I have not had the best experience with online purchases in the past and it seems like, every time I decide to give it another go, the worst happens.
OLX has been around for quite some time now. If you haven’t bought anything through it then am sure also didn’t miss the numerous adverts on TV and on billboards telling you that “Everything Sells”.
The one time I decided to try it out was in buying a perfume a few months ago. In retrospect, that is the most risky thing I could have tried buying online.
This gentleman, lets call him Ed (His real names are Edwin Kaleu) was selling Designer Perfumes with a 30% discount for anywhere between 3,000 to 4,000 . According to his OLX ad, the stock was from UK and he was doing a clearance sale. I had been looking for a Versace Yellow Diamond which I couldn’t get from any of the shops.
After doing a search online for the perfume, I landed on the OLX ads for perfumes and soon after, got to Ed’s page. After a conversation on sms, I decided to check them out and eventually bought a Giorgio Armani -Acqua Di Gio.
The long and short of it is that, Ed had sold me a fake perfume. It had all the marks of a genuine one complete with the exact packaging. I’ll spare you long frustrating details of dealing with Ed, the numerous calls to replace it as the smell wasn’t lasting whole day as designer perfumes ought to. It is only later that the realization of what just happened hits you.
The very important lessons that I took from this experience were;
1. Not everything sells – Online
If you are not able to fully test the item say for a full day or week before paying for it, then don’t buy it. Things that would fall in this category are :- Perfumes and electronics,
2. Do the transactions via trace-able means
If you are to pay, make sure you use a payment method that helps you get the seller’s full details, i.e real names, cell phone number, ID and base location. This will come in handy if cops are to be involved at some point.
3. Choose the location
Do not meet the seller at their suggested location. Choose the location that you are very comfortable in and one which gives you the upper hand just in case things go south.
4. Call out the Con if they are one.
You can always tell when the good deal starts to unravel to a well organised con. When you do, do not keep quiet, embarrassed that your friends will laugh at you for being naive. You would be surprised by the number of very bright Kenyans who are conned on a daily basis not just online but on certain deals involving huge amounts of money. Let the con know that you know. If you are bold like me, go online and write about it, even if not in a post, do it on Facebook. You will be surprised by the effect it will have.
5. Report the scam to OLX
The only way that OLX can ban the cons that lurk within their site from ever selling on their site again is when the victims report the incidents.
Follow up your report with a tweet or comment on Facebook until its acted on.
In an earlier OLX Experience organised by BAKE (Bloggers Association of Kenya), OLX admitted that they biggest challenge is identifying and weeding out the con artists on their site. I suggested that they use the same concept that True Caller uses where it crowd sources and links a phone number with a name. That way, you are able to know who you are dealing with based on collated information from other buyers online.
6. Write about it
If you have a good online presence ( a blog, lots of followers on FB or Twitter) then write about your experience giving full details of the Con. What this will do is ensure that any online sale they post links them to your article and anyone else searching will see your article and learn from your lesson.
On that note. Be very weary of any item that Edwin Kaleu, Cell phone number 0729 469 688 sells to you. I warned him that I would make sure he never sells anything on OLX or online again, he called my bluff.