Oh boy do I have a confession for you today. I’m getting married later this year (bet you’re all pretty sick of hearing about it by now!), and while searching online for shoes to wear on the big day, I found the perfect pair. They were a little out of budget, so I did what any seasoned online shopper would do, and googled the style name to see if they popped up cheaper anywhere else.
You can imagine my extreme joy when I found them for 10% of their retail price—only $90 (so they retail for $900). I assumed it was too good to be true, but the site I found them on was a .com.au, so I assumed it was legit. It looked like the type of site where you can sell your second hand unwanted shoes (although these looked brand new).
I knew it was way too good to be true, but my thinking was, this style of shoe was so obscure, and not a ‘cult’ shoe by a popular designer, so surely it couldn’t be a scam, right? No. Wrong. So very wrong. And to be honest, I was a little bit intrigued. Did I just stumble upon a secret treasure trove of affordable designer shoes? I figured if I spent $90 and nothing ever arrived in the mail, it would be worth the experiment.
Now, I really want to share with you the brand and style name, but if I did that, I’d lead you to the exact site that scammed me, and I’m not here to name and shame, just share with you the warning signs, so you don’t make the same mistake that I did.
Warning sign #1
If the site you’re shopping on says it accepts Pay-Pal, but when you click through to checkout the option isn’t listed, immediately close the page and remove it from your memory.
Warning sign #2
If you can’t find contact details for the site in question, again, close the page. Pretend you never saw it.
Warning sign #3
If the images look like they’ve been pulled from a range of other websites, step away.
The thrill of an epic bargain clouded my judgement, and while I knew these were all red flags, I clicked through to purchase anyway. Curiosity obviously got the better of me.
After I checked out, I received a receipt from an email address unassociated with the website I just purchased from. I sent a few emails requesting a refund immediately but of course never heard back, so waited to see what/if anything would turn up. A few weeks later, I received a pair of quite obviously counterfeit designer shoes. They didn’t even match the size I ordered. There was a sticker saying size 40 (my size), but they were so obviously a size 36. They weren’t even the brand I’d shopped, and resembled nothing like the style I’d purchased. I had a real belly laugh when I pulled them out of the post satchel. Probably the most expensive laugh I’ve ever paid for.
The ultimate rule when online shopping that you always need to remember, is if it sounds too good to be true, chances are it is. Instead, shop from reputable sites like Net-a-Porter, Matches Fashion, or The UNDONE.
Oh and, if you were curious, I went back and bought the original shoes, and paid the actual retail price, and felt a whole lot better about it.
*Update: Due to popular demand, I have included an image of the shoes I thought I was buying (and in the end, did), and the counterfeit shoes that actually arrived.
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