Readers E-mail – Is this a scam website? What can I do?

This e-mail came through from a ValueIreland.com reader recently. For the moment, I’m going to blank out the company name as I think the short answer to the question is no.

I ordered a hamper from ******* **** ******* based in Co Clare over a month ago. They have not delivered it and they do not respond to my enquiries or answer the phone but their website is still open to take money off people.

Have there been any complaints about them, is this a scam website? How do I contact them?

Back in June, I put together a series of top tips on what to watch out for on website when you’re shopping online – you can read those tips here.

Following those tips when checking out the website from the reader, there is a Company Registration Office entry with an address that matches the “real world” address for the company that is provided on the website. The website also provides a proper phone number on the site.

While they’re only cursory checks, it doess look like it might be a legitimate business website.

It is however still concerning that the company isn’t responding to the communication from their customers.

In situations like this, a little perseverance is required on the part of the customer to try to make contact. E-mails should be sent, phone calls made, and even a registered letter should be sent.

In all communications, the customer should be clear on what their expectations are from the business – are they looking for a refund, or are they still insisting on delivery of their order.

Of course, at the moment, given the “current economic climate”, the business may be undergoing some difficulties – which if it’s the case, they should really close down their site from accepting any further orders.

I did do a quick internet search for the company but couldn’t find any negative commentary about the business or the website.

If the company still refuses to respond to the customer, you can probably take it that they’re not acting in good faith.

In situations like this, it can be hard to chase down getting a refund or getting their order delivered. It could potentially be more effort than the original money handed over is worth.

However, the first thing to do would be to lodge a claim to the Small Claims Court – assuming the order doesn’t exceed €2000 in value. The cost of making a claim is €15 and can be done online.

If the business continues to ignore communications, including now from the Small Claims Court, then the claim will be automatically treated as undisputed. The District Court will then make an order in your favour (without you having to attend court) for the amount claimed, and direct that it be paid within a short specific period of time.

If the business doesn’t pay up in response to the District Court order, then you can arrange to send the Court Order (Decree) to the Sheriff for collection – but you will incur further costs if you do this – but this will be refunded to you if the Sheriff succeeds in executing the Court Order. There’s no guarantee either that the Sheriff will be successful in getting the money either.

While this can all seem like a pain to do, I think that it’s essential that consumers should go to this length if business attempt to rip them off. It’s because many consumers don’t do this that many business are brave enough to continue to do it – they incur no consequences because of their activities.

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One Response to Readers E-mail – Is this a scam website? What can I do?

  1. Andrew November 15, 2010 at 01:21 #

    Assuming that you paid by credit card, contact the card company and tell them that you want to cancel the transaction. They don’t like doing this and will contact the offending retailer themselves. My experience is that people listen.

    They even got BT to answer the phone!

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