With Christmas coming and Black Friday looming fast, it’s worth pointing out that there are more scam sites than ever on the Internet with fraudsters ever willing to steal your money. One site in particular has caught our attention as it is named similarly to a reputable site, purports to sell books, but once you purchase you’ll only get an ebook (if you are lucky). The name of this site – bookword.uk.
My brother got scammed by this site, only for £14.90, and you might easily look at the site and think what a muppet. The site is particularly amateurish but with my nephew’s birthday coming up it was something he wanted to buy as an additional gift. The thing is however, it’s not just the site itself which fooled him – Google need to shoulder a proportion of the blame. Do a Google search and they are promoting bookword.uk through a sponsored ad and in that sponsored ad it clearly states that the format is a ‘Hardback’ book. We all think we can trust Google don’t we?
It’s only if you dig into the terms and conditions of the site and get as far as the 8th section that you discover the phrase ‘We selling only digital products. Instant delivery to client email after purchase.’ Hidden away on a contact page (not linked from anywhere else on the site) is a mobile telephone number which is out of service and an address in Maida Vale London which is probably fake as well – hard to imagine someone in a £7 million house being bothered to set up a scam like this.
It’s too easy for scammers to set up a website with your personal details hidden behind an anonymous domain name registration service and then simply pay Google to promote their site. The problem is that we all trust Google to display legitimate results but Google are taking bookword.uk’s money with what appears to be no checks.
Having been scammed, hindsight is a wonderful thing and visiting the bookword.uk Trustpilot rating reveals that since buying their domain in July this year, in just two short months bookword.uk have gathered 138 reviews 135 of which are one star, 2 are two star and 1 is three star (from someone who edited their review after being refunded). I have honestly never seen such an appalling Trustpilot rating before.
Whilst other rating sites are available, if you’re about to make a purchase in the run up to Christmas and it’s not on a marketplace or a website you’ve used before and trust, check out their reviews on Trustpilot. The site doesn’t have to sign up to Trustpilot to garner reviews and you can be pretty certain that if a number of people have been ripped off in the past that at least some will have left a review online.
Having paid £14.90 for non existent books (and to date not having even received an ebook which he doesn’t want) it brings into question the entire site. If someone is willing to be so duplicitous as to scam consumers in this manner it’s fair to ask if they are paying the publisher for the rights to distribute the ebooks in the first place. We asked Puffin if they had rights to sell their publications in ebook format and are waiting for a reply.
Moral of the story is that when you start doing your Christmas shopping, don’t trust what you see on search engines. Feel free to distrust every advert that you see on Google until you verify the companies are legitimate. It could be the next scammer paying to rip you off so check out the site and see what previous customers had to say on Trustpilot and other ratings sites before you part any money.
We would like to point out that the scam site bookword.uk is in no way connected with the excellent blog bookword.co.uk.