With bikes currently in high demand globally, it has become increasingly difficult to get the bike you want when you want it, with delivery times often several months – and in response we’re hearing more reports of bogus websites trying to separate people from their money for bikes that don’t exist, apparently offering deals that sound too good to be true, because they are.
While that alone may sound the alarm bells for many potential buyers who will quickly realize that they are in danger of being scammed, what the operators of such sites are betting on is that human nature being what it is. is, others will place an order and never see the bike, or their money, again.
Here’s an example we’ve spotted in the last few days claiming to be a site for Merida, although there are a few freebies out there including an author’s website URL (typically scam sites will use a URL that looks more convincing. , sure ).
Other clues that all is not as it seems in this specific case is that although it is apparently a Merida site, it also sells other brands, such as Giant and its women’s brand Liv, and the use of words like “Cheap” or “Best Savings” next to product names – not the kind of copy you would typically see on an official site.
Dive deeper into the site and there are more warning signs – click on “About Us” and you will be told that “Founded in 2012, we are one of the most popular online knife retailers. from Great Britain. and provide top notch customer service across the UK.
This reflects the fact that it’s not just people looking to buy a bike who are targeted – any expensive purchase by a potential consumer is a fair game for scammers.
Further down on the same page it says: âOur Winning Services delivery team reaches 95% of all warehouses in Great Britain from local warehouses in every state, and for most metropolitan areas we deliver next day. . At Appliances Online, we always say yes in a world that says no, even if it means rebelling against convention.
A few red flags there, then, and a sign that these operations are multinational in their approach, with more appropriate wording in the United States than in the United Kingdom.
We are in contact with someone who fell victim to a separate fake website and will soon share their story on road.cc, and another bogus site where a buyer lost their money was recently reported by Single piece.
The problem of bogus websites, which include bogus companies selling on platforms like Facebook, is an issue that major bicycle brands have been aware of for many years now, and in addition to trying to take action on them. close – actually a nut-a-mole game, since scammers will just pop up somewhere else under a new URL – they also provide advice to customers on how to avoid getting scammed.
The Trek GB website, for example, has a page devoted to how to identify a website that appears to be the American brand, but in fact may be trying to rip you off, as follows:
The case is too good to be true
If an ad tells you that the bike you want is now 70% -90% off, it is lying to you. Do not click on the ad. Don’t give them your money or any personal information.
Contact details are suspect
Trek and our retailers hold themselves to a very high standard of customer service. If you can’t reach the person you’re buying from, don’t buy from them.
The site is relatively new
You can check how long a website has been around by entering it in archive.org. If the site is brand new and has big discounts, don’t buy anything from them.
The site does not ask you to choose a preferred retailer
All current Trek bicycle models ordered online must be delivered to an authorized Trek dealer for assembly. If you are not prompted to select a retailer to send a bike to, do not purchase from the site. Previous model year Trek bikes can be delivered direct to consumers, but only through an authorized retailer’s website or BikeExchange.com.
The company also provides information on how to verify if a site is genuine, such as using an online tool such as ScamDoc.com to verify it, calling or emailing your local Trek dealer, or by contacting Trek customer service directly.
Scott is another company that has taken action against bogus websites.
In 2018, BikeBiz reported The Swiss-based company’s brand director, Reto Aeschbacher, said: âAs an innovative brand, Scott has long faced legal issues related to product piracy and bogus suppliers.
âThere are a growing number of well-organized fake online stores with criminal intent to attract consumers – they look pretty genuine at first glance. “
Of course, it’s not just the bogus websites that may come as a surprise, with a thriving industry operating primarily in China selling counterfeit cycling components, clothing, and even complete bikes – as noted. in a long series of articles on BikeBiz in 2016.
As always, the term Warning – that the buyer is wary – applies. And while we don’t know if the crooks behind the website we’ve highlighted here have a sense of humor, one of the books by the author whose site was hijacked perhaps sums up their victims. … The trunk.
We have frequently written on road.cc over the past few months about the current shortage of bicycles in Britain resulting from supply chain disruption and increased demand for people to cycle both for the exercise and transportation.
> When will Britain’s bicycle shortage end?
Bicycle suppliers cannot meet current demand – they can sell virtually any model they can get their hands on at full retail price without any problems – so the chances of a bike being offered legitimately with a significant discount are slim. In other words, if a website is promising good business right now, double check that everything is as it seems before you part with your money. Find and call a phone number, and / or call the relevant UK distributor to verify credentials.