Beware online

This page contains information on typical problems in the online purchases and e-commerce. However, being careful can help you avoid unpleasant surprises. Also follow our website or social media channels where we provide information on current phenomena and warn against untrustworthy sellers.

Services that seem free

You should be careful when browsing the web, as things are not always what they seem to be at a first glance. After seeing advertisements, many consumers have ordered, for example, price estimates online for a car with the understanding that the service is free of charge. A bill for the use of the service has later been sent to consumers. Sites offering such services have often been designed in such a way that the chargeability of the price estimate is not easily noticed. Even if the service seems free, it is important to read the terms and conditions carefully before placing an order.

For example see: Car price evaluation services (a press release 30 Nov 2019)

Subscription traps

Free product samples

Ordering a free sample or trial package can result in a paid, longer contract, which is a phenomenon that is repeated in all Nordic countries and across Europe. Typically, a consumer will receive an advertisement in their e-mail or land on an ad page on Facebook. The consumer may place the order and provide their card details without further consideration. However, it is important to look at what commitment one is making first. Prior to the order, the terms of the contract must be read. The seller’s background should be studied, for example, by means of search engines.

Product tests and online surveys

Product testing websites let visitors understand that there are free welcome gifts and awards. The advertisements of the surveys imply that each participant will get the product they want by answering questions and paying a few euros, but that is not true. Participation also requires joining a service that continues as a chargeable one unless it is terminated within a certain period of time.

Seller does not deliver the goods

The worst surprise for an online buyer is if the seller does not send the goods that have been ordered and paid. It is a good idea to check the trustworthiness of the online shop before the ordering anything. First of all, it is worth examining the website of the online shop to find out what information the seller provides about itself. If the information is scarce and the seller does not, for example, provide any other contact details than e-mail, it is advisable to change to a different store immediately. It is also a good idea to google the seller’s background: often buyers will tell about their bad experiences on forums. Paying for purchases in advance is always a risk, and it is therefore worth paying attention to the method of paying for online purchases.

More information on safe payments

Counterfeit items

Did you find a brand clothing item in an online store that costs only a fraction of its normal price? It is probably counterfeit. In these cases, the online store is not usually located in the EU, either, but somewhere in Asia, and the buyer is further surprised when they have to pay import duties.

More information on online scams and subsricption traps:

Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority’s website