Can you explain these random shopping sites?
December 26, 2019 3:27 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a product that has shown up on just two obscure websites. It's out of stock at Amazon and eBay. Do you think it would be wise to order from these places? and are the only places I could find that stock a certain old computer item I'm interested in.

I could find no reviews for either site. Indeed, I would believe you if you told me they were test sites. One of them even lists a fake street address.

If you wouldn't shop at these sites, why do they exist at all? Just the complicated name of these sites suggests they're not serious. Could they just be test sites or have an alternative purpose like testing the price sensitivity of an item? Thanks!
posted by Borborygmus to Shopping (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
From the WaPo: Thousands of Fake Stores are Rushing to Cash In.
posted by fiercekitten at 4:56 PM on December 26, 2019 [1 favorite]

The fact that you're even asking this question should tell you that your gut doesn't think this is a good idea. Set up a saved search on eBay and wait for whatever it is you're after to be offered by a seller with decent feedback. It will come up at some point. Both of those sites look at best borderline scammy to me.
posted by Chairboy at 7:05 PM on December 26, 2019 [2 favorites]

Both domains are anonymously registered, which isn't a good sign with an e-commerce site.

why do they exist at all?

If you're in a country with lower cost of living, just a slightly profitable fraud can make sense.
posted by Candleman at 8:20 PM on December 26, 2019 [2 favorites]

a certain old computer item
Check with your credit card company. If you get a defective product will they reverse the charge?
Email the seller, ask for details; that may tell you a lot. Where do they ship from? Has the component been tested?
posted by theora55 at 9:32 AM on December 27, 2019

Yes, to everything everyone has shared here. Particularly the anonymously registered red flag.
posted by zenpop at 11:19 AM on December 27, 2019

I was looking for a part for my food processor. I found this site that had the part listed among other parts, it advertised a UK address, it was very professionally done. A few little things set off alarm bells. For instance some of the prices were way too good. Anyway, it turned out the site had been registered about a month before, anonymously, and it was apparently a scam. I'm amazed they put that much work into it: it was a better shopping site than many authentic ones. The products it pretended to sell had evidently been curated: they were grouped into families, not just dumped into one long menu. There was a whole lot of work behind it! My point is, you would be amazed at the amount of effort scammers go to. People who can set up a website like that ought to be earning legitimate money, and yet ...

You can try Googling the name of the company and "scam", that sometimes tells you something, but I think you already know what you should. Just walk away.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:20 AM on December 29, 2019

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