These companies generally function as online consumer-to-consumer marketplaces with a format similar to eBay and Amazon.com and are hosted overseas, even though they often claim non-existent U.S. physical addresses.
These businesses usually come to the attention of the BBB when consumers complain about non-delivery of purchased merchandise and failure to receive refunds. Complaints also revolve around alleged counterfeit merchandise.
Trendy products are often presented as real and are offered at prices substantially lower than their real counterparts.
Mail to these companies are often returned marked “No Such Number, Unable to Forward” and the address does not turn up in a zip code search with the U.S. Postal Service.
BBB offers these tips to avoid counterfeit scams:
• Start with trust. Always check with the BBB before doing business in person or online.
• Don’t buy obvious counterfeits. You may spend less, but quality often suffers as a result. Counterfeit transactions are illegal, and they are harmful for brand owners and the marketplace.
• Be cautious of “knock-offs” that look a lot like name brands. Knock-offs also suffer from quality problems, and often test the limits of legality.
• Be discerning. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Check out online sellers with BBB at www.bbb.org.
• Report fraud. Report counterfeits to the infringed brand. Most popular brands have contact information online.