Back in the day, before the web blew up into the mess that it is today, making an honest purchase was much easier. If you stayed within the boundaries of web based purchase tools/sites, you could, with some certainty, buy an item from someone, who would then send that exact item to you, pain free…Honestly.
I know, from the past, that if I cannot find an item I am looking for on the web, then I can go to my certainty sellers like EBAY or AMAZON, and for the most part come away with whatever it was I was looking for, because sellers from all over the world congregate on these massive selling platforms.
I have strayed from my certainty sellers over the past year, expanding my hunts to web sellers, not connected to trusted selling platforms.
I know how to find clothing and shoes online. I might see something worn by an athlete, or in a photo on a photo sharing website like Tumblr or Pintrest. If you see something “in community” one can usually find it somewhere for sale. But that task takes a little more time and work than a one click or a two click process, going to a large selling platform.
It seems, as of late, that knockoff, counterfeit, and fraudulent practices have become a dime a dozen business. Last fall, I saw a pair of sneakers on Mario Gotze, when he was in Marbella. It took me some time to find those particular sneakers. And after a exhaustive Google search, I came across two websites.
Both websites were slick, pretty, dealt in foreign currency, and had the particular sneaker I wanted, in my size, in stock.
What I thought would be a straight forward honest purchase later became a nightmare. I shelled out over a hundred dollars on the first purchase to a site which was located under a CO.UK Website. Ok, CO.UK … I figured they were in the UK. Every purchase I have made within the Euro and UK zone had been, up to that point, great.
I made my purchase and I waited for the shoes to come. Three weeks later, I get a Bag in the mail, not a Box. That was the first sign of trouble. I was on my way out for the evening, so I did not open the bag until I got home later that night. Come to find out that what was sent to me was an entirely different pair of shoes, in the wrong style and in the wrong colorway.
The sender’s address was located in Shanghai China. NOT the UK.
I got screwed once.
I clicked the other website, a “different” website. It was also slick, pretty, dealt in foreign currency, and also had the same particular sneakers I really wanted.This other website also fell under the CO.UK web ID. I placed the order and then waited another three weeks for delivery.
Three weeks came and went. And the BAG not a BOX arrived again. In that bag were the exact same pair of shoes that came in the first package. The same make, the same style and the same color.
I looked at the senders address. It was the SAME address as the first package that came.
SHANGHAI CHINA …
This Shanghai group was operating under several websites, selling counterfeit goods, under the auspices of honest product placement and sales. Posing websites FULL of stock, across all manners of shoe sales.
Now out over $200.00 CAD, I had called my bank, and they directed me to the RCMP, that would be the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, fraudulent item recovery center.
THE RCMP is tasked with finding and identifying fraudulent, and counterfeit operators around the world.
Now we know that Shanghai gangsters are running a multi-platform web based counterfeit operations, utilizing web portals around the world, under many location based websites. Be they CO.UK, AU and NZ locations. CO.UK (The UK), AU (Australia), and NZ (New Zealand).
The bank refunded all the cash I had paid out back to my Virtual Visa Debit account.
The above photo – The Nike Pro Combat Woodland Tights in Dark Emerald – Total Orange has been my latest hunt online. It took a few days of work, but I covered every single seller listed in Googles search parameters.
Nobody in the U.S. or Europe has these particular tights in stock, anywhere, even in the NIKE database, as they tell me they are not available any longer.
Then I began to search worldwide, via Google. And began to come cross a handful of websites with the CO.UK, AU, and NZ, suffixes. All these sites I bookmarked in a list.
All of these sites tell me that they have, in stock, what I am looking to purchase.
How long these sites have been up, and running, is the question? It usually goes, that if you cannot find something in one region, there might be a chance that other regions in the world, might still have particular stock in house.
In the past, those odds had been high.
After several attempts to make a purchase, from several of these Pacific Rim locations, I get to the payment page, and my Virtual Visa Card is denied. On every single website.
Attached to each of these sites when you open an account to make a purchase, they give you a contact email. I emailed every site that I attempted to make a purchase from. I got ONE reply. That one website generated a payment confirmation email back to me.
Even though on the site my card was denied.
Neither of the other websites generated either a decline or a payment attempt receipt.
I emailed the site who responded with an email. I got a response back from someone on the other end. I had composed a specific email, with specific information in that email.
I gave my name, what I wanted to purchase, the Form of Payment I was using, and from where I was making my purchase, that would have been Canada.
I knew when I opened the email that came, that the human who wrote it, paid no attention to the details I had provided them. Because none of my identifying information was used to address my inquiry, back to me.
