This is a related post to Kittymama’s Guide to Good Manners and Online Businesses.
I was just browsing through an online forum of Facebook buyers and sellers and the recurring themes in almost all the threads were
- how buyers were scammed by sellers and
- how sellers were, in turn, scammed by bogus buyers.
In short, in the online selling world, fakes abound, whether it be buyers, sellers, or even the items they peddle and buy.
In the middle of a long thread on replicas, I wondered and marveled at the same time over the gullibility and desperation of many people to believe that replicas were even half as good as the real thing. In their mind, replicas are exact copies that could pass of as the real thing, only cheaper. They don’t like to use the word “fake,” believing that one is differentiated by the other by the level of quality. I’m sorry to disappoint you, folks, but replicas- whether it be class A, B or Z- are FAKES! They’re copies! And anything that’s a copy of any thing is a fake of the real thing.
Now, since it’s a free market, I really shouldn’t mind too much what people buy with their own hard-earned money, except when it comes to things that really stretch my incredulity. Can you believe babies’ milk, for example? Or cosmetics and perfumes? Food products and supplements! High-end gadgets! Things that you could- or should- buy from only legitimate sellers with a solid reputation. I’m particularly wary about things we ingest and put on our bodies because with fakes, you never really know what you’re getting. I know we’re all looking for value for our money but in our effort to shave a few bucks here and there. aren’t you endangering your health and wellbeing, not to mention, your loved ones’?
No, I am not against online businesses. In truth, I have patronized many online stores for various products. But I’ve always subscribed by certain rules to protect myself and my family as end-users and consumers as I’ve always adhered to what I hope is honorable conduct when doing business with any seller. So friends, here are a few more suggestions when it comes to dealing with an online business. I am putting this down from the perspective of a buyer because that’s what I am and that’s what I know most.
1. Know your seller. Before you jump into a buying spree, check out which of your friends have done business with a particular site. Most of us rely on recommendations from friends and if you ask around, they can help you assess the reliability of a certain site or buyer.
2. Google your seller. If the site or site owner has had unfavorable reviews before, most likely you’ll be able to find unsavory feedback on the Net.
3. Look at all the items being sold in the online store and see how they are described. Even if the seller is efficient in acknowledging payment and sending out packages, if he/she is not honest about the items he/she sells, the business is still a scam. Know if you are buying authentic or fake items. Research them well.
4. For make-up and perfume consumers, be wary about the items you buy. There is NO such thing as “Singapore authentic,” when it comes to describing cosmetics and perfumes like MAC, Clinique, or even Victoria’s Secret. If you want the real thing and still want to save, wait for a sale of big-name department stores. If you are able to avail of their early bird promos, you can shave up to 20% off your purchase. (Just to prove to you that I am not the only one who advocates againt fake cosmetics, check out: On Fake MAC Cosmetics and Counterfeit Makeup in General and Victoria’s Secret Garden Body Mist – Original vs Fake.)
5. Food products must only come from reputable and reliable sellers. If, for example, someone sells baby’s milk at half the price stores are selling them, you have to wonder why. Try to trace the source of the products to see if the discount is worth the health of your loved ones. If there is even doubt on the authenticity of the product or the source, do NOT buy please, for goodness’ sake.
6. When it comes to gadgets, like cameras and cellphones, buy from online sellers with a long history of doing business on the Net. These sellers usually have a bank account (banks require IDs), will have secure sites for payment, and will have a business ID. Don’t look for gadgets sold in classified ads’ sites because scammers abound and are waiting to take your money. And opt for cash on delivery or a meet-up, as much as possible. That way, you have your item on hand before you fork over your hard-earned money.
Buying online presents a greater risk than were one to purchase a similar item in bricks-and-mortar stores. So many things could go wrong. And yet, these businesses thrive because they offer lower prices and the convenience of being able to shop without ever leaving your home. As such, as online consumers, we must learn to protect ourselves with knowledge and a healthy dose of caution. There will always be scammers out to make a quick buck. The trick is not to fall prey to one.
For more posts on this, please check out: