5 Ways To Avoid Clothing Scams (Plus Bonus Tips)

It is so tempting to go online and buy a trendy coat, or bag, or prom or wedding dress because all of us want to save some money, and a lot of websites are offering us our dream to have something super cute for dirt cheap prices. Unfortunately, a lot of women and men are victims of online clothing scams. The old adage is true: if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

1. The Retailers Website Photos are Inconsistent

If you're scrolling through pictures on a clothing website and there is absolutely no consistency, you might be on your way to being scammed. If every background in every photo differs between being outside, being in a well lit studio, to being in Paris, to what looks like someone's personal Prom pix, this is a sign the retailer has been stealing, quite blatantly I might add, photos from all over the web and using them as their own. And don't rely on the fact that you see the websites watermark on the images either. Anyone can put a watermark on anything and call it theirs essentially committing fraud and with many of these places overseas and not actually in the US, there is very little being done to stop them. When in doubt, stick the photo into a google image search, and you will surely see the photo coming up on someone's personal Facebook, on 12 other websites, on the actual owners website. It's ridiculous. Just know that it was too good to be true and move on.

2. There are a lot of typos and bad grammar

A lot of these cheap websites are headed up in China, Singapore, or Japan. You have someone hastily constructing website after website in broken English with these big splashy fake pictures and promises that you'll get the item of your dreams, but this should be a warning to you for a couple of reasons. One, your emailed complaints (when, not if, but when you have them) will need to go to someone who may not understand English at all. Trying to communicate might be next to impossible. Two, you'd think anyone with a business would have someone at least proof their pages before they go live, which means they are probably not all that professional (scammers rarely are) and three you are probably going to run into a brick wall when you try to complain to someone else about these companies because all of a sudden you can't find them and no one at the one telephone number that keeps putting you on hold seems to speak any English at all before they hang up in your face.

3. What Refunds

Take a good hard look at the typo ridden refunds page which probably says a lot of "all sales are final," and we only take returns for items with quality issues...a quality they set, not you...which means, no refunds for you. Any company worth its weight, will have a refunds policy that at the very least, allows you to get something re-altered or exchanged according to the sizes you asked for in print if they are incorrect by the companies hand. Not so with these companies. They "always" size their clothing correctly even if you're 5'5, but your dress appears to be for someone who is 4'10, right? It's always your fault, not theirs, but you can go ahead and send the merch back for ohhhh half the cost of the clothing, and a six month delay where they simply let it all get lost in the mail.

4. The Reviews are Super Great Five Stars

If you know anything about statistics, it is statistically impossible for say 100 people writing a review to all give that product or item 5 stars. On a realistic scale you will always have a certain percent giving 5 stars, a certain percent giving 1 star, and most are somewhere in the middle. Too many scores skewed in the super positive direction should be a RED FLAG that these reviews are either given by reviewers paid to do so, the company routinely deletes bad reviews and or threatens not to give refunds to those that don't remove bad reviews, or the reviews are simply completely faked. Ask yourself why in even the good reviews, all have 2 lines of text which all magically read: good products, great sizing, fantastic customer service, exactly as promised, would recommend, and proceed to give no other details. None. Not even one word about how the clothing looks, or the style, or the fit, just what they got was so perfect. BE suspicious.

You will also notice those typos again. It's not to say that there aren't American's or other foreigners who don't make typos or use bad grammar, but it's the same types of mistakes for everyone responding, who by the way are named one word American sounding names like, Alicia, Allen, Caleb, and Michael. Just look around at GaG or Amazon. Most people's screen names are not just a first name and nothing else. And also notice how there are never any pictures of anyone with the actual clothing being worn...heck, it's not even an option to send them in. Look at the dates of the reviews, the names, you'll start to build a case and learn pretty quickly to walk away.

5. Know the Reality

Those prices are so easy to fall for, but it helps to know the realities of fabrication. You are NEVER going to get a dress with Swarovski crystals all over the bodice for $120. A fine wool coat, is never going to be $35. That intricate beading on the front takes weeks for a seamstress to do, so how would that skirt cost just $15. In your mind, you have to realize that what you'll be getting is going to be a shoddy knock off with cheap fabrics, crappy sewing jobs, weird dye colors, and with no beading or crystals at all.

TIPS TO AVOID THE SCAMS

1. Google image search the clothing to see if hundreds of photos come up

2. Call the company phone number and ask a few questions about the product. If no one seems to be helping you or you can't get answers or no one speaks English, that's a bad sign.

3. Look up the company address. Google map it. Can you even find it.

4. Do not rely on the company website for honest reviews. Ask the greater web if anyone has used company x before and then read those reviews

5. Check with the BBB for complaints against the company

6. If you can't use PayPal or other insured form of paying, don't give out your info

7. Trust your gut. If you don't feel to sure about ordering, then don't.


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What Guys Said 1

  • cool

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What Girls Said 20

  • i feel bad for people who have been scammed tho :/
    very informative take

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  • This myTake is a charm :) Great Take. Being scammed is scary!
    In actuality, I do not trust images that easily because they can be easily altered into something "more pleasant" than the actual physical product or the "real deal".

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  • Nice take

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  • Yeah i stopped buying online. basically the way that coat or more like boat ( did not) fit.. thats how it goes for me. so i only buy stuff i can try on first.

    good take!

    :)

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    • Ugh, I know! I was forced to buy my bridesmaid shoes online, and they didn't arrive until the wedding, and were a full 1.5 sizes too big but I had no choice but to wear them. As the first bridesmaid to walk down the grassy pathway, I took about 4 steps in and the entire shoe came off and so I'm like trying to slide the thing back on and not fall and not embarrass myself... so yeah, no, I need to try the stuff on first, like in my hand, even if they are reputable places.

    • oh no! lol did anyone notice or did the dress cover it?

    • I wish... it was a to the knee dress. Let's just say, I attempted to gracefully take a step back and drag the shoe a couple of feet side to side until it found it's way back to my foot and then I had to curl up my toes as much as I could to keep the shoe on as I dragged it down the isle with me... and dear god it was as LONG isle as we were outside and the stupid photographer was doing her job and photographing the whole thing. *Thankfully* as soon as the ceremony was over, I made a mad dash to get my flats on which I hadn't planned to wear until my feet were hurting, but they were hurting alright from dragging those shoes around.

  • I've had good luck with buying clothes on ebay. You have to be a bit careful with sizing, but I find the quality no different than stores like urban planet, forever 21 and ardenes, and the prices are great. I also recommend ebay for phone cases and costume jewelry. Its the same stuff they sell in stores but waaay cheaper. I feel like the manufacturers make more money this way, since those big stores throw out so much of their stock >_<

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  • The reason why I have stopped shopping online for clothes. I prefer to go into a shop and try things on and buy them if they suit me. That way, you see the quality or what your getting, know that it fits you and suits you before buying.

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  • I have had a bad experience online yet. I have bought plenty of stuff from aliexpress and etzy. Couldn't agree more with this article always research before you buy. Just like aliexpress its nice to see reviews with pictures of the products.

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  • Never buy clothes from China... all the women are small dainty things they will have no idea a dress size in another country... it's alien to them as western women are generally bigger... we like yeti to them lol

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    • I wouldn't say don't buy from China... at all. I mean truth be told, a lot of American manufacturers take full advantage of the cheap labor, but I have to say, most of the time you are right. American's are taller and wider than a high percentage of Asians, and so measurements beyond 'tiny' by our standards are incomprehensible as evidenced by a lot of people who buy what they think is an American L and end up with what appears to be a small. Also I would advise looking closely at the measurement charts for any foreign country you're buying from even the UK, because the sizing is not the same at all.

  • I think the best is to try the clothes directly or buy the brand you know will work

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  • Basically don't buy "designer" clothes that ship from China.

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  • LOOL i don't even know why they bother sewing that dress to begin with. 😂 Might as well just send a note in the mail saying "you've been scammed, fool".

    What I always do first is check reviews, I use aliexpress a lot so I can see other people's reviews on it before purchase (comments and pictures) and can also chat with the seller if I need to I ask for real pictures of the product and not the google image.

    Ordered a whole bunch of stuff online, never been scammed, yet. 👏🏽

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    • good for you. I do the same with Etsy. I ask the seller for a time stamped picture of the clothing item they are selling and if they can't be bothered to or say they can't do it, I find someone that does. Also, never been scammed.

    • I love aliexpress! I haven't once had a bad experience with them. I bought my senior year prom dress from there and it was a pretty close match. The only thing different was the flowers and I loved it!.

  • Dha love dress

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  • Cool
    ..

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  • I order a lot from zulilly I trust them

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  • TrustPilot is a great review website to see which companies are honest based on customers' experiences. When browsing a shady online shop, I always check here.

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  • maybe just models bodies on the photos give that result...
    u see this clothes on models and it look good, while customers dont usually have models bodies, so it look different on them

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    • No this is far beyond you don't look like a model. These are dresses and clothing items that are completely different in quality from the photos the websites post. Example of that, is the pictures here in this take. Most of the scammed photo users look pretty similar in shape to the model pictures, but the dresses are simply poorly made with cheap materials b/c the dress and clothing makers did not make the pictured item, they stole the image and are attempting to poorly replicate it.

  • Thank you! This is a much needed MyTake. It's sad that a lot of the people being scammed seem to be young girls wanting to have something magical for prom. Hopefully, they were able to get a good back up dress and hopefully, they have a little more sense now.

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  • Lmao..

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  • There are a few things that I'll buy online, but it's from sites like Zulily and Haute Look. I know that they're buying and reselling from the actual retailer.

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    • And that's the thing... there are obviously big name websites, your brand name stores, your ebays, and the sites you listed, but they are well known to be trusted websites and they are usually backed and insured and you can use PayPal. It's when one goes off the grid, and finds websites in sidebar ads or linked from other links to other links that tend to end in them being scammed. Zulily is great by the way.

    • Their return policy is crap though. But I did get store credit when I bought a bra that wasn't even in the realm of fitting properly. Bloody nipple warmer (aside: I told the customer service lady that and she couldn't stop laughing for a solid 5 minutes).

    • Ha! And she works for "them."

  • The pictures on # 3 and 5 though!😂

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