Of Getting What You Saw

Just the other day I had cause to tweet to vendors about some of the underhanded tactics they use in trapping and defrauding customers all in the name of smart marketing. It was surprising that many of my followers didn’t even know that there was such a deliberate strategy even when it had been used on them multiple times.

There are two main ones: (i) false advertising and (ii) bait and switch. There’s the third one of “kicking the can down the road” but some people will not agree that it is fraudulent. All of these tactics come from the inability of an online vendor to physically stock the goods they are selling. Stocking goods means capital intensive logistics and warehousing especially when you are not sure if you will eventually sell those goods. So what you do is primarily market it for someone else and get a commission for any sales that come through you. Harmless right? It depends.

You see where this becomes a problem is two fold. The first happens when you are selling knock off wares including shoes and wristwatches then you go on the internet and take the most glossy picture of the real authentic version and use it to market your product on the internet. Even looking at the physical quality of the item you can tell that it is nowhere near as good as the original. The material and the sewing is rough and the brand label is misspelled, all of which your advert does not disclose to the consumer. This is called false advertising and apart from the fact that selling knock-offs can get you in trouble with the original owners when they catch you, it is the deceipt of the customer that is most painful.

I know you will argue that the low low price of the item should be fair warning to any reasonable person that the item is a fake replica, but that is not a fair assumption to make as not all customers even know how much the real thing costs. Which is why it looks quite the steal when they see it splashed on your page for a fraction of the real price. The surprise is that in many third world countries like Nigeria, most customers do not care very much that it is a knock off as long as it looks exactly like what was advertised.

The second problem is where the seller deliberately uses a different, more appealing item to lure customers to her page and then as soon as the enquiries start from a potential customer she pretends to go and check the store then comes back to tell the customer that the item has been sold out but that there is another “similar” item that is even slightly less expensive. The real issue is that the seller never had that first item in store but knows that no customer would ideally buy the item they are selling in stock so they deliberately go and use something in higher demand to trap the customer then last minute offer them the lower quality thing. This is a classic ‘bait and switch’ approach that most customers fall for without even knowing it becuase it is conceivable that the seller really did run out of the actual one you wanted. It usually only becomes obvious when you are a repeat purchaser and the pattern begins to show.

The third tactic which most people are divided about is the delay tactic. So the seller never had the items, did not even have them readily in stock, took the customers order and tricks them into paying a deposit so they are trapped, then just at that time places the order for the goods to arrive from wherever in the world. Sometimes these goods take weeks to arrive and they will simply keep kicking the can down the road regarding delivery, telling the buyer all sorts of excuses and even promising a refund that never comes through. The buyer is usually eventually frustrated enough that when they finally get the items 6 weeks after, they are just happy their deposit was not lost altogether so they move on.

All of these practices are fraudulent and playing on the intelligence of customers who worked hard for their money and could easily have taken their patronage elsewhere. It creates misstrust in the mind of buyers against other vendors who are doing the right thing and overall destroyes consumer confidence. Being transparent with the consumer about what they should expect to get and how long it will take them to get it, will always remain the best standard for doing business. Capital is hard to come buy and we understand the constraints of stocking, but your costumers worked for their money and deserve better.


41 Comments Add yours

  1. Oyekeye David says:

    More sales boss


  2. Eze Maureen says:

    That’s true, I also didn’t know that such strategy existed until I experienced it from a vendor I once bought something from online


  3. Abayomi world says:

    Great words boss
    This is an eye opener.
    God bless you and God bless our businesses


  4. Officialkorede2 says:

    Of course it is quite disheartening that this kind irritating habit exist among the vendor(fraudulent one tho). This will make people not believe post put out by vendors on the internet anymore as they will believe rot is not short of deception. Hopefully the vendors put a stop to this smart move as proclaimed by them and be honest to post what they actually have. My 2 cents


  5. Real_Mamush says:

    Greater Heights boss


  6. petrishbaba says:

    This is an amazing write up
    It is really a bad thing being defraud of one’s hard earned money

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Kemi says:



  8. That’s why I dread online deals. Online, I only patronize the “quite trusted” Jumia and Konga and a certain Twitter vendor who has gained my trust with her originality and fair dealings.


  9. hakeymco says:

    If one call this out in the open, they will see you as an enemy because it’s a full time hustle for them, most fashion materials from vendor are even expensive and not genuine products, there are few genuine ones among them to stick with once you trust them, but going to store is still safer


  10. Odionyenfe Nduka says:

    Call them by whatever name you want , they’re fraudsters to me be it false advertising or kicking the can down the road . Integrity should be of prime concern to us all. Thanks


  11. They just want to make that quick money, I remember me buying a power bank online what they brought for me was die, the power bank couldn’t last 30 minutes it was dead had to put a call that I want to return it.


  12. @abb says:

    The struggle for survival has made many online vendors chose the wrong part. Customers willing to buy stuffs will have an iota of doubt which may eventually leads to serious confirm for the genuine online vendors. Hopefully they will stop the act and be genuine.


  13. Godfidence says:

    This is it..
    The factual of all is that of false advertisement and it’s alarming..
    Many have been cajoled falsely as regards product they don’t even have. Crazy how some also refer to their affixed low price as an excuse.. thanks for this. We’d think it’s normal until we become victims


  14. Ake says:

    If they continue like this they’ll continue losing customers and most people will go back to physical outlets to get items they want or just order it directly from the dealers


  15. David Madufor says:

    Sir I prefer buying from genuine vendor to avoid story that touches the heart but if nah I go Still order again from that vendor when them wan deliver the goods for me I go hold the delivery guy


  16. OluwaJomiloju says:

    To add more to it, some will basically state it on their bio- NO REFUND. Which means some customers won’t have any option after payment. When building your brand/business online TRUST is one of the major issue. Most of them just want to make quick money.


