Buying vintage items online can be an opportunity for scammers | Business


It used to be that second-hand shopping meant browsing local thrift stores in person. But online options have made finding vintage clothing and accessories easier than ever.

However, the BBB Scam Tracker has received reports from buyers who thought they had purchased legitimate vintage products, only to receive knockoffs or nothing at all.

How the scam works: You find a one-of-a-kind vintage item online that is in great condition and sells for a reasonable price. Often, this type of scam originates from an advertisement on social networks. You visit the website and everything looks normal, so you make the purchase.

In the best-case scenario, your package arrives, but the item looks nothing like what you ordered. It may be a completely different product or a counterfeit instead of the genuine vintage product you were promised.

Worst case scenario, your package never arrives and all attempts you make to contact the company go unanswered.

A consumer told the Better Business Bureau that she purchased what she thought was a vintage Chanel necklace. But what she received was totally different and turned my whole neck and chest green when worn. When she contacted support, she received an “unprofessional email stating that the owner had never had a problem before so there was nothing they could do.”

How to avoid vintage scams:

Avoid impulse buying, especially on social media. Scammers will try to give you the impression that the item you are considering, especially vintage items, will be picked up by someone else. Always take the time to research the item and the seller before clicking “buy”.

Carefully review the website before purchasing. Carefully review consumer reviews outside of the company’s website and check BBB Scam Tracker. Do an Internet search of the name of the company with the word “scam”. If others have had a bad experience or been scammed, do not do business with them.

Verify valid contact information. If a company doesn’t have a US or Canadian phone number, consider that a red flag. Keep in mind that scammers may use Google Voice numbers or use a professional Gmail or Yahoo email address to appear legitimate. Trustworthy companies should have a working phone number and preferably a physical address that also verifies.

Pay with your credit card. Credit cards offer more buyer protection than other payment methods.

Keep good records. Write down where you ordered the items and take a screenshot of the website and item listing in case it disappears later. This will make it easier to challenge the charges, if necessary.

Reanna Smith-Hamblin is president and CEO of the Better Business chapter serving this region. She can be reached at 502-588-0043 or [email protected]

Reanna Smith-Hamblin is president and CEO of the Better Business chapter serving this region. She can be reached at 502-588-0043 or [email protected]


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