Comfortable Christmas Shopping
Due to current events, many people have transferred their purchases to the online environment and will therefore purchase Christmas presents via e-shops. Even those who previously had no trust in online shopping are now ordering online. And just because of their lack of experience, they are easily tricked. This is the reason why we have put together some tips on what to look out for so you can enjoy the gifts you buy and not spoil the pre-Christmas atmosphere for yourself with undelivered parcels. Because, unfortunately, there are more than enough fraudulent sellers on the internet.
Before You Purchase from an E-shop, Check:
- Terms and conditions and identification details of the operator (who is selling the goods to you)
- Whether contact details are provided and whether the e-shop responds to emails or phone calls
- Whether the e-shop is on the trade inspection blacklist
- References from customers and whether the certificates are fake
- Whether the prices listed are not suspiciously low compared to competitors
- Whether a suspiciously heterogeneous range of highly demanded goods is offered
- The professionalism of the website design, the quality of the product information and whether the Czech texts are not just a machine translation
- Which shipping options are available and what will be the total price including shipping
First Check the E-shop
If a search engine or a letter to Santa lead you to an e-shop you have never heard of, before you purchase any goods, make sure that the e-shop is reliable. What should you do?
Check the Operator´s Identification Data
The identification number, the name of the entity and the address of the registered office or place of business must not be missing on the e-shop. These details can be found in the terms and conditions, and are often also listed in the footer of the website or in the Contact or About Us tabs. Missing information is not just a mistake – a retailer who does not provide identification information on the website is directly violating the law.
“The lack of identification of the seller on the website, i.e. the fact that information on who sells the goods is not stated anywhere, can cause a problem when filing a complaint or returning the goods. Resolving it through the CTIA is very difficult because nobody knows the seller.”
Check the Terms and Conditions
Another thing which legally must not be missing from an internet shop are the terms and conditions. Especially if you are planning to purchase from an e-shop that does not have references, we recommend reading the terms and conditions carefully, or at least paying attention to the sections Conclusion of the Purchase Contract, Payment Terms, Withdrawal from the Purchase Contract and Rights from Defective Performance, where you will find information on the possibilities of returning and claiming goods.
Caution: we strongly do not recommend purchasing from an e-shop where you cannot find the terms and conditions.
One of the easiest ways to identify a shady online shop is through non-functioning contacts. If no one is answering the phone or responding to emails, you can sense potential complications that would arise when, for example, inquiring about goods not being delivered or dealing with a claim or return. Therefore, do not hesitate to call the contact phone number or write an e-mail to check the functionality of the e-shop customer service line before purchasing goods.
“If the e-shop is not communicating with you or does not even list any contacts on the website, never send money upfront.”
It is good to know that: Is there only a contact form on the e-shop, but the email address and phone number are missing? Avoid such an internet shop. A legitimate seller has no reason to hide the contact details where it can be reached.
Check if the E-shop Is on the Blacklist of CTIA
The Czech Trade Inspection Authority publishes on its website in the section Risky e-shops a list of online shops that it considers to be risky, primarily due to non-compliance with certain legal obligations and the difficulty of enforcing consumer rights. Just enter the name of the e-shop in the search box and check that the shop is not on the blacklist.
Check Reviews and Certificates
If the internet shop is not brand new, someone has probably already shopped there and you can find reviews. The experiences of other customers will reveal whether the goods you ordered arrived safely and on time, or, for example, information on the quality of the customer service.
Various banners and icons with quality certificates can also indicate how reliable a shop is. But beware if the e-shop has a suspicious number of such badges. Many fraudulent e-shops place them on the web in large numbers to give customers a sense of trust, but in reality, these certificates are not real.
Tip: If an internet shop offers delivery via Zásilkovna / Packeta, it is a verified e-shop. In fact, we verify all our partners’ identification data, terms and conditions and ratings before we start working with them. We already work with more than 28,000 verified online shops.
Check the Domain
“Our internet shop has been here for you for more than 10 years.” Such a message generates trust in consumers. But such a slogan about tradition is not always true. You can easily check whether an e-shop has really been in business for that long in the domain registry.
Beware of this: a legitimate e-shop has no reason to hide the details about the domain owner. If the data is not disclosed, it is better to check the shop by following the steps above.
“People often do not even know who they sent their money to. They only start looking for details about the seller when they receive different or damaged goods. And then they find out that they cannot find any identification information or contact details on the website and they have no invoice available for the goods.”
What Are the Other Warning Signs?
Prices Are too Low Compared to Competitors
Have you come across an e-shop which has the goods you are looking for, even for half the price compared to other internet shops? Be cautious. A very low price may indicate fraudulent behavior. Therefore, if you have no previous experience with the e-shop, take the time to check it thoroughly before purchasing any goods. Many fraudulent retailers will place desirable and sought-after goods at a great price on an e-shop with the sole intention of enticing you to purchase from them. But they never deliver the product.
Tip: Be careful even if you find a combination of ultra-cheap products and slogans like liquidation of goods from a bankrupt company or we sell goods directly from production. This is often the hallmark of a shady e-shop.
Diverse Product Range
You should also be cautious if the online shop offers a very diverse range of products, including mainly highly sought-after and trendy goods. Unreliable retailers’ approach this with a clear goal: to entice a large number of people who search for popular goods via search engines or enthusiastically click on an online banner ad. The number of buyers then grows rapidly – and you can advertise pretty much anything that is popular, because the goods will never be shipped anyway, and because the retailer does not really have them.
An Obvious Machine Translation
Bad grammar can also be a sign of a suspicious e-shop. We do not mean some kind of typo, but a downright illogical text that was obviously translated from a foreign language. For example, cookies, which save information about your behavior on a website, are literally translated as “sušenky” in Czech language, which is a sign of automatic translation.
Often, foreign sellers, such as those from China, are behind a website with poor translation and their only goal is to take your money. But the goods never actually arrive – and when they do, they usually look completely different from the picture and the quality is not at all as advertised. It will be very difficult to enforce your rights in the event of a return or claim, because although the contract with the consumer will be subject to Czech law, enforcement will be very difficult.