Today’s Scambook News video uncovers a devious new trend in online retail fraud. Kevan tells us about four fashion store websites reported by Scambook members: Shop-Cora.com, Anne-Shoes.com, Kelly-Mall.info, Rios Shoe Store and Fashion-Clothing-Mall.com. Together, these sites have over 800 complaints on Scambook and more than $85,400 in reported damages. They’re based in China and they tempt would-be fashionistas with super cheap shoes and clothing by couture designers like Christian Louboutin, Roberto Cavalli and Calvin Klein. But don’t fall for it! These stores wouldn’t be on Scambook if the deals were real. For this video, Kevan and the Scambook Blog team decided to test our members’ claims. We ordered multiple items from each of these shops, using a Green Dot prepaid Visa to pay through PayPal. Currently, we’ve only received one shipment, but we didn’t get the designer shoes that Kevan wanted. Instead, we got sponges. Kevan explains that by sending a sponge or a shower cap, these overseas stores can give you a legitimate tracking number. You think your item is on its way, but by the time it arrives and you realize you’ve been ripped off, it may be too late to open a dispute with PayPal and get your money back. Kevan advises consumers to avoid buying from suspicious overseas websites and to know how to dispute an unauthorized credit card transaction with their bank.
It’s every shopper’s dream. You’re hunting for a great deal on a new pair of boots or a trendy outfit and you find exactly what you want for pennies on the dollar. But as the old saying goes, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Scambook has received over 800 reports about online fashion stores that don’t deliver. Well, actually, they do deliver, but it might not be what you’re expecting.
Here are real Scambook member complaints about one site, Anne-Shoes.com:
“I ordered 4 pair shoes (2 for my brother and 2 for me)on anne-shoes.com … After three weeks the company has send a bath hood instead of the shoes.”
“‘Purchased’ a pair of shoes. Paid via Paypal. Today, 2 weeks later, received a tiny cheap kitchen sponge.”
Another complaint, about Rios Shoe Store, tells a similar story:
“I ordered a pair of Crocs sandals from rios shoes on the internet, paid for them via paypal and waited about 3 weeks and only received a shower cap from china.”
“Ordered Dansko shoes, received a hotel shower cap instead after a 2 week wait time, from China!”
“Purchased a Tommy Bahama t-shirt but they sent a shower cap, the kind you get at motel 6 for free.”
“Same as every other post. Ordered boots, received a sponge. Dispute with Paypal who refused to pay the claim.”
Altogether, we’ve received over 800 complaints against these websites, with over $85,400 in reported damages. Sometimes, users claim that they never get anything from these retailers, but we continue to receive reports about shower caps, sponges, toothbrushes and pencils. These items have appeared in enough Scambook complaints that we realized it wasn’t a joke or a fluke. We decided to attempt to replicate our users’ experience, so Scambook HQ went shopping.
We ordered multiple items from each of these four online retailers, everything from hot heels to children’s sandals, not to mention a number of jackets and blouses. Based on our users’ reports, we knew we’d encounter unbelievable deals on these sites, but we didn’t expect prices as ridiculously low as the ones we found. On Fashion-Clothing-Mall.com, items started at 42 cents — international shipping included! We placed our orders through PayPal and waited.
A few days later, there was no word from any of these stores. No order status, no tracking number, nothing. When we emailed them, our emails bounced back without delivery. Two weeks later, we opened PayPal disputes to contact the store owners. Three of the four websites refunded our money, but the fourth sent us USPS tracking numbers for shipments from China. Our packages arrived in about a week and a half.
Sure enough, it was just as our users described. Instead of shoes, we received two small white parcels, each containing a cheap Chinese scrubber sponge that you see in the video. After Kevan soaked up his tears, we analyzed this bizarre retail experience and did some research. We hypothesize that these stores use the cheap item as a key element of their scheme. When they send you a sponge or a shower cap, they can generate a legitimate tracking number. You’ll see that your package is on the way and you won’t open a PayPal dispute until after it arrives. By then, it may be too late. You only have a 45 day window to dispute a PayPal transaction.
But the good news is that the window for credit card disputes is 60 days (possibly more, depending on your card’s Terms of Service). Even if PayPal can’t refund your money, you can contest the charge with your card issuer to get your money back. Click here to watch our video about How to Dispute an Unauthorized Credit Card Charge and Get Your Money Back.
Remember, the Internet is full of incredible deals, but don’t get carried away when you’re shopping online. Use common sense. Does it seem realistic that an Addidas jacket or Louboutin shoes would sell for 42 cents with free shipping? Don’t buy from overseas retailers unless it’s a shop you trust. Always check Scambook first before you order anything online. If you’d like to submit a complaint report about a retail site, click here to share your experience.