Buying things online (scams)2013-06-23
Long story short: bosto-tablet.com is a great, legimate seller of Bosto drawing tablets. I bought a Kingtee 19-mb from the site and it was delivered within days of my purchase, and I am very happy with the product. However before I bought something off the site I was worried that it was a scam. This is a story of worry, research and a leap of faith.
So I was planning to buy a drawing tablet, like the ones from Wacom. However, after researching a little I found out that today (as opposed to a couple of years ago when I last checked) cheaper are alternatives available – possibly because some of Wacom’s patents have expired. These alternatives are made by two companies called Yiynova and Bosto. After reading some reviews and viewing a lot of videos demonstrating the tablets I decided to go for the Bosto kingtee 19-mb.
But I needed it shipped to Denmark at a reasonable price – so where was I going to get that? I found bosto-tablet.com which looks quite nice. But the site isn’t really mentioned anywhere on the net – so how could I know that it was run by the manufacturer or a legitimate reseller? That it wasn’t a scam?
The site is very plain, and doesn’t really give a lot of information, about who
runs the shop and where it’s located. The site also has a list of recent
customers with date of purchase and model number.
(At the time the table didn’t show the DHL tracking as it does now)
If you’re already suspicious of the site this list comes off as a baiting device, as you don’t normally see such lists on larger webshops. The list is basically yelling: “Hey look, we’re legit – just go ahead and buy something already!”, which is coincidentally also what you would want to do if you were luring people into a scam.
So I decided to probe a little further. The site presents the mail
email@example.com to which I wrote:
Do you ship to Denmark?
Perhaps I would get a badly written response? (as per the usual spam email, which would indicate a scam)
I got the reply:
Malthe, we ship to Denmark. It’s free. Have a good buy
Sincerely yours, Andrey Belkov, Bosto
Now Bosto is a Chinese company, so it was weird that someone with a russian sounding name responded. The response itself is well-written and short, basically what I would expect from a modern web company. Not from a Chinese tablet manufacturer. This well-written short response could just be luring me further into a possible scam…
Well, in the end I decided to go for it anyway and I was able to track my package via DHL on its 3-day journey from Hong Kong to Copenhagen (Denmark). I recieved the package 6 days after my Paypal payment.
The PayPal vendor information was kinda funny (you can see it on the left). Obviously Chinese symbols aren’t allowed in email addresses and Chinese people often choose an English name to ease communication with English-speaking countries hence the “roger”. At least that’s my guess as to why the email is what it is. Forhandleroplysninger means Seller info in danish. (Displayed as Merchant in english Paypal)
Now, how do you know this blog post isn’t part of the scam? ^^
Of course there should be and are sites and services that keep track of whether vendors are real and can be trusted. None of the ones mentioned here had a review of bosto-tablet.com at the time of writing.
- ResellerRatings even though they earn money by making the vendors pay to contact users on the site (to respond to any critique) the site is still riddled with ads.
- TrustPilot has the same as business model as ResellerRatings but without ads. Being a newer, originally Danish, site it doesn’t have the volume ResellerRatings has (yet), but it is better. They have some problems with fake reviews, though I guess any site of this sort will. It’s a very important caveat and they really should work hard to come up with a good solution.
Having such a service available as a browser plugin is a very good idea. It saves you the time of looking up the vendor – it’s available right in the browser. Futhermore the instant availability of the plugin makes it easy to review sites and could possibly mean that more sites get rated than on sites such as TrustPilot.