Spotted a sleek Grohe showerhead for an amazingly low price? Check its authenticity first. See if it’s from an authorised distributor, and make a request for documents to determine the authenticity of the product, and reputation of the company. Next, thoroughly check the reviews as wellas credibility ratings.

“Unfortunately, some sellers offer rebates to shoppers in exchange for good ratings – despite poor service and product quality. The trick is to sieve through reviews and follow-up comments, to see if shoppers have posted more truthful evaluations after the transaction was completed,” says Peter Tee, an avid Taobao shopper and the administrator of a Taobao Facebook group.

Merchants under the Tmall platform are also known to be more credible than regular Taobao sellers. This is because they are required to have a physical shop, and are usually
registered companies.

Alternatively,try the Ji You Jia website. “Those looking for branded home-furnishing products may try searching on Ji You Jia, a Taobao-owned site which features shops that have been stringently checked for reliability, quality and service,” recommends Karen, co-founder of local forwarder Etrove.

An indicator of fake goods is unreasonably low prices. As prices of branded items tend to be controlled, savings can go no lower than 25 to 40 per cent. If a shopper comes across an item offering savings of over 70 per cent, it is most definitely a knock-off, says Karen.