Vanishing Playstation sites: the latest swindle?

When Vickie Olsson heard an impossible-to-find PlayStation2 was available online at The PlayStation Store of Canada, she had visions of her two sons beaming with glee on Christmas morning.

She visited the Web site and, sure enough, plenty of PlayStation2 consoles were "in stock". She whipped out her American Express card and eagerly forked over $US563 (about $1000) for the console and waited. And waited.

Weeks later she still is waiting. She's among hundreds who were fooled by Web sites into thinking they had found the popular console, according to the US Better Business Bureau and Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which are both investigating dozens of complaints about two PlayStation Store sites.

"That really blows my big Christmas present for the family," Olsson says.

Under investigation

As of Thursday, the Canadian Council of Better Business Bureaus has estimated that $US400,000 (around $715,000) worth of Playstation2 orders have been processed by operators of two Web sites bearing the PlayStation name, PS2StoreUSA and PS2StoreCanada, both operating out of New Brunswick, Canada. Also by Thursday, both sites are no longer operating, with no referral.

The Better Business Bureau is fielding 200 complaints in the United States and Canada about the two PlayStation Store sites. The US Federal Trade Commission confirms it is looking into the matter as well.

"We are advising people they are at great risk of being defrauded if they do business with these Web sites," says Detective Barry Elliott of the Ontario Provincial Police. No formal charges are filed.

Before the sites disappeared, they displayed a message acknowledging the controversy and defending the company. The message suggests a different online merchant that operated under a similar name is the one that ran off with customers' money.

The message is misleading, says Elliot and numerous customers. They say there is no confusion, and the PS2Store sites have failed to ship PlayStation2 consoles.

Hazards lurk in wired shops

Consumer advocates urge would-be e-shoppers to practice safe shopping, and to ensure many happy returns long after the gifts are unwrapped. Their tips:

"Know who you're dealing with," says Holly Cherico, with the Council of Better Business Bureaus. Get online merchants' offline addresses so you can check on them.

Use credit cards with relatively low limits, and ones that protect you in the event of theft or non-delivery. Check credit card receipts and bills for accuracy as soon as you get them.

Don't comply with requests by e-merchants to fax a photocopy of your credit card. Many Playstation Store of Canada customers were told delivery would be expedited if they did so. Credit card companies warn that your signature, along with sensitive information such as your credit card verification code, is on the back of your card.

Make sure refund or exchange policies are clear. There are no standards, so it's important to know each site's guidelines. If nothing is posted on the site, ask whether you must pay for return shipping.

Guard your privacy. Because some online stores collect customer information, find out what the site is gathering about you and how it will use the data.

Print a copy of your online order form as a virtual receipt and proof of purchase.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tom Spring

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?