Parents are losing hundreds of dollars through fraudulent
websites claiming to sell popular baby products.
And even those who get something for their money may be
putting their children at risk, experts say.
In recent months there has been a sharp increase in the
number of sites offering big-name items such as Ergobaby
carriers, which can retail for more than $200 in shops.
The sites use pictures and text taken from legitimate
retailers. But when an order is placed, buyers either receive
a counterfeit product or nothing at all.
Netsafe operations manager Lee Chisholm said it was a growing
problem. "There are the websites which trade in counterfeit
goods claiming to be originals, websites which never send
goods after payment is made, and Facebook pages where people
advertise and again never send the goods after payment has
Rochelle Gribble, of parenting website Kiwi Families, said
there were safety issues relating to the material used in the
carriers, the strength of the fabric and the way the products
Auckland mother-to-be Charley Monger was caught out by one of
the sites last week. She spent $160 on what she thought was
an Ergobaby carrier before discovering that the website was
fake. She contacted her bank, which advised her to cancel her
debit card but the money had already been taken. "I've
shopped on the internet for years and it didn't occur to me."
Monger said it was distressing to have lost money as she
prepared for her first baby, due in June. "It's annoying but
I've had to think, well, if you go out for a night out and
have a nice meal and a few drinks, you'd spend that amount.
It's not the end of the world but it's a pain."
She was told to cancel the card as some sites retain the
Auckland woman Rebecca Payne also placed an order with the
fake site. "The bank was quite good and said it happens a lot
and I need to go through a process for them to investigate."
Louisa Currie, of baby product retailer Belly Beyond, said
there were hundreds of counterfeit baby carriers in the
country and it was a serious safety concern. She had noticed
an increase in the fake sites since August. Because they were
based overseas, little could be done.
"We've just had a third person since Christmas call to say
the buckle has broken. They don't stack up from a quality
perspective. If the buckle breaks, the baby can fall.
"There's not a huge amount we can do except educate people
that if it looks too good to be true."
- Herald on Sunday