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How to Avoid Getting Scammed When Shopping Online

November 09, 2016

How to Avoid Getting Scammed When Shopping Online

During a recent trip to Paris, a dear client of mine from LA called to ask for a favor: she desperately wanted me to go to an address in the outskirts of Paris to pick up a Hermès Birkin bag.

About a month before, she had bought a Birkin from a website called JP Marant .  She sent  $12,000 for the bag through a wire transfer and had yet to receive it. After asking about her purchase to JP Marant, one of their sales reps stated that the item was shipped out, but due to a customs issue in the US, the bag was on its way back to their store in Paris. The representative promised to ship it right back to her upon receival and even offered to refund her money back to make up for the inconvenience and to reassure her. She refused the refund and decided, instead, to be patient and wait for her bag to be sent back to Los Angeles. Several days had gone since her last exchange with JP Marant, and still no bag nor any new updates. After sending multiple emails, she started to worry and asked herself - "did I just get scammed?"

After speaking with her on the phone, I decided to do some light research. Within 5 minutes, I found a post on PurseForum indicating that JP Marant was indeed a fraudulent business, and that my poor client had, indeed, gotten royally scammed.

So, the main question here is, how can you avoid getting scammed when buying luxury handbags online?

  1. Research your seller

Ever wonder where else you could use those amazing stalker skills you’ve mastered on your ex’s social media? Nowadays, you can get as much information, if not more, about a seller or a business through the internet than by meeting a seller face-to-face. Type the name of the seller or the name of the business on Google, Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and Purseforum. Chances are, if your seller is a scammer, someone documented it online. If the business has a Facebook page, look for their reviews. Don’t let the amount of Likes fool you, since those can easily be bought out or acquired through ads. Comments and reviews, however, are much harder to fake, due to the fact that in a matter of a clicks you can get a clear idea of whether those followers that are commenting are real or not.

  1. Engage in conversation

Talk to the buyer - try to get a feeling of the person you’re talking to. Does this sound like someone who is knowledgeable about the products they are selling? Does the person sound professional and detailed in their answers? Ask yourself if the conversation reflects the person or business you’re dealing with. For example, if the person is called Amber Jones, can she write and spell English words properly and does she sound like a woman?

  1. Be open, be bold, be shameless

After doing thorough research, you should have a better idea of who you’re dealing with - but you might still have doubts. My advice to you is to be proactive about it. Why stress over it when you can just ask? Keep in mind that you’re about to spend a considerable amount of money, so you are entitled to ask any questions you may have. You’ll be surprised to see how comfortably sellers will answer your questions. As a matter of fact, fraudulent people have the tendency of getting offended by questions or simply dismiss them, in order to not reveal too much information or to prevent making any mistakes. When making a business transaction, both sellers and buyers are deciding to trust each other. So there should be no reason for you, as a buyer , to be left with unanswered questions.

  1. Take your precautions

In terms of payments, my advice to you is to never do wire transfers with sellers you don’t trust 100% because if you get scammed, there is no going back. The bank won’t cover your loss and you’ll never see that money again. If you are going to buy from an independent seller, one of the safest ways to send money is through Paypal. Be sure to use Paypal Invoices, as opposed to Paypal Friends & Family - you’ll have to pay a 2.9% fee, but you’ll also have a middle man in your favor if things go sour. Ask your seller detailed invoice describing the good with attached pictures for an extra layer of protection.

In addition, ask for the tracking number to be inputted on the invoice and always ask for signature required . Even if you think you might not be there to sign for your package, you can always pick it up at the nearest post office - and, it's just better to be safe than feel sorry.

 

Finally, if you or somebody you know has had an experience dealing with a scammer, please let us know so we can share it with our community in order to prevent it from happening to somebody else. Email us at shop@the-collectory.com or message us through our website , Instagram or Facebook .

If you still have any doubts when buying online, reach out to us! We are here to help you make the best decisions.

 



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