Verify the identity of the seller
Before any order, it is recommended to check that the website on which you are browsing is not just a facade but that there is indeed a real company behind it. Online sellers are required to provide consumers with clear and easily accessible information about their identity. Look for legal notices (name, company name, address, contacts such as a telephone number or an email address).
This information, generally present in the general conditions of sale, must be provided to you!
➔ Important : When you buy on a “marketplace” or “marketplace”, the seller is not the platform itself but a third-party seller.
The identity of the seller must be provided to you. Be particularly vigilant!
Choose a French or European site
It is preferable to choose a French or European site rather than those installed outside the European Union. Indeed, the latter do not always have a good knowledge of the applicable regulations, present prices which do not always include customs duties and VAT. Furthermore, in the event of a dispute, your appeals against foreign sites will have little chance of succeeding.
➔ Caution : Do not assume that a site is located in the country indicated in its url: “. fr” does not necessarily mean that the site is French.
If you do not know the site you are browsing, it is important to check its e-reputation. This can be the case by entering the name of the site or the product on a search engine, possibly associated with the term “scam”.
➔ Caution : Some sellers may leave false positive reviews on their own site. They can also pay search engines to have their site appear at the top of the page. Diversify your sources of information to have an objective opinion on a site.
Pay close attention to product descriptions
Don’t buy blindly! Since you can’t touch or try the products or ask the seller, read the product description carefully (don’t just look at the photo!). You must have access to as much information as possible about the product or service purchased: full name, quality, size or measurements, composition, accessories provided, etc. If the description is vague, move on!
➔ Important : For certain protective products, such as masks or hydroalcoholic gels, make sure of the performance of the products you buy and in particular the standards they meet or the tests that have been carried out by the manufacturers. (see dedicated sheet for hydroalcoholic gels and the masks FAQ on the DGCCRF website).
➔ Caution : The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the emergence of “miracle products”: ultraviolet lamps capable of purifying the air or sterilizing masks or even essential oils, infusions or other food supplements supposed to protect you from the coronavirus . Don’t be fooled by unsubstantiated promises.
Beware of overly aggressive marketing
Some sites play on very aggressive marketing to influence your purchasing behavior by inducing a sense of urgency and speeding up your decision: “flash offer”, very strong reduction limited in time, display of the number of consumers connected simultaneously on the site or counter of products still in stock.
Even if an offer is very attractive, take the time to reflect and compare!
- Be vigilant in the face of advertisements offered on social networks that you have not specifically requested.
- Take the time to compare and play the competition; the same products are certainly sold on other sites.
- Check the identity and contact details of the seller; they must always be present on the site.
- Identify aggressive marketing methods: time counter (“fictitious promotional timer”) and stock counter (fictitious value of remaining stock), number of buyers connected at the same time (false count of visits and orders in progress), high crossed-out prices , strong price reduction, automatic pop-ups simulating immediate orders from other customers.
- Beware of buying pressure; it is often synonymous with fraudulent commercial practices.
- Know how to identify fake consumer reviews; diversify your sources of information before buying.
I am a victim, what should I do?
I am the victim of a fraudulent commercial practice on the internet:
Am I the victim of an attempted scam or a scam?
- You can report these scams on the PHAROS platform (platform for harmonization, analysis, cross-checking and orientation of reports), accessible on the site www.internet-signalement.gouv.fr .
This platform, managed by the national police and the national gendarmerie, makes it possible in particular to report websites whose content is illegal.
To find out about scams or to report a scam website or email, you can contact INFO ESCROQUERIES on 0811 02 02 17 (price of a local call from a landline, add €0.06/minute from a mobile phone), Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For individuals, file a complaint online on the THESEE platform from the website www.service-public.fr (Scam section on the internet).
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Online shopping scams – Buying on the internet: buy serenely
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