Yes, it IS too good to be true. There has been a recent increase in suspicious-looking retailer websites that are offering great deals on car seats and gear. Graco and Britax seem to be popular targets with the fake deals, but this also applies to other brands.
The websites may look legitimate enough on the surface, with photos and logos appearing like real car seat companies, but there are a few red flags you can easily spot:
- Check the “About”, “Contact” or “Return” pages. Do they clearly show a USA or Canada shipping address? Scammers usually only have a contact form, if that. If there’s no way to track them down, there’s also no way to return a product or file a complaint!
- Do they publish an email address and phone number, preferably a toll free number or one with a local area code if it’s a brick and mortar store? If you can even find one, call it just to check and ask a few questions, like their return policy and if they are an authorized retailer for the brand you want to buy. If you get a bad vibe, don’t risk it!
- Check the links to their social media pages. Do they work? Do they match the store name? Have they been around a while? Is their facebook page updated regularly and do they have at least 1000 followers and legitimate comments or Q&A there? Scammers may have a dozen short, 5-star fake reviews, but that’s usually all.
- Look at the address bar in your browser. A legitimate website will almost always start with https:// (click in the address bar if you don’t see either https:// or http://). If a website wants to be found on Google now, this having this security feature is a must. Some sites, however, won’t be secure until you start the ordering process. You may also see a padlock 🔒in your address bar showing that the site is secure.
- Google search the store name. Can you find any reasonable comments that it’s a real company, even if it’s a smaller store with a brick and mortar location? If it’s a local baby store, you should also find Yelp and other comments about them.
- Are the deals similar to the current prices at Amazon, Target, Walmart, BuyBuyBaby, Albee Baby and other legitimate retailers? If you have never heard of the store and ALL their prices are way below ALL the other stores where you usually shop, then it’s probably too good to be true!
OUR ADVICE: If you are still in doubt, the easiest way to check is to call the customer service number of the manufacturer of the car seat to ask them if it is an authorized retailer in your country. If you find their official product webpage, they usually have a locator for authorized distributors and retailers. You can also ask us on our facebook page or facebook group. We will be able to steer you to deals at proven retailers like on our Car Seats Deals Tracker.
When in doubt, DO NOT download anything from suspicious looking websites and DO NOT submit any personal information!
Here’s an example of an alleged FAKE. The URL and store name alone should be red flags enough, but this website happened to fail just about every question above. Have an issue? Don’t count on being able to contact them. And don’t be fooled by their presumably unauthorized use of a manufacturer’s logo!
Now here’s a REAL contact page below from our friends at Kids ‘N Cribs, a legitimate online baby store with retail locations in California. They have a contact number, address, a 4.5 star Yelp rating with 30 reviews and a facebook page with recent updates and over 4000 followers. They are authorized retailers for about 100 brands, including Britax, Chicco, Clek, Diono, Graco, Max-Cosi, Nuna, Peg Perego, UPPAbaby and many more.
Please feel free to leave us a comment here or on our facebook page, especially if you have seen a fake store with unbelievably good deals!