The promise of purchasing high-value products for significantly lower amounts is the main advertising vein of companies or people who sell ‘mystery boxes’ on shopping sites. The boxes are offered for values ranging from R$20 to R$300 and consumer complaints are immense.
Many use social media to expose discontent and alert those interested in acquiring the mystery boxes. The cases are similar, although the delivery of cell phones, headphones and accessories for computers is promised, customers are surprised with products with values below those paid by the cashier and counterfeit.
The report looked for mystery boxes on sites commonly used by consumers from Mato Grosso do Sul. The products are offered on Mercado Livre, Shopee, AliExpress and also websites of the sellers themselves, such as Universo das Caixas.
Although the reports on the internet are diverse, the Procon-MS (Superintendence for Guidance and Consumer Protection) claims to have not received complaints about the situation at the state level. For the president of the consumer commission of the OAB-MS (Brazilian Bar Association), Nikollas Pellat, the practice can be considered embezzlement.
Pellat explains that it is necessary to analyze the product sold to identify whether the practice is legal or not. Cases where all products that can reach the consumer are exposed in the advertisement are considered legal, as they do not violate the information principle present in the CDC (Consumer Defense Code).
As written in the CDC, the “right to information aims to assure consumers a conscious choice, allowing their expectations in relation to the product or service to be actually met, expressing what has been called informed consent or qualified will”.
I bought mystery boxes and got scammed, what to do?
In the description of one of the mystery boxes offered on the Mercado Livre website and sold by the store named only by the letters ‘QSQPBR’, the consumer should not buy the item if he does not agree with the possibility of disapproving the item received. However, the seller’s statement violates the right of repentance also present in the CDC.
According to Pellat, the consumer has the right to regret a purchase made at a distance, whether over the internet or telephone. “When people buy remotely, they have up to seven days to regret the purchase and request a refund of the amount paid”, he explains.
For this, it is necessary for the customer to contact the store and request the money back, if necessary, the buyer can contact the website where the box is sold.
On e-commerce sites, it is worth paying attention to whether the company is willing to return the amount spent by the injured customer. As in the image below:
In addition to these steps, the consumer can still file a police report against the store and take the case to court. “In these cases, the company will have to prove that it delivers the products correctly”, explained the specialist.
In a note, Mercado Livre claims to prohibit the sale of undetermined items, without a full description of their composition, a practice that violates the platform’s product registration policies. In addition to, when identified, delete the ad and notify the seller. The company also claims to act quickly in the face of complaints that can be made by the government, by any user directly in the ads or by companies that are part of its intellectual property protection program.
The report contacted the company Universo das Caixas, which sells mystery boxes, but has not yet obtained a position. The space remains open.