Warning about websites as scam investigation continues
Update 4 February 2016: Consumer Protection's application to have directonlinedeals.com.au taken down has been successful while onsalemarketdeals.com has been suspended.
Consumer Protection is urging online shoppers not to place orders with directonlinedeals.com.au as well as onsalemarketdeals.com while WA ScamNet investigates the websites.
On Monday 25 January 2016 Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard warned Western Australians about onsalemarketdeals.com and he is now advising that directonlinedeals.com.au should also be avoided.
“This investigation began on Friday 23 January 2016 when a Fremantle couple lodged a complaint with Consumer Protection about a $503 barbecue from onsalemarketdeals.com that hadn’t been delivered. They had been unable to contact the site about their purchase, which was two weeks earlier. At the time of purchase, the site had recommended direct bank transfer as the best payment method but this later rang alarm bells for them,” Mr Hillyard said.
Investigations revealed a number of issues with onsalemarketdeals.com, which claims to sell appliances, barbecues, exercise equipment, furniture, jetskis, outboard motors, prams and strollers, tools and more. These problems include:
- the site was recently registered (late December 2015) and has no established reputation;
- the ABN used belongs to a company in Queensland, which appears to be unconnected;
- the site claims to be shipping from Victoria but gives an address in South Australia;
- the site uses a mobile number belonging to a NSW resident who claims to have no knowledge of or connection with the site;
- the site has elements which are consistent with it being fake, such as slightly pixelated manufacturer logos and significant price reductions with free shipping included; and
- a search of consumer review websites reveals claims of payment but non-receipt of goods by a number of customers.
“Attempts to shut this website down have so far proved unsuccessful due to the domain name being registered in the United States. We have now found an almost identical website, which appears to be run by the same suspected scammers. That website is directonlinedeals.com.au and was registered on the same date and in the same place as onsalemarketdeals.com. It also uses an ABN that is registered by someone who has confirmed in writing to WA ScamNet that he has no association with the site,” the Acting Commissioner said.
“Although our investigation is yet to conclude, we have decided that early warnings are appropriate to prevent consumer detriment.”
WA ScamNet advises online shoppers to:
- only purchase from well-established reputable online retailers;
- be wary of online retailers who accept bank transfers as their only method of payment;
- use secure online payment systems (look for a padlock and https:/ in the web address when entering financial information)and consider the benefits of a third party payment system such as Paypal or using a credit card for a potential chargeback option if you do not receive what you paid for;
- be wary of websites selling goods well below market prices; and
- do an internet search of website/business names, before you make a purchase, to get comments and reviews from other consumers who have used the same site.
Media contact (Consumer Protection)
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