Not all ‘killer offers’ are the same

Beware of buying from unlicensed online shops

07:00 October 16, 2016

Dubai: Before you click that “buy” option on that online ad of a “killer offer” phone, check first if the seller is a genuine and a licensed shop in Dubai.

A Dubai resident, identified as M.N., learnt this lesson the hard way when she purchased a smartphone online for Dh267. The phone was being advertised on Facebook, and since it was a tempting offer, M.N. gave in.

By the time M.N. got the phone, she said she realised it was not as advertised and the SD slot wasn’t working.

“I have been conned in the most hurtful way I can think of. I ordered a phone but what I ordered was never delivered. Instead they delivered some other fake used phone,” the African resident told Gulf News.

“I contacted them several times but they kept blocking me. What hurts me is their dishonesty. All I wanted was an explanation. I hope no one else falls into the same trap.”

Unfortunately, two more people were conned by the same online shop. One of them refused to share her experience with the media as “it was just a small amount”, while the other could not be reached.

Gulf News checked the online site where M.N. bought her phone but noticed that the site did not have any physical address in Dubai nor any actual contact number or proper customer service. Gulf News raised M.N.’s issue with the Consumer Protection Department of the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED).

DED last week revealed that it had seized more than 12 million counterfeit mobile phones and mobile accessories between January and September this year. The counterfeit products were valued at more than Dh327.4 million.

According to M.N., DED couldn’t do anything about her complaint since the online shop is not registered with DED. Based on DED’s Consumer Rights primer, DED cannot assist consumers if the product or service in question has been bought from unlicensed retailers or sellers, including street vendors.

—Janice Ponce de Leon, Staff Reporter