DPI appeals: Be careful when shopping online, there are fraudsters!

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The State Market Inspectorate appealed to citizens to be careful when shopping online because they may be deceived.

Considering that technology is constantly moving forward with increased development, so are people's habits. Online sales have become more intense, allowing easier and faster access to the desired products. But in addition to the advantages, there are also weaknesses that a large number of citizens face on a daily basis.

-Namely, citizens often complain about bad experiences regarding the quality of the products, the inability to replace the products, delivery beyond the set deadline, the inability to make contact with the seller again, mostly due to the unavailability or blocking of the page from which the products were sold . It often happens that the products are different when they arrive at the citizens, than those presented in the photo, the problem is also the non-issuance of fiscal accounts, invoices or warranty card when delivering the products. Because of such negative experiences in the past period, citizens intensively report online fraud, especially when it comes to products that are sold through the use of social networks. The State Market Inspectorate acts in accordance with its competences, that is, the market inspectorate can act only if the application is submitted for a trader who is registered and issues a fiscal invoice, because the fiscal invoice serves as evidence in our actions. If the merchant to whom the application refers is not registered, we as an institution do not have the authority to act. Most of the time, those who sell through social networks are not registered, so it is impossible to find them or to act in accordance with the submitted report, warns DPI.

In addition, when citizens place orders from international web stores, the State Market Inspectorate does not have jurisdiction over other international markets outside the territory of the Republic of North Macedonia in order to be able to take measures to resolve such complaints.

- We emphasize that the DPI is responsible for online fraud according to the Law on e-commerce and that according to Article 7, i.e. in order to act, the merchant must be registered at an address different from the home address, because the market inspectorate does not have the authority to carry out supervision in a home i.e. private property. Registered online merchant means easily, directly and permanently available at least the following information: name, i.e. company of the service provider, registered office of the legal entity, service provider or address if a natural person, data about the service provider on the basis of which the recipient of the service can directly and efficiently contact him, including the electronic address, the commercial register in which the service provider is entered and the number of his registration or equivalent means of identification in that register, when the service provider is registered in a commercial or other appropriate register, data from the competent authority, if the service provider is subject to the obligation to issue licenses or other types of approvals and tax number if the service provider is liable for VAT. Furthermore, data on the institution with which the service provider is registered, the professional title and the country in which that title was obtained, a reference to the professional rules in the country in which the activity is performed and the method of access to them are also required. If the online service provider lists the prices of the products and services, they should be stated clearly and unambiguously, especially if they include shipping costs, taxes and handling costs that have an impact on the stated price, it said. DPI.

The State Market Inspectorate continuously informs citizens and points out what they should be careful about when buying online products. Citizens also get in direct contact with us through our telephone lines, where they are told what they should pay attention to when buying online products.

- We appeal to the citizens to be especially careful, i.e. before placing an online order, to check the contact data and other data about the company or the person selling the products, further the reliability of the e-store, to protect their personal data, and not to receive the product without being issued a fiscal bill or invoice, and if there is any doubt or direct fraud has been committed, to immediately report to us at the State Market Inspectorate, they appeal from there.

In the next period, DPI is planning intensive activities that will include all stakeholders who could contribute to the reduction of this type of fraud.

-Through a communicative and educational approach, citizens will be further informed in order to prevent online frauds encountered in the e-purchase process. As an inspectorate, we are at their disposal whenever advice or action is needed, we are open to changes and cooperation with the real sector, therefore we encourage citizens not to hesitate, but to exercise their right and report fraud, said the DPI.

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