Reporting unethical business practices

9 posts in this topic

Hello!

 

I ordered some car parts (brakes disk and pads) from an online website last week (on of the top Google results). The components I chose are a well known and rather expensive brand. 

 

A box arrived today, but the components inside are not what I ordered. Instead, they are from the "professional line" of what appears to legit "German" company I have not heard of before. Confused, I went to the online store I ordered from (one of the top Google search results) and looked up the parts. Each of the parts are each significantly more expensive than what I ordered. Clearly, what they wanted me to think was that I got upgraded. I was never contacted to approve the switch.

 

After a little research, it seems that these components are made by their house brand. My assumption is that they purposely mark up the price so that people think they are getting the better end of the deal on what is clearly a bait and switch. (During my research, I found this British forum where this seems to have happened to several other people: http://www.vauxhallownersnetwork.co.uk/index.php?threads/stark-professional-line-parts.430364/.)

 

I called them. The rep explained to me that they no longer stock the brand I ordered, so I got upgraded. I told him that was not acceptable, and I have since been given return slips and a prepaid shipping label to return everything. I will send them back, and expect they will send my money back without issue (if not I will use Paypal Kaüferschutz).

 

That said, this is dodgy, and they should not be allowed to do this without reprimand. 

 

If you have any advice for what I could do, it would appreciated. Is there some sort of business ethics bureau I can submit this to? Should I file something with Paypal anyways? Does it make sense to report this company to Google? For me, this is not so much about looking for revenge, but rather that I want to do the right thing.

 

Thanks!

 

 

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15 minutes ago, here_in_deutschland said:

If you have any advice for what I could do, it would appreciated.

 

 

 

Doubtful they have a full time IT person to update their website on a daily basis.  Perhaps they stopped carrying that particular brand as of 01.05 and have no time to adjust it on their site.

Advice:  Find another website or go to a car parts shop.  Reporting them for what is a trivial reason is a waste of time which could be used to search for the parts you need.

 

Have a pint, exhale, and think on how wonderful and uncomplicated life can be.

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I will send these parts back, and buy from another website. Other than not being able to do the work this weekend, this is not a big deal for me.

 

That said, this is a pretty good "scam", and I almost fell for it myself. My first instinct was "Oh cool! More expensive parts from a German company. That worked out well!" If I hadn't done more research, I would have mounted the brakes, and never been the wiser that I had cheap components, and that the company just made €100 from me by delivering much cheaper components that I ordered. (There is no way that a house brand is 33% more expensive that the best offering from a well establish high end brand.) 

 

This "scam" has obviously worked on many people, or they would still be doing it 3 years after the forum post I linked to before. They are baiting and switching other people, and I would like to do my part to try and stop it.

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Hi BayrischDude,

 

I agree. If this were to be a big problem for me, then I have a pretty good life.

 

I am really not upset about this. That said, this was an intentional bait and switch, to the point that they overvalue the components on their website to make the receiver think they got a good deal. If everybody that figures this out simply returns the items, then the company can continue to do this and cheat those who don't figure it out. This seems like a good opportunity to figure out what the right thing to do is.

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Be careful in what you post on the Internet. Using the words like "scam" may end you in deep legal trouble. You have no proof other than "assumption" that these parts are inferior.

 

Of course you have a right not to accept the upgrade as well as cancel the order made online within 14 days of delivery. Return the parts and expect them to return the money. End of story.

 

There is no authority to report as nothing illegal has happened.

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Hi yourkeau,

 

That's sounds like solid advice. Thanks. I do not refer to the company in these posts.

 

The basic feeling I get from your three replies is: "Dude, no harm, no foul. Why even bother posting this to the forum?" I understand that. Perhaps from your view, my post seems overly serious as well. That wasn't my intention, I suppose I was just trying to be efficient with my words. 

 

That said, you each seem to be thoughtful. Does this situation not seem to be fishy to you? Assuming that it might be, does it not seem worthwhile to lodge a complaint somewhere? We all benefit from such feedback mechanisms (z.B. poor ratings on Amazon help you avoid purchasing a bad product.) For me, this situation seems to cross a threshold, and I thought it worthwhile to ask if there are watchdogs for these sort of things. If there is, I will submit the form and they can decide if it is worth pursuing further. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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You might be right, but there is no legal leg to stand on other than leaving review on various websites (sticking solely to the fact that you did not get what you wanted).

 

I do not order parts online, but if I did I would use eBay or Amazon where there is feedback on the seller.

 

Yes, there is a consumer watchdog in Germany, Verbraucherzentrale, you can write them, of course.

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I think my first post must have sounded very different than I intended. I am not looking for a legal option. This is nowhere close to that level of concern for me. I just somehow felt bad not doing anything. Verbraucherzentrale sounds like the right place. Thanks!

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9 hours ago, here_in_deutschland said:

 

 Does this situation not seem to be fishy to you? Assuming that it might be, does it not seem worthwhile to lodge a complaint somewhere?

 

Fishy?  Could be.  But you are offering your opinion only on these parts... or are you a certified master mechanic or perhaps an engineer?  I'm not being flippant to your cause or situation.  

 

10 hours ago, here_in_deutschland said:

 My assumption is that they purposely mark up the price so that people think they are getting the better end of the deal on what is clearly a bait and switch.

 

your own words.  Unless you have actual knowledge of where these parts are made and by whom, you are only...assuming.  Perhaps they are as good or better than the ones you wanted...and perhaps not.  But in order to make a valid argument, you must prove these items are faulty or of lesser quality and still priced higher.  Perhaps this parts seller has a contract with a manufacturing plant to make parts specifically for them here in Germany.  They sell these parts as their professional line.  Is that a problem? 

Were you somehow defrauded?  No.  They have offered to send you your money back and provided the Retoure to assist.  You are out no money. 

 

So again, you're going to ring the Verbraucherzentrale and state to them that you 'feel' or 'assume' or 'suspect' this auto parts store is selling less quality products as high-end parts, with no proof and no monetary loss to you.  What do you honestly expect them to do?

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