June 23, 2016
How to Avoid Buying a Counterfeit Product Online

Did you know that vendors on online marketplaces, like Amazon, sometimes sell counterfeit products? Well, okay, it’s not exactly Amazon’s fault. Essentially, other vendors will piggyback on an authentic listing – stealing the same UPC, images and product descriptions – when in reality they’re selling customers a different product altogether. These fraudulent vendors make it nearly impossible for the average shopper to tell the difference. In fact, sometimes you won’t even know that you’ve been duped until your item arrives and, lo and behold, it’s not what you expected.

Take these pillows, for example:


How annoyed would you be if you ordered the Springs Home/Home Fashion Designs Super Support Luxury Cotton Bed Pillows and you received that package on the right? Unfortunately, there are a vendors on Amazon claiming that that's the same thing as the authentic package on the left in spite of the fact that it's a different brand and a different product. Crazy, right?

Even when the knockoff pillow is released from its vacuum-sealed packaging and fluffs up, you can tell just by looking at it that the quality isn't the same. It's lumpy, it's bizarrely sized and there's no way that thing is filled with the high-quality SupraLoft filling or covered in the 300 thread count 100% cotton shell you see on the left. And let's not even get started on the yellow stain found on the knockoff pillow.


While this happens to be an example of a vendor piggybacking on a Home Fashion Designs listing, the unfortunate truth is that there are many companies out there dealing with a similar issue, and there's no way for marketplaces like Amazon to keep track of all these fraudulent listings and shut them down. That means it's up to you as the shopper to make sure you're getting the real deal. 

Here's what we recommend: When you're buying products from Home Fashion Designs on Amazon, make sure they're sold by Home Fashion Designs. 

See how it says "by Home Fashion Designs" underneath the product title? That's a good sign. But...now look over to the right above the "Add to Cart" button. It says "Sold by RP's Store." RED FLAG. RED FLAG. RED FLAG.

 


As a rule of thumb, when you're shopping on Amazon, you want to try to buy from the actual seller. If you buy Home Fashion Designs products from other sellers, there's no way we can guarantee that you're getting the product you actually ordered. And that's how you end up with something like this:


Other tips to keep in mind:

  • Check the shipping location. Most brand name companies have warehouses in the United States, so if a vendor says they're shipping from China or India...RED FLAG. 
  • Compare seller ratings. As you can see in the image below, Home Fashion Designs is 99% positive with 1,999 total ratings. RP's Store may be 100% positive, but they only have 1 rating. Seems pretty suspicious. RED FLAG.

 

In most cases, shopping online can be a wonderful experience. As long as you conduct your due diligence, you can avoid falling into the trap of vendors that are trying to take advantage of you. So keep these tips in mind - and happy shopping!

Ben Polichronopoulos