Tips to avoid being duped when buying online

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(CNN Philippines) – Buying gadgets online may be convenient, but it's not without disadvantages. There's always a risk when shopping online.

Rica Dimaano, a frequent online shopper, shared her horror story. She ordered three power banks worth P4,300 from an online seller with tens of thousands of followers on Instagram back in October 2014, but until now she has not received her orders.

Dimaano said that whenever she would try to contact the seller, her calls would be dropped. She said she was even blocked on Instagram.

She has lost hope that she would receive the power banks or be able to get a refund.

There are many other tales of consumers being deceived online. Avoid being one of them by following these tips:

1. Be knowledgeable and read thoroughly.

A gadget gaining popularity online are high-end models of iPhones and Samsung smartphones with prices as low as P4,500.

They are marketed as a "Korean copies," which simply means they are clone phones. The phones look almost like these top smartphone brands, but they're not genuine.

Be knowledgeable, not only about the latest trends in the tech world, but particularly about the latest in the counterfeit tech world.

Most online advertisements will tell you if a gadget is authentic or a counterfeit. Check for these keywords: authentic, genuine, original, dupe, copy, clone.

2. Deal with trusted sellers from trusted sites.

Blogger Helga Webber recently had an issue with one of the more famous online shopping sites in Southeast Asia.

She bought a branded hair curler that claimed to be authentic. When the package arrived, she found out that she paid the high price for a counterfeit.

The atrocious spelling on the packaging gave it away. She was also able to compare the package she received with an original and this solidified that what she received was a counterfeit.

Keep in mind that reputable websites may not necessarily have reputable sellers.

Do your research from feedback of other customers. Know about their experiences on transacting with the seller and on the product they have received.

3. Canvas.

It's important to check the original price in stores before canvassing the price online. If the price online is way too glaring from the original price, be in doubt. The seller may not be letting you know of product defects, or worse, the seller may completely be bogus.

4. Ask questions.

Pepper the seller with question on what you further need to know about the gadget you are planning to buy. After all, you're giving them your hard-earned cash.

5. If you're meeting up with an online seller to buy a gadget, inspect thoroughly.

Although with safety risks, it's still best to meet up with an online seller before buying a gadget.

Check for dents and scratches, especially on the gadget's screen. Play a video to check if there are no dead pixels and the speakers and earphone jack are working fine.

Press all buttons, especially the power button, to know if all are responsive.

Make sure all advertised accessories are included in your package, such as cables, plugs, and earphones. Test all included accessories to make sure all are working.