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Ajman-based Indian expat Saleemuddin Ansari with the fake phone he received via courier Image Credit: Virendra Saklani, Gulf News

Dubai: If you are tempted to buy a product because it’s offered online at one-third of its retail price, be forewarned. It could be fake.

Indian expat Saleemuddin Ansari found this the hard way last week when he fell for an Instagram advertisement offering a Huawei Mate 20 Pro Android smartphone for just Dh297 against its original price of Dh1,299.

The phone turned out to be a counterfeit.

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The advertisement that appeared on Instagram offering a Huawei Mate 20 Pro Android smartphone for Dh279 Image Credit: Supplied

“Everything looked legitimate,” recalled Ansari who runs an IT firm. “The Instagram advertisement directed me to the landing page of a website which had a local WhatsApp business number. I sent a message asking if the phone was genuine and they immediately responded saying it was indeed an original Huawei Mate 20 Pro handset. To allay my fears, they also sent me the specifications of the phone, adding that it came with a one–year warranty and I could return it if I didn’t like it,” said Ansari.

Indian expat Saleemuddin Ansari explains the scam to Gulf News Mazhar Farooqui, Features Editor - Special Reports

“This made me confident, more so because the payment term was cash-on-delivery. I thought I would return the product if it was not real,” he added.

Ansari said shortly after he shared his name and address, a man from a courier firm showed up at his Ajman house with a parcel containing the cellphone.

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Saleemuddin Ansari discusses his plight in an interview with Gulf News Image Credit: Virendra Saklani, Gulf News

“I opened the parcel and sure enough there was a Huawei box inside. It looked original. So I went to a nearby ATM withdrew the money and gave Dh297 to the courier man,” he said.

However, a rude shock awaited Ansari when returned to his apartment and opened the box. What lay inside was not a Huawei Mate 20 Pro Android smartphone but a cheap counterfeit.

Ansari said the company hung up on him when he called its landline and threatened to report the matter to police.

“Intriguingly, they have Dubai landline number while their purported office is in Sharjah,” said Ansari.

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Once unpacked Saleemuddin Ansari realised the con Image Credit: Virendra Saklani, Gulf News

“When I messaged them on WhatsApp and demanded an explanation, they gave me a customer care number in Pakistan,” he said.

Gulf News tried calling the number several times but it remains switched off.

Ansari said he wants unsuspecting residents to learn from his bitter experience so that they don’t end up falling for the scam.

The Whatsapp for Business account of the dodgy company is also offering a slew of other products, including a Dh479 Dell laptop (I5 processor) selling for Dh1,435 on Amazon.