(WHAS11)- Online shopping can be a great way to snag a great deal. But not all internet merchants are created equal, and low prices can blind consumers from spotting counterfeit items.
Americans love deals on designer items. And scammers know it. Clothing, shoes and handbags are among the most popular items for counterfeiters, so do some homework before you buy.
“Before you go ahead and jump on that deal, check out a merchant ahead of time, especially one you're unfamiliar with. Go online, put the merchants name in a search engine, and the words "rip-off" and "complaint" and see what other people that have dealt with them are saying,” says Mandy Walker from Consumer Reports.
Here are some other helpful hints:
-- Look for security features like a seal or a sticker a real manufacturer will add that's hard to reproduce.
-- Some major labels will offer advice on avoiding counterfeits on their company websites.
-- Beware of low prices simply too good to be true.
-- Use a credit card for purchases, which can offer greater protection than a debit card in the event or fraud.
If you do get duped, don't try to resell the merchandise.
“Even if you tell somebody, this isn't a real "whatever" handbag but it's still a great bag, you're still liable, you could really get in trouble, you could really get prosecuted. So don't resell it,” adds Walker.
Demand your money back regardless of the return policy. And then inform your local or state consumer protection agency.
If you have a consumer issue you’d like us to look into send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.