A Garstang grandmother has warned internet shoppers to be on their guard for online scams after she was tricked by fraudsters.
Janet Orr, 63, from Barnacre-with-Bonds, near Garstang, was browsing the Debenhams website when a separate pop-up advert appeared offering a ‘free’ beauty product trial.
The retired veterinary receptionist, agreed to pay the £2.99 postage for the free’ products but was later debited two payment of £95 and £89 by the firm, which claimed it had been in the “terms and conditions”.
She said: “It was only when I checked my statement two weeks later that I saw the cash had been taken. I was fuming.
“I contacted the company and threatened to go to Trading Standards to which the woman replied she would not give me anything back, but that they would send me £100 back as a good will refund if I didn’t.
“I got the refund and reported them anyway.
“To someone used to online shopping the pop up may have looked dubious, but I’m not used to the internet world and it seemed genuine. People need to be aware of it.
“Needless to say the products did not do what they claimed either.”
Amanda Maxim, of Lancashire Trading Standards, said subscriptions scams were notorious, adding: “According to the complaints, consumers purchase a sample of the product or agree to a trial of the product for a small P&P amount.
“The terms and conditions say if the consumer fails to cancel the contract within 14 days, they receive an ongoing monthly supply of the product and payments are deducted from their bank accounts – however complaints suggest the product is advertised through pop-ups or other advertisements such as on Facebook where there is no mention of the terms and conditions.”
Many other complaints centre around counterfeit products sold on sites like e-Bay, Facebook, Gumtree, and officers are particularly concerned about toys and electrical products such as chargers, which could pose a fire risk.
Amanda added: “A large number of toy and electrical products are traditionally purchased each year in the lead up to Christmas. When buying such items, consumers should ensure that they make their purchase from a reputable trader whose contact details or existence can be verified – it can be hard to trace internet sellers when problems arise.”
“Toy products should bear a CE marking and carry the name and address of a manufacturer or importer within Europe. Specific age warnings on toy products should always be observed by those buying toys, or those in control of young children when they’re playing with them.
“Lancashire Trading Standards regularly visits local importers and manufacturers to ascertain that systems are in place to ensure safety standards are met for toy and electrical products.”