How To Avoid Suspicious Sellers on Instagram
Protect yourself and your wallet from unscrupulous accounts
On a scale of one to Instagram-shopping-is-life, how obsessed are you with buying items from Instagram sellers? Whether you’re a newbie buyer or have mastered the art of IG shopping, it wouldn’t hurt to read through these helpful tips.
Request for personalized photos.
A lot of online sellers use a photo nicked from another seller or a celebrity's Instagram account and pass it off as their own. While these are obvious red flags, there’s still a way to make sure that you’re not buying from a bogus seller. You can ask for a personalized photo of the product wherein the seller will include a piece of paper with your name written on it or any proof that there’s an actual product waiting to be shipped. Asking for photos of the product in different angles is also an option.
Ask for a second opinion.
If you're not 100% sure about a product you want to purchase—especially if it’s pricey—feel free to ask for a second opinion. Check if you have close friends who are following the account, and ask them personally if they had any experiences buying from the seller. And while asking a friend or a trusted co-worker is okay, it's worth noting that there are a ton of groups on Facebook with members who are knowledgeable about certain topics that you could also seek suggestions from. Members of these groups are usually welcoming and willing to share their thoughts without asking for anything in return.
Always look for feedback and references.
Unlike e-Commerce websites where reviews from previous buyers can be easily seen in the comments, Instagram does not have this option. Checking the tagged photos is one way of gauging the satisfaction of the customers, but it's a plus if the seller herself proactively posts buyer feedback. This is a sign that she takes the time and effort to make sure the business is being handled well, and in turn, shows how trustworthy of a seller she is.
Inquire about the mode of delivery.
When doing business with an Instagram seller, make it a point to ask for the mode of delivery. Doing this will help you find out if her courier has the ability to track or monitor the shipping and delivery of your purchased item. This way, it’ll be easy for you to decide if you still want to risk ordering the item even without a way to track the order. If the Instagram shop’s courier does, the seller should be able to provide you with the tracking number as soon as the product you ordered gets shipped out.
Check the followers.
You know what they say about quantity over quality. While having a lot of followers can insinuate that a certain Instagram seller is reliable, it’s still important to check if the said followers are actual people and not dummy accounts or bots. After all, quality always wins over quantity.
Inspect the seller’s digital footprint.
At some point in the exchange between the buyer and the seller, the buyer will be provided with the seller’s Viber account or bank details. This is where your Instagram “stalking” skills should come into play. Check if the name on the bank account matches a real person online, if her profile picture is something that’s not stolen from the internet, or if there are posts about how great or notorious this person is when it comes to online selling.
Do your research.
Make sure you know (or if not, find out) as much information as you can about the product you want to purchase online—where it’s made, when it was manufactured, what the only available colors are—to keep yourself from spending on a fake item. Do your research, read about the product as much as you can, and ask around before you proceed with the transaction.
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