Is Zone-gears Fake or Real?
Why Is Zone-gears Likely Fake?
*Update: The owner of Zone-Gears contacted me to provide clarifications regarding certain points in the article. The information sent by them has been appended at the end of the article. Readers are requested to take this additional information into consideration for their purchase decision.*
Zone-gears is a website that claims to be selling items such as plush toys, garden decoration and tower food boxes. A banner on the site states that all products are 50% off with free shipping.
The images look like they have been copied from various sites such as Etsy and Amazon. The prices are rather fishy as they are around 20% to 25% lower than competitors. ‘Too good to be true’ prices are often the most obvious sign of a scam.
The claim that products are discounted at 50% doesn’t seem to be accurate as the ‘original’ prices look randomly inflated
A domain name lookup of the website shows that it was registered on 22nd February 2019 and there was a change in the registration information on 12th December 2020.
The registrant’s details such as name, location and contact details have been hidden using a paid service. This means that the website is being operated anonymously.
Not just the images but the text content seems to be copied too. The About Us page contains the following text:
We aim to provide the best customer service and support if you have any questions, problems or requirements please contact us using the info below.
We only sell quality products that are manufactured to a high standard, we test each product before it is sold to ensure it meets our quality standards.
We treat every customer with love and respect, we are only happy if you are and your happiness is our top priority.
The same text can be found on at least 14 other websites. The full list is given at the end of the article.
An IP address analysis of these website reveals that at least 4 of these are directly related to Zone-gears as they share the same IP address. Note the website ‘pandalunchbox.com’ as this will be important later.
While testing the checkout process, I found that the PayPal account associated with the website is named ‘Kasmi’.
On Pandalunchbox, I found a page that contains the information of someone named ‘Kasmi’. This confirms that the five websites mentioned above are indeed related.
As you can see in the above screenshot, the same page also contains the address of a location in Morocco. This same address is partially present on Zone-gears too, once again confirming a relationship between the sites.
Even though it seems apparent that Zone-gears and the related sites are operated from Morocco, a California phone number has been provided on the page. More on this later.
An alarming detail is that the FAQ page of the website claims that Zone-gears originated in Canada and is currently is located in the UK. This contradicts information on the website itself.
Even though the website does not mention any social media profiles, I found that Zone-gears has at least one page each on Facebook and Instagram.
The Facebook page information also shows that it is operated from Morocco. This page is a bit suspicious as it appears to have changed owners in December 2020. Therefore, the 12,000+ likes on the page are probably not genuine.
This page provides the email ID of ‘zonegears.com’ instead of ‘zone-gears.com’. By this point, there is little doubt that the five websites mentioned earlier are operated by the same owner.
The page is also being used for running ads on Facebook and Instagram.
There is no real company information given on Zone-gears’ website. Even the Terms of Service page does not contain a company name.
The contact information provided on the website includes an email ID, two phone numbers and a UK address. The email ID was found to be working when tested. A third phone number carrying the area code of California was also found on another page, as mentioned earlier.
One of the phone numbers carries the 205 area code of Alabama in USA which makes absolutely no sense. Both the phone numbers are virtual lines, which means that they can be operated from anywhere in the world.
The address does not seem to be real and can also be found on other websites. One of these is also carrying the same phone number, indicating that it might be fake too.
The only review for Zone-gears I could find was a complaint on BBB’s website. The customer has stated that they received sub-standard products and applied for a refund.
They were asked to ship the items back at their own cost in order to get the full amount back. It is not mentioned where they had to ship the item. They managed to receive a full refund after four months.
I decided to do some more digging and found the TrustPilot page of the related website Zonegears.com. The site appears to have great reviews, but this may not necessarily be the truth.
When I checked the review history, it is evident that the site was steadily receiving negative reviews for the first couple of months. Then there is a sudden spike in the positive reviews while the volume of negative reviews remained the same. This is a suspicious pattern which suggests that the positive reviews are likely to be fake.
Filtering to view only the negative reviews, it is seen that unhappy customers have all voiced similar issues. Complaints include non-delivery, late delivery, inferior quality of products and poor customer service. Interestingly, another customer has mentioned that they successfully received a refund after some back-and-forth.
There are several things wrong with Zone-gears that suggest it may be a scam.
The domain registration has been hidden using a paid service which means that there is no transparency regarding the website’s ownership. No proper company information has been provided on the website and the information that is present seems to be fake.
The images on the website look like they have been copied from various sites and the prices are considerably lower than competitors. These facts combined strongly hint that it might be a scam.
The text on the website is also not original as the same can be found on at least 14 other websites. 4 of these sites are directly related to Zone-gears and there are multiple signs indicating this.
The Facebook page of Zone-gears has over 12,600 likes but these may not be genuine as the page looks as if it has been purchased. The location of the admins is shown as Morocco, which matches some of the information found on Zone-gears’ website.
However, the website itself gives no indication that it is operated from Morocco. There are multiple instances where it is stated that Zone-gears is a UK-based operation and the site also provides an address and phone number of the UK. The disconcerting part is that none of the information seems to be true.
Reviews of Zone-gears and related websites are not favourable. There is some reason to believe that the company may have posted fake reviews on TrustPilot. The negative reviews include complaints such as delayed delivery, no delivery, poor quality of products and lack of response from customer support.
It is advisable to avoid shopping on Zone-gears and the related websites as they do not seem to be trustworthy.
After this review was published, the owner of Zone-gears reached out to me regarding the information provided in the article. A copy of our email exchange addressing these points has been provided below.
I strongly encourage readers to take this new information into consideration while making the decision to purchase from Zone-Gears.
Links provided in the mail:
Remember: If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
To read about other Ecommerce Scams, click here.
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List of websites using the same content as Zone-Gears
If you have been the victim of an ecommerce scam, you can take the following steps:
- Lodge a cybercrime complaint online or with the local police office
- File a complaint with the payment portal and ask whether the payment can be reversed
- Leave a negative review on review portals such as Scamadviser, TrustPilot, OnlineThreatAlerts and SiteJabber
- Give a low rating to the website on Web of Trust. You can also install their extension for the same
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are presented as an opinion based on available information. This review is intended for information only and should not be relied on when making financial or business decisions. There is no malicious intent or attempt to defame any individual/s or organization/s. If you are a website owner and would like to provide clarifications regarding your business and/or website, please get in touch using the Contact Form.