Some days ago the Finnish Consumer Agency gave a warning about two web stores that repeatedly violated consumers’ rights. The warning made it to the national news according to which “The companies, apart from not delivering the items as promised, were also not answering the phone or email when customers tried to contact them. Some of the customers demanded a cancellation of their order, but the companies did not return their money.”
Such news decrease people’s confidence in online shopping, and make it harder especially for small and unknown web stores to operate. That’s a pity, since ecommerce has significant benefits:
Convenience: You can shop from the warmth of your sofa at any time you like.
Wide selection: The selection of products is wider than in any shopping mall you can find in the offline world.
Easy comparison: Visiting several stores and comparing products is easy without needing to move anywhere.
Reviews: The web is full of peer reviews to help you in your shopping decisions.
These benefits make more and more people click the “Buy” button on the web. This attracts scammers, and during the past decade the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has experienced a substantial growth in complaints. As in the “Case Finland”, the most reported offence is Non-delivery Payment / Merchandise, followed by Identity Theft, Auction Fraud, Credit Card Fraud, and many other different kinds of scams. On average IC3 receives and processes 25,000 complaints per month, and in total victims of these crimes report losing hundreds of millions of dollars. Statistics don’t even reveal the whole story: Many consumers lick their wounds in silence, never reporting to anyone.
Leave your rating for vendor reliability
Whenever you shop online, remember to leave your rating for vendor reliability. This helps your fellow-web users to find trustworthy stores and shop safe.
Have you had a bad online shopping experience? Please share it with us in the comments.