Shopping online is excellent for convenience and getting a good deal. The luxury of having exactly what you need brought to do your door in just a day or two makes life a lot easier. However, there is a down side to online commerce: counterfeit goods. By not being able to see exactly what you’re getting it does breed an environment for opportunistic scam artists to sell fakes. Nevertheless, by being wary about what and where you buy from you can minimise the chances of buying a dud.
Buy from a Reputable Seller
The simplest way to avoid ending up with a counterfeit item is to buy directly from a well-known seller. Companies that have already built a reputation want to maintain that reputation. This means that anything they sell is either their own product or has been confirmed as a legitimate branded item from another company. For example, purchasing a branded phone charger from a company like Amazon instead of an independent, unverified seller will greatly reduce your chances of receiving something that is counterfeit and unsafe.
Third Party Sellers Can Often Sell Counterfeit Goods
The flipside of buying from a well-known company is knowing when a third-party seller is trustworthy. It’s often tempting to grab a deal from a smaller seller – it may be the only option for rare items – but there are red flags to look for. The first of these is the seller rating. A high rating is obviously good, but make sure it’s from a large amount of reviews, not just one or two. Additionally, you should check the location. Although not all foreign sellers are makers of counterfeit goods, the chances are increased due to looser restrictions. These checks will reduce the chances of a fake.
Know Your Consumer Rights
If you do receive an item that you feel may be counterfeit it’s important to know your online buying rights. When purchasing any goods online you are allowed to return it within 14 days of delivery without needing a reason. Although an online retailer who sells counterfeit items may not adhere to these consumer rights, many will to stay undetected. Additionally, depending on whether or not you bought through a specific sight – such as eBay – there may be additional buyer protection enforced by the company. This can involve mandatory refunds by the seller if they sell something mislabelled.
Research at Other People’s Experiences
This is something of an extension of looking at reviews. If you’re buying through a lesser known website it’s sensible to search the name of the company, especially if the deals available seem too good to be true. This will help you find online discussions by customers who have used them in the past and their experiences. By doing your research you’ll greatly reduce the chances of getting caught out. If you can’t find anything definitive and you feel uneasy about purchasing from them, then simple avoid them altogether and find what you need from somewhere more well known.