Based on your report it looks like you may have been affected by an online shopping scam. Take a look at the information below for advice on what steps you should take to stay safe.
If you’ve paid for something that didn’t arrive, or if you’ve received a counterfeit version of what was advertised, you might be the victim of an online shopping scam.
There are a few steps that you’ll need to take to protect your information and to see if any of the money that was paid can be recovered.
- Talk to your bank:
If you paid by credit card, you can apply to your bank for a chargeback.Most banks have a 60-day limit from the time of purchase for you to lodge a chargeback request. If you paid via a third party system such as PayPal, go through their dispute resolution process before attempting to go through the chargeback process with your bank.
- Apply to the Disputes Tribunal:
If you’ve ordered through a New Zealand based seller you can make an application to the Disputes Tribunal. To make an application you need to have the seller’s physical address, which can sometimes be a problem. There is also a fee for applying. You can learn more about the Disputes Tribunal by visiting their website: https://disputestribunal.govt.nz/
- Think about the information you’ve supplied:
If you think you’ve dealt with a scam website, and you’re worried about the personal information you’ve provided, this Identity Theft Checklist is a helpful guide on what could happen with your information.
If you have shared private information that you’d like to protect, you can contact an organisation called iDCare for help and advice. iDCare provide a free service for people in New Zealand to help people who are affected by identity theft. You can find more information about their service by visiting their website here: https://idcare.org
If you've paid money to an online shopping site and not received what you paid for it could also be what's called a drop shipping scheme. Drop shipping is the practice of creating digital store fronts (websites) that can appear local but list products that are not held in stock by the shopping site. The products listed on these sites are only available through a manufacturer or third party supplier who are usually based outside of New Zealand. Orders made to these sites are forwarded on to these suppliers without you knowing and the website leaves it up to that supplier to get the product to you.
Some drop Shipping schemes are notoriously unreliable for customer support, and may have very large delays in shipping times. Often the products delivered don't fit the description or image that was advertised. It can be impossible to tell if you've found a scam shopping site or a drop shipping scheme so our advice is to always be cautious and to treat each undelivered order as if it is a scam site.
Scam sellers on social media
If the sale was advertised or offered by a private seller on social media (like Facebook or Instagram), your follow up options will be different. If you have the name and address for the person you paid the money to you can make an application to the Disputes Tribunal.
If you don’t have their name and address you’ve got the option of making a complaint to the Police in person at your local Police Station. Our advice is to make sure you’ve got all the relevant documents and records in hand when you visit the station, and to share any information you can about the bank account the money was sent to.
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