Jun 14, 2013

Facebook "Shops" and Tips for safe online shopping!!

I'll warn you that this is probably going to be a big ass post. I decided to share some tips on how to find good bargains on the interwebs, especially gothy trinkets and clothing, and how to avoid getting SCAMMED. If you do your shopping online regularly, like me, please read the whole thing. I promise it will be helpful! :)

Every day, it pains me to see on my facebook wall these "Facebook online stores" popping out of nowhere. People are getting scammed by them constantly even if they don’t realize it. So, the first tip is:

Be Careful of what you buy in FACEBOOK

What happens frequently on Facebook is this so called 'stores' selling products that they don't actually have. I'm not saying that they are going to keep your money and wont ship the product, they will, but they don't actually have it. What happens is the following:
(1) You make your payment for the item you want, they don't have it, so they (2) order it from ANOTHER store that sells it cheaper (usually eBay) and (3) when it arrives they will send it to you. So basically you are paying for what can be double or triple the price the item was being sold originally (on eBay).
 This is obviously a scam, it's the exact same thing as me, Shino, going to H&M, purchase a skirt and then post it online and try to sell it for much more than it cost me. It's also worth mentioning that this clothes and accessories are 99.99% from China and the quality isn't the best, so the products are definitely not worth the money you are paying for them. These are cheaply made items that are only worth the money if you get them for a cheap price. Some of these "stores" ask ridiculous amount of money for REALLY crappy items.
Many times they will say the item is out of stock, but they can still order it if you want it, this is a load of crap, since the item was never in "stock" in the first place. All items are ordered after you make the payment so they can buy them with your money (and keep the change!).

In some rare cases these "shops" actually have the items in stock, they probably order 4/5 units from each product they're selling in order to not look suspicious. 
Another not so rare case is, instead of using the "store" facade people are selling these items like they were second hand, like they actually belonged to the seller once, to give it a little bit more credibility. Usually they sell it cheaper than the rest of the scammy FB stores, but they still make profit the same way.

Here are some examples:

The good thing about these FB stores, is that they are lazy/dumb enough to use the same photo as the original seller, so it makes it so much easier to find the original (I'll show you the best trick EVER, to find the original store bellow). But basically they use the same pic, because they DON'T have the item, so they can't take pictures of it, so they have to steal the original pic (copyrights?! who cares!).
Another funny thing is when the FB stores are even lazier (or dumber) and don't remove the original watermark from the pic, revealing the original store – priceless! (It isn't the case here tho')

I'm sorry if you can't read the description in the first pic, it's in portuguese, but in short, the seller is asking 30€ + shipping for the dress. As you can see I found the exact same one on eBay for 20.99 AU with FREE shipping, this one is coming from freaking China and the shipping is FREE. AND 20.99 AU is equivalent to 16.80€!!! (for coin conversations always go to www.xe.com) Which means you would spend double the money if you got it from Facebook - chances are, the facebook seller is getting the dress from this exact eBay store.

Another example:

Corsets are probably the most popular clothing items on FB stores. Mainly because people have this idea that ALL corsets are expensive, I mean, real expensive, so 49$ seems pretty cheap and an awesome bargain. The thing is, really expensive corsets, have really good quality (well, obviously not always… but mostly). This corset it's definitely not even worth the supposedly cheap 49$, its price on eBay is actually 16.50$, ridiculous, uh? I'm not saying you shouldn't buy this corset (or other products from China) at all. Hell, I buy a bunch of asian goodies all the time :D The thing is, it's only worth it when you pay the right price. These items were cheaply made so they have to be cheap! It's as simple as that.

So the question is:

How can I tell the difference from a trust worthy store and a "fake" one?  

How can I make sure the items aren't from eBay or similar stores?

Well, first of all, I think you can tell a lot by the design and photos of the store.

This is Kristine, and you can tell it's a registered brand because of the little ® in her logo. I can guarantee you none of the previous FB stores shown are registered or pay any taxes - they are illegal. In this case, Kristine does her own clothes, but there are other examples of stores that sell products from other brands that are perfectly trust worthy.

You can also see by her gallery that there is a consistency of design and styling in all the pics. You know this was done by the same person or at least, they were all done for this specific store. The fake FB stores, usually (tho' not always) use photos that aren't theirs and they don't have permission to do so. Generally the look of their photo albums is much more messy (in terms os consistent design), the models will probably be asian and sometimes the watermark in the picture isn't even the same as the store name.
Kristine is just one good example, there are many, you just have to be careful, take a good look at the store first before you make an order.

Another good advice is to see what kind of brands is the store selling. When it comes to goth clothing the brands are pretty well known, Lip Service, Necessary Evil, Hell Bunny, Spin Doctor, etc, etc - if a store is selling items from well-known brands the probabilities of it being a trust worthy store are MUCH higher, it means the store has to be legal/registered to be able to sell them (pays taxes and whatnot). If a gothic store sells ONLY off-brand products - be suspicious.

