Are you an informed online shopper?

Are you an informed online shopper?

The Internet can be a buyer's paradise, as long as you know how to shop safely and avoid hidden fees. Here are some tips for making your online shopping experience a positive one.

Make sure the website is reputable.

If you are shopping on a new site you have not dealt with before and are not a brand name you know, take the time to do some work before sharing any sensitive personal information. Browse the site to see if a third-party seal of approval has been released from a trusted source, such as the Better Business Bureau, or Trust-E. Membership in these organizations means that the website has agreed to adhere to strict standards for handling personal information as well as customer complaints.

You can also enter the name of the website or company in your favorite search engine to see what is happening. If someone has had a bad experience with the site, it can be mentioned in a user forum or on a consumer information site.

Only shop on sites that use secure technology.

When information is transmitted between your computer and the server of the purchasing site, it must be encrypted. If a commercial site's server uses encryption technology, your data is encrypted and decrypted when it reaches the commercial site's server to prevent unscrupulous hackers from capturing the information when it is encrypted. transmission.

When a shopping site asks you for any type of personal data, you should know that it uses encryption technology.

  • An icon representing a small locked padlock appears at the bottom right of your monitor screen.

  • The URL of the web page must begin with "https:", which also indicates that it is a secure web page.

Know what your shipping costs will be before you check out.

A reputable site will facilitate research on shipping costs before payment. Take the time to look for this information, to avoid any unpleasant surprises. The data collected from surveys of online shopping experiences invariably show that shipping costs are something that online shoppers do not like. If it is unavoidable that you have to absorb shipping costs in one way or another, savvy retailers will try to keep these costs to a minimum. Sometimes they do it in a creative way by offering you incentives to buy more, to help them offset their costs for reduced shipping costs.

And although reputable sites have a generous return policy in case you are not satisfied with your merchandise, please note that in most cases shipping charges will not be refunded.

Make sure you understand the return policy.

Never buy anything on a website without reading the fine print, especially the fine print of its return policy. Good retail sites will allow you to return items that do not satisfy you completely, but sometimes there are conditions to be met before ordering.

Is there a restocking fee? These fees can represent between 5% and 20% of the purchase price of an item. They are intended to dissuade customers from returning merchandise. Also make sure you know how long you have to return an item in order to receive a refund. Some companies seem to allow an almost unlimited return window, but in some cases it may take a week to receive your order. You will still be able to return an item after this period, but you will only receive one in-store credit instead of a full refund.

Shop with confidence.

In the United States, online retail sales were $ 65 billion in 2004 and forecast for 2008 is $ 117 billion. An incredible variety of products is already available on the Internet and, over time, the choices will be even wider. But to enjoy this shopping paradise, consumers must always be savvy shoppers. Buy securely and read the fine print, then enjoy the savings and convenience of online shopping!

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