How to recognize dropshipping?

If an online shop uses dropshipping, it has no warehouse or inventory of the items it sells. The online shop forwards your order to the manufacturer or wholesaler who ships the goods directly to you.

When you place an order with an online shop you might not know that it is a dropshipper.

Since the goods are often shipped from Asia, it might take several weeks before you receive your order. Online shops may indicate unclear or long delivery times on their website because they cannot control delivery times.

Dropshippers don’t usually use original images. If you take a screenshot of a product image and upload it into Google Images, you can see if any other websites (e.g. AliExpress, Alibaba or Wish) are also using that image.

If the seller does not indicate their business name and address on the website, beware!

Product descriptions may be poorly translated, so watch out for grammar mistakes or awkward sentence structures.

How to recognize that you enter into a contract with the dropshipper?

Dropshippers don’t see or control the products they sell and cannot guarantee that these are of good quality, so don't be surprised if you receive counterfeit or unsafe products. If you buy goods from a dropshipper, you still have the right to return the goods within 14 days after receiving the product. The two-year legal guarantee also applies. Before placing an order, check the terms and conditions to see whether you have to pay the return costs because the trader does not have to provide a domestic return address and it might be very expensive to return the goods to the supplier outside of the EU.

You should be made aware of the exact delivery costs before you make your purchase. If you are asked to pay unexpected customs duties, you have the right to refuse to accept the package.

Another problem you might face when buying from a dropshipper is not receiving the goods you paid for. Although you are able to place the order, the goods may actually be sold out at the supplier. If your order hasn’t arrived and you cannot contact the seller, you may initiate the chargeback procedure at your bank provided that you paid by a debit or credit card.

Although dropshipping itself is not a scam, scammers are often using dropshipping. Make sure the seller has provided their business name and address on the website. Before placing an order, read reviews and feedback provided by other buyers on the seller on the internet. Dropshippers often use social media influencers to promote the products they sell on their online shop. So, compare prices, read the terms and conditions and check whether the company is actually registered in the Commercial Register.

How to submit a complaint?

If the trader refuses to respond to your complaint or gives you an unacceptable answer, you can contact the ECC-centre in you home country to learn about your consumer rights or to submit a complaint. Our aim of the complaint handling procedure is to achieve a compromise solution by negotiating in disputes between the consumer and the trader.