/ Shopping

What’s the deal with fake Ray-Bans, scarves and dodgy products?

Have you placed an order lately only to have a pair of fake Ray-Bans, a scarf, or just a very poor-quality product show up in its place?

When we discussed a dodgy site claiming to be selling Lego products earlier this month, we explained how the customer received a black scarf instead of their order.

We’d recently seen this happening to people who’d fallen victim to scam Clarks shoes sites after clicking through on dodgy Facebook ads.

Now we’re starting to see regular reports of people receiving fake Ray-Ban sunglasses.

It’s likely this is being done to complicate the refund process, as you’ll often be requested to post the fake/strange items back to the seller.

A member even recently told us they’d ordered a flower rack after seeing an advert on Facebook, only to receive a ‘small useless ring’ instead. They couldn’t get hold of the site from then on, and we’ve had no response when attempting contact on their behalf.

Have you received fake Ray-Bans, a scarf, or another random item instead of what you ordered? Let us know in the comments if it’s happened to you.

Poor-quality products

While most reports to us lately have been around strange products arriving, others have received inferior versions of their order.

One Which? member placed an order for a pair of shoes with Confiy.com after seeing them advertised like this on its site:

Here’s what turned up:

The cheap-looking shoes took six weeks to arrive and Confiy.com has so far failed to respond to the member’s requests for a refund.

They’ve since raised a chargeback dispute with their card provider and are waiting to hear if they’ll get their money back. 

Confiy.com has not responded to our request for comment.  

Take care when shopping online

All these examples and reports we’ve received lately show that you must do your research when you’re shopping online, especially if you’ve clicked through an advert via social media.

If you’re not sure if an advert is genuine, check with the brand itself directly via its official channels.

If you’re on a shopping site you don’t recognise, take a moment to do your research – Google the company name. Who knows, you could end up back on Which? Conversation reading a scam warning.

If you do think you may have given your bank details to scammers via a dodgy website, let your bank know what’s happened as soon as you can.

Guide: how to get your money back after a scam

Have you received fake products or poor-quality items from an online shopping site?

Comments
Luke Hear says:
30 July 2020

Tech items are just as bad and it is difficult to find good independent reviews for most of it. Most of them seem to be written by people who don’t know one end of a PP3 battery from the other. I have been trying to buy a decent MP3 player for ages to replace my Sandisk Sansa ‘Clip’ for years. It still works well but I need one with more memory.
The current Sandisk versions and the chinese copies available on Amazon feature poor software, terrible user-interfaces, inferior plastic mouldings, and awful push-buttons. But they also contain a fixed limit on the number of tunes that can be played on them no matter how big a memory chip is fitted. That fixed limit is LESS than the number of tunes I can put on my old Sandisk, which will only deal with a 32GB memory chip instead of the 64GB and above chips that can be used with current versions. So anybody who buys a 64GB or above memory chip to go with their current Sandisk or chinese copy is probably wasting their money.
I havn’t seen a recent Which? review of these devices but I’d like to bet that this totally unreasonable restriction is not even tested for. I like the size of the Sansa ‘Clip’ and I do not want to ‘upgrade’ to something the size of a bathroom tile. So the search continues…

edward neville says:
30 July 2020

thank you which , keep on going , need you to be on our watch .

Margaret Delaney says:
30 July 2020

Hi I ordered a set of bagpipes for my daughters 60 birthday with days to go. Aug 1st. My neighbour a bagpipe maker and an acknowledged expert been on TV had to make a new inner bag / chanter and drones costing more than the original. It was half the normal price for the changes. He told me they are made in Pakistan and worded to make you think
Scottish. The black wood is white painted black (usually ebony on normal pipes)
I asked for refund but this is a very special birthday and she wanted them at 15 yrs old and doesn’t know she is getting them at 60. The expert had already replaced the above so I could not return them as received.
I am quite angry at this but being very special I had to keep them.
Can they be made to refund or anything else?
Angry they are Pakistan and not Scottish.
They cost £64 and the replacements £70 should have been well over that but no option as they did not play at all just a squeak.
I am in Scotland and she is in England.
Anything I can do?
Other people won’t know it is not them at fault. I am lucky I have Blue just over the road. He tells me they cost in the hundreds.
Margaret

It will not be easy to take action if the pipes have been modified unless the company is prepared to offer goodwill. It’s important to examine goods as soon as possible. If you act promptly you can get your money back for goods purchased online: https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/consumer-contracts-regulations#cancelling-goods-and-services

MARTYN TURNER says:
31 July 2020

There has never been anything made that could not be made worse by spending less money.

I doubt you would get a refund having modified them, although assuming they were supplied from the UK maybe Blue (is this David MacMurchie?) could give you a report that these were not as described (playable pipes) and not fit for purpose. That might elicit a goodwill gesture.

