Online shoppers warned to beware of bank transfer trap

Think twice if an online trader wants to be paid by bank transfer, you will not have the protection you get when paying by credit card or online methods such as PayPal.

Just ask Ahmed Shinawi, who paid Sh58,927 for a Lenovo IdeaPad laptop from mail order firm Trade Electronics.

He says that he sent the money by bank transfer because the firm offered a 10 per cent discount, but then received a computer with only half the memory.

After complaining, the firm promised a replacement if the original was returned.

“They arranged for it to be collected and then claimed that they received an empty box,” says Mr Shinawi.

“The laptop was in the box. I called the courier and they confirmed they had delivered it.

“Now they won't send me a replacement or refund.”

Trade Electronics is a trading name of DC Digital Entertainment Ltd of Poole, Dorset, run by directors Dominic Colombo, 39, and Matthew Colombo, 19.

Mr Colombo senior is adamant the laptop was never returned, saying: “It was refused with the driver as the box was open and empty. I am not sure why the customer is stating we received the goods when we clearly did not.”

It is impossible for me to know where the truth lies, but I can say that Trade Electronics has a dismal record on Trustpilot and two outstanding County Court judgments for Sh118,715 and Sh116,705.

“We have been working with advice from trading standards to make sure any customer issue has been dealt with fairly and efficiently,” Mr Colombo insisted.

He previously ran Click+Bid Limited, which was liquidated with debts it could not pay of Sh1.9 million, his >Play>Games Limited went under owing Sh2 million, and Colombo Trading Limited was liquidated with debts of Sh65.3 million.

As for the reason it prefers payment by bank transfer, he admitted that the business does not have a credit card facility.

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