Is This Legit? is buying light fixtures with iTunes Cards common?
February 10, 2015 1:35 AM   Subscribe

We stumbled on a Rain Drop Chandelier we'd like to purchase for over our coffee table. Before purchasing I googled the fixture details, finding the same fixture for 60% at Another Site. So we're good to go, only to find the site does not take creditcards. At checkout the main site gives the following information: As we are located in China, it is not easy for us to receive money from gloabl customers just for a low profit: 1. Paypal does require too high service-charging-fee (above 25% of total amount) from us. 2. Western Union is not safe for buyers. Also, it is not convenient to make a transaction. 3. Credit card channels usually hold the money at least 25 days. Therefore, now we do accept iTunes Gift Cards for your payment. My Question: Is this legit and just something I've never encountered?

Note 1: although there're the usual symbols for CCards at the bottom of the site's page--clicking on these symbols led to mx,mexican, sites NOW. 2 days ago the CCard links didnot link.
Note 2: website country codes of br (Brazil) and ca (Canada) show up on the various pages during checkout.
Note3: the Buy-With-iTunesCard site comes up in the top 4 when googling for the light fixture specifics, which made me believe it's legit.
FWIW we're continuing to shop and will likely just buy the fixture through Amazon. I found a couple of other items on the Pay-with-iTunesCard site so now I'd like to look into it further.
posted by Twist to Shopping (13 answers total)
The link for "at Another Site" above does not work. This is the site:
posted by Twist at 1:39 AM on February 10, 2015

I don't know about the iTunes card specifically, but PayPal fees are nowhere near 25% so just based on that dubious claim alone I would be skeptical of this site. Chart of Pay Pal rates here.
posted by Bella Sebastian at 2:03 AM on February 10, 2015 [3 favorites]

Of course if you pay with an iTunes card, however they might theoretically be able to work that, you would have absolutely no recourse if they delivered a wrong or broken thing, or didn't deliver at all. This would be in the 'aw, heck no' column for me. You may as well send cash to strangers via snail mail.
posted by jon1270 at 4:41 AM on February 10, 2015 [4 favorites]

This has scam written all over it. Don't even think about it. What happens if they don't send you any goods? You won't be able to get any money back from Apple. Which is probably the point.

the Buy-With-iTunesCard site comes up in the top 4 when googling for the light fixture specifics, which made me believe it's legit.

This means nothing as to whether a site is engaging in legitimate business practices or not.
posted by grouse at 4:44 AM on February 10, 2015 [12 favorites]

I work in e-commerce and I've never heard of this. It seems sketchy to me.

I have read that iTunes is an easy way to verify whether a stolen credit card is active - song or certificate purchase is declined, then move on the next credit card number. I wonder if paying with iTunes gift certificates is just a way for thieves to launder the transaction somehow.

Besides, paying with a iTunes card leaves you no protection as a consumer. It's not your fault that they can operate with a profit when taking credit cards. It is your fault if you leave yourself no recourse for a transaction gone bad (lost shipment, damaged item, need to return?)

I would stick with Amazon in this case. Besides the uncertain nature of the website, you're dealing with a seller in China. If you are in the US, you may have to deal with the customs/shipping charges and that will cut into the 60% discount.
posted by tommccabe at 4:44 AM on February 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

The pay-with-iTunes scam has been going around. You will never get the goods.
posted by rada at 4:54 AM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

the TLD is *, the site is entirely in spanish, appears to be about eyeglasses, yet is shipping chandeliers from china?

this is totally not legit in so many ways.
posted by at 4:55 AM on February 10, 2015 [3 favorites]

Not legit. CCs don't hold money for 25+ days. Paypal fees are not 25%

It's a TRAP! :-)
posted by LittleMy at 5:19 AM on February 10, 2015 [4 favorites]

Just to add, the card logos at the bottom feature 'Maestro', 'Switch' and 'Solo' (the red and blue, green and black and purple and black logos to the right, respectively) - the Switch scheme (UK market) was folded into the Maestro brand (European market) in the early 2000s, with Solo following in 2011. It is highly unlikely a legitimate site would feature logos for a payment method that has been defunct for over a decade.
posted by NordyneDefenceDynamics at 5:40 AM on February 10, 2015 [6 favorites]

Thank You Everyone. each and every one of your answers confirmed my skepticism.
We're currently shopping for many home items+seeing other things I needed on the probably-a-scam site helped blind me. I had attempted to google information on scams via iTune cards but you all managed to quickly come up with information I did not find. thanks again.
posted by Twist at 6:16 AM on February 10, 2015

If you're trying to cut costs and want to DIY this, here's a link to the crystal drops (which, according to the Amazon page, you'd have to attach to the fixture yourselves anyway).
posted by Iris Gambol at 8:55 AM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

I googled some of the language and came up with other people wondering about the legitimacy of other sites selling other items:
posted by Mo Nickels at 12:59 PM on February 10, 2015

Thank you very much Mo Nickels. I laughed seeing the EXACT text, right down to misspelling global....."it is not easy for us to receive money from gloabl customers"

I'll sure remember to google questionable text in the future!
posted by Twist at 9:53 PM on February 10, 2015

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