I bought a pair of shoes from an online marketplace, but when they arrived it became clear they were fake. I tried to message the seller to request a refund, but their account has since been blocked. I am not sure what options I have available to me. Can you help?

Online purchases have become increasingly common among consumers, especially since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022, a third of all retail purchases took place online, with the trend set to continue.

Unfortunately, there are risks associated with these purchases. There is a lack of purchase security in place, compared to purchasing in-person.

With marketplaces such as Vinted, there are more opportunities for traders not to cooperate.

Traders and individuals selling goods on online marketplaces can withhold refunds or disappear entirely. Because the agreement is between buyer and seller, Vinted does has very little involvement in disputes.

Buyer’s protection service

Vinted offers security for buyers through its “Buyer’s Protection” service. This requires an additional fee.

The service can be used to request a refund if the item is lost, damaged, or significantly not as described.

A refund will only be offered if the issue is reported during the dispute filing period, which is 2 days.

Request a chargeback

If the seller has disappeared from the marketplace, you may be able to pursue a chargeback via your bank if you have paid via credit or debit card. There may also be additional requirements you must meet to be eligible for a chargeback.

If you paid via PayPal, you may be able to claim the money back if you do so within the 180 day time limit.

Consumers have also reported issues with other online marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon, such as having to pay to return unwanted items.


Amazon claims that buyer disputes should be resolved between the buyer and the seller.

However, amazon offers an A-Z guarantee for refunds. One of the following conditions must be met in order to claim this:

  • The item was not delivered within 3 days past the maximum delivery date estimate or 30 days from the order day, whichever is sooner.
  • The item was damaged, defective, materially different or you changed your mind and met Amazon’s return policy, but you haven’t been refunded.
  • The seller agreed to refund you or replace the item but that didn’t happen, or the refund amount was wrong.
  • You want to return an item, but the seller won’t provide a UK address or a pre-paid return label or offer a full refund without requesting the item to be returned.
  • You were charged extra, such as customs charges, and the seller did not cover these.

This can only be used within 90 days of the estimated delivery date.


Similarly, eBay expects disputes to be resolved between buyer and seller in almost all cases.

The buyer is free to open a return request with the seller if they have an issue or are not satisfied with the item received. eBay endorses this even if the seller has a no returns policy.

Further Support

If you require further support, you can can contact the Consumer Advice team on 0808 164 600 Monday-Friday 9am-5pm, or go to