Also, prefer the stores that have an actual store or online store besides FB.

How to avoid the Scammers!

I will now reveal your biggest weapon on unmasking scammers! Which is: Google Image Tracker!! (bless you google).
I'll explain you how this works :)

 You found an item that you like on a FB store but you kinda think the store is a little bit fishy? Right-click with your mouse on the image and select "view image"

On another tab go to google and on google's menu select "Images".

Now back to the corset image, left click on it (don't let go of your finger!!) and drag the image to the Google Images tab.

 Drag it to the tab and don't let go of your finger! Wait until Google Images shows up.

 Now drag your image to the search bar and a little box will show up telling you to drop the image there.

Now, google will search for that image on the interwebs :D This means, any store or site using that pic will show up. Usually eBay, amazon, kaboodle and alibaba are the top sites. Search the links and find the best bargain!

Et voil√†! Your initial item, for half the price. 
Do this every time you're considering buying something from FB! It will take you 2 seconds, and you will find the cheapest things this way :D

Obviously you can also use the "old school" method which is typing in the eBay search bar "pink corset black lace" (for example) and it will also get you there. Although this method isn´t very helpful when you want something but you're not quite sure how to describe it.



What you see is not what you get

The irony of this all, is that even some items you see on ebay are not the exact same items you are going to get.

I've seen this corset so many times on eBay! Or should I say… I saw this pic on eBay so many times, since the original corset is from Miss Katie and it's priced at £340.00, so the ones on eBay, priced at around 20 dollars, are obviously low quality replicas.
You have to keep in mind that LOTS of stuff (if not the majority) coming from China are replicas, and not the "real" stuff. Some stores will trick you by showing the original photo, or even photos of magazines but some will show the replica's photo (the one you will actually get). But every time I order from China I keep my expectations "real", which means, if you paid very little for a product don't expect AMAZING quality! You will probably get "ok" quality and sometimes "good" quality... or you can also get terrible quality. Sometimes it's a bit of a gamble. You have to decide if it's worth it.

I order these sunglasses from eBay a couple months ago. They are a Prada replica, they are priced at around 300€, but the replica cost me 3€. Yeah they are made of cheap plastic, not the best quality, but hell, they were 3€! If they break, no problem, I can buy a new pair if I want to.

A video comparing the original and replica corsets:

See more photos and read more about it here: http://fairygothmother.co.uk/blog/2011/07/the-difference-between-copy-corsets-and-the-real-thing/

Learn the no-nos of asian shopping

So you saw a pic of a lovely asian girl with a beautiful skirt, you order the skirt and it happens that the skirt is a lot smaller/shorter than the one in the pic. That can happen for two reasons: one, the pic you saw was the "original" skirt and you got the replica and two, the most common, that skirt runs too small because it's sized for asian girls and not for westerns. Asian clothes are made for very petit frames and it's actually rare to see anything tagged with the size Large or bigger. Mostly what you find is XS, S, M and “one size fits all” - don't fall for that, one size definitely does not fit ALL, it will probably stretch to a small Medium at most.
My advice is to buy one size bigger than what you usually wear, OR read carefully the size charts if provided.
I would also advise to stay away from mini-skirts, they usually look more like belts, and sheer fabrics. If it looks sheer on the pic, it will probably be completely see through in real life. 

Alrighty, I think that's it!
Here's a little summary of some tips to help you remember!

1. If you are thinking about buying from FB take a good look at the store before making your purchase - the design, what kind of brands they sell and if they have a website.

2. Use and abuse of Google Image Tracker.

3. Keep your expectations REAL when buying chinese products.

4. Stay away from mini-skirts and sheer fabric.

5. One size does NOT fit all.

Hope you found this helpful!


  1. From a last decade I was searching such type of website On Online Shopping Stores.Thanks for giving me a space in your blog. I refer this to my close friends who are already seeking for the same .Thanks again guys…

  2. To check whether a site is legit usually, I do follow a simple checklist to see how well they do, especially when I need to part money with the site; 1) Does the site have a current SSL certificate? 2) Use WhoisXY.com to check the whois information and check whether the contact information matches with the one in the website. 3) In the domain contact details, is there a valid email address. 4) Is there a valid phone number visible, and does it work ? 5) Go through review about them using Unmaskparasites.com and check whether they are scam free. If I am satisfied with the result then I purchase a small priced article and if it is delivered safely and promptly then I go to purchase my desired product. You also can follow the steps that I do...In general, anyone who is trying to do legitimate business on the web will go out of their way to try and make it clear that they are legitimate. So if a site has not even done the bare basics to give customers enough confidence to buy they're products, then it is almost certainly some sort of scam.