Perhaps Blue could help you source a decent set of pipes, new or secondhand, to help you fulfil your daughter’s dream.

Paula Delo says:
30 July 2020

Ordered shoes from a Website. Checked out the website first and it came back as a genuine site however it was actually a website for a hiking company so fraudsters are hijacking genuine sites. Ordered some expensive shoes at a very good price, silly me. Realised my mistake immediately ( no contact details except for an on line form which was ignored. Got on to my credit card company who were unable to stop the payment. They told me to wait to see what arrived Eventually received some really cheap plastic shoes from China. Thankfully my credit card then refunded me the charge. Don’t be tempted by these cheap prices when your gut tells you that it is too good to be true.

Luke Hear says:
30 July 2020

I couldn’t find a ‘Join The Debate’ for the DVLA web scams, so here is what I do anyway…
When renewing my vehicle taxes I take screenshots of every page, and every part of pages that don’t fit on the screen and save them to a sub-directory where I will be able to find them. This means I have copies of the whole transaction, complete with dates and times in the bottom right corners (Windows 10). The really important ones are those that say ‘Success! You have renewed your vehicle tax for , , ‘ or similar. It is then very easy to check dates and so on if any strange messages arrive. The screenshots are not quite as good as the printed receipts you would get at the Post Office, but very close. They would be tested as genuine if the case ever went to court.
For those who don’t know how to do it, get the page (or part-page) you want on the screen and press the ‘Prnt Scrn / SysRq’ key, it is to the right of the F12 key on a standard keyboard. Then click on ‘Paint’ to start it up, once it is running click ‘Paste’ and a picture of the page should appear. Now click ‘File’ then ‘Save As’, select ‘PNG’, fill in the filename and where you want to put it, then click ‘Save’.
For further screenshots press ‘Prnt Scrn / SysRq’ as before, then in Paint click ‘File’ and ‘New’ before clicking ‘Paste’. Then ‘File’, ‘Save As’, ‘PNG’, etc., to save the new page.
Pre-Win10 systems, newer versions of Paint, and systems that are set up differently to mine might not look the same, but the principles are the same.

Thanks Luke. If you do a lot of screen shots, have you tried the new W10 “Snip & Sketch” tool? Its command tool bar can be launched by Windows+Shift+S and it seems to work nicely for me, as a successor to the earlier Snipping Tool.

Catherine Cordiner says:
31 July 2020

Radley bags is a scam site,they keep changing their name slightly when one site gets closed down. They even named one of their sites Radley London, advising sale, I was scammed,but got money back from credit card company,once investigated. Real Radley advised they know of them and they the fraudsters keep changing name,but incorporate, Radley in advert,they even took payment of 50 pound’s twice and sent me a cheap polyester scarf,so I was able to give credit card company their address in Hong Kong. When I contacted fraudsters,they only replied once card company invoved ,say we are really sorry you are unhappy please send back scarf, card company, advised ,do not do anything.

Maria farnod says:
31 July 2020

I ordered a set of garden furniture and received a tacky ring through a Facebook advertising the product 😫😫

Barry Howard says:
31 July 2020

I have unfortunately been scammed twice. I followed most of the do’s and don’ts but once ordered the payment details change and change again when receipt is produced.
I ordered on Facebook a model ‘Camel Trophy Land Rover’ 1/18 scale, sand coloured with boxes and Jerry cans on top, £26:99. I received a 1/32 red Adventure model (broken mounts). I raised a dispute with PayPal and was instructed to return goods recorded delivery £13:50. I got back the cost of the item minus initial postage and return postage. I have since seen adverts for the same model from different suppliers and some now are advertising them as remote control for the same price. These adverts are only on line for a week.
My second and ongoing is regarding a work bench. What I received was a plastic credit card holder with a pop up switch. I tried to contact the supplier but ended up dealing with the shipping agent. They asked me to return goods for a full refund stating an easy to make error had occurred. I said if this was an easy mistake then just send me the correct item and I will return the cheap card holder. This they refused, so I replied if I return it then that is extra money I have spent for their mistake, to which they replied they would pay for any postage expenses. I have done this (10/7/20) and sent them copies of the tracking receipt, I await with baited breath.

Derek Coates says:
31 July 2020

Ordered two pairs of Ecco trainers from an online Ecco online store. After six weeks got a cheap knock off pair of Oakley sunglasses that are truly dangerous as the lenses cut out most light but do not filter any off the glare. I have got nowhere with either the site ( which has now disappeared, as has its parent site or with the bank as hey cannot trace the company.
Never,ever order from an untrustworthy Facebook site!

