Online Shopping Safety tips

Introduction.

Although shopping online is incredibly convenient it inevitably carries some risks with it, meaning that you should always be aware of some basic online shopping safety tips. However, there’s nothing new in being wary when shopping and checking that all is well. Although some people view shopping online as being untrustworthy we shouldn’t forget that there are still, let alone  20 years ago, deals that aren’t all they seem and fraudulent shopkeepers out there in our High Street stores and Malls. However, just as on our High Streets and in our Malls - it is only a tiny percentage of online shops or Malls that can’t actually be trusted.

Online shopping benefits.

No one is forcing you to shop online! Online shopping is entirely at your discretion and choice. However, for anyone with a computer and an internet connection; compared to what was available, say, just 20 years ago - online shopping offers everyone what would have been an unimaginable shopping experience back then. Online shops and malls don’t close overnight and don’t even close for holidays. Available 24/7, there cannot be many things now that you cannot buy over the internet from somewhere in the world and more than likely can arrange delivery of it within one or two days at most.

The basic differences between online and offline shopping.

However, online shopping does have a few significant and basic differences to going out on a regular shopping trip. Firstly, online you can’t actually see or hold the item you’re buying, to inspect it, before placing your order. In this respect you are entirely dependent on the accuracy of the online supplier’s description. Second, in a physical shop/store, unless you were buying something particularly exotic or large, you would be able to take whatever it was you bought home with you there and then. With internet shopping the item has to be delivered to you; and it is rarely the case that it would be delivered on the same day. Thirdly, following from needing to have your goods delivered is that; in having to have the item(s) you’ve bought delivered - you will have to declare your delivery address, or at least the address for the recipient. For various reasons of privacy you might wish to avoid this? Finally, and the difference that concerns most people, is that you can’t pay by cash over the internet. This means you have to trust someone you’ve never even spoken to with your bank/credit card details or possibly something like your PayPal account.

Tips to shop online safely.

With the above comments in mind, here are some tips to shop online safely:
Websites of companies or stores that you already know of or have been recommended to; are usually safe and low risk ones.
Always read any description of the goods for sale carefully, checking that they meet the specifications that you’re looking for.
Having found a ticket price that you feel comfortable paying - check to see if it is the actual amount you’ll pay. The important things here include; is the price for the number of items you want to purchase, or just a  discount price for bulk orders and does the ticket price include all the relevant taxes.
Most online shopping orders need to have a delivery charge added to them. How does this affect the price you pay? Will you be able to specify a time for the delivery, this could be important if there’s no one home to take the delivery.
What is the returns policy and refunds procedure for the online store, in the event of you not being satisfied with the goods?
Before you click finalize and pay for the order - double check that everything is correct. The item(s) you’re buying, the quantity of them that you want to buy, the prices you’ll pay, the delivery charges and arrangements.
Having decided to buy online you might be offered several payment options. Under Federal Law, in the event of a dispute with the seller, your payment will be protected only if you use a credit card.
Never simply send your bank/finance details by email, even if they seem to have been requested from a company you’ve previously done business with.
Before paying for the goods make sure that you are using a secure website and that the seller has a secure payment system. Look for websites starting https and/or a padlock icon in the lower right-hand of your screen.
When the transaction has gone through; print the purchase order, making sure that you have an order reference number