Diary of an online shoe shopping scam

Have you been seduced by a bargain only to find out that it was a scam? Blame it on the lure of COVID lockdown, a healthy love of shoes, and plain old greed. Yes, greed because my appetite for a bargain often overshadows my rational self.

Let me explain. Ecco shoes, especially those for golf and leisure, are a favourite of mine so when a link from Facebook to an Ecco website offered ‘a limited, ultra low cost promotional opportunity,’ I am seduced.

Wary of a possible scam, I proceed to do a modicum of due diligence on the website. The logo and site looks genuine; the English with no typo’s, reads well; and a ‘contact’ email address is provided. Furthermore, the extent of the site and range of shoes is vast as if to reinforce their legitimacy, but, it’s not obvious where the shoes are coming from. I make the assumption that its China where they are made.

Over three days I drool over pages of shoes and end up selecting not one, but three pairs and I’m pleasantly surprised, as they’re all in stock. To ensure I receive free shipping and to counteract my indulgence, two of the pairs are presents for family members.

At a total of $114, (less than the price of a pair in Australia), I decide the spend is worth a risk, and proceed to checkout.

Looking back, I don’t remember seeing an SSL logo to reinforce a secure payment gateway, nor Paypal with buyer protection that I would have preferred to use.

My purchase is confirmed by email and includes an invoice with price as stated. An additional email from Ecco days later includes the ‘tracking details’ so I can follow the status of the parcel from China.
So far so good. That is, until I check my bank account and find it is $20 more. When I query this via the ‘contact’ email, I am somewhat placated by the advice that ‘the variation is due to the exchange rate at the time’.

Over the following weeks I follow my parcel as it proceeds from ‘packed’, to ‘awaiting shipment’, to ‘shipped’. As the COVID19 lockdown of golf courses in Victoria are about to lift, so do my spirits with the pending arrival of new shoes. A final check of the site registers the shoes as ‘delivered’ the week prior! I’m now suspicious and suspect that the Australia Post delivery card or the parcel has been stolen or misplaced.

Mentally I track back the days last week. Then gasp as I connect the arrival of a mystery parcel containing a knock-off Burberry scarf from China, instead of my Ecco shoes. I let out a long guttural groan at the realization that I’ve been the recipient of a well-executed con-job!

During COVID lockdown, have you like me, gone against your better judgement and been caught up in a scam? If so, I’d love to hear about it?