The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the consumption habits of the Portuguese and online shopping has become increasingly common. In addition to betting on the already known online stores, many Internet users turn to Facebook to sell and buy products.
It is true that shopping through the social network Marketplace can be practical, however, there are risks. In addition to the sale of counterfeit goods that was targeted by ASAE at the beginning of the year, most sellers are not registered as a company in Portugal and do not have a physical contact address, making it difficult to resolve conflicts.
DECO claims that there was an intensification of complaints regarding purchases on Facebook during the containment period. The Portuguese Association for Consumer Protection explains that it has received several reports of paid products that did not reach their destination, false data provided by sellers and tenants who block customers in the face of any type of complaint.
It is true that online shopping always has risks and to avoid future problems you must follow some practical recommendations.
Click on the gallery to learn how to take care when shopping on Facebook
One of DECO's main recommendations is to always remain alert and suspicious of any proposals that seem too good to be true or of salespeople who put too much pressure to conclude the deal. Search for as much information as possible on the page from which you want to make an essential purchase, as well as check if there is a large number of complaints online about the seller.
Before proceeding to a purchase it is recommended to try to obtain a physical address or telephone contact from the seller. Calling for clarification is a good way to understand if you are dealing with a minimally legitimate business. You should be suspicious and try to find another online shopkeeper if they never answer your calls.
Paying attention to how you pay for products is also important. Whenever possible, you should choose safer forms of payment, such as bank transfers, via ATM or collection payments. You must make sure that you receive a proof of order, with the description of the product, the price, the address of the seller and the delivery time.
DECO clarifies that, if the seller is a company, the consumer has 14 days in a row to give up on a purchase made. Attention: the same does not apply to those who buy from private sellers.
What to do when the product ordered did not arrive within the established deadline? In this case, you should immediately contact the seller to schedule a new term or cancel the purchase, without forgetting to clearly request a refund.
If you have a more serious consumer conflict in your hands, you can file a complaint on the Complain platform or even file a complaint with the authorities in the six months following the purchase. DECO stresses that in cases of distance sales, which include those that are made online, the courts establish that the consumer is only aware that he was the victim of a possible scam after the deadline for the arrival of the order has expired.