Warning signs to watch out for when you're online shopping

Here are four things we reckon you ought to know if you have a penchant for shopping online


Are you one of the many Singaporeans who is addicted to online shopping? Online shopping is great in general, and that's precisely why e-commerce has been booming. For the record, I love online shopping for its convenience, and how mobile it is. I used to buy so much clothes on impulse when I was younger just because I was too immature.

That aside, I'd just like to highlight some nasty tricks that some online retailers may have up their sleeves. According to this report published in 2015, online shoppers lost approximately $500,000 to despicable scams in the first half of 2015. Here are 4 things we at GET.comreckon you ought to know if you have a penchant for shopping online.

Nasty Tricks Some Online Retailers May Pull On Their Innocent Customers

1. Lying That They Design & Manufacture Their Products

This is especially true for blogshops that sell clothes, shoes and accessories. Sure, you may want to support local startups but some are just not worth your time and money at all. I'm saying this because I experienced it firsthand doing marketing for a supposed established-since-2007 blogshop.

Don't get me wrong, I love fashion and beauty, but I am someone who places heavy emphasis on ethics. I can't possibly bring myself to work for a company that lies to its unsuspecting customers. This particular company was, and still is, horrifying as it thrives on touting its wares as self-designed and self-manufactured, when in actual fact, 95% of the things they sell are 'lovingly' sourced from Taobao. And then relabelled as their own.

Some other online retailers do that as well so you need to be aware that such things happen. For starters, you might want to check the reverse side of your apparel to see if some labels have been snipped off hastily.

2. Sending You Things That You Didn't Order

Okay, my brother was the victim. He was sent a red heart-shaped balloon instead of some Star Wars merchandise he'd paid good money for. I'm not sure what the seller's intent was here, but after some complaining sessions filled with frustration, he managed to get his purchase refunded.

3. Claiming That They Mailed Out Your Items When They Didn't

Have you ever had a 'lost' parcel? That parcel of yours might not have been lost after all since you can't brush off the possibility that the seller hadn't even attempted to mail it to you even when he or she had received the payment.

To save money on my constant online shopping sprees in the past, I'd opt for regular mail as it's usually free or the cheapest option out there. Just this once, my parcel comprising two pieces of clothing, costing about $60, went missing. Since it was 'regular mail', there was no way I could track it down and there went my week's allowance.

Even local online retailers are hopping onto the courier bandwagon by engaging services of the likes of Ninja Van and TA-Q-BIN. They don't cost much more than Singpost's registered mail, and you can rest assured that your purchase will be safely couriered to you.

I still shop online now, but I'll rather pay for the more expensive postage that lets me track my items and parcels. So yes, I learnt that it's always a better idea to pay slightly more for peace of mind (and a guarantee that you'll receive your order).

4. Mailing You Defective Goods

What can be more depressing than discovering that the item that you've been looking forward to receiving is defective? Some sellers allow you to snap pictures of the defect and then try your luck at getting an exchange or refund, while others don't.

My dad bought some lights to replace the ones on his car, but before he even reached his destination commuting from Sengkang to Commonwealth, one of the bulbs blew already. Not cool at all, and it was especially disappointing because he had just recently jumped onto the online shopping bandwagon.

More established retailers tend to be more professional about it, though I can't speak for all. If you've shopped at Zalora, you know that you can return most products within a 30-day window regardless of whether you've changed your mind or if the item is defective - no questions asked. That's awesome, and shoppers like myself genuinely appreciate such initiatives.

A version of this story was originally published on

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