'How do they sleep at night?' Mum duped buying son online present

person playing Nintendo switch

Mum Laura Freeman bought a Nintendo Switch online and is still waiting for it to arrive. - Credit: Archant library

More shoppers from Norfolk and Waveney have come forward after being duped by rogue online traders.

Laura Freeman, 40, who lives near Lowestoft, Suffolk, ordered a Nintendo Switch console for her 11-year-old son’s Christmas present.

“I saw one online and it looked genuine - it was coming from the US and I paid through PayPal," she said.

"But I never received a confirmation email and when my husband and I looked into it, the ‘firm’ was registered to a residential address in China and the phone number had a voicemail saying: ‘I’ve had no part in this, I know nothing about it'.

“I felt sick. I reported it to PayPal but they said the seller had 10 days to come back to them. I’m usually pretty savvy and I just felt so stupid. How can those people sleep at night?”


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Claire Burgess, 41, from Attleborough, also found herself in a tricky situation after making a purchase online.

She bought a hand-casting kit online for £16.20 and was very surprised when she got some cheap jewellery with swans on it delivered from the same firm instead.

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She also paid using PayPal. After initially being told by PayPal she had to return the item to get a refund – with postage costing more than £15 – Mrs Burgess has since been given a voucher to spend on another purchase.

“If I didn’t accept this, the case would be closed in the seller’s favour, I had to take it, I felt like I had no choice.”

Shopper Claire Burgess, who bought a hand casting kit but got jewellery instead. Pic: Claire Burgess

Shopper Claire Burgess, who bought a hand casting kit but got jewellery instead. - Credit: Claire Burgess

Tips to beat the online scammers:

If you can, use PayPal to pay for goods as this means merchants (as well as hackers and thieves) only see limited personal information and a dispute can be raised. 

Check if a website has a registered address which looks genuine and a telephone number.

Do your research online by using sites like Trustpilot to see if other customers have had problems with the website before.

Be wary if a website is offering goods at heavily discounted prices.

Be wary of websites that pop up on social media sites.

Use a debit or credit card which gives you some protection. Shoppers can raise a merchant's dispute or ask for a chargeback, which reverses the transaction, from their own bank.

Be aware of where you can go for help such as Action Fraud, the Citizen's Advice Bureau or trading standards.

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