Is this UK-based e-commerce site legit?
July 21, 2019 1:46 AM   Subscribe

An apparently UK-based online shop called Thodeng ( has an item listed for less than half what it would cost to buy it in the US where I live. They seem to sell a wide range of stuff, but only a few items in each category. I've never heard of this site before and there's almost no information about it anywhere that I can find. And the design of the site looks suspiciously... basic. Is this a trustworthy seller? Does anyone have any experience buying from them?
posted by theory to Shopping (9 answers total)
I'm based in the UK and have never heard of them before. Googling them only comes up with two hits, both from their own website - "thodeng scam" and other similar search terms come up with nothing. The two Google hits I got for their website on mobile vs on desktop were for different products (bowling shirts & Irish hurley sticks on mobile, bowling shirts & windsurfing equipment on desktop), which is odd.

Their website is definitely giving me scam vibes - the FAQ mentions that they don't apply sales tax (nothing about VAT, which is the UK equivalent of sales tax), plus their "about us" page is very scanty on detail, plus the domain for their support email address is different to the domain for their business (and doesn't resolve & is listed as not secure when you try to go to the site associated with their support email address), plus their "follow us on social" tags take you to the main page for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc. accounts rather than specific social accounts connected with their business. They're also not a UK eBay or Amazon seller, which is common for this type of business if they're legit. Also suspicious is the fact that they claim to deliver in 24 hours and ship anywhere in the world but the website doesn't have a page with specifics about delivery information.

Based on this, personally I wouldn't give them any money and would assume that this is indeed some kind of "too good to be true" type scam setup that hasn't made it big enough to be recognised as a scam yet.
posted by terretu at 3:01 AM on July 21, 2019 [8 favorites]

This site doesn't seem to be based in the UK. There's no contact information or company registration number (a requirement for UK e-commerce sites) and the English is poor. The domain WHOIS relates to an address in Arizona. A lot of the items appear to be copied directly from eBay.

If I was to guess, I'd say that this site is in China. There are a lot of eBay and Amazon UK sellers who claim to be in the UK (usually just "London") and when you actually order the items, they arrive weeks later postmarked China.
posted by winterhill at 3:01 AM on July 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

Apart from listing UK currency first, this site has no link to the UK that I can see.
The contact button doesn't work, and...well, basically, what the previous comments have mentioned.
posted by Calvin and the Duplicators at 3:10 AM on July 21, 2019

The contact email address is for a domain, which does enable one to unearth poor reviews.
posted by hoyland at 4:04 AM on July 21, 2019 [4 favorites]

The domain was only registered on 21 May 2019. It looks like they spin up random e-commerce sites on various domains, scam people and then go away and start again.

I hadn't noticed, but the domain sounds like an attempt to trade off the name of a popular (and legit) Chinese e-commerce site, There are lots of hits when searching for, including a complaint to a UK bank about a fraudulent transaction from another site linked to jdonline.

I'm wondering how on earth OP managed to find this site!
posted by winterhill at 4:09 AM on July 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

I Googled their text "We are proud of the quality and consistency of the product and service provided to our customers"

...and found this rantpage that exposes many many sites using the same text as the Thodeng site and all seeming quite scammy.
posted by Glomar response at 4:25 AM on July 21, 2019 [7 favorites]

Coupled with the fact it's odd that such a new and thus small business would immediately be hidden behind something like cloudflare. Which as well as provided DDoS protection etc. also serves to obscure the location of the actual service. I've tried to dig into the actual location more but have come up blank.

I would avoid it completely, mostly for the reasons given by others. I wonder if we can report such fraud to cloudflare?
posted by diziet at 5:33 AM on July 21, 2019

>I'm wondering how on earth OP managed to find this site!

I found it by Googling "Rapha Randonnee shorts". Searching for that again just now I see the hit on the results page that takes me to the product listing in question shows the domain so yeah... that should have rung some alarm bells.

I suppose my assumption that it's a UK site was based on GBP being the default currency and a few of the other product listings making specific reference to the UK (plus my awareness that Rapha is a UK-based company). In hindsight no mention of VAT should have been a big tip-off along with all the other red flags that were waving in my face. I blame the current heatwave and shopping at 4am.
posted by theory at 8:48 AM on July 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

If you want to take your chances anyway and mitigate your risks, see if they have a paypal or other service-mediated payment options. The worst you'll be out is the cost of the shorts. Under no circumstances enter a credit card number (except a one-off number that most banks will issue if you can manage to find it on their site*) into anything but an authenticated well-known site.

But based on the above, I would not recommend it. For one thing, you'll end up on a list of potential marks and invite a whole new flood of spam.

(It's a source of continuing astonishment to me that Visa and Mastercard didn't do what paypal did from the outset. Entering credit card numbers directly into random vendor sites is hands-down the worst and most persistent anti-pattern in e-commerce. I do not know why banks even allow it.)

* Since banks make the temp card feature so hard to find and use, I can only assume that they want to be able to say they offer this security feature but don't particularly want you to use it.
posted by sjswitzer at 12:25 PM on July 21, 2019

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