When we purchase an item such as a computer or a television, it’s a common habit to make sure that the retailer is reputable, especially if buying online, as you’ll likely be unable to inspect an item before you buy. After all, these are expensive products to replace if they break, or worse, never arrive from the website from which they were ordered. When it comes to buying a container for your business or home, this caution should be no different.
However, recent reports of ‘companies’ carrying out unlawful transactions indicate that consumers are being fooled into parting with their money and receiving nothing in return. These fraudulent websites will offer containers for an extremely low price, manipulating customers into handing over money, as well as credit card details, names, addresses and more.
Why is this is a problem for us?
Illegitimate companies create a bad reputation for the container industry. It causes customers to distrust the process of purchasing a container, and tars reputable retailers, who may have spent years making a name for themselves, with the same brush.
Why is this a problem for you?
Quite simply, these ‘companies’ will lose you money. What’s worse is that they are usually untraceable; therefore, once you have contacted an authority, the ‘company’ in question will have likely taken down the website, removed any traces of transactions, and maybe even have created a brand new website under a different name, repeating the cycle.
What does a fraudulent website look like?
It can be difficult to tell the difference between a fraudulent website and a legitimate one. These days, it is so easy to create an attractive website; it wouldn’t take long for anyone with computer experience to figure out how to do so. Unfortunately, as these criminals create website after website to maximise their profit, they develop their skills in web design, making each website better than the last.
Additionally, once media outlets get wind of a trend in online scams, it gets reported to the public – but also to the scammers themselves. They change their methods and move onto the next fraudulent exploit. For example, not so long ago, it might have been easy to spot a fraudulent website by looking out for lots of misspelled words and bad grammar, but now scammers may have their websites proofread to minimise telltale errors.
How to check if a retailer is reputable
Below is a checklist of actions which will help you determine whether a retailer’s website is reputable. However, please note that this list is not exhaustive, and if you still feel sceptical after checking these points, do not make a purchase from the website.
- Check the registration number of the company with Companies House. This is a government website which provides free access to company information. If you can find the company number on the website, this is a good sign; however, make sure that you type this number into Companies House anyway, just to double check. It could be that the website has stolen a legitimate company’s registration number. If you want to find out whether this is the case, enter the number into Companies House’s search bar and check if the details of the company are the same as what is expressed on the website. Our registration number can be found on our ‘about’ page.
- Check with your local Chamber of Commerce. Being a part of the Chamber of Commerce is not a requirement, but it builds confidence in customers. We are proud to be a part of this prestigious business network and this is displayed on the badge at the bottom of our site.
- If you have got as far as beginning a transaction, check that the sort code to which you are making the payment is from a UK bank. This can easily be checked using Google.
- Read the ‘about’ section of their website. A legitimate company usually has a detailed ‘about’ section on their website which states information about the owner, the company’s history, or other details. Our ‘about’ page can be found here.
- Look for client reviews. These days, many companies encourage customers to leave reviews, either through a facility on their website or on Google. If the website has no reviews, see this as a red flag. Conversely, if there is a suspicious amount of five star reviews that have all appeared on one day or that all say the same thing, this is also a warning sign. Our reviews page can be found here, and we also have a number of reviews on Google. Customers can additionally leave recommendations on Facebook, which leads us to our next point…
- Check that the company has social media pages. The main platforms are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, although they may also be active on Instagram and maybe even YouTube. If a website does not have any affiliated social media pages, this may not necessarily be a bad sign, as some companies are still very traditional and prefer to do business without social media. However, if a website does have affiliated social media pages and they have been launched recently but have an alarmingly high amount of followers, they may be trying to fool customers into thinking they are legitimate. You can click on the corresponding names to visit our social media profile pages: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn Youtube.
The main thing to keep in mind is that buying a container is not all about the price of the container itself. You’re also counting on the company to provide you excellent service, and to be accountable and deliver the product that you paid for. When you purchase a container of any kind, converted or not, ensure that you do not fall victim to fraud before making a purchase by using the points in this article.
If you would like to know more about our containers, please contact Jane or Matt on 0800 121 7388 or visit billiebox.co.uk.