BBB: Be Careful When Buying Gaming Consoles Online | Business
Scammers are taking advantage of the nation’s demand for expensive gaming consoles by promoting bogus offers for the Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, and other in-demand systems.
Be careful when buying a console online.
How the scam works
You find a popular game console for sale online at a reduced price. Hoping to save some money, you search the seller’s website and find a few positive reviews. Convinced, you make your purchase via PayPal or another online payment method. You receive a confirmation email with shipping information and a tracking number.
If you receive a package from the company, it’s not a game console – rather, it’s a worthless phone case or something similar. Since you’ve technically received a shipment, you won’t be able to dispute the purchase from the third party that processed the payment.
Attempts to contact the company are pointless. No one is answering your phone calls or emails. A consumer who has never received a package reported to BBB.org/ScamTracker: “I tried to reach the email address on their website, but received an email informing me that it was not a valid email address. I then attempted to call the phone number listed on the website (which gave me) an automatic message informing me that the number was not valid.
“If you’re in the market for a gaming console, be on the lookout for prices that are too good to be true,” said Mechele Agbayani Mills, president of BBB serving east-central Texas. “Supply chain issues and the demand for these popular items create an environment in which it’s more likely that you’ll end up paying more for gaming consoles, not less. “
BBB provides the following tips for avoiding online shopping scams:
Do extensive research on the company you are considering buying from. It’s best to buy items from sellers you already know and trust, but if you decide to buy from an unfamiliar online store, do your homework first. Read as many customer reviews as possible, search for the business on BBB.org, and search online with the business name followed by the word “scam” to see if you find any complaints. Make sure the company has legitimate customer service contact information (not just a form you need to fill out and hope for a response) and clear return and refund policies.
Avoid impulse buying. Scammers like to lure people in with “flash sales” and “limited time offers” in the hopes that you will give them your money on impulse. Resist the urge.
Don’t believe prices which are too good to be true. Before you start shopping, find out about the price of the game console at a major retailer. You can check the prices online to get a general idea of what the console is selling for. Keep this price in mind when shopping and beware of sellers who offer the product at a heavily discounted price. You could end up spending money on a defective or counterfeit product, or no product at all!
Do not use unconventional methods. One tactic used by crooks is to charge their victims with prepaid credit card, gift card, or wire transfer. Avoid paying using these methods because it is almost impossible to collect the funds once they have been sent.
For more tips on how to be an informed consumer, visit bbb.org. To report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices, please call BBB at 903-581-5704 or use BBB ScamTracker.
BBB is a business-backed, non-profit organization that sets and maintains high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Most BBB consumer services are free. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB company profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on matters affecting market confidence. Visit bbb.org for more information. BBB Serving Central East Texas was founded in 1985 and serves 19 counties.