alihashop

All posts tagged alihashop

This is only a quick post, just as a warning. Some time ago I wrote a post about a website called Alihashop which turned out to be a big scam.

The “If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is” is a fairly solid motto to live by, so please do keep an eye out for these kind of things.

This morning I was checking my site and site statistics and my eye fell on a Google ad for Admreshop. Not putting the actual link up, so they won’t get any Google rating boost from me, but it’s a .com site, so if you’re curious you can check it out. DON’T BUY FROM THERE THOUGH!!!
The first thing I saw was an ad for  Nikon D700, for only €780. Too good to be true, yeah? Second thing I saw was that the layout of the pages were EXACTLY the same as those from the Alihashop I remember. Dubious, yeah?
I bet if you go through the order process you’ll find that you can pay only by money transfer or Western Union. Dodgy, yeah?

I haven’t kept track of IP numbers or domain registries, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the registrar / company behind the domain name is the same.

I’m not totally happy that these kind of sites appear next to my blog in the advertising space, but unfortunately I have no say in what Google shows in their ad space. And you can’t of course blame Google (not completely, at least), because these sites are paying customers and it’s impossible for Google to check everything.
But with your own common sense you get a long way, so if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

Beware!

Dang! I feel sorry for myself…

Last week I attended a seminar at Epson. Very interesting, but the content of that seminar isn’t the point right now. As a by the way (a very by the way by the way) buying a new camera body came up and I heard only half of the story, except for the price.
Being Dutch (yeah, I know!) that got stuck like a little splinter in my brain.

So… Little background info: I’m in the market for a new camera body. Or rather, an extra, because I don’t have a spare. So I was looking to replace my D200 with a D700 body as a main camera.

The D700 (body only) goes for around $3,000. That’s an average price. The splinter which was pushing in my brain had a price tag of €1.280, which is about $1,650.
So I googled D700 and 1280. Lo and behold… A website came up advertising for a Nikon D700. For €1.280. Wow!

Very tempting, very tempting. However, since I’m not the type of person to blindly trust anything good the moment I see it, I looked around for a bit. The site itself looks very professional and very reliable, advertising with the AMEX, VISA, Mastercard and the PayPal logo.
I asked a friend who has lived in those parts of the woods for awhile to put out some flags. My better half has a couple of colleagues who come from those areas and she would ask them.
That all came up empty. No one’d heard of the place.
In the mean time the price went down from €1.280 to €1.120.
I decided to go for it. Just order it. I’d be insured through my credit card company, so this was all covered.
Added a D700 body to my shopping cart and went for check-out.
But then… Hmmm…
Where is the credit card payment option? Only Western Union, MoneyGram or bank transfer?
And PayPal payment option grayed out, because it’s only for VIP customers?
Hmmmm…

*alarm bells*

So I wrote the good people an email.

Dear Sir, Madam,

I was going to order the D700 body from your store.
Seeing all the symbols at the bottom of your website, I assumed I would be able to pay by credit card, but when I got to the payment part, there’s no option for paying by credit card.

How does this work exactly?

Looking forward to your response.

It took them only 1,5 hours to reply (considering the time difference I thought that was quite good). The answer was… well… polite but dubious:

Dear Arno.
Thanks for your enquiry,
For the strict chinese foreign exchange system, the company can not accept payment directly by foreign credit card. You can pay via bank transfer or westernunion by your Mastercard. We are sorry for the inconvenice.
Hope you a gald shipping.
Best regards

(typos are copied as-is)
I mean… Because of the strict Chinese foreign Exchange system, they can’t accept payment directly from foreign credit cards? I don’t know really how the system works in China, but this sounds like a very lame excuse.

Anyway… It was late and I decided to go sleep on it, and maybe go down town the next day to check from Western Union if a payment could be insured somehow.
But the next day (yeah, I know… should’ve done it first thing) I decided to google the name of this shop. And WHAM… Long list of “is this a scam?”, “can we trust this?”, “anyone any experience with this shop?” came up.
A lot of good points in a lot of threads in the search results.
Chinese site with only English and no Chinese?
No credit card payments possible and only money wiring?
Domain name of the shop was registered only in mid-March, which is kind of weird. This shop claims copyright on their website for their stuff from 2005-2009. Wouldn’t an electronics shop in today’s digital era have a website up and running longer than mid-March 2009?
So all in all…
Very dubious, very dodgy. Needless to say that I’m going to check elsewhere. Probably have to pay a bit more, but be sure to get it instead of being out a bag full of money.

As goes the saying:

If it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is