Verify the seller’s identity
Before any order, it is recommended to check that the website you are browsing is not just a facade, but that there really is a real company behind it. Online sellers are required to provide consumers with clear and easily accessible information about their identity. Look for legal notices (name, company name, address, contacts such as phone number or email address).
This information, generally present in the general conditions of sale, must be given to you!
➔ Important : When you buy on a “marketplace” or “marketplace”, the seller is not the platform itself, but a third-party seller.
You must be provided with the seller’s identity. Be especially vigilant!
Choose a French or European site
It is preferable to choose a French or European site rather than those installed outside the European Union. Indeed, the latter do not always have good knowledge of the regulations in force, the current prices which do not always include customs duties and VAT. Furthermore, in the event of a dispute, your appeals against foreign sites will have little chance of success.
➔ Attention : Do not assume that a site is located in the country indicated in its url: “. fr” does not necessarily mean that the site is French.
Check electronic reputation
If you don’t know the site you’re browsing, it’s important to check its online reputation. This can happen by entering the name of the site or product into a search engine, possibly related to the term “scam”.
➔ Attention : Some sellers may leave false positive reviews on their site. They can also pay search engines to have their site appear at the top of the page. Diversify your sources of information to have an objective opinion of a site.
Pay attention to product descriptions
Don’t buy blindly! Since you can’t touch or try the products or ask the seller, read the product description carefully (don’t just look at the picture!). You should have access to as much information as possible about the product or service purchased: full name, quality, size or measurements, composition, accessories offered, etc. If the description is unclear, move on!
➔ Important : For some protective products, such as masks or hydroalcoholic gels, make sure about the performance of the products you buy and in particular the standards they meet or the tests that have been carried out by the manufacturers. (see the dedicated sheet for hydroalcoholic gels and mask FAQs on the DGCCRF website).
➔ Attention : The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the emergence of “miracle products”: ultraviolet lamps capable of purifying the air or sterilizing masks or even essential oils, infusions or other nutritional supplements that are supposed to protect you from the coronavirus . Don’t be fooled by false promises.
Beware of overly aggressive marketing
Some sites play very aggressive marketing to influence your buying behavior by inducing a sense of urgency and speeding up your decision: “flash offers”, very strong time-limited reductions, displaying the number of customers simultaneously connected to the site or the counter of products still in stock.
Even if an offer is very attractive, take time to reflect and compare!
- Be alert to ads served on social networks that you have not specifically requested.
- Take time to compare and play the competition; the same products are of course sold on other sites.
- Check the seller’s identity and contact details; they must always be present in the country.
- Identify aggressive marketing methods: time counter (“fictitious promotional timer”) and stock counter (fictitious value of remaining stock), number of buyers connected at the same time (false count of visits and ongoing orders), high cross prices, strong price cuts, automatic windows simulating immediate orders from other customers.
- Beware of pressure to buy; it is often synonymous with deceptive trade practices.
- Know how to identify fake customer reviews; diversify your sources of information before you buy.
I am a victim, what should I do?
I am a victim of a deceptive online business practice:
Am I the victim of an attempted fraud or scam?
- You can report these scams on the PHAROS platform (platform for harmonizing, analyzing, cross-referencing and reporting reports), accessible on the site www.internet-signalement.gouv.fr .
This platform, managed by the national police and the national gendarmerie, makes it possible in particular to report websites whose content is illegal.
To learn about scams or to report a scam website or email, you can contact INFO ESCROQUERIES on 0811 02 02 17 (price of a local call from a landline, add €0.06/minute from a mobile phone), Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For individuals, file an online complaint on the THESEE platform from the website www.service-public.fr (Internet Fraud Section).