Beware of substandard electronics

While you’re on holiday, you stroll down a quaint shopping street. A friendly vendor invites you to their shop where they make you a great offer: a high-quality smartphone, camera or other electronic device, at a bargain price. 

You seize your chance and buy a ‘quality’ laptop for a mere €100. Then the vendor recommends a new hard drive because it will make your device run even better. You’re persuaded and buy the whole package.

Later, you go online to see how good your bargain was. And you discover you’ve been ripped off. You’ve bought an inferior counterfeit version of a genuine branded product. And if you want to challenge this fraudulent sale, the chances are you’re out of luck, because you didn’t get an invoice.

Beware of such misleading business practices. You’re particularly at risk of falling into a trap on holiday. After all, you’re less suspicious there than you would be at home, and rogue sellers exploit that.

Say no to street vendors

Cancelling a fraudulent purchase and getting a refund is incredibly difficult. So always politely and firmly reject street vendors offering electronic items. Continue on your way and on no account enter their shop. Don’t be tempted by attractive offers. Because if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

Watch out too for counterfeit products. Because they’re so cheap, they often contain unchecked materials, which creates risks such as explosion and even poisoning.

You’ve been scammed. Now what?

Were you the victim of a fraudulent sales practice while on holiday? Take these steps to try to recover your money:


  1. File a complaint with the local police if you’re still at your holiday destination.
  2. If you’ve since returned home, send the seller a registered letter. In it, ask for the cancellation of the purchase and a full refund.
  3. If you paid for all or part of the purchase with a Belgian credit card, dispute the transaction via Mijn kaart/Ma carte.
  4. If the seller is established in the EU, you can file a complaint with ECC Belgium.