If you’ve never heard of the dangers of drop-shipping, you’re in the right place. When drop-shipping just became a thing, it was the cool kid on the block for many online retailers starting out. However, this retail model is not without its problems, and it often leaves you, the shopper, vulnerable to being scammed out of your hard-earned cash.
What is Drop-Shipping, and Why is it Dangerous?
Drop-shipping is when a retailer advertises products on their website without physically stocking any of them. When you buy from them, they forward your order to a wholesaler who then ships it directly to your location. Nothing dangerous about that, right?
Well, unfortunately, many shoppers have fallen victim to the various pitfalls surrounding drop-shipping. Counterfeit goods, delivery mishaps and overpriced products are just a few of consumers’ complaints against drop-shippers.
🛒 Orders Take Too Long or Get Mixed Up
With drop-shipping, delivery always takes longer. This is because, while you think you’re placing an order with a local business, your product could be shipped from anywhere in the world. And you have no way to tell from where. On top of this, delivery delays and mistakes in the international fulfilment process are rife.
One of the surest ways to know if an online store uses drop-shipping is to look for shipping information on their website. If they say delivery could take more than seven business days, or worse, there’s no sign of shipping time estimates on their website, then the store is likely a drop-shipper.
⭐ Quality Control is Virtually Non-Existent
When you order goods from a store that doesn’t keep the products themselves, it’s easy to end up with a bootleg version. Drop-shipping retailers are looking for great deals, too, and may not even be aware that their wholesaler is fraudulent. At the end of the day, these retailers have little control over which products their customers end up receiving and whether it’s genuine.
To avoid ending up with counterfeit goods, it helps to compare a product’s price on multiple sites to see what the item usually retails for. Although anyone is keen to bag a great deal, watch out when the price seems too good to be true!
Even if the wholesaler ships genuine goods, orders can still get mixed up. But with a drop-shipper, returning and exchanging items will be even more time-consuming and frustrating as you’ll likely be dealing with an overseas company.
When in doubt about whether a store is a drop-shopper, search for the company on Hellopeter to read what other people who’ve shopped from them are saying. Are there complaints about late deliveries or about the quality of goods? Then rather stay away and buy local products.
🛍️ The Returns and Refund Policy is Often Insufficient
Whenever you shop online, head over to the refunds and returns policy information on the store’s website and read it carefully. Some drop-shippers have strict return policies and may require you to return the item to their supplier and pay for the costs. Depending on where in the world the supplier is, this could be an expensive and time-consuming exercise.
Can’t find any policy information on their website for the return and refund of items? This is a big red flag that you’re dealing with not only a drop-shipper but a scamster.
🙁 Customer Service Could be Disappointing
With drop-shipping being what it is, the retailer is really just a middleman. Without in-depth knowledge of the products they sell, they can’t give you helpful advice or accurate product specifications. And seeing as they have no real control over the fulfilment process, resolving issues with the retailer can be challenging.
For this reason, it’s a clear sign you’re dealing with a drop-shipper if they aren’t particularly great with customer service or answering queries. For instance, they won’t be able to sufficiently advise you on products or how long delivery will take.
💸 You Often Pay a High Price
Since drop-shipping retailers act as an intermediary, they can charge a markup on the cost of products they advertise. The prices you see on a drop-shipper’s website are often inflated to cover overseas shipping as well as for them to profit.
Drop-shippers place individual orders with their wholesaler, so products cost them more than it does for a retail giant that can import products in bulk. As a result, you’ll rarely get the best deal when shopping from a drop-shipper online. But watch out for prices that are too low, too. You don’t want to end up with low-quality or counterfeit items!
Safeguard Your Money with Hellopeter
Wish to sidestep the dangers of drop-shipping? You’re not the only one. Thankfully, South Africans love sharing their online shopping stories. Therefore, you can experience only the best Mzansi e-commerce has to offer by reading reviews.
So the next time you’re about to complete the check-out process, head over to South Africa’s #1 online review platform, Hellopeter, as an extra layer of protection for your purse.