George Clement says:
31 July 2020

The advert showing Clarks shoes wasn’t the only one. I replied to an advert for Loakes shoes and received, eventually, a fake pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses. I already own genuine Ray-Bans but don’t wear them as I have prescription sunglasses. Although the cost was £37, including postage, I decided to just writ it off to experience and obviously take more care in the future with such adverts on Facebook etc.
It did take 2/3 weeks for the goods to arrive from China. The payment was made to a company based in Singapore via an agent in the UK.

Ken Quin says:
31 July 2020

I’ve had exactly the same experience. The Loakes website was very good. Lots of beautiful shoes on offer at silly prices. I only found out that it was Chinese when the tracking e-mail showed where it was coming from. At the moment the Chinese have a lot to answer for!!

Is there a common factor here, with many of these scam adverts popping up on Facebook?

Perish the thought, Derek – it’s purely a coincidence.

This is the cunning psychological underbelly of social media. When Facebook first launched no one thought it would be used as a commercial medium and eventually morph into an exploitative behemoth. It was all about friendship, liking people and being liked, sharing life’s experiences. Users have been progressively indoctrinated into the notion that only good can come through being connected into the social media universe. But the evil has now emerged, giving rise to a whole raft of new scams and rip-offs, frauds, false and fake information, and other deceits. Tribes of exploiters have grown up to prey on users, with ludicrous “influencers” attracting hundreds of millions of followers among the suggestible and the gullible by flogging dodgy merchandise.

I have an awful feeling that this is ultimately unstoppable and the efforts of the authorities to bring it all under control are futile; it is probably a waste of resources trying to crack down on these activities because as one gets shut down three more spring up in its place.

What have we created?

John, I posted it as an open question.

But Facebook may not be the only problem here.

Yesterday I spent a much greater than normal amount of time on YouTube from my Android phone. Most of my YouTube access is from my DVD player, which does not allow any clickable actions other than the selection of other YouTube films.

In contrast, on Android, I was deluged with adverts, including clickable ones that would install apps on my phone.

It did occur to me that anyone distracted by ads on social media is probably not really there for the ads, so might not be ready to give the offers the scrutiny they warrant.

In contrast, anyone starting out by wanting to buy Clark’s shoes (other products are available) is more likely to fire up a Web browser and start with reputable shopping sites.

I agree, Derek. Impulse buying is a powerful motivator.

It’s interesting that many contributors to this Conversation describe the websites involved as looking highly credible and authentic, so there is skill and acumen behind this. The fact that social media sites and YouTube are used as carriers of the disease is very unfortunate but people should by now have realised that all their favourite social media stuff and good things have to be paid for somehow and the most mercenary elements in the world of commerce have figured out that social media users are their ideal customers. I shall leave the analogy there so as not to offend.

Until Facebook is made responsible for reimbursing those who respond to fake adverts, the best advice must surely be to avoid buying anything through Facebook.

A thumbs up from me John for your remarkable insightful posting,

Social media has indeed become an opportunist conduit for scammers to con the most gullible in society whose relentless unconscious attachment to things takes precedence over everything else in life.

Perhaps the answer lies in the following Eckhart Tolle quote:

How do you let go of attachment to things? Don’t even try. It’s impossible. Attachment to things drops away by itself when you no longer seek to find yourself in them.

The root of the problem lies in a materialistic society where things will bring a brief moments happiness until the inevitable novelty wears off and the search for more things will again satisfy a need in oneself that has to be met and you have now become fodder for the online sharks whose very survival depends upon their next vulnerable victim.

It’s so effortless and easy. All it takes is a quick press of a button to separate you from your hard earned cash.

.

Fraudulent sellers abound everywhere, including on Amazon. So many are out of our jurisdiction but Amazon (and ebay) are not and yet we have not even tackled these. What hope do we have of tackling a US company that face a disorganised congress enquiry and present the case of the huge number of Jobs they provide, income, and help restrain Chinese influence?

I am afraid we need to look to consumers behaving responsibly, and tackle those organisations on home turf. I gave a link to what seems to be EU draft regulations to regulate online market places where the host plays a significant role in the trade. I did ask Which? https://conversation.which.co.uk/home-energy/plugs-two-pin-british-amazon-electrical-appliances/#comment-1602862 to inform us what is happening in the UK, and in the EU, but have not yet had a reply. @jon-stricklin-coutinho, do Which? have any information for us?

Eddie Gray says:
1 August 2020

Do you think Facebook actually cares that its users are being ripped off they are great at giving failed Politicians PR jobs but they cry crocodile tears and do nothing also Facebook will if you buy from their games page try to install a recurring payment arrangement I used PayPal to stop any future payment arrangements

I tend to assume Facebook are laughing all the way to the bank.

Although Facebook is free at the point of use, it is a commercial entity and must therefore make money somehow.

And, just as it does not seem to mind passing around fake news, it does not seem to mind being funded by scam ads.

