Preventing Scams in Dropshipping: 5 Essential Tips

Dropshipping, literally direct delivery, is an e-commerce sales method where the seller (dropshipper) is only an intermediary between his supplier and the consumer. He buys the products as they are ordered from his supplier. Thus, no stock or logistics to manage for him, it is the supplier who sends the goods to the customer directly.

However, this method of distribution on the web, very trendy and completely legal, attracts merchants who are not always honest. They often rely on the principle of false advertising.

I invite you to discover here 5 tips to avoid being scammed.

Photo : Shutterstock

1. Avoid products with too big promotions

Often, social networks Facebook, Instagram, Twitter are flooded with aggressive advertising: products “on sale”, when it is not the period and not justified, alerts “the very last pieces on sale”, “offer valid until tonight!”, with a hyper-stressful countdown of hours that pushes to buy quickly… If you come across an advertisement like 80% off, I advise you to double check and actively compare the prices offered on other websites. No retailer can afford such promotions, unless they have inflated the initial amount!

Don’t be swayed by ads that say “only a few left in stock” or “hurry up!”. Some fraudulent sites have already been pinned down, including those where former reality TV stars present exceptional promotions that they haven’t bothered to check themselves!

The seller negotiates the prices of the products he offers with his supplier. The latter, once the contract is signed, will never go and see how and at what value his goods are resold. Thus, buying an article at $2 and having it resold to you at $20 is not so rare. The seller has just made a profit of $18 !

2. Use Google image to see if the product is sold for less

When I find a product online that I’m interested in, the first thing I do is copy and paste its name into the Google engine to see if it’s for sale on another site. This way, it is easy to check if the product in question exists elsewhere and to compare prices. Indeed, “good deals” can be found much cheaper on other sites. Without going that far, retrieving the photo of the product and searching with it on Google Image can sometimes give us a surprising result. It is indeed not uncommon for retailers to use the same photos… But not the same prices!

We all know the Asian sites that sell thousands of products at such symbolic prices that we doubt their quality. Dishonest dropshippers will do it for you. You will find the same products sold on French websites (the famous “made in France” from China), at prices two or three times higher!

The unfair practices regularly observed in dropshipping concern dubious promotions (amount, duration), the origin of the goods, customer reviews (often false reviews), delivery times, etc. One word of advice: compare!

3. Pay via PayPal to benefit from PayPal Purchase Protection for Buyers

PayPal is now the most popular payment or collection platform. Its use requires that you pay them commissions on sales as a seller.

For buyers, this payment system avoids using their bank card directly. In addition, it guarantees the refund of undelivered, damaged products or those that do not correspond to the initial description. For example, you buy a DVD at $20 and you receive an old book at $2, or your new article is obviously second-hand.

PayPal can refund your entire order if there is a dispute and you have not been able to resolve the problem with the seller. You then have 180 days following the purchase to make a claim with PayPal who will evaluate the damage. Their anti-fraud protection and encryption system makes payment transactions ultra-secure for everyone. It is a guarantee of integrity on both sides.

4. Check the legal mentions of the seller site

A classic method to be sure not to be fooled is to check the legal mentions of the seller’s website. Why should you do this? Because they are mandatory and must be accessible to the Internet user. On the other hand, it is the easiest way to obtain the identification information of the reseller.

This information contains:

  • The identity of the company, with name, first name, address, status ;
  • The registration number;
  • An email and a phone number to contact the company;
  • A VAT number, if applicable;
  • The identity of the site host.

They can either be found on a dedicated “legal notice” page, or they are included in the Terms of sales page. If you do not find them, first of all, it is illegal, secondly, it is perhaps the sign of a dishonest site.

5. You have a doubt? Don’t buy!

The protection of customers is ensured by the consumer services. Sometimes the Bureau of Consumer Protection investigates misleading commercial practices. The products must correspond in all respects to the physical or technical description. The promotional prices indicated must actually be offered, which is not always the case.

The best way to avoid a scam is to remember the old adage: “when in doubt, refrain”. Unfortunately, deceptive dropshipping has a bright future ahead of it, because buyers are far too trusting. They don’t take the time to think, to compare, to check the sources.

I never buy something online if I am not sure of the loyalty of the site and the commercial proposal. An attractive presentation and convincing arguments do not necessarily mean the deal of the century!

Of course, not all dropshippers are thieves, honest resellers suffer from the behavior of people with more than questionable ethics. However, I believe that scams will grow. So take some quick and simple habits to avoid the inconvenience of dropshipping.