Filipino Student Receives Three Stones Instead of Laptop from Online Seller : Tips On How To Avoid Being Scammed When Buying Gadgets Online

It was all over the news yesterday - October 2, 2020.

An underprivileged Filipino student named Arthur Baylon, who happens to be the son of fisherfolk, bought a laptop from an online seller several days ago so he can have a reliable gadget companion for online learning in the new normal.

Sadly, upon unboxing the package that was shipped to their home in Guimaras, he was shocked to see three huge stones instead of the laptop he was dreaming of. It was only then when he realized that he fell victim to a vile online scammer.

Filipino Student Gets Stones Instead of Laptop
Photo Credit: GMA Public Affairs

Thankfully, after the story was covered by GMA Public Affairs online and on TV, a kind-hearted Filipino gifted Arthur a real laptop (I believe it was an Acer notebook) proving that despite the existence of bad people everywhere, there are still humans who are willing to go out of their way to help others in trying times.

For Pinoy students and young professionals across the country who are currently thinking about buying any gadget online, allow me to share with you some tips on how you can avoid becoming prey to heartless scammers who are willing to do bad things to others just to earn a few bucks.

1. If you can, buy brand new from a legitimate and registered online store.

The safest way to buy a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or any gadget online is to get them brand new from the company's official online store. This also guarantees at least a year of parts and service warranty or after-sales support. So if you can stretch your budget, just get your gadget new direct from the brand. I believe gadget brands like Asus, Acer, realme, Cherry Mobile, vivo, OPPO, Samsung, and others now have their online stores as well as official outlets in Lazada and Shopee.

2. If you are more interested in buying second-hand devices, choose a seller with good reviews and high average rating from an established pre-loved online selling website.

I understand budget-conscious Pinoys who believe that they can get more value for their money if they just buy second-hand items. After all, you can sometimes get better specs on a used flagship gadget that costs as much a brand new entry-level device. Personally, my trusted website for buying pre-loved goods is Carousell because that site is already well-established and there, you can clearly see buyers' comments and ratings for every seller. I usually choose sellers with multiple glowing reviews and an average of at least 4.5 stars out of 5.

3. Tell the seller to share as much information about the device as possible.

When buying second-hand gadgets, don't rush, take your time, and try to get as much information about the device as possible. Ask for specs, photos, proofs of purchase (if any), as well as inclusions. Inquire about any damage or issue that you will have to troubleshoot if you buy the device. If the seller can't even send legit photos of item he or she is selling and if it sounds like he or she doesn't even know basic information about the product, then you have to be wary.

4. Ask for the real name, contact number, and identification card of the seller.

A legitimate seller who is keen on making a sale that will make both parties happy should have no issues or qualms with disclosing his or her real name, address, and mobile number. In my experience, some legit sellers even send photos of their IDs just to help give me peace of mind when making an expensive purchase.

5. Don't brush off warning signs and take note of bad attitude of the seller.

I am not sure if it's human instinct but I think our gut always tells us if something is wrong. If a seller takes days to reply or is mean and offensive when you ask him or her questions, don't do it. If the price of the gadget is too good to be true, it's probably fake or laced with issues. Based on my experience in buying second-hand gadgets on Carousell, a good buy often feels great from start to finish; The seller is responsive, kind, and open.

There you have it! I guess we capture all of these tips in a single line and that is, "Always do things on the safe side especially when you are on the internet." Always be mindful, don't be afraid to ask many questions, and stay cautious when making online purchases.

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