The Vietnam eCommerce and Digital Economy Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade has warned consumers against a new form of scam where customers are asked to pay for unknown products shipped to their houses from e-commerce websites, even though they did not put in any order.
L.P.D., a resident in Hanoi’s Nam Tu Liem District, has recently given her account of falling victim to such a scam to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
D. said a package labeled as “fashion accessories” was shipped to her house the other day, with the recipient required to pay the shipper as the transaction was made with cash-on-delivery (COD) as the payment method.
As the woman was not home at the time of the delivery, her family paid VND79,000 (US$3.4) for the package, without asking D. if it was really something she bought online or opening the parcel to see what was inside.
The family must have believed that it was not worth the effort when the required payment was not too much, D. said.
But as D. opened the package, she was stunned to see nothing but a small paper clip inside, and there were no ‘fashion accessories’ whatsoever.
The Hanoi resident reviewed all her recent activities on e-commerce websites to make sure she never made such a transaction.
She also checked the address of the seller as listed on the delivery note, only to know that it was a bogus one in the northern province of Thai Nguyen.
“The address just does not exist and the listed phone number was not accepting calls,” she said.
|The delivery note is seen on the package in this photo provided by L.P.D.|
Following further ‘inspection,’ D. discovered that the seller was operating an online shop on S., a local e-commerce website. She then reported the issue to the site.
Upon receiving the complaint, a representative of the company that operates the e-commerce website visited D. at her home and suggested fully refunding her the VND79,000 fee, which she rejected.
While the company admitted that D. did not have an account or ever place any order on S., it denied any responsibility for the incident and blamed the mysterious seller.
D. said she only opened an account on two e-commerce websites, so it could be the case that her information on these platforms was leaked to a third party.
The woman added many of her friends also got into the same situation but none reported to the e-commerce watchdog as they thought the swindled money was too little.
But D. filed a complaint to the Vietnam eCommerce and Digital Economy Agency, which has officially requested that S. give a specific report and explanation on her case by Wednesday.
The watchdog also ordered other e-commerce websites and delivery services to review their delivery and order confirmation processes so they will not be abused by scammers.
At the same time, the agency advised that consumers carefully check necessary information and the products being delivered upon receiving any delivery from e-commerce websites.
Consumers should report to the Vietnam eCommerce and Digital Economy Agency should they face similar cases.