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Guide to online shopping in Zimbabwe: Best practice on choosing a store

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In this series I will look at tips and how-tos for prospecting and current online shoppers in Zimbabwe.

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ecomerce-shopsOnce you have decided to make an online purchase, you should get down to searching and selecting the store from which to make the purchase. This is almost certainly affected by the product you want to purchase but given the global nature of the internet there can almost certainly be more than one option. It is always recommended to shop from well-known reputable online resource for your particular product. For example you are better off buying your music or TV show episodes from iTunes than someshop.com.

If for some reason you cannot buy from well-known reputable stores, then progress with caution, scammers are continuously coming up with new tricks to dupe online shoppers. It is always a good idea to Google the site you want to buy from using words like “scam” to see if the site has not been involved in scamming activities in the past. For example Google “potentialsite.com is a scam.” This normally shows results from several review sites where the site’s services are evaluated and customer feedback is posted. It should be noted however that only angry customers are most likely to post on these review sites so negative reviews might not mean a bad site and some scammers also post fake positive reviews posing as customers.

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Although this is becoming increasingly rare as design tools have become ubiquitous, scammer websites are usually of poor design and are a poor imitation of the real thing. The images on the site may be misaligned and some links dead. Do a domain name lookup of the address to try and determine if the name(s) of the domain owner is the same name that is used in the “About Us” page. Chances are if the two are different , it’s a scam. Be wary of shops with domains that do not yield the actual information of the owner when you do a whois search.  It is also important to look carefully at the name of the domain. You have no idea how many people have fallen for cheap tricks like gooogle.com, micr0soft.com , amaz0n.cometc especially if these links are hidden below text like this google.com, Microsoft.com and amazon.com .

Also try and establish how long the website has been online. Most scammers are fly by night creatures whose websites rarely stay online for any number of months and rarely years. It is also important to check whether the site is endorsed by any of the trusted security companies likeMacAfee and Norton. Click on the assurance logos of these companies and check on the URL that come up and verify that they really link to the websites of the security companies for example https://trustsealinfo.verisign.com and https://www.mcafeesecure.com respectively.  It is imperative to verify that the resultant pop ups refer to the original domain name of the store.

It is also important to make sure that the site itself is using a secure connection when you are asked to checkout. If the site’s certificate is not trusted by your browser or has expired or does not match the domain for which it was issued then the store is most likely a fraud. You can always get additional information about a store by clicking on the lock icon in the address bar of your browser.

In the unfortunate event that you are scammed, or the goods or services you ordered are not delivered, or a product of differing quality or nature was delivered, you should contact your bank to effect a chargeback to recover your money. I will be honest, I have been unlucky to need to effect a chargeback so I have no idea how effective/efficient the service is in Zimbabwe. Payment wise, you can spare yourself a lot of trouble by paying using a payment processing company like 2checkout.com or Google Wallet. These have better experience when handling customer complaints when compared to your local bank branch. If you ever had to make a chargeback please share your experience.

When buying electronic goods here are some shops you should consider (it is usually better to form the manufacturer themselves):

  • Laptopscreens.com for your laptop screens and paraphernalia.
  • Ebay.com This is an auction site as well as a storefront.
  • Amazon.com a storefront for all sorts of goods including electronics and books.
  • Everbuying.com if you are a Zimbabwean this shop is recommended above all the others. Almost all the sellers ship to Zimbabwe at reasonable prices and they also accept Western Union as payment.
  • Lenovo.com for all Lenovo products.
  • Bestbuy.com for consumer electronics.
  • Samsung.com for tablets, laptops and cameras
  • Store.apple.com for all your apple products.

If there are stores for certain goods that you would like to recommend please feel free to share in the comments.


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22 thoughts on “Guide to online shopping in Zimbabwe: Best practice on choosing a store

    1. I understand your concern but I refer you to the last line in the second paragraph. There is always a possibility that you will be disappointed by a seller’s service even one as reputable as amazon. Lots of people get duped on ebay.com it is important to exercise vigilance when making a purchase.

      1. Ya but you made a point of stating ” if you are a Zimbabwean this hop is recommended above all the others.
        Almost all the sellers ship to Zimbabwe at reasonable prices and they
        also accept Western Union as payment”

        This is recommendation from you unless what you are saying is i shouldn’t take what you say or recommend seriously

        1. First of all thanks you just pointed out a typo in the article. Secondly: I recommend everbuying.com because I and my friend have personally used it not because of some review by someone else I dont know. My point, as made in the article, is that you can almost always expect negative reviews for any store you just need to use your judgement as to who you want to believe. Visit any store in Amazon and if they are popular you can expect a lot of complaints that does not mean that you have to quit using amazon.

          1. Every company has bad reviews and good reviews. But everbuying.com has two types of reviews a 5/5 and 0/5 nothing in between, a lot of other reviews to this site also noticed this trend and i agree with them that those that posted the 5/5 reviews are not genuine reviews, but reviews are posted by the company its self so that it look legitimate.

            The bottom line this company is dodgy and i wouldn’t recommend it and you shouldn’t recommend it either especially on a public site.

            At the end of the day we visit this site to get info, learn and act on your advice and this my friend was bad advice because if someone takes on your recommendation and uses this site and looses money what then.

            All i’m saying is when posting on a public domain be vigilant on the information you share and always check your sources before recommending something because we listern to what you say.

          2. Hey Garikai, by using a personal review “I recommend everbuying.com because I and my friend have personally used it not because of some review by someone else I dont know.” you have negated practically all your tips on safely choosing an online shop. Is one supposed to take 2 reviews over what “WOT (Web Of Trust) http://www.mywot.com/ and http://www.scambook.com/company/reports/27424/EverBuyingcom say?? That would probably equate to investing in a firm after an auditing company like Deloitte’s has said its a bad investment but because a couple of people got the said returns, i do it anyway.

            I do agree with you that COMMON SENSE and CAUTION need to be exercised in this area especially.

  1. I think most people know what you posted in this article, was kind of hoping you would mention shipping and tax issues…

    1. I will be getting to that soon don’t worry. I just wanted to make sure that no area was left uncovered.

    1. I have personally used dhgate.com a couple of times and it has never disappointed. Very large product range but just make sure you do the necessary tax, shipping costs first

  2. Funny – I never hear about Zimazon, and yet it is one I use with some success! (http://zimazon.co.zw/). Now I am going to sound like an advert, but.. accepts VPayments, RTGS/Bank Transfer and cash. Lets get a list of all the local guys doing good work up on TechZim!

    1. I think they are just too expensive…most of their products cost more than 2x the original price.

      1. No try 4 times the price and thats on weights below a KG the more it weighs the more it costs.

        Quote from zimazon ”

        Hi,

        Unfortunately the weight of the
        items is 10 pounds. We use DHL and it works out to around 10 dollars per pound.

        Regards,

        Alex

        Zimazon Team

  3. I tried to make a purchase on everbuying.com but Zimbabwe does not pop up on paypal. what should i do

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