CT BBB’s five tips to avoid getting burned online

File Photo

File Photo

Connecticut Better Business Bureau says consumers who buy merchandise online might get less than they bargained for, or put themselves and their families at risk.

The risk comes from “gray market” goods sold over the internet. Unlike “black market” products that may be controlled, such as prescription medication or firearms, the gray market consists of popular merchandise manufactured for export, and then re-imported to the US to be sold for less than current market prices.

The associated problems include products with no warranty, and items that are not manufactured according to US regulatory standards.

This applies not only to electronic products, but also toys and apparel that would fail flammability regulations.

Just about any product you can think of can be found on the gray market on standalone websites, auction websites and sales through online classified ads. Although the price may be attractive, they lack the durability and quality of authentic products.

Most consumers have never heard of the gray market and don’t know about its dangers. Some consumers prefer to take their chances and shell out $250 for a $1000 watch.

Like cheap counterfeit knockoffs of brand name goods, gray market merchandise is often not worth the price you pay.

Gray market merchandise is only one of several potential problems if you buy from an unfamiliar website or a classified ad. The goods may be stolen or broken and unfortunately, private sales between two individuals offer no protection for the buyer.

Connecticut Better Business Bureau offers five tips to protect yourself when making an online purchase on an unfamiliar website:

Research the seller – If you are not familiar with a website, check it out with Better Business Bureau. If you buy through an auction site, check the seller’s rating and customer reviews.

Ask the seller about the merchandise – Sellers are obliged to tell you if they are selling gray market goods. Connecticut’s Department of Consumer Protection requires them to disclose when an item is not covered by a valid US warranty, as is the case with gray market merchandise.

Carefully inspect the merchandise – Make sure it is in working order. Gray market goods may not be factory-fresh, having gone through the hands of several third parties. Check to see whether the manual and other printed material is in English.



The Roundup is a popular magazine style publication covering local news, events and information about the greater Bristol Connecticut area. The Roundup, started by Bristol native Mike Uchalid currently has over 5,400 subscriptions and a local social media following of over 50,000 readers across multiple sites, pages and groups. The Roundup provides accurate information, events, news and so much more. We hope you enjoy the site!


Above and beyond! Officer unclogs street drains in bare feet during flooding

Above and beyond! Officer unclogs street drains in bare feet during flooding

FREMONT, Ohio — Two police officers in Fremont, Ohio went above and beyond the call of duty on Friday as it “rained cats and dogs,” according to WJW. A post on the Fremont Police Department’s Facebook page shows a photo of one officer in his bare feet trying to unclog grates and drains to get water moving on the road. The Facebook post says:  “Good evening Fremont! As you all know its been raining “cats and dogs” out there today. And […]

5 injured after scaffolding collapses into NYC street

5 injured after scaffolding collapses into NYC street

NEW YORK — Multiple people were injured when scaffolding fell onto a SoHo street Sunday morning according to PIX11 news. The Department of Buildings was called after receiving reports of a sidewalk shed collapse in front of a 12-story commercial office building on 568 Broadway, near Prince Street, sources tell PIX11 News. Four people suffered minor injuries, and one suffered a moderate injury from the incident, NYPD said. The Department of Buildings is investigating. The sidewalk shed was installed in […]

Chicago will sue U.S. Steel over toxic metal spill into Lake Michigan

Chicago will sue U.S. Steel over toxic metal spill into Lake Michigan

CHICAGO — Chicago is taking legal action against U.S. Steel after the company dumped more toxic metal into Lake Michigan last month according to WGNTV. In late October, nearly 60 pounds of chromium leaked into a Lake Michigan tributary after a wastewater treatment system malfunctioned at the U.S. Steel factory in northwest Indiana. It was the second time it’s happened in the past six months. Mayor Rahm Emanuel says U.S. Steel tried to keep the spill a secret, requesting “confidential […]

Honda recalls 900,000 Odyssey minivans after dozens of reported injuries

Honda recalls 900,000 Odyssey minivans after dozens of reported injuries

Honda is recalling 900,000 Odyssey minivans after receiving 46 reports of injuries related to a problem that causes second-row seats to fall forward. The company announced the recall, which includes models from 2011 to 2017, on Saturday. 800,000 of the affected minivans were sold in the U.S. Honda is offering instructions on its website on how to correctly latch the seats to correct the safety issue. Click here for instructions on what to do if you own one of these […]


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s