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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2825 - June 13, 2012 - ISSN 1539-5065    1 of 3

Counterfeit Goods Sneak on to Daily Deal Websites

By Ina Steiner
June 13, 2012

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The Washington Post's Daily Deals website, The Capitol Deal, had to respond to customer complaints that one of its deals was a counterfeit product. On June 7th, it posted the following letter to customers on its Facebook page about a Casio watch it recently featured:

Attention G-Shock purchasers:
We are sorry to hear that you are concerned about the watch you received from SwagShopCentral. We are absolutely offering refunds to ANYONE who is unsatisfied with their watch for ANY reason.

While we verified the authenticity of the watch ourselves - and have received photos from customers of watches that appear to be identical to the sample we had authenticated by Casio - we are taking each of your complaints very seriously.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE A REFUND, please send your watch back to the return address from your package (SwagShopCentral / 7721 A West Belfort St. / PMB 157 / Houston, TX 7707) and send an email to capitoldeal@gmail.com containing the tracking number of your package.

A number of you have already begun doing this, and those people will receive a full refund once we have independently verified that the product has been returned. We will also add a $10 to your account on The Capitol Deal to offset the cost of shipping. Thank you for your patience and cooperation.

However, Facebook fans responding to the letter were not convinced that the items that customers had received were authentic, and questioned the site's approach in requesting that products be returned to the merchant.

"Aren't you making customers liable for fraud by encouraging them to ship counterfeit goods back across state lines," asked one commentor.

The next day a customer wrote, "The Capitol Deal has sent me a prepaid label to return THEM the watches (they want to investigate) and I will, once I confirm with authorities that this is acceptable."

According to Geekwire, daily deal site Tippr was forced to offer a full refund after suspecting the same merchant of supplying it with fake Bose headsets priced at $49.

A representative of Tippr told Geekwire that "they take great strides to make sure that the merchandise sold through the site is authentic, noting that the company is pursuing legal action against SwagShopCentral for misrepresentation and breach of contract."

Incredibly, the address that The Capitol Deal told customers to return their purchases to is a mailbox-rental Postal Center. The website for SwagShopCentral is registered to a private domain, and there is a donate button on its website that says, "Your donations will go to different organizations to help someone in need. Such as Diabetes, Breast-cancer awareness and more! Thank you."

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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