RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Online shopping has added another outlet — the popular app TikTok.
Because it offers not only in-app shopping but also live shopping too, it hasn’t taken scammers long to adapt to this latest social media trend.
With over 1 billion users worldwide, TikTok offers major brands and individual entrepreneurs a vast electronic marketplace in which to sell their wares.
“Forty-nine percent of TikTok users say they purchased something they saw on the app,” said Nick Hill of the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina, which offers a variety of suggestions to help you navigate the TikTok shopping experience.
Like many social media apps, TikTok is growing — moving from just a diversionary presenter of music and dance videos into all kinds of content with the shopping component offering lucrative profits for sellers — both legit and shady.
However, because of the speed of TikTok’s presentation, it doesn’t allow for a lot of product examination which makes it an easier place for scammers to hide.
Hill says potential buyers using the app need to take precautions to prevent being scammed.
“When shopping on TikTok we recommend you do some research before making a purchase,” said Hill.
That means leaving the app and doing an internet search for reviews and other related evaluations.
“Include terms like scam or complaint with the name of the product you see on TikTok to see if there’s a history of scams and complaints associated with a product,” he said.
When shopping on TikTok, keep an eye out for terms such as “refurbished, vintage or closeout.”
“That is going to be a red flag and may signal you are getting a second-hand or imperfect item,” said Hill.
Just like anything you purchase you may be unhappy with it and want to return it. With an app like TikTok there are limitations under its terms of service.
“You have six days from when the product was marked as delivered to request a return or refund,” said Hill.
When you buy on TikTok, only pay with a credit card in case anything goes wrong.
“A credit card is going to have your back and reimburse you, unlike a debit card,’’ said Hill.
You also need to keep precise records to hold the TikTok seller accountable — and make sure you fully understand the seller’s return and refund policies.