For s75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 to operate the purchase must have been made with at least £100 paid via a credit card; it is that fact that incorporates the credit card issuer in the contract and makes them jointly liable thus enabling a refund when things go wrong.

The unspoken-about aspect of all this is that Visa, Mastercard and the rest are partners with scores of dodgy outfits, possibly hundreds or thousands of them, conning the public and supplying counterfeit goods, refusing to honour basic consumer rights, and largely as a consequence of the extreme distances involved and other related issues, evading all legal liabilities.

So it has to be asked – why are the credit card issuers doing business with these fraudulent merchants? The cost of investigating and repaying customers has to be met from their charges and interest rates thus impacting on all users. I suspect there is very little recovery by the credit card issuers of refunds paid out because of s75 claims so these losses also have to be made good through their honest business. The worst that probably happens is the firms are struck off – but by then they have wound themselves up and disappeared anyway.

Other questions arise: How do the credit card companies vet traders whom they accept as merchants? Should there not be an insurance bond to cover losses and impose some discipline on the rip-off trades? If the credit card issuers are jointly liable as financial partners, why are they not therefore also partners in crime and open to prosecution in the UK and other jurisdictions in order to rein in their disreputable conduct in facilitating fraud on an extensive scale?

Just as Amazon should be made responsible for the market place traders they promote.

I’ve had 3 messages on my mobile phone telling me my pay-as-you-go password has been changed and telling me my debit card/credit card expires at the end of August and to follow a link.

My phone is on a monthly dd, not payg. I’ll report this to Tesco. Has anyone else seen this?

Liz Thorne says:
31 July 2020

I keep receiving small parcels addressed to my address byt to someone I have never heard of. I refuse to accept the parcels and the postman takes them away. What kind of fraud is this?

Pat McLean says:
31 July 2020

I saw an advert for a Monsoon Sale on my Facebook and ordered a pair of jeans which I happened to be needing. As soon as I had completed the online purchase using a credit card, I had my suspicions that it was a scam and immediately cancelled my credit card. However I could not stop the money going through. I then received a text from ‘bhlshop’ saying my order was on its way. A pair of fake Ray – Ban sunglasses from a ‘Mr Wu ‘ subsequently arrived in the post.

I recomend that you NEVER buy anything from social media. I know of several people who have been scammed this way. ALWAYS use well known and trusted outlets via their own websites or even get off your butt and go to the shops.

I enjoy walking to the shops but I think I understand the attraction of not having to do that.

????

Pat Ervine. says:
31 July 2020

I ordered a pair of Trainers online that were advertised for £30 approx. We ordered size 6 with a Blue panel on the side. We received a pair Size 4 with a green side panel. I paid through Paypal. Despite several emails to both the seller and Paypal they both insisted that I return the items to China for a full (£30) refund. It would have cost £25 to return them !!! Spend £25 to get £30 for their mistake. I will not ever buy anything from China if I can help it. I also was very disappointed with Paypal, I really expected more help from them. However you learn.

it is an interesting point but most of these “too good to be true” deals have a Chinese address listing and whilst they promise speedy delivery generally speedy is 4 weeks average 6 weeks. I agree, try and find a business address but the true address can be difficult to ascertain as in some cases it is just a UK forwarding address this can be a failure of buying off Ebay

Natalie Williams says:
31 July 2020

LOOVELY.CO.UK claim to be selling bras made in Paris and have a money back guarantee logo on their website. What turned up after several weeks were poor quality items which were not the size advertised. I had tried to cancel the order but was told it had been dispatched and was given a tracking link showing it coming from China, so clearly not made in Paris as claimed. When they arrived I immediately asked to return for a refund but the company have refused to comply with their own money back guarantee and have told me that I need to send them to Paris but will only provide an exchange. I paid by credit card and have asked them to step in but I don’t know if I will ever get my money back.
I have found that lots of other people are in the same boat as me with lots of negative reviews suddenly showing up on review sites literally out of nowhere.
I reported the company to Facebook and won’t ever consider shopping with any Facebook advertised companies again.

Samantha Pinder says:
31 July 2020

Hi I ordered a doll that looks like a real baby at the request of my 10year old using her birthday money. When it arrived it was tiny, all squashed with a deflated head and made of a rubbery material. I ommediately contacted the seller and began a series of emails where they offered me partial refunds, suggesting that I sell it on! Finally when I said I would be contacting PayPal they said to return it and they would refund minus postage. I then paid £11 to post it and track. In the end I will probably only break even if they refund now!

ruth elder says:
31 July 2020

Eccostores, def too good to be true !! Ecco sandals never recieved and a packet of facemasks instead. My emails have been responded to in bad english with offers to open links and choose other sandals. Which I havent opened. A learning curve.