Shoppers are getting ready for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other opportunities to shop for items at bargain prices in the run-up to Christmas. However, there are Grinches out there ready to steal some of your holiday cheer with fake online retail deals that will leave you with a lump of coal.
A resident of West Kelowna left a report on the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker about an online retailer called Santa’s Toy House. The consumer visited the firm’s website, which had photographs of legitimate items at prices that were cheaper than they were at more recognized stores. The consumer reported that when they tried to pay, there were no taxes or shipping fees. When they tried to get feedback about their concerns, they were unable to find any contact information at the site.
“As we approach the biggest shopping season of the year, consumers need to be careful as they shop, especially while online, as scammers are setting traps to steal their money and personal information,” says Karla Davis, Manager for Community and Public Relations at BBB serving Mainland BC.
“Fake online retailers are luring in consumers with low prices. In the end, they may end up with poor quality products or worse, nothing at all, with very limited options for recourse.”
BBB investigations revealed that Santa’s Toy House is a fake online retailer trying to trick consumers into sharing their credit card information. They found that there was no address, phone number, email address, or any other way to contact the business on their website. Reputable retailers usually provide several different ways for consumers to contact them with questions or concerns.
None of the Santa’s Toy House social media links connected to any existing social media pages or accounts for the business. Reputable retailers want a strong, visible online presence, and do not want dead links on their website.
No payment method options are listed anywhere on the website, which only allows consumers to enter credit card information on the checkout page. Reputable retailers want to give consumers as many payment options as possible.
The prices on the Santa’s Toy House website were considerably lower than the market price, and there was no difference between the prices listed for Canadian and American customers. One example is a 16” Schwinn Girls’ Bloom Bike. Walmart normally sells the bike for $119, with a sale price of $98. However, the Santa’s Toy House site lists the bike at $74.63.
Santa’s Toy House did not indicate any taxes or shipping charges at checkout. The absence of taxes should be a red flag for consumers, and while many websites offer free shipping for some orders, they will be sure to make that information readily available as an incentive to customers.