No sign of goods that you ordered months ago, or a months-long wait for an online shop to return your money.
Thousands of customers complain about the wrongful practices of some online shops. The Slovak Trade Inspection (SOI), the state authority dealing with customer protection in Slovakia, now published a list of online shops that customers are advised to avoid. SOI branded bonky.sk, suprisimo.sk, booho.sk and others as the most risky, the Pravda daily reports.
The online shops were entered on SOI's list after they failed to observe some of their legal obligations, or proved to be problematic in enforcing customers' rights and individual demands.
"It is only a recommendation for customers to consider their purchases very well on these internet pages," SOI told Pravda. In Slovakia, inspectors do not have the power to block risky pages.
How to recognise risky online shops
It is by no means a complete list of risky online shops, SOI warned. Therefore, it does not mean that every shop that cannot be found on the list is safe. Untrustworthy online shops can often be recognised at first sight - the red flags for customers are missing contact information, unrealistically low prices, or no other option to pay than the bank card.
In 2022, the SOI received 72 motions against the bonky.sk online shop, the inspectors told Pravda. Meanwhile, 92 customers complained about suprisimo.sk.
So far, SOI listed the following online shops as risky:
- moletka.eu; svet-siat.eu; vip-moda.eu
Moreover, SOI also warns about fraudulent online shopping websites that pretend to be selling branded goods through online shops with the .sk domain.
"The consumer should take into account the fact that he/she provides his personal data, along with data about payment methods to the online shop," SOI stated.
How to recognise fraudulent online shops
These are fraudulent websites for the sale of brand-name shoes, sports and hiking shoes and clothing, when the operator registers a website name very similar to that one used by an original brand-name internet seller. This can often mislead consumers into thinking they are ordering original brand-name goods with guaranteed quality.
These are some of the fraudulent websites listed by SOI:
|original address||fraudulent address|
|merrellstore.sk||→ merrellshopsk.sk, → merrellobuv.sk|
|converse.com||→ teniskyconverse.sk, → conversevypredaj.sk|
|lasportiva.com||→ lasportivaobuv.sk, → lasportiva-slovensko.sk|
SOI recommends to look out for some typical signs that suggest whether the online shop you are looking at is fraudulent. On their sites these shops:
- display visually identical/similar content to the original website,
- offer the same range of goods,
- do not indicate the identity of the operator/seller, the business name and the location of the seller
- are absent from the general terms and conditions,
- allow the consumer to contact the seller only in the form of an anonymous contact form,
- request payments for goods only in advance, not allowing other payment options,
- state significantly lower prices of the offered goods compared to the prices of the original goods, or they list prices with a significant discount.