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High-end online shopping at “bargain basement” prices

When the deal’s a steal - avoid falling for unbelievable deals that could be a scam

November 21, 2016 — OTTAWA, ON — Competition Bureau

Psst! Want to buy a designer purse, says the street vendor in the big coat on the corner of a busy street.

No doubt, most of us don’t think we’re getting a $1000 purse for $50, but many of us fall for this exact scam on the internet every minute of the day, especially these days as we search for holiday season bargains.

You don’t even have to be shopping online to feel the touch of a sales pitch. Simply browsing social media, you will encounter high‑end fashion items pitched at rock‑bottom prices in ads and banners. While it looks like a fantastic deal, it is really a fantasy. If the price seems too‑good‑to‑be‑true, it might be just that.

These scams most commonly feature eye‑catching images of models carrying designer purses or wearing upscale designer coats. They are designed to lure unsuspecting shoppers into buying what appear to be high‑end items at a fraction of the cost.

But these pictures don’t always tell the real story. Let’s look in the box that arrives at your door.

What you often find are knock‑offs and they look it. Made of cheap material, often in the wrong size, color or design, they are almost impossible to return for a refund. Worse, you may end up waiting by your mailbox for a package that never arrives. But, you can be sure that your credit card bill will arrive on time.

To avoid getting scammed:

  • Know exactly who and where you are buying from.
  • Read the refund and return policies, including the fine print.
  • Don’t take ads at face value just because they are displayed on trusted social media sites.
  • If in doubt, do additional research on other websites. Shop around.
  • Beware! Consumer protection laws vary around the world and may not apply as expected.
  • Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it may be just that!

Consumers who purchased such items online and have had bad experiences may submit a complaint to the Competition Bureau or the Canadian Anti‑fraud Centre.

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The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.

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