The Guyana Competition and Competition Commission (CCAC) has noted that with the growing prominence of shopping through the online marketplace, numerous official and unofficial complaints of scams have been made.
This is according to the Commission’s Communications Officer, Allison Parker, during a recent interview with this newscast.
“The challenge we are finding is that people are buying from these local online marketplaces, and they are not treating it in the same way they would treat shopping locally," Parker noted.
She added, “Even when you (the consumer) complain to us, because you did not have the details, you did not get a receipt, you know nothing about the person you bought the item from […] it is difficult for us to get redress.”
Some sellers delete their social media accounts immediately after scamming the buyer/s and operate under several different names.
In the absence of contact information, consumers and the CCAC have difficulty securing redress from the errant suppliers.
Therefore, the Communications Officer advises consumers to take extra precautions when entering into any transaction with sellers in the local online marketplace.
“Be very careful,” Parker warned, adding, “Do not exchange your money until you have that item in your hands.”
Some further precautions shoppers can take are: checking the seller’s history and reviewing comments from recent buyers, ensuring the seller lists their contact information, particularly a physical address, and ensuring posted images of items are actual images of the item on sale and are not stock images.
Moreover, consumers must collect a receipt for each transaction while ensuring that a warranty is issued and all messages and correspondences between the sellers are kept.
Complaints have ranged from the non-functioning of items purchased to items being materially different in brand and quality from that which was advertised.
The Commission is urging consumers to utilise its website to be more informed of their rights and the obligations of investors/businesses.
If consumers encounter problems with sellers in the local online marketplace, they can file a complaint with the Commission via the website ccac.gov.gy.