One of the really great benefits of the Internet has to be Online shopping. Brick and mortar stores have become so big that shopping there is no longer enjoyable, so I’m pretty happy that the Internet provides another option – armchair shopping. I love the convenience of being able to sit down whenever I want and just browse, looking for the right product.
One of my favourite places to shop online is at Amazon. They have excellent customer service, a great return policy and a very secure checkout – all things you need from any online store, but which isn’t necessarily a given. I thought today I’d share some things I’ve learned to do or watch for when shopping online, so that everyone can enjoy the experience.
The first place to start is at the beginning (duh) and that is by knowing that the computer itself is safe and secure. Especially when shopping or banking online is it essential to have an up-to-date security program with superior protection against the latest malware (MALicious softWARE).
You can check store reviews at Epinion.com. They have a huge list of stores they review – just click on this link Reviews
Or you can just google the store. Using Sears as an example, you google ‘Sears customer service reviews’ and check the results.
VERY IMPORTANT. The seller’s web address must show an ‘s’ added to http, as in https://www (this means ‘secure socket layer’ which provides an additional layer of security.) Using Sears as an example again, when you first sign on to the shopping site, it is just listed as http://sears.ca, but once you proceed to checkout it changes to secure checkout and the ‘s’ is added as shown – https://secure.sears.ca/stores/shop/
Check the seller’s terms, conditions and privacy statement. Ask “Can this seller provide all you want?” and the biggie – “What recourse do you have if you’re not satisfied with the product?”
- One of the best-known product review organizations with an excellent reputation is Consumer Reports Online
- The largest consumer review site with thousands of customer product reports is- Product Reviews and Consumer Reports
Use PayPal or a Credit card to pay – they offer buyers a certain amount of protection against fraud. Do not use a debit card for online purchases as this gives strangers ready access to your bank account, not a good idea at the best of times.
This is fraud prevention month so here’s an additional reminder…..Banks, Credit Card Companies, PayPal, Gov’t Agencies, etc. NEVER ask for any personal, financial or account information by email. If you get such an email, look up the phone number of the claimed sender, either online or in the phone book, (do not use any information supplied in the email) and call the business. This will do two things – first, you won’t go around wondering if this was a legit request or not, and second, the business needs to know that their name is being used for fraudulent purposes so they can start tracking and taking preventive measures.
All images courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.com
Shopping icons – thanks to digital art
Computer security – thanks to Stuart Miles
Shopping girl – thanks to imagery majestic
Confidential – thanks to Idea go