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I made a purchase (via a debit card but without the PIN, so I believe that falls under credit card rules) and upon further investigation I'm pretty sure the site is fake and will shut down without a trace in a month or so.

I could wait the 2 weeks for them to "Ship", and at some point in the future I could dispute the charge, but I'm fairly sure they will be closed by then. If they are closed and the credit card company (visa) will still allow a "Charge-back" I'd be fine, but I'm guessing it's not going to be that easy.

What can I do now (while the store is still collecting charges) to improve my chances of recovering my money if (when) I don't get my product.

Extra details:

Spelling errors, company location, email address, price, "Items sold" indicator moving back and forth over a small range all indicate that I made an expensive mistake.

The only positive is that they accept credit cards which usually makes you safe, but if they were in china or Russia (The address given is obviously a front) then they can ghost and not pay the charge-back so I'm guessing it will be more difficult for me to recover my money.

Any suggestions (aside from beating me up for being so stupid which I've got covered) would be greatly appreciated.

RESULT/follow-up:

We ended up waiting the month or so and then reporting the purchase as a fraud. The credit card company refunded our money after a month or so.

It would have been nice if I could have helped them save themselves the money but at least it wasn't a problem for me.

  • I'd call your card company and let them know now, looks very much like a scam site, fake counters and domain registered in the last few weeks. You should be covered in either case, but if you say something now they could get it reversed before the scammers actually profit, that'd be nice. – Hart CO Jan 5 at 1:16
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    @quid Merchants do pay chargebacks, but if the card company can't collect then they have to cover it. Customer covered in either case. – Hart CO Jan 5 at 1:18
  • I would be more concerned about getting your debit card replaced so they can't go for broke on charging it when they shut down. As Hart CO said, you should contact your bank now - they may look into it themselves or at least put a flag on the card in case the "vendor" does decide to make completely fraudulent charges. – IllusiveBrian Jan 5 at 1:59
  • @quid It all depends on the situation. If the cause was merchant fraud related, like item not delivered, then the acquiring bank (merchant's) will pay, which will try to pass it on to the merchant. If the cause was card stolen, and the card was not present, the acquirer is also responsible. If the cause was card stolen and the card was present, then the issuer (cardholder's bank) pays. – user71659 Jan 5 at 2:09
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    We called shopify, they seem to just put together sites--they had no interest in helping or discussing the site at all. We called the credit card company but they said vaguely that they might help us recover our money from them if they failed to deliver--it didn't sound promising - they said they can't do anything until they fail to deliver (Hence my asking here if anyone knew of something I could do now). – Bill K Jan 5 at 4:24
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Apart from writing to your bank and notifying the e-commerce site (if it's an aggregator, you can also file a complaint with local authorities. Depending on the amount it may or may not make sense.

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    I think there's an ) missing, and I think it should go after "aggregator", but I'm not sure. You may want to add it yourself. – a CVn Jan 6 at 17:32
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It does not fall under credit card protection. You should never ever use a debit card. By the time the debit card came out congress had been bought by the banks and they stripped out all the consumer protection from these things. Which is why Clark Howard calls them piece of trash fake visas/mastercards for decades. IF you bought with a credit card you can just go online and dispute the charge. In this situation it might be possible to get the cash back in your account but I am not sure.

Good luck and I hope you learned your lesson about debit cards.

FYI I have an ATM card from Chase and Schwab so I never run into this problem and still can get cash.

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    It doesn't fall under credit card protection law. It does fall under consumer protection contracts of (1) the credit card processing network such as Visa/Mastercard/Discover/American Express and (2) the bank (card issuer) terms and conditions. If you are seen as a desirable customer, the bank is probably providing debit protections equal to the credit protections (and both better than the bare minimum required by law). If you are a sub-prime customer, banks probably offer bare minimum protection on credit cards and significantly less than that on debit cards. – Ben Voigt Feb 4 at 21:54

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