Retailers You Should Never Order From

Even those of us who consider ourselves savvy when it comes to online shopping may be susceptible to the latest round of compelling e-commerce scams flooding the Internet.

That’s because an array of online retailers based abroad (frequently in China) are tempting our budget-minded style consciousness with deals that appear eye-poppingly good, on clothes that are right on trend and apparently super cute… according to the photos used to market them.

But it turns out — as many recent examples have shown — that those deals can simply be too good to be true, and those persuasive photos are merely ripoffs from legit retailers.

Burned shoppers report a range of problems like receiving items way off scale from the size they ordered, waiting months for items to arrive (when the event for which they’d wanted the wardrobe had long past), to discovering the item was unsatisfactory — but finding the return process expensive or impossible. Some even report having their credit card information stolen and used abroad after the purchase.

Even the pros aren’t immune to the pull of these sites: Consumer and money-saving expert Andrea Woroch says she too fell victim: “I ordered a necklace that took almost three weeks before it arrived at my house and the cost to return ship these items made the return process nearly pointless!”

Justin Lavelle, the communications director for online background check platform BeenVerified, says buyers must beware. “There are many overseas clothing companies today offering [what they advertise as] gorgeous and trendy clothes for next to nothing,” he says. “They show images of the clothes on models that look amazing. But what you see on their site and what you get are usually two different things — cheap fabrics, unrealistic sizing, and impossible returns and refunds.”

Lavelle advises shoppers protect themselves by sticking to well-known U.S. companies — and companies with positive reviews. Then, he suggests, familiarize yourself with your chosen company’s sizing chart, as well as its return policies, to make sure the window is adequately long to complete a transaction.

Jeremy Gin, who is the co-founder and CEO of the review tool SiteJabber, adds that consumers should use caution when entering credit card info. “We always recommend that if you do decide to buy from an online merchant, use a major credit card with strong fraud protection,” he says. “Your credit card company can be an ally if something goes wrong. You can ask for a charge back and they can protect you from other unscrupulous charges.”

Gin also suggests following your gut when small details seem off. “Check all unfamiliar sites for professionalism: Typos, bad grammar and poor design can all be indicators of an online business that will not offer its customers a good experience.”

Overall, every one of the experts we interviewed echoed the same refrains: “You usually get what you pay for,” and “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

With that being said, here are some companies to steer clear of no matter what. (Of note, several are owned by the same shady and shape-shifting company Shenzhen Globalegrow E-Commerce Co. Ltd., also known as Global Egrow.)