  17. Abbebullah says:

    Such strategy is very bad as many customers will not want to be jilt. This needs to be curb as soon as possible.


  18. Eddywayne says:

    What we see online and physically after delivery is false in most cases. Jumia does the same too but I rejected it ( pay on delivery) you are seeing a confirmed Facebook top online, you order and got it the next thing is Faceup. Few vendors need to keep customers not just to sell and go.


  19. Auntymuse says:

    So I wanted to impress oga and bought this panties I saw, they charged 15k, I sent money and got it 5 days later. I received it and it was trash, I sha wore it to see oga, only for oga to remove it and it tore. Imagine a pant that is supposed to be thick, tearing so easier. I cried ehh because 15k was gone, reported vendor and since then. I don’t do business with someone I haven’t seen, if you were not recommended nor my spirit accepts you.i no dey do.


  20. dr Yomi says:

    This seems justifiable on the part of the vendor but detrimental to the client or buyer.
    All the aforementioned are what most if not all the vendors are guilty of. Thanks for this boss. You’re one of the most tactical writer I have seen


  21. Officialcruz02 says:

    Vendors Should always be transparent with the consumer about what they should expect to get will always remain the best standard for doing business.
    With this People can Patronize them and recommend them.


  22. Ajibbsjr says:

    I think all mentioned here has happened on Twitter with vendors,It’s appalling that we have to deceive people to drop their hard earned money and not get value for what they saw or what they think they paid for,we can all do better thou i know some vendors that sell what they see,The good geads,God bless them


  23. Crystalsola says:

    It is very disturbing and outrightly crazy with some online vendors marketing schemes.Why can’t they use their own products ,take a nice shots and post it online .But is other way round,At the end they will sell nonsense substandard and low product of their products to customers who will use it for a while.It sends a wrong signal and need to be stopped


  24. Crystalsola says:

    It is very disturbing and outrightly crazy with some online vendors marketing schemes.Why can’t they use their own products ,take a nice shots and post it online .But is other way round,At the end they will sell nonsense substandard and low product of their products to customers who will use it for a while.It sends a wrong signal and need to be stopped.


  25. You have a point sir. My own opinion is that vendors should be sincere and transparent with what they sell whether the do for someone or their own products to avoid misleading customers.


  26. leygroup says:

    It’s just best to be TRUTHFUL and Honest in a Vendor’s dealing with customers. Do your best as a vendor to educate your customer on what you are selling and the terms and conditions of purchase. Customers should never be defrauded of their hard-earned money.


  27. Mzkaycee says:

    You are very correct and all the points dropped are valid but regardless they are still genuine online vendors even if they are not the direct owner of the product they still upload the real product but its just unfortunate that the bad ones are more than the genuine ones, I will only advice that if one wants to patronize any online vendors they should try make acquires about them before doing any transaction.. my opinion though.


  28. Peter says:

    This is the more reason i always get my stuff’s physically without any issues, I always like to see for myself and choose the quality i want.. vendor’s are becoming more of scammers.


  29. Bolaoluwatitolosendamilola says:

    I was just telling a sister friend few days ago that the aim of vendors should be to satisfy their clients and not looking for money. I’m not saying they shouldn’t make profits but why not do it the right way?
    Lots of customers appreciate it greatly when they get exactly what they ordered for, it makes them come back but when you deceive them, that’s like you offering a one-off transaction with such client.
    I hope we vendors can do better tbh


  30. Babatunde says:

    It’s such a shame that this is a very common habit among some vendors, that’s why there is need for caution & carefulness when buying anything online especially when u ve not met with the person physically.


  31. Ogunlade Taofeek Alaba says:

    I can relate very well with that ‘bait and switch strategy’ I grew up in a market environment .


  32. Alice says:

    My own opinion is that vendors should be sincere and transparent with what they sell whether the do for someone or their own products to avoid misleading customers.you are right sir


  33. Irede says:

    Bad strategy marketing, just to attract customers.


  34. Wow, never heard of those 3, people are just fake & it’s so sad, you have to lie to your customers in a disheartening manner just get sales illegitimately.


  35. Abdulrasheed Ibrahim Adeyemi says:

    When u talk about quality meet @roqzee his tested n trusted….always the best of the best to ur door step


  36. Abubakar Olawale says:

    Sincerity and loyalty matters most….it entices customer to patronize more.


  37. @Damilola52 says:

    I think greediness is the issue with some people, when you first tweet about it, I disagree with you in mind but going through this article now I realize what you meant… All I can say is that no matter what be truthful in your dealing with people because you never know who is who


  38. These are the reasons why consumers are scared to buy stuff online now a days which also affects those who ate legit vendors online.


  39. arewaaffairs says:

    Those vendors are always making online shoppings hard and unable to trust anything you admire thou there’s legit ones.
    They always lure people with new ways of fraudulent scenario which you can hardly escaped.💔


  40. Nosa says:

    They’ll never see it from this angle, all they want is to sell and earn. Trust is key in business and when you lose that to one customer, you’ve potential lost 10 customer’s


  41. Chidi Obineche says:

    Bait and switch is outrightly fraudulent but kicking the can down the road can be avoided if the vendor disclosed upfront that it’s on pre-order.That puts the customer on notice that the item would take some time to arrive.
    Selling knock off though is not a problem peculiar to online sales.Most designer labels in Nigerian markets are knock offs


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