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On-Line Purchasing Scams
Having already come to terms with the fact that Mr. Mgowa from Angola is not leaving me several million after dying intestate; I have not won a fortune on the Dutch lotto and my bank does not want my passwords refreshing, I have discovered another.
This one is perhaps more insidious, more devastating and worse than the above as it is the on-line shop.
With money scarce for so many of us more and more of us shop carefully and with Christmas just around the corner, the thought of purchasing that long-lusted after gift for yourself or a family member at a bargain price will have most of clamouring to get a piece of the action.
But what if that picture of that X-Box, PS3, iPod, software or piece of jewellery doesn't really exist?
Most of us trust Amazon and the bigger, well-known stores that are not only on the High Street, but are also choosing to make their product lines available on-line too, but what of the others?
England has a big problem, especially with some software sold here. Many companies make the price of the software the same price in Pounds as it is in Dollars in the States. If you were to buy something from the USA, the likelihood would be that you would save nearly 50% on the British retail price.
That's quite a saving, wouldn't you agree?
So when I saw Adobe's CS4 Web Premium Suite for PC advertised at £711 pounds as opposed to the RRP of nearly £1,500, I just had to get me some of that.
A new niche market?
I need this software for my home study course to become an ACE, so I immediately thought about a student licence, however, Adobe have become wise to people saying they're students to get the software at 10% of its market value and require a scan of the student card in order to release the key, but of course, I can't do that. Home study courses are not covered.
I have therefore been required to buy at premium rates - if you'll pardon the pun.
In fact, Adobe are not the only people for whom England's markets are an excellent way of practically doubling their income from sales of their products and it's because of this that I found the website I did. Obviously, for legal reasons, I cannot mention their name, but read on, there's more information I think will be useful.
It's a market that must be able to be exploited. Someone funnelling products destined for the US market into England and selling at a vastly reduced rate, which makes the English buyers happy.
Appearances can be deceptive
As I continued to work my way through the website, I found that all the pictures of the products sold were professional, the website itself had been fully configured for e-commerce, had logos from Visa, Mastercard, Solo, Maestro and other credit/debit cards. In fact, there was little to discern this site from any of the millions of other e-commerce sites you can find on the internet.
Taken by the professional appearance, I found my package and ordered it, receiving a phone call two days later promising faithfully that my order would be delivered on or before the 5th December.
This all seemed to be going well until the 5th came and went.
Having checked the website to track my order, I found that according to the status there, my order had not even left the warehouse - if it was ever there to begin with.
I sent an email and asked what was happening.
I received only an automatically generated response, saying that due to the high number of emails they were receiving, I should wait a maximum of three days for a response.
Three days later and with no reply, I sent a second email.
Three days after that, a third.
At no time has the website been updated with regards my order, nor has anyone taken the time to send me an email to explain why my order has not been delivered - or if I am to believe what it say on the website - has not even left the warehouse.
As of 16th I have requested my order be cancelled and have advised the company concerned that I have put obtaining a refund in the hands of my bank.
What to do
Sadly, I found out too late and as yet, I have no way of knowing whether I will actually obtain a refund since the company concerned trades from overseas, but I have been assured by my bank that I will be credited within three days of receipt of returning the form they have sent me.
I am sure that more people will fall foul of this particular company and all I can suggest is that before you purchase anything from a company you do not know, you look them up on-line. Go to one or more of the site reviewers to find out more about them and take the time to read the company's terms and conditions.
Can they be stopped?
People like the one I have come across and found to my chagrin that they do not do what they say they do it seems are free to continue to scam us or at least mislead us at will.
They do however use Visa, Mastercard, Solo and Maestro.
The first two are credit cards, where the second are debit cards.
Using Mastercard or Visa should give you some security, however, buying over the internet using Maestro or Solo should never be encouraged as there is little or no security for them.
It is my belief that companies such as the one that has taken my money and not delivered the goods,should not be supported by people like the credit card companies.
Consumers should be allowed to complain and have the right to their services revoked, to ensure they don't continue to relieve people of their money the way they are. After all, were these facilities not so freely available to these crooks, this would not be happening on the scale it currently is.
If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
I just wish I'd thought that before I got involved.