The activities of scammers on e-commerce websites are no longer news. Numerous unsuspecting and inexperienced shoppers fall victim to these scammers daily, and many still stand the chance of being scammed due to their inexperience and inability to identify fake sellers/suppliers in the e-commerce space. Beyond the thrills and benefits that come with shopping online and having them delivered to your doorstep, buyers should pay more attention to those clues that can help identify if a seller is real or fake and if the products the seller claims to sell are accurate and legitimate. It is also worth noting that being an experienced online shopper does not mean you cannot be scammed on e-commerce websites, as scammers are equally brilliant and always come up with new techniques to trick unsuspecting shoppers.
Spotting a Fake Supplier
Spotting a fake supplier on e-commerce websites is relatively easy when you know what to do and the places to look. Ways of spotting them include:
Check the seller's ratings: Seller ratings are an excellent way to understand how reliable a seller is. A high rating is usually a good sign that the seller is genuine, while a low rating should raise some red flags. Though some honest sellers have low ratings, avoiding sellers with very low or no ratings is safer.
Read the reviews: Reviews can be faked, but checking reviews alongside ratings is usually an excellent place to start when ruling out certain suppliers or getting an idea of what to expect. Read reviews from previous customers to see if they have a good track record of delivering quality products on time. Reviewing the reviews will give you valuable insight into a seller's status, products, and customer service. When a seller is not genuine or sells fake products, there is a high chance that you will see it from the negative reviews given by those who have fallen victim to them.
Verification status: On some e-commerce websites like Alibaba, suppliers with verified status are either from China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan and have been inspected by a professional third-party inspection company. A supplier's verified status will appear on their profile and what they have been confirmed for. This is your best method when it comes to finding reliable suppliers.
Look for the "Gold Supplier" badge: In some e-commerce websites like Alibaba, the "Gold Supplier" badge is given to suppliers with a good track record of customer satisfaction at a specific price. A gold supplier badge means that the supplier, to some extent, can be trusted, and this comes after it has been proven beyond doubt that they are genuine and satisfy their customers. If you see the "Gold Supplier" badge, it's a good sign that the seller is legitimate, as fake suppliers most likely will opt for a free unverified account.
Inquire about their physical store: A genuine seller will always have a physical shop or warehouse that buyers can visit if they want to. Though it's not always possible, it's an excellent way to avoid scammers who set up online shops to dupe people.
Too-good-to-be-true deals: Be mindful of sellers that offer cheap prices for obviously expensive goods. Fake sellers will offer excellent deals to attract their victims. If a price seems too good to be true, then it's probably not true; be careful. You can research the same product and see what other sellers are selling it, that will give you an idea of the price and when the deal is too good to be true.
Inability to answer basic questions about the product they are selling: Be bold and ask questions. A genuine supplier will be more than happy to answer your question about the product as that is a way of marketing it, but fake sellers may need more information about the product. When a supplier refuses to answer or cannot answer basic questions about a product, they are probably not genuine. If you have any questions about a product or seller, don't be afraid to ask. The seller should be happy to answer your questions promptly.
Supplier's profile: It is always important to check the supplier's profile on the website. This profile must have company information, verified contact details, and product listings. This can give you an idea of their experience and expertise in the industry. A seller without a verifiable profile is a red flag.
Inability to provide samples: This is necessary for buyers placing large orders. Before placing a large order, ask the supplier to send you a product sample so you can check the quality and verify that the supplier is legitimate. Refusal to send samples means that the supplier may not be genuine.
Unable to give trade assurance: Some e-commerce websites like Alibaba offer this free service. Ask for this, especially when dealing with them for the first time. Usually, it covers the buyer if the products they ordered are not shipped on time or if what they received did not meet the standard or specifications they were expecting. The ability of the seller to provide this assurance means that they are genuine.
Although e-commerce websites are doing their bit to fight against scammers and counterfeits, scammers are always finding ways to stay ahead. The world of e-commerce is constantly growing, which means new, fraudulent businesses are only sometimes caught before they manage to scam individuals or companies.
If you want to start using a supplier in the Chinese e-commerce space, partnering with SARA PROCUREMENT SERVICES will be a good idea. With our years of experience in the industry, our experts know their way around the e-commerce space, leaving no room for you to be scammed.
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