In my experience, this has been a major issue because there is such high profitability. It is not (just) recent. I purchase considerable online mostly to save driving time, and also because of lack of availability of some items in our relatively small market. Two areas on Ebay come to mind as bitter experiences. Essentially 100% of the USB memory sticks I have purchased there have been counterfeit. One not only mapped an 8Gb chip to a much larger size, but also included a virus which (tried to) load on first use. Such mapping makes the unit useless (without wasting major time). I don’t even try any more in this area (and keep H2TESTW on my desktop). I got one refund (Aus seller) who said he/she was unaware, which could be true, as sellers are always looking for gear to market at a profit. OS sellers, not hardly.
The other major area has been “bait and switch” ads, in my case particularly for auto spares. There will typically be a picture of a legitimate OE or OEM part (often with a specified quality manufacturer). There may be fine print saying “or some equivalent supplier”. Alternatively, you may just get a piece of junk, or you may get an email saying “gosh, we are out of this maker’s part, but we can give you XXX.” Magic, you pay for an OE part and get Chinese aftermarket. Having had to pull over on the Hay Plain because of these “quality” units failing rapidly, they are not (ever, in my experience) the same. For the manufacturers I try to get, again in my experience across 100’s of items, perhaps 20-30% of parts will end up not being what I have paid for.
“Made whole” … mostly never. A few times I have gotten a discount (belated) when a sub-quality part has been shipped. Some I’ve had to send back (in those cases, at my expense). Ebay seems to have delisted one clear bait-and-switch seller (in Germany) after my complaint, but I never got a refund. Also, for those sellers doing the email switch, when I ask for my money back, Ebay has set it up so that the instant they initiate this, the ability to leave feedback (warning other consumers) disappears … more magic. The “reason” which invariably comes up in the Ebay correspondence is “buyer cancelled order” rather than the truth, which was “seller tried to palm off garbage.”
In my view, while the seller should be responsible for performance of the item, Ebay (and equivalent) should be responsible for mis-representation since this is fraud, and they are effectively abetting fraud. How to enforce this across international boundaries … well, they certainly managed to find a way to charge GST across international boundaries, so I am thinking it is more than possible.