Wednesday, December 11, 2019

I can be so dense (or pirates of the Internet)

I usually am pretty savvy when it comes to shopping online. I usually just use Amazon and eBay because I can trust that, even if something goes wrong with what I ordered, they'll stand behind it. But I also try to get the best price. Sometimes, however, finding the best price isn't the best deal.

So last night I get ready to order a second controller for my son's XBox for one of his Christmas gifts. I find it on Amazon for $45 and I have free shipping. But I decide to search Google to see if there are any better prices. And Google has this thing pop up that compares prices for you. Most of the prices are more than Amazon's $45. But this one site pops up that offers if for $36 and no tax and a relatively low shipping cost.

I go to the site -- -- and it seems legit. They have all the bells and whistles. They indeed have the controller and it is cheaper. And they have the option of checking out with Paypal so I think it is safe. So I put the thing in my shopping cart and start to check out. And although Google had said there would be no tax, tax does pop up on the order form. But it is still cheaper than Amazon.

So I complete the transaction. And I get a confirmation e-mail, but it is pretty vague. And my confirmation from Paypal shows payment is made to someone with an Asian name. That sets off red flags because I've ended up buying things that come from China before and they take forever to arrive and there have been many cases of counterfeit items being sold from China. The confirmation e-mail just says standard shipping in five to seven days.

I start to feel uneasy about the order this morning and do a Google search for (something I should have done before ordering from them). Sure enough I start seeing multiple complaints of ordering items that don't arrive and Paypal being notified but not issuing refunds because the seller shows proof an item was delivered. The people complaining say that they receive tracking notices, but find out something was delivered to another address, not theirs. This screams of fraud.

Turns out all of the contact numbers and e-mail addresses on are fake. Even the storefront photo they show of an address in New York is actually a Google maps photos of a different city and state.

I did contact Paypal and opening a complaint to try and cancel the transaction. But from what I've read from other people who have filed complaints, Paypal hasn't been very sympathetic. It could take up to a month to resolve. Meanwhile me trying to save a few bucks cost me $42. And now I'll have to order it from Amazon anyway.

It just comes down to acknowledging that if something seems too good to be true, it isn't.

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