Personal electronics websites too good to be true


12/2/2008

Calgary, Alberta – The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers of a number of websites purportedly selling personal electronics, but failing to deliver product after receiving payment by wire transfer.

The outfit, most recently operating as Qbelam.com and Circuitown.com, advertises a variety of personal electronics including PS3s and laptop computers at discounted rates, and the website gives a number of options available for payment.  However, when interested parties try to check out, they are sent a message stating that the only available method of payment is wire transfer.

“Anytime you’re being asked to pay for something by a wire transfer service, that should be a huge red flag,” said BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenays spokesperson Daniel MacDonald.  “Once money has been sent, there’s no way to get it back – using a credit card to pay for items online provides a great deal more security.”

According to verbal complaints to BBB, which have all been lodged from the United States, the products ordered may never be delivered.  Further, the organization seems to change its name and URL frequently: in recent weeks it has appeared as Bargain Town, Qbelam, Circuitown, and now Cesa Room with a Calgary address.

A BBB staff member posed as a customer and contacted the organization under the guise of buying a laptop – she indicated she wished to pay using a credit card, and received a message back indicating that “due to high rate of fraudulent activity” they would only accept a wire transfer from consumers outside of Canada.  As the BBB operative had indicated she was a Canadian resident, it appears that the return message was automatically generated, intending to dupe citizens of other countries.

BBB recommends consumers research companies they intend to solicit online, and to never send money to an unknown recipient.  And, of course, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. (http://calgary.bbb.org/WWWRoot/SitePage.aspx?site=154&id=83aca452-4703-433a-a1d4-db2dfc0e5bef&art=8073)

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