I fell victim to what appears to be a fairly common Amazon fraud that could happen to anyone, so this is what you need to know.
I ordered a mobile phone that was priced at about £25 below the retail price at Argos and arranged for it to be delivered to my parents due to work commitments. The seller simply sent a small empty envelope by Royal Mail recorded delivery that was too small to contain the item I ordered.
I tried to contact the seller knowing that this would be a waste of time, but this is what you are expected to do. I also contacted Amazon A – Z Guarantee and my credit card provider, as the goods were over £100 meaning that I was covered by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
You would think that would be fairly straightforward, but initially that wasn’t the case as dealing with Indian call centres in banks is a lottery in itself. The credit card provider was reluctant to open a case as the seller would counter my transaction dispute on the basis that the package had been signed for, although they would look in to it and ring me back within 48 hours.
I wasn’t going to hang about waiting for a call that would never come, so I tried again the following day and said that I wanted to dispute the transaction regardless of what the seller may say. I was able to get traction on that as I reiterated that the credit card provider is obliged to refund me if all else fails, as they are jointly liable and I have not received the goods I ordered, hence disputing the transaction.
I am trained to investigate money laundering and financial crime, so I applied my knowledge which I am going to share with you here so you are armed with the same tools if you find yourself in the same situation.
The steps I took are as follows;
- I clicked on the Amazon seller’s Company to find the trading name, which in this case was ‘Pure IT Com’.
- This revealed another business name called ‘Electro Seeds Limited’.
- A search of this Company name on Companies House revealed the Registered Office address, last set of accounts filed and the incorporation documents revealed who was behind this and his residential address.
- The last set of accounts revealed minimal trading activity.
- Google Maps revealed the trading premises to be merely a door at the side of a trading estate which didn’t match what I would expect to see for a legitimate trading business.
- A search of the individual’s name on Companies House revealed that he has dissolved similar named firms in the past. That tells me that he has been doing this type of fraud for a number of years by incorporating Companies and setting up a seller page on Amazon to repeatedly enact this type of fraud.
- I found this individual from the incorporation documents on Facebook, although any contact via Facebook and Amazon has been ignored (no surprise there!).
I was surprised to find that Amazon were able to give me a full refund within about a week of raising the dispute with them direct. It is worth knowing that their Customer Services number is 0800 279 6620 if you need to speak to someone after you have lodged your complaint.
The morale of this story is to check the seller reviews on their Amazon page before placing the order. If you are caught out, set up dual claims with Amazon and your credit card provider in tandem so you don’t lose any time on getting your refund processed.
One final word of advice is to never pay by debit card. You will not have the same level of protection if you are caught out by any fraudulent scams.
Have you been caught out by an Amazon fraud? If so, what was the outcome?