The red-haired girl needs warm boots for the winter, so we go online for some UGG boots.
“And they’re really a great price,” she says. ”Only 64 euros.”
Completely unaware of the hundreds of sites out there selling fake UGG boots, of which the list at left is merely one page of dozens to scroll through, and also unaware that these boots go for about four times the website’s price in German stores, I go to uggbootssale-de.com, register, and order the boots.
I key in my Mastercard details and hit Payment, but get an error message. Something about the bank fraud scan failing, and that I should try again with another card.
Hah, but what’s this? The message is written in sing-song English, has a number to call in case of error with a Chinese country code, and hey, why is there Chinese writing up there in the top corner?
Then I go back for a closer look at this dog’s mess of a website over which I’d just spewed my credit card information right down to the three-digit code on the back.
Now, I’m not saying they’re selling fake UGG boots. Maybe they actually are the real thing and they just fell off the back of a truck, but take a look at that site. Gawd, what a mess. The formatting is all over the place. The home page is in German, but when you register, you hit a button labeled login in English.
Then when you click on an item to buy, up comes another page with the text in English and the buttons in Italian. So I now know that Aggiungi al carello means put in shopping cart, sucker.
Already having ignored so many red flags I thought I was standing blindfolded on Tiananmen Square, I write an email anyway asking why, when I key in my credit card details, I get an error message from China.
Back comes the answer overnight: