Whether you’re in the market for tools for yourself, or to give to others as gifts, you’re probably keeping an eye out for sales and special offers — especially over the next week or so. But unfortunately, not all tools sold online are what they say they are.
According to Tom Scalisi in an article for BobVila.com, there’s an ongoing fake tool racket you should know about — not only during the holiday season, but the rest of the year as well. Here’s how to spot the fakes.
How the fake tool racket works
It typically starts out with targeted ads on Facebook or Google offering unbelievable deals on tools from big-name brands like DeWalt and Milwaukee. We’re talking seriously deep discounts, Scalisi says — like items advertised for one-quarter or even one-eighth of their retail price.
But in almost all situations like this, the tools are coming from fake online stores posing as DeWalt and Milwaukee outlets. And while the tools they sell may look like the originals, they aren’t held to the same quality standards and may not be safe to use. Or in some cases, Scalisi says, the whole fake outlet is a scam, and customers don’t receive any tools at all (because there aren’t any).
How to spot fake brand-name tools
Here’s what Scalisi says to pay attention to when shopping for tools online:
- The name of the retailer. If you’re not buying the tools directly from the tool brand’s own website, make sure that the online store is an authorised retailer for the brand — even if they have hypothetically legitimate-sounding names like “Milwaukee Tool Outlet” or “Dewalt Tools.”
- Check the tool brand’s website for information. These fake tool retailers are becoming so common that some companies, like DeWalt, have sections on their websites to help consumers determine whether a tool they’ve purchased is the real deal.
- Be familiar with the tools’ retail prices. Before you start shopping, look up the actual prices of the tools, as well as the usual discount offered during a sale. So if a brand offers a 20% discount on tools during their best sale of the year, and you see them offered at 70% off at an alleged “outlet,” it’s probably a scam.
- Check the reviews. As you’re browsing the possibly-fake tool outlet’s website, look for product reviews. Obviously, if everyone leaves comments on this being a fake website and a scam, avoid it. But a website or product with no reviews is a red flag too.