MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Filipinos love to shop online–a recent report by data and analytics firm GlobalData showed that nearly 90% of Filipino consumers have shopped online in the last six months. This has put the growth of the e-commerce market at 31.3% in 2022 and is expected to grow by 22.9% and reach a value of P615.7 billion within the year.
Along with the widespread adoption and convenience online shopping offers comes the risk of frauds–from fake products to sellers who send defective products or send no product at all. 61% of Filipinos reported being targeted and/or victims of fraud in the past three months, according to a Q4 2022 Consumer Pulse Study by consumer credit reporting agency, TransUnion. This is a significant increase from the 55% reported in Q3 of the same year. While phishing remained the most commonly reported fraud scheme (51%), third-party seller scams on legitimate e-commerce sites came in third (33%), indicating a concerning trend that puts Filipino online shoppers at risk.
So before you whip out your smartphone and click buy on that item you’re itching to get your hands on, here are a few tips you can do to protect your “budol” finds and your hard-earned money from online shopping frauds:
Buy from official stores or legitimate sellers
Sometimes when browsing through online stores, you’ll undoubtedly encounter a deal that’s too good to pass up but before you bite the bullet and check out, take a few seconds to check the seller and make sure that they are legitimate sellers or official stores.
Buying from official stores and legitimate sellers ensures that the products you’re buying are authentic and are of good quality. Plus, some e-commerce platforms also offer additional perks when you buy from these stores including warranties, free shipping, and even money back guarantees.
Check the reviews
You’ll undoubtedly come across multiple products being sold by different stores online and the sheer number of options can be overwhelming. One way to weed out the best deals and items is to check reviews from previous buyers.
Check the review section of the product you’re eyeing on e-commerce platforms or if you’re buying from Facebook Marketplace and other social media pages, see if you can find a business page where previous customers have left reviews.
Reviews are helpful in helping you make informed decisions on your purchase–if the item is worth buying, if the seller is legitimate, cooperative, and responsive, or if there are any watch outs like long delivery lead times or trouble when it comes to repairs, returns, or refunds.
If you’re on the lookout for a good deal, it never hurts to compare prices. Several sellers will have the same exact product on sale and it’s good to take a second and look at other sellers before deciding on where to buy.
Some stores may offer the same price but throw in other perks like free shipping for no minimum spend, extended warranties, a small freebie, or the lowest price offered on the platform. A word of caution on super low prices, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is, and it would be beneficial to check if the seller is legit and the products reviews before deciding where to buy.
Get an online shopping insurance to protect your purchases
One of the main advantages of shopping online is the time it saves from selection to purchase–you don’t need to go to a physical store and buy an item as with a few clicks, the item will be on its way to you within a few days.
However, its main advantage can also be a disadvantage as you’re buying something sight unseen–you really can’t check the quality of the purchase until it’s already delivered. Even if you follow all the steps to make a good purchase, sometimes you may still receive a bad or fake product, or it may not even show up at all.
Designed to protect consumers from e-commerce scams and frauds, Igloo and GCash collaborated on an Online Shopping Insurance that provides coverage for undelivered goods and uncontactable sellers, partial delivery or fake goods for up to P150,000 for as low as P15/month.
Policy holders can file multiple claims until they reach their benefit amount after which the policy expires and will require a shopper to apply for another policy.
By following these steps, you can reduce your risk of falling victim to online shopping fraud and scams, safeguard your “budol” finds and shop worry-free.