Thursday, 31 July 2008

Safe and Save Online Shopping

Online shopping is big business and with this there are glitches in the system that can allow you to taken advantage of unless you take steps to prevent this.

I have given a few tips on how to avoid the scams with online shopping. Taking these tips you will becomes much safer in this form of purchase. And probably save yourself a lot of time and trouble trying to undo a potential bad deal. Prevention is always better than a cure.

What Delivery Times?
Check out the delivery timetables and make sure that you find out the recommended last delivery dates when you place your order to avoid disappointment.

Credit Card Protection
Use your credit card if you have one. This will give you added protection because if you buy goods on a credit card, the credit card issuer also becomes responsible for the goods you buy. If the goods arrive in bad condition or you have problems asking for a a refund, the credit card company will be obliged to support you with this.

The Padlock Reassures
The padlock icon can usually be seen in the bottom right hand corner of the site window. It will often let you know that you are entering a safe and secure part of a site. Most reputable online sales merchants offer this secure method of payment. It basically encrypts your credit card and personal information so that a third party can't pick up on it. Incidentally. High Street shops use exactly the same software systems as any mail order order process.

Don't Give Personal Information
Handing over personal information isn't necessary and should be avoided. If this is of concern to you, the 1998 Data Protection Act covers this aspect.

Are there Contact Details?
Beware of any online stores that fail to reveal information about themselves. As yourself why? Any reputable online store will naturally provide clear contact information and furthermore should be more than happy to answer any queries raised. If you can't find contact details on their site it's best, move on.

What Returns Policy is there?
There should always be a returns policy and this should be checked before you buy. Information relating to who pays for the goods if they are faulty and whether the store should pay all postage costs. Original packing should be kept, this is important and remember, under the Distance Selling Regulations, you have a seven day cooling off period in case you change your mind.

Beware of Hidden Costs!
Delivery charges and VAT are sometimes omitted right up until the point of the last click to buy. When making a purchase never rush into clicks to the next page and make sure these additional costs are inclusive of the price.

Hang on to Receipts and Delivery Documents
So, you've made your online purchase. You should receive a confirmation email. It is important that you print this out and keep a note of your any order reference number in case of problems when your goods arrive.

Details on Delivery
Make sure you have put down an address where someone will be there to receive your goods. An obvious matter but sometime the obvious is overlooked. It may cause great inconvenience for both parties otherwise. Some stores give an options of delivery times which helps.

Be Aware of Your Rights
If you buy goods from a high street shop you have the same rights as shopping online. The goods should fit the product description and be exactly as described. If you want to know more about your rights you can take a look at the Office of Fair Trading web site.

With all this on board you should have a worry free time shopping online and reap the benefits. No struggling in traffic jams, no getting jostled in crowds, no queues and the biggest bonus a better deal in most cases!

Shop Safely

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