Dropshipping: avoid paying too much at an online shop

Did you order a package from a Dutch online shop and then waited for weeks for your order to be delivered because it turned out to come from abroad? Then you are probably dealing with dropshipping. You probably overpaid for your package too. This article explains dropshipping, how to recognise it, and what to look out for before placing an order online. How does dropshipping work? Dropshipping is a new business model increasingly used by online shops. Dropshipping works like this: you place an order at an online shop. Does it use dropshipping to fulfil orders? Then the online shop itself has no storage space or stock. Your order is forwarded to a foreign marketplace, such as AliExpress, AliBaba or Wish, or supplier. This supplier or webshop send the package directly to you. Misleading advertisements Sometimes an online shop advertises with cheap offers. Two for the price of one or 60% discount 'Grab your chance now before it's too late'. You place an order and think you got a good deal. Until you find out that the package comes from China or another non-EU country. You go to investigate and discover that the same product is on sale at AliExpress or Wish for a fraction of the amount you paid for it. In practice, dropshippers (online shops that use dropshipping) often do nothing more than place an order on your behalf with a foreign marketplace e.g. AliExpress, Wish or Alibaba. It's not a scam, but it does feel that way sometimes. How to recognise dropshipping An online shop does not always indicate that it works with dropshipping. Sometimes online shops mention that they order directly from a supplier, but even then it is not immediately clear that dropshipping is involved. So how do you recognise dropshipping? These are the most important signals: Vague or long(er) delivery times Dropship suppliers are often located in Asia. That is why it often takes weeks, sometimes even months, before you receive your order. Because online shops have no control over delivery times, they will often mention unclear or long(er) delivery times on the website. Indication of private address Does the online shop have a private address on the website for returning packages, for example? Then the chances are it is a dropshipping business. Always check the address in Google Maps. No original product images Online shops that work with dropshipping often don't use original product images. Take a screenshot of a product image and upload it into Google Images to see what other websites (e.g. AliExpress, Alibaba or Wish) use this image. Language errors Often the product description is poorly translated from English. So be alert when you stumble across strange sentence structures and language errors. Disadvantages of dropshipping Dropshipping is not always beneficial for you as a consumer. These are the most significant drawbacks: No reliability products Products from outside the EU that are sold in the EU must comply with the European product requirements. Dropshippers, in most cases, do not see or control the products they sell. Therefore, they cannot


Play and learn how to shop safely online!

Go to the website, play the game and learn how to shop safely online!


Watch out for counterfeit products

They can be cheap, stylish and look genuine. Shopping, whether online or on holiday, can result in you buying counterfeit items. Why is that a problem? Should you really have to pay extra for a small brand mark on the bag or shoe you desire? There are several problems associated with buying counterfeit products. In a worst-case scenario, you will have a product that is not safe and ends up harming you or someone else. For instance, some products may contain hazardous chemicals. In addition, there is an economic impact on society with counterfeit products. Another thing you should keep in mind when buying a counterfeit product is how the item was manufactured. This can play a large role on impact with the environment, people, animals, and the environment both near you and globally. In addition, quite often counterfeit products do not comply with the safety requirements that protects us in the EU. This may be due to that they contain certain substances that are hazardous to human health or the environment, or do not comply with other safety requirements. Shopping online When shopping online, it is difficult to inspect a product in detail, however there are some things you can do to try to verify the authenticity of an item. Tips for revealing counterfeit products online • Check the seller’s identity. Always check to ensure that the contact information on the website is correct and that you can make a complaint if you encounter any problems. • Read reviews from other customers. Use a search engine on the Internet to see what other consumers are writing about the company. Read the comments with a critical eye. • Check to see if the website has been issued a website security certificate and safety mark. A safety mark certifies that the website complies with the quality requirements of the mark and promises a secure online shopping experience. Click on the mark to verify that it is genuine. • Make your own evaluation of whether the website looks professional. Most of the websites that sell counterfeit products often contain misspellings, grammatical errors, and the images are of poor quality. Are the images low quality or do they look a bit strange? This can be a sign that the website is selling pirated products that are really a copy of the original. • Look on the website for an explanation of your consumer rights. Online retailers are required to provide customers with clear and accurate information about their rights as a consumer. • Investigate the price of the product. Pirated products are often sold at a significantly lower price than stated in the official reseller’s online shop. “If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is” is a principle you should keep in mind when shopping. • Check out authorised dealers on their official websites. Most webshops have lists posted showing which webshops are approved or blacklisted. Ordering products from approved retailers ensures that the product you are buying is


A website on coronavirus

The European Commission have put together a website on coronavirus. It includes some really useful information and as it's an official website of the EU, you know you can trust the information! Click here!


Key information on consumer rights in the event of cancellation of travels.

Given the difficult situation due to the coronavirus threat and the current flight bans, the State Consumer Rights Protection Authority provides key information on consumer rights in the event of cancellation of travels. The situation worldwide is unprecedented both for consumers and services providers. First of all, consumers are advised to contact their tour operator or travel agent to look for options to postpone a package tour, change their itinerary or accept other offers of compensation; this is to seek a mutually satisfactory solution. If no other alternative can be found with the tour operator or travel agent, consumers shall have the right to apply in writing to the service provider for cancellation of the package travel contract and the refund of costs, without any cancellation fee. It should be noted that this recommendation is only valid for travels cancelled due to an emergency and for which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has advised against traveling to foreign countries. We note that, in this situation of force majeure, it is not the fault of tour operators and it is important to maintain a reasonable balance between consumer rights and business obligations. We urge consumers to seek a peaceful agreement between the parties and to consider options for contract amendment and to use termination only as a last resort, when other commonly accepted solutions are not available. It should be noted that tour operators may, on grounds of force majeure, delay the performance of their obligations; this is to delay refund until the circumstances of force majeure cease. Being aware of the risks to the tourism market, we are asking consumers for understanding if the response or reimbursement take longer than usually.  If the consumer and the service provider fail to resolve the issue in good faith, the consumer has the right to apply to the State Consumer Rights Protection Authority for alternative (non-judicial) dispute resolution by e-mail to [email protected] or in writing to State Consumer Rights Protection Authority, Vilniaus str. 25, Vilnius. An application form is available on the website of the State Consumer Rights Protection Authority: Due to justified reasons during this time consumers are kindly asked to be patient if the response to their request is delayed.


Important information how to contact ECC Lithuania

The Lithuanian government has announced a two-week nationwide quarantine to stop the spread of the coronavirus. You can reach European consumer centre in Lithuania by e-mail: [email protected] or tel. +370 5 265 0368.


In 2020 ECC-Net celebrates 15 th anniversary!

In 2020 European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net) celebrates the 15th anniversary! In 2020 we will focus on 12 important topics - one topic for each month. Follow us on Facebook and find out more!


Consumer Hotline for tourists

Going to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games? The National Consumer Affairs Center of Japan has set up a consumer helpline to help with consumer rights issues. Dial 03-5449-0906 Read more:


Checklist for subscription traps

Do not use the product when it is delivered. Often the products are marketed as sample packages, but in the order confirmation it is called a welcome pack. Carefully read the terms and conditions and the order confirmation. Usually it is not until then you discover that the offer has led to a subscription. If it is not clear that the offer leads to a subscription, you may not be bound by the subscription. Check if you are bound by the order which imposes a claim on payment. You are only bound by an order that entails a payment obligation if the obligation has been clarified before ordering and you have explicitly assumed the obligation. Check if you can withdraw from the purchase. You have the right to a 14-day cooling off period for distance purchases of goods within the EU. If the trader has not informed you on your right of withdrawal, the withdrawal period is extended by 12 months. If you have no right of withdrawal, look for information in the terms and conditions on how to terminate the subscription and how to do it. Use your right of withdrawal. Send a withdrawal message to the trader by e-mail or regular mail. Remember to keep a copy. If you send the message by regular mail, remember to ask the post office for a receipt which confirms that you have sent the letter. Never sign the letter with your signature. There have been cases where companies have copied and forged signatures. Return the unused product. Make sure you get a shipment receipt. It may also be useful to make sure that the package is trackable. You must pay the return shipping charge. Demand to get a refund. You are entitled to demand a refund for the money you have paid for the product, including shipping. If you have paid by bank card, contact the card issuer and ask for the possibility of doing a chargeback. If the company continues to demand payment Have you received reminders? You have no formal requirement to contest the invoice again. However, it may be advisable to inform the trader that you have contested the invoice on a previous occasion. Have you received a debt collection demand? You must notify the debt collector in writing that you have contested the invoice. You can use the same message as when you contested the invoice. In Sweden, it is good practice for debt collectors to not demand payment for invoices that have been contested. Read more about debt collection demands on the Swedish Enforcement Authority’s website. Does the trader continue to withdraw money? After you have withdrawn the purchase, the agreement is terminated and the trader is no longer authorized to debit your bank account. If the trader still does, ask your bank for the possibility of doing a charge back. Show the bank that you have cancelled the agreement and contested the invoice. Can you block your bank card? Check with your bank if you can cancel your bank card, preventing the company from withdrawing more