When purchasing a larger-ticket item off of the internet, a savvy shopper will always implore if the company is reputable. Especially if the item is coming internationally.
Vadim Barshai of Beach Lake did all of those things before purchasing a six horse power Suzuki DF6 Outboard motor.
"I asked my friends to look at the site to make sure it was reputable," he said. "They agreed it did look reputable."
A selling point for Barshai was that the site had the name Yamaha in the banner, a legitimate company.
"I thought a big company like Yamaha would not allow fraudulent use of their name" and likeness.
After continued investigation, Barshai decided to purchase the motor from Yamaha Outboard Service, a company based in China for a price of $800.
After around 45 days, he said, "I had nothing."
The compay name listed on the website www.yamaha-outboardmotor.com, is listed as BoLin Marine Trade Co., Ltd. The number of employees listed on the website is 15 and they have been in business since 2005.
The website even offers many five-star reviews from prior customers who have purchased items successfully. One review, for a DF15 Suzuki 15 horsepower outboard motor priced at $1,680, says, "The price is great, it's 2012 brand new..." left on Oct. 18, 2012 by an Adam Howood.
The homepage of the website even has pictures of the inside of the physical office of the company, showing the company name on a wall behind a receptionist.
The contact information for the company provides no phone number, but a photo of the sales manager who is identified as Anderson Hong.
Barshai had a friend begin emailing Hong to inquire about purchasing his own motor.
"We wanted to see what they would say," he said.
In email correspondence, which are signed by yamahaoutboardservice, they say the shipping is free by sea and they offer door-to-door delivery. "It will take about 14-20 days (for) delivery," it says. The email also says they will offer a tracking number through DHL to track the purchase until it is delivered.
Page 2 of 2 - When the company is made aware that Barshai has not received his motor, and it has been well over the 20 day maximum time allotted, the company does not offer any answers. When the tracking number provided by the company is entered into the website, it is determined that the shipment does not exist.
When BoLin Marine Trade Co. was notified, the only response they made was three letters "dhl."
Barshai has since ordered another motor, but wants others who purchase items online to be wary.
"I know I will never get my money back."
Barshai does "want to make it clear to people to be cautious about any international purchase," he said, "no matter how legitimate they look."