Have you just purchased something from a website call Olaprice? If so, please check your bank statement regularly to make sure that they don’t charge you a $88 Ola Premium membership fee.
“What $88? I have only purchase a $13.40 bluetooth headset and know nothing about this $88 membership.” Or so I thought. You may have unknowingly be mislead into this ‘purchase’. This is what happened to me.
It all started with a Facebook sponsored post regarding a flash deal similar to the one below:
According to the Facebook page, some of my friends have liked Olaprice. Maybe they have purchased something from the site before. Alright, I think I will buy this item from them. (I have actually purchased a bluetooth headset from the site but couldn’t find the post anymore, so I am using a random power bank example).
Clicking on the post will bring you to Olaprice.com. I added the item to my cart and checkout.
Next, I did a quick scan of possible telltale signs of a legitimate e-commerce site:
- Design and appearance seems legitimate for an e-commerce site (big mistake…).
- SSL cert checked (the little lock that appears beside the URL marks a secure transaction).
- Final amount checked.
Alright, seemed ok to enter my credit card number. Given no other payment options such as Paypal, I entered my credit card number into the form without much doubt.
To my horror, when I was checking my credit card bill a few weeks later, I found a charge of $88 from a merchant called OLA P.
I called up OCBC immediately and found out that it was a charge from a miscellaneous merchant. Remembering my purchase from weeks ago, I thought something is amiss with my previous purchase from Olaprice.com.
A quick google returned a hardwarezone discussion on an alleged scam and also this Facebook page on Streetdeal (somehow related to Olaprice I guess). I went back to the site and try to go through the purchase flow to see what I have missed out. This is what I saw:
There is indeed a little checkbox which is checked by default regarding a quarterly charge for Premium membership! And the best part is the charge is not included in the total price! This is a very misleading for the consumer!
I quickly file a dispute with Olaprice through OCBC and was advised to terminate this card. The bank will issue another card with different number to prevent this rogue merchant from charging me again. Despite the inconvenience, I relented as I would not want Olaprice to be charging me again without my knowledge.
Some of you may wonder, isn’t there an OTP (one-time-password) send to your phone for credit card transaction? The answer is yes, only if the merchant turn it on as well. So apparently, Olaprice did not turn on the OTP feature of credit card for obvious reason.
Lessons learnt from this incident:
- Never give your credit card details readily to any site. Use facility such as Paypal if possible
- Not all E-commerce site is reputable. Check and double check. Never look just at the appearance. Even if your friend like their page, it may not be legit. They themselves could be victims.
- Always check your credit card statement every month.
Till today, I have yet to receive the bluetooth headset. Olaprice have yet to give me a reply on the refund.
Are you also a victim? Share this article with your friends so that others will not fall for this scam again.
In the next post, I will share with you other scams on the internet.
**UPDATE JULY 2015**
Finally after close to 2 months, I have gotten my refund from Olaprice. If you are a victim too, please raise a fraud case to your bank quickly. You may be able to get your money back. By the way, my earphone came but is now broken after a month of use.