With many shoppers searching for holiday bargains online, Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning consumers to be alert for websites selling bogus designer clothing and accessories.
Consumers looking online for brand-name designer items need to be extremely careful. Just because a website includes the name of a well-known designer does not mean it sells brand-name items. Too often, these sites are run by people looking to trick unsuspecting shoppers into buying fake products.
A woman from Columbia, Ill., said she paid $94 the day after Thanksgiving for what she believed was a Michael Kors handbag from a website. When she contacted Michael Kors offices in New York to ask about the status of her order, a company representative replied that there was no record of her purchase. She said she later learned that the website where she bought the item is run out of China and has no connection to Michael Kors.
“I want to get the message out there (about avoiding suspect websites),” the woman said. “I don’t have a lot of money to be just throwing it away.”
Your BBB believes there may be hundreds of websites selling fake designer brands ranging from Coach to Louis Vuitton to Gucci. Many of the websites include the trademarked name of the designer brand. Others indicate they are a factory outlet store or make it appear they sell genuine goods at discounted prices.
In most cases, the illegitimate sites could be identified by the use of poor English. Here are some examples:
“We are an official Coach outlet store, which gives you more choices to get top quality Coach at cheaper price,” says one site.
“We also glad to offer discount freight for customers if your order can be 10 pcs or more,” said another.
Your BBB offers the following tips for consumers shopping online for designer clothing or accessories:
- Research the website carefully to make sure it is legitimate. Look up the company’s phone number and call to verify that you are ordering from a company site.
- Don’t be fooled by a well-designed, professional-looking site. Often, the information and photos on the site are copied from legitimate websites.
- Look for poor grammar, spelling or punctuation, all clues that the site may be bogus.
- Beware of sites selling designer label items at deep discounts.
- Pay with a credit card if possible in case you need to challenge a charge.
Contact your BBB to check out a business online or call 256-533-1640 or 800-239-1642.