Waiting for months and paying ten times too much: beware of dropshipping

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In early March, Eva Drijvers saw an advertisement on Facebook for a set of neon pens, with which drawings can be made. They cost 35 euros. Not cheap, but they were on offer. And so she tacked. A fun hobby for corona times, she thought.

Just from Aliexpress

But the lockdown had almost been lifted when the parcel deliverer arrived at the door two months later. Messages she sent to the webshop via Facebook in the meantime were not answered. “Then a bell rang with a friend of mine,” says Drijvers.

It was about dropshipping. Then you order from a reliable looking Dutch webshop, which does not keep any stock itself. From the Netherlands, often from attic rooms, orders are sent directly to the supplier, usually in China. He then immediately sends it to the customer, often in the well-known AliExpress packaging.

Not forbidden, but sewn

It was no different with Drijvers. “My friend asked: how much did you pay for that?” She went to search on Aliexpress and found exactly the same pens for 5 euros. And those who search well will find the pens for much less. “This has been an expensive lesson. A stupid mistake. I also sent an email, but never heard of it again.”

Floaters felt pretty screwed. However, dropshipping is not prohibited. Spokesman Gerard Spierenburg of the Consumers’ Association even calls it a ‘healthy Dutch trading spirit’. Provided the companies adhere to the rules.

For example, it should be clear that a company does dropshipping from, for example, China, so that the customer knows that an order sometimes takes weeks to arrive. Customer service must also be properly arranged, the product must be able to be returned and the products must be safe.

Unsafe Chinese items: flammable or poisonous

According to Spierenburg, the shoe often pinches there. Research by the Consumers’ Association shows that two thirds of all products coming from outside the EU are unsafe. For example, electrical appliances can melt or burn out. And some jewelry contains heavy metals.

Thuiswinkel Waarborg, which issues certificates to fair and safe webshops, also sees that it is difficult to know whether a product is safe. Labels, such as the well-known CE mark, are counterfeited in China. And so much is entering the country that it is impossible to control everything.

Drystyler Amsterdam … from China

Anne Verstegen can talk about potentially dangerous electrical Chinese items. Unknowingly, she bought a kind of hair dryer via dropshipping. She did this via the reliable-looking webshop Drystyler Amsterdam, which is now offline.

She also had to wait two months for her order. She no longer expected the hair dryer, which cost 40 euros, to be delivered. But now that she knows the device is from China, she doesn’t even dare to use it.

The webshop, which seemed to be run from a house in Uden, is no longer accessible. Whether she can return the hair dryer and get her money back, she does not know. The boy behind Drystyler Amsterdam did not respond to multiple requests from RTL News.

Dutch webshop is responsible

Suppose Verstegen had used the hair dryer. And her haircut had caught fire. Then the Dutch web store, ie Drystyler, would be responsible for that. Still, in practice it is difficult to get compensation compensated, Spierenburg also acknowledges.

The web shops are often run by young people. “Those guys just want to make easy money. But a guy like that doesn’t have a cent to spend.”

However, Spierenburg does not want to use the word scammers. These are people who deliberately do not deliver. Dropshippers do have the goal to deliver the stuff.

Barely more complaints

But if the delivery time is much longer than promised, as is now the case with corona, then you are duped, he says. Especially because you might as well have placed the order yourself in China. Still, hardly any more complaints come in, several consumer parties tell RTL Nieuws.

Only Webshop Keurmerk, which also issues certificates for safe webshops, saw the number of complaints grow in recent months. A number of sites that do dropshipping have such a quality mark and must therefore adhere to strict rules. They are even more alert with web shops like this.

They advise the affiliated members to provide clarity in particular. “Put a banner on the site that it may take longer,” says lawyer Candice Snellers of Webshop Keurmerk. And it must be clear to the customer in advance that a package comes directly from abroad. “Customers need to know where they stand.”

Since the lockdown, the number of companies has spoken dropship in the company name has grown considerably, according to figures that RTL Nieuws requested from the Chamber of Commerce (KvK). The Chamber of Commerce thinks it has three explanations for the strong growth in the number of companies. For example, we order more online, especially through Corona.

Dropshipping takes advantage of this without having to spend a lot of money and effort to start a webshop. And the latter is again interesting for young people. Many young people still start their own businesses.

The Chamber of Commerce emphasizes that the stated numbers are the lower limit. There are probably many more companies that do dropshipping, but do not have that in their name.

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