- Like, Hello Jeremiah
- I see you wanted a pair of Nike Woodland Tights Dark Emerald Total Orange
- And you are shopping from Canada
- Using a Visa Card
And most probably, English was not their first language, if they spoke English at all.
What floored me was what they then asked of me…
I was told that if I made a BANK TRANSFER to them, that they would sell me the item of clothing I wanted at a deep discount, than the price listed.
Their site was slick, had lots of supposed stock, but their site denied my purchase with a Visa card. Now they wanted, instead, a BANK TRANSFER.
RED FLAG for sure.
I called my bank and made an inquiry about why my card would not be accepted around the world, A Visa Card whether a credit card, and/or more secure, a Virtual Visa Debit Card, is accepted at any seller, who takes Visa or Master Card, world wide.
I then told the agent at my bank about the seller wanting a BANK TRANSFER, and she told me that that was something that she had not seen before.
I did NOT forward a bank transfer. I did email them back, to further inquire why their site listed credit cards as payment options, but would decline a proper credit card, opting for a closed sale, off site, via a bank transfer.
The possible Return on Investment is very slim.
Three days now, and I have not received a response from said website.
I am of the suspicion, that if a website is too good to be true, it probably is.
I emailed each and every website I bookmarked directly, through inter email contact forms with my purchase inquiries. None of them have responded.
I am discouraged in shopping the world wide web via Google, because of these experiences with counterfeit and fraudulent operators, located in China.
I don’t know who is sitting behind these websites I had bookmark and made inquiries to and since they did not accept my Visa Card, there is no money tied up in possible fraudulent online crooks.
Through my searches via Google, I returned to the honest selling platforms like Ebay and Amazon. Amazon is a pain in the ass, because I am located in Canada, and I have two Amazon Accounts. One in Canada and One in the United States.
Amazons don’t share stock together. And you cannot shop in the U.S. for the most part, because the U.S. platform will not ship to Canadian locations. And You cannot shop in Canada and get shipped across the border South.
Amazon U.S. had the one pair of tights I wanted, but they would not ship to Canada.
So I am shit out of luck.
EDIT: Friends are good to have especially if they live in the U.S. and will receive a package from Amazon U.S. I actually just bought the very last pair on Amazon U.S. and they are on their way to a friends place in Mass. And he will forward them to me.
Ebay has been less than stellar with product in recent months. I figure I am out of season, or have come to the point where stock has been depleted, as NIKE direct and UK Direct Sports websites have told me via email.
Stock has been depleted and nobody can say if this line will be repeated in the future.
I missed the boat on this item, as it had been in circulation for some time and now there is no stock, supposedly anywhere.
But if Google is to be believed when they generate positive results from a Google Search, then there are a handful of stocked shops online.
The odds that they are honest sale points are slim after the story I have just shared with you.
Face Book ADS
If you look in your Face Book feed, you might have realized that they are targeting ads to us. They are not vetting them, clearly.
Back in November, an ad came across my feed. An ad for a seller of Odd, One Off, Exclusive Harry Potter lines of creation. They were selling a One Off Exclusive Harry Potter Jacket, in several colors, with the tag line from the books … From the Specific Marauder’s Map …
I solemnly swear that I am up to no good…
Stenciled on the back of the jacket.
Now, If you know me in real life, You Would Know that I love me some Harry Potter.
On November 30th, 2016, I ordered a jacket. I did not read the order and shipping information to begin with, because I imagined that an exclusive one off short sale, before the holidays, would have arrived “During the holidays.”
I placed the order and got a confirmation email of said order on November 30th, 2016.
Over the next few weeks, I would email said company, (Mugs and Beyond) inquiring about where my package was. Not one word came back to me.
On January 11th, 2017, I got a shipping email from Mugs and Beyond. Saying that my jacket had been shipped. I knew now that shipping would take 4 to 6 weeks from date of shipment. That shipment I realized, when they sent me the shipping confirmation, was an Asian Shipping Company.
One day after another, I checked the shipping site. The shipping number they provided me could not be located in their database. And never was located, which told me that no shipment was on its way to me.
Which was a sign that, this sale was not on the up and up.
On March the 12th, 2017, shipping fell into the 9th week out from shipping date.
No Joy, No Jacket, and I am out over another $100.00 CAD.
In total, I have been burned out of over $300.00 CAD now.
I called the bank, and reported the sale and the lack of delivery, only to be told that what I was waiting for was counterfeit goods. The seller was reported to the authorities, and a refund was initiated back to my Virtual Visa, again …
What is the moral of this story, boys and girls ???
The Web is Not Your Friend.