We explain why fake stores exist, how to recognize their products and what to do if you have received a fake.

On online stores such as Amazon, Wish, AliExpress and also eBay, there are always scammers who either offer fake products or do not even send the buyer the supposedly purchased item. Customers not only come away empty-handed with such fake stores, but also lose their money. Stiftung Warentest also warns against this time and again and recommends taking a closer look at the retailer and the offer before making an online purchase. Because if you know the relevant characteristics of the scams as a buyer, it is possible to spot fake stores in advance and then avoid them. We explain how such dubious sales occur in the first place and how you can recognize them.

Why are there fake stores?

In addition to buying via Amazon itself, almost all items can also be purchased on the platform via the so-called „Amazon Marketplace“ via third-party sellers. Almost anyone can sell products this way – which, in addition to reputable small business owners, also attracts scammers time and again. Often, no items are then shipped or the buyer receives an imitation of the original. The legal regulations for such cases are insufficient for many consumer advocates. Amazon, for example, does not have to check retailers preventively and is only liable to a limited extent in the event of damage. The same applies to stores such as eBay, Wish or AliExpress, because the providers merely make the platform available and are only liable for their merchants in rare cases.

How do you recognize a fake store?

Before making a purchase from an online store, you should check whether it is a reputable provider. The easiest way to do this is to check the prices, because if they are significantly below the market price, this is usually an indication that it is a fake product or offer and you will therefore either receive a fake or no product at all, according to the tech portal „t3n“. In addition, you should look at the reviews of the vendor – both in forums and on the store itself – because there are often significant differences. Especially if there is hardly any information about the seller, caution is often advisable. The product description itself can also provide information about whether it is a serious offer or not. If the description seems faulty or does not match the item, it is likely that it is not an original product. Once you have taken a closer look at the provider and the offer and decided to order the product, you should only choose secure payment methods and under no circumstances let yourself be persuaded to make an instant transfer.

What can I do if I have received a fake?

If you have not recognized a dubious provider and have received a counterfeit item after ordering, you generally have the right to a delivery of the original or a refund of the purchase price. However, providers such as Amazon are often not liable for the actions of their dealers and refer to contact the dealer itself with problems, reports the „Stern“. If you have chosen a secure payment method such as PayPal or payment by credit card when making your purchase, it is possible to get your money back in this way. If no agreement can be reached and the amount cannot be credited back to the account, it is possible to file a complaint with the police.

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