There are many cases in which consumers order goods from an e-shop with a .cz domain behind which a Chinese seller is hidden. They receive either nothing or something else or a poor quality product. Christmas purchases have come and consumers should always find out if online traders provide proper contact details and information about consumer rights. It’s a good way to avoid fraud.
Czechs turn to the European Consumer Centre after they ordered goods from an e-shop with a European domain .cz, .de or .fr, but goods weren’t delivered or goods of poor quality were sent from China. So, consumers had to pay customs which they didn’t expect.
Who sold me this?
„When people want to solve the problem, they often find out that they don’t know who they sent their money to. When a product is delivered, there is no invoice as there is no identification data on the trader on the website, despite such information is required by the EU legislation,” said Ondřej Tichota of the European Consumer Centre Czech Republic which deals with cross-border consumer claims against vendors from other EU countries, Norway and Iceland.
The menu section “Contact” contains only a contact form in cases of risky e-shops. However, even messages sent via such forms either aren’t answered or result in traders offering delivery of different goods which is not acceptable for unsatisfied customers.
How to get your money back?
„If consumer paid with a payment card, the only solution how to get their money back is the so called chargeback. Thanks to this tool, consumer’s bank can withdraw the paid amount from trader’s bank in case of non-delivery,” said Ondřej Tichota.
It is not required by law to carry out chargeback, but many card providers do it for their clients voluntarily. If a consumer paid via bank transfer, chargeback cannot be used.
How to recognise online fraud
The ECC Czech Republic has recently seen domain names than don’t relate to the range of offered goods. For example the website www.bitvaoberlin.cz doesn’t offer anything relating to Berlin or war, but consumers can find footwear and textile there. You can check an unknown trader using a guide on www.evropskyspotrebitel.cz/podvod.
Risky e-shops on CTIA website
In recent months, the number of websites increases in the section “Risky e-shops” (Rizikové e-shopy) on the website of the Czech Trade Inspection Authority. Information from this market surveillance authority can be used to check online vendors before purchase.
Basic signs of suspicious e-shop:
- Unprofessional design.
- Trader’s name is not displayed. So, there is no one to return a poor quality item to.
- Terms and conditions are missing or are not satisfactory, including withdrawal from the contract in 14 days.
- Only a contact form is there instead of any contact.
- Domain is often registered abroad even though is has a European domain.