Google Criticised for Allowing Suspected Scam Website Selling Cheap Gadgets to Top Search Results

By Shabana Arif on at

A website selling hard-to-get-hold-of gadgets at reduced prices in a never-ending, 'everything's almost-gone' sale has finally been investigated by Google. The verdict? It was shady af.

The MyTechDomestic store sold consoles, exercise equipment, and VR headsets - all perfect lockdown fodder - and while it stated a number of payment options like American Express, Mastercard, and PayPal, when customers got to check out, it accepted bank transfers only to a Paris-based account. It was flagged in a post on MoneySavingExpert, after which it switched to an English account, which should have set some alarm bells ringing.

The BBC reports that the site claimed to be a London-based business, but the address and registration number provided were for a consultancy company with the same initials that has diddly squat to do with it. A spokesperson for MTDO Ltd said:

"MyTechDomestic is nothing whatsoever to do with MTDO Ltd. We don't sell anything on the internet and we were shocked that it was that easy to set up something that steals someone else's company's identity."

MTDO reported the situation to Google last week on Friday, but the ads were still online up until Monday night. The BBC says that it was only after it contacted Google that the tech giant started its investigation into the dodgy website. A Google spokeswoman said:

"We take dishonest business practices very seriously and consider them to be an egregious violation of our policies. We have a tool where anyone can report these ads and these complaints are reviewed manually by our team.

"In 2019, we removed 2.7 billion bad ads and we're constantly updating our policies as we see new threats emerge."

PlanetHolster, the host for the site, has also stepped in and suspended for a violation of its policy. This hasn't helped out the people who took to TrustPilot after being scammed, with one helpful individual saying:

"Who in their right mind would buy from a an online store that requires payment by direct bank transfer?!!! In 20+ years of online buying I've never encountered a real store that doesn't take payment by credit/debit card or Paypal.

"I have NO sympathy for you muppets who have been defrauded.You might as well have 'rob me' tattooed on your foreheads you're so gullible.

"You should all be sterilized so you can't have kids and pass on your stupidity genes!"

Presumably that's the CEO of MyTechDomestic weighing in. Just stay alert people, as if you were on the the lookout for COVID-19. [BBC News]

Feature image credit: Unsplash