So you're thinking about buying from Shopee for the first time but aren't sure if its products are authentic? Do NOT check out just yet. Consider yourself lucky for asking that question.
So are Shopee products authentic? Not all of them. Some are original, some are counterfeit. This is because Shopee doesn't hold inventories, so it can't run a physical quality check. And even if it could, quality check isn't the company's main purpose.
Shopee's main purpose is to bridge the gap between buyers and sellers by creating a website where sellers can sell and buyers can buy. That's mainly it. Keeping the transaction clean, honest, and transparent is largely up to the buyer and the seller. Sadly, not all sellers in Shopee are legit.
Does this mean you should not shop in Shopee?
Of course not. This only means that you need to be extra careful when buying items that you expect to be nothing but authentic. Here's a guide I wrote on how to spot counterfeit products and avoid them.
Questions you should ask to spot a fake item
Below is a list of questions you should ask yourself before placing your order.
Did you read the item description? (Duh!)
This sounds common sense but the truth is, not all shoppers read. To rule misunderstanding out of the equation, do take the time to actually read the description.
If it says replica, imitation, and class A right from the get-go, then you just save yourself a lot of time.
Note: Just so you know, Shopee doesn't allow counterfeit items in the platform. In fact, they run an online quality check from time to time.
So eventually, fake items parading as brand names are removed. But the keyword is "eventually". A counterfeit seller might make a sale or two first before Shopee spots it.
Or not at all. There's tons of products and Shopee can only check so much.
Is the price too good to be true?
If the price is too good to be true, it probably is. The cheaper an item than it's original price, the more likely that it's a counterfeit.
There are exceptions, of course. So ask the seller why it's cheaper than usual and see if her explanation makes sense.
Did you ask for proof of authenticity?
Some knockoff manufacturers are amazingly good at imitating designer items, that, to untrained eyes, the difference is too subtle to notice. But if you do your research and do it well, you should be able to differentiate a fake from authentic.
There are plenty of blogs out there dedicated to giving authentication guidelines on specific luxury items. Google is your friend.
Ask for proof, regardless of whether the seller's explanation about the cheap price makes sense or not. The serial number, photos of logo and code, whatever you need.
Did you read the reviews?
When reading reviews, don't just read that specific item's reviews. Read the overall shop's review. If there are customers who specifically complained about product authenticity, it's probably best that you avoid the shop altogether.
Read the worst reviews first
Read the seller's worst reviews first. If you don't find any authenticity issues even from its worst reviews, then it's possible that the seller is selling legit items.
Be wary of items and shops with zero reviews
If you're buying a really expensive item that you can't afford to screw up, then I advice you from buying anything from that shop. It's just too risky.
Go for shops with reviews, and preferably, the more reviews, the better. Some scammers buy from their own shop and write 5-star reviews to lure in unsuspecting buyers.
If the item passes this checklist, chances are, it's probably authentic and safe to buy the item.
By the way, here's a ₱100 discount. Just enter code PISOP222 on the checkout page and 100 pesos will be deducted from your order. Note: This code only works if this is your Shopee account's first order.
What to do if you receive a fake item
Like most things in life, ordering from Shopee isn't 100% guarantee that you won't get in trouble. In the event that you're scammed despite your best efforts, that's where Shopee comes in.
I decided to call Shopee to ask about the process and got an agent named Owa.
Here's what I learned: The good thing about shopping with a third party (Shopee) is it's much secure than the usual buyer-seller transaction. This is due to the feature called Shopee Guarantee.
Shopee Guarantee protects users by withholding the payment to Sellers until the Buyer confirms the receipt of the order. Once the Buyer accepts the order, the payment will be released to the Seller.Source: help.shopee.ph
This means the seller can't just run away with your money. So in case you receive a counterfeit product, do the following:
1. Communicate with your seller first.
Give your seller the benefit of a doubt and a chance to convince you that the item is authentic. You could possibly just be mistaken as well.
But if the fakeness of the item is too obvious not to notice, and she still insists it's authentic despite the screaming proof that it isn't, file for a return/ refund request. ASAP.
2. Request for a Shopee return and refund
- Submit a return/ refund request in the Shopee app. Go to Me -> To Receive.
- Tap on the affected order.
IMPORTANT: Do NOT click "Order Received". Click anywhere in the highlighted square below but NOT on the "Order Received" button. Otherwise, the system will tag your order as received with no further issues and release the money to the seller.
- Tap Return Refund.
- Fill out the reason why you think the item is counterfeit and upload photos and proof proving your claim. Tap Submit.
IMPORTANT: Write a detailed explanation that's easy for Shopee reviewers to understand.
3. The seller will then dispute your claim.
In a perfect world, the seller should just approve the return and your refund follows. But in most cases, he/she will try to dispute your claim.
4. Shopee will decide.
Using the info both you and the seller provided in the app, Shopee will make a decision.
That's why it's important that you send photos and write an easy to understand explanation detailing why the item is a counterfeit.
You'd probably have a better chance of winning the dispute if you call Shopee after filing the return. This is just an educated guess, but you can try.
How to take advantage of Shopee's buyer protection
- Under no circumstances should you agree to a transaction outside Shopee. If you do, and the item turns out to be fake, Shopee isn't liable to help you. And they won't.
- Do not communicate with your seller outside Shopee app, either. Every interaction should happen in the app.
- If the seller proposes to conduct the transaction outside Shopee, that's a big red flag.
Hope this helps with your shopping.