14 November 2011
Tips for Online Shopping
Written by Michelle
According to news sources, over 82% of Canadians purchased something online last year. The pros of shopping online include having the ability to easily browse interesting products and compare prices. The cons include being extremely frustrated if something goes wrong. Here are some tips on how to ensure sure your online shopping experiences are positive.
Shop Where You are Comfortable
Are you familiar with the company or organization you are buying from? Check out the company’s reputation and look for other consumers’ experiences. It is a good idea to check if the business’s website lists contact information such as an address, phone number, or email.
Be Aware of Return/Refund Policies
Like any other retail outlet you would visit in person, it is a good idea to check out the terms and conditions regarding return/refund policies for any e-commerce company you are buying from. Check to see if you are responsible for paying shipping and handling fees if you want to return the item and how much time you have to do so.
Pay by Credit Card
Using a credit card often provides extra protection in comparison to paying directly from your bank account. This is especially important in dealing with companies you may never have purchased from before. Talk to your credit card provider about any added protection of using your card when purchasing items online.
Check the Final Price Before Paying
Always review the final amount due before agreeing to make a payment. When shipping and handling charges, fees, or taxes are tacked on, those online prices may not be as attractive as you first thought. Any reputable vendor will provide you the ability to review your order before requiring you to make a payment.
Take the Time to Think Through the Details
Take a moment to read all the fine print before making your purchase. Find out what currency you are paying in, American or Canadian dollars? If you are ordering from the United States you may also have to pay duty on items. If you are shopping for Christmas gifts, check the delivery dates as business get busy for retailers this time of year and it could take weeks to receive your item.
Do you have any tips for me around online shopping this holiday season? Share it with everyone on our Facebook page.
Published in Tips.
Michelle works in the Consumer Protection BC Inquiry Centre. She answers calls and emails from consumers and businesses on a wide variety of topics which makes her the perfect person to share her knowledge and experiences with you.