I love a good bargain just as much as the next person! Its great, you open your email to see that shiny new handbag you have been coveting or the pictures of the crystal blue waters of the next holiday destination you are working towards and whats more, they are 80% off! But be wary, as my mum always said, if its too good to be true then it probably is.
The ACCC has reported that their Scamwatch service has received more than 1000 online reports about online shopping scams in 2017. Many of these reported scams consist of fake websites that look similar or almost identical to genuine online retailers. They often purport to sell brand name merchandise at low prices. The ACCC suggests that consumers check the website they are buying a product from by conducting a Google Search, checking the ABN and avoiding payments via money order, wire transfer or electronic currency.
With online retail becoming the norm, there is no doubt that there is increasing risk that scammers can infringe a business’s brand, logos or a similar website domain to trick customers into buying into scams. Whilst scam websites are clearly illegal and will likely be penalised under criminal law as they are often located overseas or set up using fake details, often if you have already paid, it is too late to get your money back.
We also highly recommend that retailers protect their intellectual property including brand names and logos so that they may take action against infringements in the worst-case scenario.
Additionally, retailers should also keep an eye out for any such websites to protect valued customers and their trust in online retail, and report such scams to the ACCC Scamwatch. Sending notifications to your customers can protect them from being scammed.
If you need advice about the legal precautions you should take with your online retail store or need assistance in protecting your intellectual property, give me a call on 1300 033 934 or email me at for a no obligation chat.