Almost trampled by fake ugg boots

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:

     We have accept  pay with a Mastercard. You can try it again or you can use another card to pay it. Thank you !
Right.  Fully aware my credit card could be in danger of being hit for something I now want nothing to do with, I phone Lufthansa’s Card Control hotline.
Whenever I buy something online, I get a text message right after it goes through saying what was ordered, where, how much it cost, and the time of transaction.  At the bottom of the message is a number to call.
So I called it and got them to temporarily block the card.  I also wrote an email to them detailing the site I’d ordered from, asking them not to process any transaction that might be coming from them.
So the red-haired girl gets a lesson, and I get a reminder: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Like this woman who bought an iPad for 180 quid in a McDonald’s parking lot only to find she’d picked up a great bargain on a block of wood. 

7 Responses to “Almost trampled by fake ugg boots”

  1. September 1, 2011 at 10:18 am

    Well that woman in the parking lot got what she paid for🙂

  2. September 4, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    The tale of your correspondence with the faux (?) ugg folks puts me in mind of all those blogs out there that read like the words were pulled at random from a hat. I must say – the multiple languages is a nice touch, a blending of run-amok inclusivity and retail scam.

    I’ve already sent the woman’s story to a few friends in South Carolina as payback for all their cracks about Texas.😉

    • September 4, 2011 at 4:55 pm

      I still feel a little dumb just blindly filling in boxes without really thinking of what kind of site I was on. Just lucky the credit card never made it through, or we’d have a pair of junk boots headed our way already – if they weren’t nabbed at the border by customs and destroyed.

  3. 5 hmunro
    September 9, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    Don’t feel *too* dumb, Ian! Most of us have made a similar mistake at some point. (Ask me about the Lithuanian software company sometime …) The important thing is that you acted quickly to remedy the situation, and that you reminded the rest of us that — repeat after me — “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

  4. 7 hmunro
    September 10, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    I would have agreed with you that “Lithuanian software company” sounded a bit dodgy, except that I didn’t *know* the company was in Lithuania until after I’d handed over my credit card info. Only when I downloaded the software did I realize where the company was based. They still appear to be in business, though, so I’m guessing they’re probably legitimate — and that I was probably being a bit paranoid. Still … it was a good lesson to be more mindful of my Internet purchases.

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