How to avoid being duped on the net

The Internet is not only being used by watch companies to push their watches but also by several con artists. Often, the difference between the two is difficult to make out and instead of a genuine watch you may end up buying a replica or a fake. It is therefore important to know how to avoid being duped on the net.

The primary rule to remember is that there are two kinds of watch sellers online -- authorized dealers and unauthorized dealers. You can safely go ahead with the former and provide your credit card details. These dealers have official websites that are frequented by both watch experts as well as manufacturers. However, a lot of us choose to purchase our watches from unauthorized dealers, and it is with such dealers that one needs to be cautious.

First of all, an unauthorized dealer is most likely to sell you a watch that fits in the ‘gray’ market category; this is because most leading watch brands do not permit the sale of their watches on such websites. Before making a purchase, it is essential that you confirm and reconfirm the authenticity of both the watch as well as the dealer. A few indications that should get you suspicious are:

- Reluctance of the dealer to provide information about the origin of the watch. This is an indication that the dealer has little knowledge of products that he is peddling. In contrast, an authorized dealer will be well versed with the watches being sold on his site.

- Failure of the dealer to produce an authenticity certificate. A dealer, who is selling a real watch, will never hesitate to get it verified from a jeweler and show you the authenticity certificate. Believing a person who says he cannot guarantee the authenticity of the watch but is willing to shave off some bucks off the price is foolishness.

- Refusal of dealer to provide photographs of the watch you intend to purchase. This will happen when the dealer is worried that you may compare the watch details with the official catalogue or brochure and make out if the watch is genuine or not.

- Mysterious bidders if the watch is being sold in an auction. Often a con artist may create several identities and bid for his own fake watch to fool you into believing that it is a true product. Hence you must always look for bidders who may have changed their names or have very low feedback counts.

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