Spotted on The Straits Times:
17-year-old girl in blogshop scam sentenced to 36 months’ probation
A 17-year-old girl who cheated 101 customers in a blogshop scam was on Friday sentenced to 36 months of probation. Hock Jing Er was also ordered to perform 240 hours of community service.
The court heard that between May and June last year, the girl received $10,827 in payment for items such as shoes, a camera and fashion accessories, which she advertised through a page she set up on social networking site Facebook.
She would then respond to queries and receive payment into her personal bank account. On June 20, the day the products were due for delivery, Hock deactivated the page and withdrew all the money from her bank account, which she then closed.
She pleaded guilty on Friday to 11 charges of cheating with 101 other charges taken into consideration. This included two separate charges for theft and unlawful assembly.
Credits: The Straits Times
So far I think this is the third case of a blogshop owner who made it to the news.
Back in 2012, this guy – Gary Sim Kaifeng, 22 created many Facebook shops such as Redsnow Closet, Jennifer Paradise, Lovely Paradise, Kimiyo Casing and Fel Says to lure victims into buying items such as women’s clothing, mobile phone casings and Polaroid cameras from his false shops. He was then jailed 14 months for cheating and other offences.
Then back in 2009, there was this woman, Diane Koh who was jailed 3 months for cheating 37 buyers as seen below:
Still, don’t let this affect your perception of blogshops because most of them generally are genuine sellers(: So far, I’ve been patronizing loads of different blogshops over the years (both old and new) and I’ve never once got cheated / scammed before so..thank goodness for that!
Anyway, if you are really, really worried about purchasing from a blogshop, then here are some tips below, taken from HERE, HERE as well as my own personal experience as a blogshop owner / frequent blogshopper:
How to Identify Blogshop Scammers & Measures you can take to ensure a safe online shopping experience at blogshops:
- Purchase from renowned blogshops (or those that have been there for quite awhile)
- Check the Reputation of the Blogshop before purchasing – ie through Facebook (number of fans, etc). However, the issue now is that there are so many new and upcoming blogshops so sometimes you just have to trust them and hope for the best <_<
- Google is your best friend, so Search for Reviews (good/negative) on the Blogshop
- Check out scams feedback and chat sites. There are plenty of scam forums that can help you identify a scam. You can subscribe to those sites to help you identify unreliable blogshops
- Check for any physical retail stores (bonus!) because generally this means it’s less likely to be a scam, unless it’s a fake shop address
- I generally try not to purchase from people selling products on their Facebook account/page as they seem more dubious. If they have a website (nice and well-made), I think that it’s more trustworthy
- If it’s an apparel shop, check if they use actual models vs product photos. On a general note, I would rather purchase from a blogshop that uses actual models in a proper photoshoot rather than a blogshop that uses product photos. However, nowadays there are so many blogshops that are on a preorder basis so again, you just have to trust them if you really want the item. Lol, my own blogshop also uses product photos too as some are preorder-ed items <_<~
- Purchase from blogshops on shopping platforms like Qoo10 – I hear they are quite strict with their sellers ;p
- Top Up for Registered Mail instead of Normal Mail whenever possible because there’s a tracking number that should be given to you. There is always a risk to undertake when you opt for Normal Mail and blogshops are generally not responsible for the loss of normal mail.
- Request for a certificate of postage (usually top up of 20 cents) to ensure that your item had been sent out if you opted for Normal Mail. (That’s why I usually give my GlamPuss buyers a complimentary cert of postage for normal mail postage ^^)
- Save the receipt/invoice/email/banking statement till you’ve received your item safely
- Opt for meet up option / self-collection if the blogshop has these options
Too much work involved? Then why not purchase directly from blogshop retails stores instead? Nowadays there are loads of them everywhere at Bugis, Far East Plaza and even shopping malls!
But anyway in the worst case scenario:
What happens if you DO get scammed/cheated by blogshop owners?
The most important thing to do is check FIRST if you really got scammed/cheated especially if you had opted for Normal Mail. Maybe the blogshop really did send out your item but it honestly got lost in the mail because you didn’t opt for registered mail. (And that’s why I always highly recommend my buyers at GlamPuss to top up for registered mail)
Email the owner to discuss and verify if they have sent out your item if you haven’t received your item for more than 3 weeks. Again, if you opted for Normal Mail – understand that you had accepted the risk of the package being lost in the mail, hence most blogshops will not issue you a refund or send you a new piece as most blogshops generally will not hold themselves responsible for the loss of Normal Mail UNLESS you had opted for REGISTERED MAIL.
BUT do not assume that the blogshop owner is a scammer just yet.
Next, Google and/or Check online forums to see if there are any shoppers who are in the same predicament as yourself. If there aren’t any, then it might really just be an isolated case / parcel being lost in the mail. Unfortunately..usually you have to accept that. Alternatively, you may try to contact SingPost and request for them to find but the chances are really slim ;/
However, if you do chance on more shoppers who encountered the same issue with the same blogshop, then you know something’s up. What you can do is to contact all the people who were cheated, consolidate all the details (ie, amount owed, etc) and as a group:
- Lodge an Online complaint at CASE: http://www.case.org.sg/online_complaint.html
- Contact CASE at 6100 0315
*If a case is taken up by a CASE Officer an administration fee is charged according to the claims. You will also need to join CASE as a member and pay the membership fees
*All applications must be accompanied by relevant documents such as receipts, agreements, credit card slips, letters, etc.
On the whole, I hope the above tips and advice were useful to you in any way! And to be honest, blogshopping online isn’t that scary. Really.
But really, don’t let some bad apples ruin your blogshopping experience!~ 😀