Nowadays, anyone can just sign up on Instagram or any digital platform and start selling all kinds of stuff. It’s easy money and a convenient way to start a biz without having to worry about rent. Online shopping is indeed one of the greatest inventions of modern technology and we couldn’t be more thankful for the luxury and convenience that it brings. If you’re not careful enough though, this beautiful thing could also lead into a real pain in the neck.
Herewith, the signs you need to watch out for if you don’t want to get duped by a bogus online seller.
They post stolen photos.
Legit sellers will most likely have their own lookbook and product shots for online marketing. Occasionally, they’d also proudly regram OOTDs of their happy customers wearing their items. It’s an entirely different scenario when an online store steals photos from famous celebrities, bloggers, or competing sellers even, claiming that they are offering the exact same product. Chances are, you’ll just end up swindled.
They're followed by dummy accounts.
A lot of online shoppers fall for this trick, but you shouldn’t recklessly trust an IG-based store solely because it has a follower count that ends with a letter K. At this age, followers can be bought with just one click of a button, and it’s fairly easy to tell which ones are just dummy accounts. Legit sellers have real followers who are actual people just like you.
They go AWOL on previous buyers.
A positive testimonial from a previous buyer is also one way to figure out if you’re dealing with a trusted seller. Try to check on the online store’s history and its past transactions. Perhaps one of its customers has at least acknowledged receipt of an item and managed to write a thank-you note. But if all you see are comments saying “where’s my order?” and “please reply,” that right there is a red flag.
The account is on private.
We’re not saying that all online stores on private are automatically bogus, because to be fair, some real ones do that for strange, unknown reasons. But more often than not, these accounts filter their followers because they’ve got something to hide. And besides, if a customer wants to go shopping and take a look at what the store has to offer now, why would she have to wait until her follower request gets approved first? Might as well check out the goods elsewhere.
The account name is an alias.
We’re not saying you should stalk the store owner and befriend him/her on Facebook, but try to at least investigate and see if his/her Viber account has a profile photo, or if the account name on its bank details corresponds to a real person - perhaps another Instagram user who seems to have a social life.
They are unpleasant to transact with.
Who’d want to do business with a grumpy seller, anyway? But here’s the case: Real sellers encourage interaction in their platform. They’d enthusiastically reply on your comments and get back to you regarding your inquiries as soon as they can, be it about shipping fees or product sizes, because that’s how it should be when you’re running a business. On the other hand, a bogus seller tends to prohibit comments on their account, bar incoming calls, and worse, block someone who’s simply following up on a purchase. Now that’s shady!