This Singapore mum bought baby product online. Why wasn't she prepared for what happened next? How can we make online shopping safe?
Online shopping is pretty great, and saves us so much time, especially when you consider the long queues and crowds, but it does come with its fair share of pitfalls.
Just ask this Singapore mum, whose recent online shopping experience went so very wrong!
Singapore mum bought baby product online
It all started when Singapore mum Kumiko Tan decided to buy an EZPZ 'Happy Mat' from online shopping portal Q0010. For those unaware, 'The Happy Mat is an all-in-one placemat + plate that captures kids' messes and SUCTIONS directly to the table. No more tipped bowls and plates!' (Yup, we got that straight off the EZPZ site) And this is what it looked like online:
See that, "Imported, 100 % Authentic, Cheapest on Qoo10, Cheapest in Singapore!" (Also, earlier it seems, it was mentioned 'Imported from USA', it has since been amended.)
Not to mention, '100 % baby safe, and even promotes self-feeding and fine motor skills'. Our mummy was obviously very excited when she received her package (see below).
Only, something seemed amiss. She tells us, "The mat and the box were a bit weird. The edge of the mat wasn't smooth, and it didn't even stick well!" (Notice how the box says "Mot" and not "Mat"?)
"I checked the barcode sticker, and grew suspicious. I messaged EZPZ and checked with them, and they said it was NOT authentic!" This poor mummy had been duped!
She continues, "I messaged the seller, and she confessed that she got her product from China, but that, it was an EZPZ authorised distributor nevertheless."
Our mummy was furious because she had trusted the product to be 100 % authentic, and imported from the U.S. (as was mentioned then), which was why she hadn't thought twice about spending those extra dollars. "If I knew she had got this from China, I would have bought it from Taobao myself, I could have easily saved $15-20," she says.
EZPZ and Qoo10 are currently investigating the issue.
However, the seller does not really seem remorseful, even suggesting that Kumiko cancel her refund option with Qoo10. Says Kumiko, "Even now, she dares to answer her customers that her product is authentic."
Kumiko is however pleased with the excellent service offered by EZPZ, in spite of it not being their problem. The seller meanwhile is accusing our mummy, saying that she is being made a scapegoat in the whole issue.
Just compare the response of EZPZ (on the left) to the seller (on the right), and you will know what true professionalism is?
Mummy Kumiko advises, "I would advise especially for baby products, to play safe and buy from authorised distributors. If you want to buy from an Internet seller, it's best to ask for proof or certificate from them."
Tips for buying authentic products online
We might have had a bad experience, but we can't stay away from online shopping, for in the world of today, online shopping is here to stay. But how do you make sure that the product you are going to buy is authentic, and not fake? Here are some tips:
- Examine the product pictures carefully: Look for close up pictures taken by the seller, especially the bar code. Importantly, be extra careful of sellers who use stock photos, or unclear photos. If the seller doesn't personally take any pictures of the items they sell, chances are that something is really wrong!
Check for poor stitching, crooked labels, or misspelled brand names.
- Check product description: Look for well written, accurate descriptions. Be wary of over used words like “genuine,” “real,” or “authentic.” It shows they are desperate to gain the customer's trust.
- If it's dirt cheap, get suspicious: Look for fair and consistent prices. Beware of prices that look too good to be true.
- Do your research : Make sure you know the name, company registration details and other contact details like phone number, email address and postal code of the service provider. Don't buy from retailers who will not give out their contact details or who do not give you satisfactory responses to your queries.
- Check user feedback : Read up on online reviews and ratings for the service. When in doubt, you can always phone or e-mail a company the first time you purchase something, and ask questions.
Also, be wary of sellers with a low volume of feedback, or with a high percentage of negative feedback.
- Be clear about billing, guarantees and delivery policies before you purchase : Always look out for additional costs and payment details, like packaging costs and delivery costs. Check whether you will be billed before or after delivery of the products, and whether you can track the item from the moment of purchase to arrival at your door.
Does the product comes with a guarantee or warranty for defects? What is the Company's policy about cancellations, returns and refunds? These are some factors to consider.
- Only use secure websites when transferring funds through the site: Ensure that your credit card details are going to be processed using a secure connection. Most often the address bar in your browser will change from starting with http to https.
- Record purchase details. After purchasing your item, always record the details of the time, date, receipt number, and order confirmation. If you cannot print one off, take a screenshot as a form of proof of purchase.
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