand and the whole situation. He understands now what's going on," Dave said.

"They're not who they say they are always," Grant said.

The Better Business Bureau continues to receive negative reviews and complaints against Big Baller Brand.

Fox 2 News was told the company has recently improved its responses to those complaints. Fox 2 attempted to contact Lavar Ball by email, as well as on Facebook and Instagram, but he did not respond. This story serves as another reminder of how important it is to research any company before doing business with them.

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