“With more and more consumers doing their holiday shopping online, scammers are taking aim. Beware offers that seem too good to be true, and check out the seller with BBB and an Internet search.”
Dallas, TX (PRWEB) November 24, 2014
One of the busiest online shopping days of the year is the Monday after Thanksgiving, known as Cyber Monday. As consumers gear up their holiday shopping online, BBB advises that copycat websites are cropping up selling popular gift items using the names of real businesses, with real or fictitious addresses. Typical complaints on copycat sites include non-delivery or poor product quality, sale of counterfeit or substandard knock-offs, and failure to respond to requests for information or assistance.
According to the Holiday Consumer Spending Survey, conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, 56 percent of consumers plan to shop online, up from 51.5 percent last year and the most in the survey’s 13-year history. The average person plans to do 44.4 percent of their shopping online, the most since NRF first asked in 2006.
“With more and more consumers doing their holiday shopping online, scammers are taking aim,” said Jeannette Kopko, spokesperson for BBB Serving Dallas and Northeast Texas®. “Beware offers that seem too good to be true, and check out the seller with BBB and an Internet search.”
One copycat site using a false Dallas address has been the subject of 11 customer complaints in the last few months from the U.S., France, England, Canada, and Australia. A man in France complained: “I made an order … I receive nothing. I wrote them several times and I only had one answer that my item was shipping out … No order [received] but they have my money!”
A product from the site “is fake per the manufacturer,” reported a Michigan man. He says the manufacturer informed him that the product does not have a valid serial number for the brand.
A customer in Connecticut said of the site: “I ordered Samsung LAN adapter for $69.99 and did not receive it. They do not answer emails and their phone … This place supposedly is in Dallas, Texas. When I searched the name it also is a store in California with the same logo.”
The copycat site is using the same name as a store in Bakersfield, CA. The California store has posted a disclaimer on its site stating: “We currently do not sell merchandise on our website and we are NOT affiliated with [the copycat site].”
BBB Dallas found that the copycat site is using a fictitious address in Dallas – there is no such block on the street named. While searching for the actual location of the copycat business, BBB determined that the website is registered in China and may not have any actual U.S.-based operations. Dallas BBB also confirmed with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) that the site is selling counterfeit merchandise. For more information, see go.bbb.org/1vGCytN.
Tips for consumers:
- Does the offer seem too good to be true? The goods might be counterfeit or “grey” merchandise, versions of name-brand goods made for sale in other countries which don’t have warranties honored in the U.S.
- Is the site complete and professional? Copycat sites may have incorrect spelling or poor grammar; no address or phone listed; or a business name that’s the same or almost identical to another business.
- Does the site show a name brand but a slightly different URL? Type the brand’s URL directly into your browser.
- Has the manufacturer posted an alert? The manufacturer’s website may have a consumer alerts about fake websites or counterfeit goods sold under that name.
- What's in the BBB Business Review? BBB has information about online merchants at bbb.org. An Internet search on the business name plus words like reviews or complaints also may turn up helpful information.
- Is the payment page secure? A secure page is designated by an “s” after “http” in the URL, as in “https”. Purchases by credit card can be disputed if there's a problem.
- Obvious counterfeits at bargain prices can be tempting. But quality often suffers, and counterfeits are harmful for brand owners and the marketplace.
- "Knock-offs” that look a lot like name brands, but with a different name, also may be poor quality. Knock-offs often test the limits of legality.
- Counterfeit merchandise can be reported to the manufacturer being copied. Most brands have contact information online.
About BBB -- For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2013, people turned to BBB more than 132 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 4.5 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for 112 local, independent BBBs across North America, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation. BBB Serving Dallas and Northeast Texas was founded in 1920 and serves 13 counties in Northeast Texas.