The Korea Herald


Missing in delivery: Korea counts social media purchases gone wrong

Authorities warn against cash transfer payments

By Lim Jeong-yeo

Published : Sept. 11, 2020 - 14:37

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Social media is commonly referred to as SNS in Korea (Yonhap) Social media is commonly referred to as SNS in Korea (Yonhap)
An increasing number of consumers who purchased clothes through social media are reporting complaints of unshipped products and merchants suddenly vanishing altogether.

According to Korea Consumer Agency on Friday, the state-run institute has received 657 cases seeking remedies for fraudulent fashion business practices on social media in the first half of 2020 -- a 38.9 percent on-year increase for the category.

The most prevalent form of malpractice reported was no shipment upon payment, accounting for 48.4 percent of the cases. Refusal from the seller to give a refund amounted to 19.5 percent, shipment of product other than what was advertised came up to 14.9 percent, and product defects accounted for 14.9 percent.

For no shipment cases, 68.2 percent of them involved sellers unilaterally cutting contact, with their websites no longer in operation. For refund refusals, the 46.9 percent of the sellers argued they had notified in the prouct details that there can be no exchanges or refunds for the goods.

The biggest age cohort to shoulder the damage were 30-somethings. The KCA was able to confirm the ages of 620 victims, with consumers in their 30s accounting for 201 cases (32.4 percent), followed by those in their 40s at 148 cases (23.9 percent), 50s at 133 cases (21.5 percent) and 20s at 98 cases (15.8 percent.)

The most commonly bought items cost less than 50,000 won ($42), which accounted for 41.4 percent of the reported cases. Items priced between 50,000 won and 100,000 won accounted for 26.9 percent of the cases and between 10,000 won and 200,000 won accounted for 17.4 percent.

The reported costs averaged at 138,000 won ($116), with the highest figure at 4.6 million won.

In the reported cases, cash transfer was the most widely used mode of transaction, taking up 43.9 percent. Authorities cautioned consumers from making direct cash transfers, as they are more difficult to track and seek remedies for.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (