Muscat: An investigation by Oman’s consumer watchdog into an alleged scam by a popular e-commerce store, wherein it sold counterfeit goods and electronic gadgets, is currently underway.

The store in question sold a large number of items, including electronic gadgets that were marked at prices that were considerably lower than their market price, to over approximately 68,600 customers who had purchased goods from their online store.

Owing to legal reasons, the store cannot be named until legal proceedings against them are concluded, according to the Sultanate’s Public Authority for Consumer Protection (PACP).

Counterfeit products

PACP added that some customers who had purchased these allegedly counterfeit products had come forward to lodge a complaint with them.

On compilation of complaints, PACP found that customers had been defrauded of an estimated OMR 2,500 by making purchases via the portal.
That number could go up as more and more people continue to lodge their complaints with the PACP about the alleged scam being run by this website.

Speaking exclusively to Times of Oman, an official from the Public Authority for Consumer Protection said, “We are still working to find out the extent of the damage caused by this scam. People have lost at least OMR2500, which translates to a large number of goods because the store sold goods for a much lower price than they’d be sold for elsewhere.”

According to him, the investigation will continue because of the large number of products sold through the store. Since it was a portal for people to receive products via a neighbouring country, this meant that the source of the products varied. Some of the goods bought had been genuine and priced correctly, while others were suspicious.

He added: “It (the website) sold a large variety of goods that were being shipped in from elsewhere, and so some of the goods did not have any issues, but others were fake and malfunctioning. “The store itself did not have seem to have an advertised address, and so our team was forced to track down the warehouses connected to the e-store in order to discover the details of the fraud that was going on.”

The official said that some of the gadgets sold by the site had malfunctioned, which led to a large number of reports about the e-store. Since the investigation was ongoing, he urged Times of Oman readers to report any similar cases they had to the PACP.

The PACP official said: “People bought gadgets thinking they were genuine, and they were for prices that were too good to be true. We discovered that these gadgets were not only fake, but they also malfunctioned. If anyone has had an experience where they bought goods online and they turned out to be fake, they should call the PACP at 80077997.”

One of the alleged scam victims also came forward to tell their story to Times of Oman. He was a victim of a scam from an e-store in Oman just last month.

“I saw an advertisement on Facebook about a toy kitchen set and decided to buy it. They [the store] confirmed my purchase order and they didn’t deliver,” said the victim, who added that he attempted to refund the order after a month of waiting for the toy to arrive, but the store did not respond to him.”

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