Jan wrote in, asking:
While looking for Milwaukee 12v prices inline I came across a website called [redacted] that’s selling tools at ridiculously low prices and I’m wondering if anyone knows if this site is legit or a scam?
I have been asked similar questions a LOT lately, and the increasing frequency has me concerned.
The short answer is that if it seems too good to be true, it is. For the longer answer, refer to the following post, which should help you analyze unfamiliar retailers.
I order from unfamiliar retailers from time to time, and it’s often because I want something that’s been discontinued, clearanced, “new old stock,” or specialty products. You’ve got to do research for your own protection, and hopefully my link above helps.
As for the URL that Jan provided, I took a quick look.
Red Flag 1: The retailer seems to focus on candle holders, vases, home decor, and power tools. It seems to smash several popular product lines together, which is unusual.
Red Flag 2: There’s no obvious phone number on the home page of the site. Smaller businesses and specialty stores usually do display a phone number somewhere.
Red Flag 3: Looking at a “best rated” Milwaukee product, they have the 2147-20 M18 Radius worklight for $61.93. The regular retail price is $379. This isn’t a realistic discount – you’re not going to save 84% on a current Milwaukee cordless power tool. All of the other sale prices are similarly unrealistic.
Red Flag 4: Google “[store name]” tool deal, with the store name in quotes. There are 10 Google search results. If the deals are so good, they’d be talked about on websites such as Slickdeals or Reddit at the least, not to mention throngs of coupon and deal sites.
Red Flag 5: A whois.net lookup shows that the website name was only first registered 2019-12-24. In other words, it has only existed for a couple of weeks. There’s no customer base, vetting, or reliability at this point.
Orange Flag 6: This retailer doesn’t have any social media links. In this day and age, that’s increasingly rare.
Orange Flag 7: Looking around the site, there is an address and phone number on the contact form. It seems “off” in that the same number is seemingly registered to other specialty stores being red-flagged by “scam alert” sites. Look up the phone number for legitimate stores, and the search results are often to BBB listings, store pages, and similar.
Orange Flag 8: There’s an address buried in one of the pages. A quick Google search turns up a couple of “scam warnings”
Look, I can’t tell anyone whether a particular retailer is a scam site or if it’s somehow legitimate. You have to make your own judgements.
But a brand new store selling high-value products at crazy-low prices? In my opinion, unless you find strong indication otherwise, these websites are scams. Do NOT supply these companies with your personal information, address, or credit card number.
This particular web “store” doesn’t have as many red flags as others scam stores, such as count-down timers and what-not, but I can’t see any way it could be the least bit legitimate.
I’m sorry, there’s no way you’re getting a $1200 Bosch breaker hammer for $63 and free shipping.
If these deals were being offered by an established retailer or store? Then, they might be worth exploring. I have gotten some very good tools deals in the past.
For every single “is this store legit” email I have received, the answer has always been “I very highly doubt it.”
Following are what some real and legitimate tool and specialty retailers look like.
Google their phone numbers, look up their whois.net records, note their shipping policies.
Legit retailers might sometimes throw up a red flag, maybe even two. But if you take note of what legitimate websites look like, the fakes and scam sites become very easy to spot.
Also notice how established websites often have a personality to their design. Scam sites often have cold and sterile boiler-plate layouts where the only differences between them might be a slightly stylized logo.
Use your head. If an unfamiliar online store seems too good to be true, it almost always is.
Do you check for other factors or red flags that I haven’t talked about?