Shopping online is one of the most important blessings of our current times. Compared to traditional shopping, online commerce has its advantages as you don’t have to get all dressed up and leave the comfort of your home to do it, an essential aspect that some of us, genuine shopping loathers just love!
An online shop is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week so you rarely see a ‘Sorry, we're closed’ sign and you will never have to be literally pushed out of the store by tired staffers at closing time. Thanks to technology advancement, practically everything is a click away from pencils to aircrafts! However, just like traditional shopping, online commerce can bring serious harm if you're unaware of some essential basics, especially those related to security issues.
Examining Websites’ Security
Researching & Comparing Websites
If you already know a secure website then get all that you are interested to purchase from it. If not, ask people who are familiar with this type of shopping for secure sites or do a research about websites you are interested to buy products from. To avoid trouble, buy a cheap item from an unknown website to see if the company is reliable. Make sure to check expected delivery dates, shipping and handling fees, warranties, return policies, and other important information. Look for an email address to write to (or a phone number to call) if you have a question, a problem, or if you need help. You can read the reviews of other shoppers about online stores and the prices of products on comparison sites as some of these websites have shoppers evaluations integrated in their design with smiley faces or stars symbols. Keep in mind that auction sites do not guarantee the quality of products as the merchandise is posted by regular individuals not companies.
Get yourself a credit card
Your ATM card won't help you in online shopping, only a credit card will. Visit/Call your bank and ask about the terms and costs of issuing a credit card, enquire about its details, expiry date, and maximum rates etc…Make sure that you have a credit card and not a debit card, a check card, or an ATM card. A debit card, just like checks, exposes your bank account to thieves. Your checking account could be erased in less than 10 minutes. Note that debit and ATM cards are not protected by law to the extent that credit cards are. However, banks usually offer a debit card once you open an account and some Banks have secure payment gateways with certain websites that allow use of Debit Cards/Account Numbers without a concern. If you already have a credit card, make sure to inform your bank that you are going to use it for online payments as some cards issuers have a policy with types of charges. Also, inquire about the limit of your credit card so that in case your credit card number got exposed, you will not lose a lot.
Keep Good Records
Make sure to print or save electronically any records related to your online transactions. This will help you keep track of shipping dates, shipping and handling fees, and other details of your transactions. Check for online stores that send an automatic email confirmation whenever you order anything. There are stores with systems that allow subsequent email updates, and always include the URL for online order tracking. Furthermore, try to get online access to your transactions to ensure that you are not paying more than once for every purchase.
Inspect your purchase
Look at your purchase carefully as soon as you receive it. Contact the seller as soon as possible if you discover a problem with it. Tell the seller in writing about any problems you have, ask for a repair or refund, and keep a copy of your correspondence. Almost all companies allow you to exchanges items you purchased, make sure to read the return and exchange policies before you buy anything.
Now that you have all the basic information that you need, you are ready to immerse in your online shopping spree. It’s true that this form of shopping has its virtues but the real deal which is the typical window shopping has its advantages. For example, getting that ice-cream or any comforting food feel after shopping for four hours for that perfect outfit and discovering that you gained 10 extra pounds is an experience that can never be felt with online shopping!