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Don't shop for trouble! Be wary of shopping online.

Updated on December 26, 2016
 

Buying on the internet opens a whole new range of possibilities. However, all the sensible rules of 'traditional' shopping still apply. Know who you are dealing with, caompare prices and make sure you know what you are getting for your money.

There are many benefits and pitfalls when buying on the internet. Here are some useful tips when making purchases.

Benefits.

  • You can access a worldwide market of suppliers who offer a huge choice and variety of goods and services. Many of the products are not readily available in India.
  • In many instances, those goods or services are cheaper.
  • You can make purchases from the comfort of your home or work place, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Concerns.

  • It is difficult to identify who you are doing business with and whether they are reputable.
  • There may be concerns about the security of making payment online and providing credit card details.
  • There is the possibility that your privacy will not be respected and confidential details may be misused or that you may be harassed by the electronic equivalent of junk mail. There may be concerns about after-sales support, service and warranty.
  • It may be difficult to check the quality of goods without being physically able to inspect them.

Do's and Don'ts to protect yourself

  • Don't judge a website by how good it looks. Websites are relatively easy and cheap to establish.
  • Check that the site has a physical address, so you can contact them later if you need advice or after-sales support.
  • Don't deal with sellers who are evasive and won't give contact details.
  • When dealing with sellers for the first time, phone or email them direct and ask about the goods or services they provide.
  • Find out more about the seller you wish to deal with. Yuo can do this by asking people who shop over the internet, and visiting newsgroup to ask other users about the seller or their product.
  • While there may be time limits for special offers, high pressure sales tactics can be a sign of fraud.
  • Don't respond to the first offer you see. It's likely there will be many similar sites you can choose from.
  • Check the actual price it will cost you to recieve the goods. Many offers are in foreign currency values and exchange rates can change quickly.
  • Also, check the freight or delivery method costs and whether the goods attract sales tax or import duty.
  • Check the legality of owning or importing certain goods from overseas into India.
  • Don't forget your local retailer. They may match prices on offer and may provide better service if goods need repair and replacement.
  • Check the seller's terms and conditions regarding refund and returns policy.
  • Always ascertain when the goods or services will be delivered.

Regarding payments.

  • Don't use your credit card for payment online if the seller does not use a secure payment system.
  • It is wise to give your card number to the seller by telephone or mail if they do not have a secure payment system.
  • If you have a disputed charge, contact your credit card company immediately.
  • Don't give out your bank account details to anyone. Even with partial details, unauthorised withdrawals can be made.
  • Keep record of all purchase details- always print the copy of purchase orders.
  • If you purchase by credit card, always check your statement to see you have been charged the agreed amount.

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