Death Threats from Sellers for Trying to Return an Online Purchase

December 13, 2010

You don’t expect to get death threats over an online purchase, but that’s now been the experience of at least two separate shoppers, one on each side of the country.

In the first incident, police arrested cyber merchant Vitaly Borker from in Brooklyn after allegedly threatening customers requesting refunds. The New York Times investigated and found Borker was threatening customers in an effort to get his business to score higher on Google search rankings.

Then, this week in Seattle, a couple contacted an online merchant to return what were obviously knockoff Nike shoes and the company contact responded to their refund request with a threat ” ‘Okay, our boss said we will employ a guy to kill you!’ ”

Interviewed by Komo TV on the incident, cyber specialist and president of the Safe Internet Alliance, Linda Criddle, said she thinks it’s an empty threat given the company is based in China, but never-the-less a very unpleasant experience.

“You need to do your homework,” Criddle said. “You need to type that store’s name and the word ‘review’ into a search engine and see how they’re reviewed. You want to see lots of reviews about a store.” She suggests searching complaints too.

Criddle also recommends shoppers think twice if the company is based out of country. “If it’s coming from abroad you need to be very careful ’cause you don’t have the ability to go after them in some fashion,” Criddle said.

See the blog ‘Tis the Season – 10 Steps to Safer Holiday Shopping Online for more information on how you can increase your safety while shopping online.

To watch the TV segment from Komo News, click here.