Being savvy and exercising common sense will give you the best chance at ensuring each purchase you make online brings joy instead of anger brought on by the realisation you were deceived.
When you’re browsing the virtual stores and add something to that cart, ask yourself the following questions before you go ahead with the purchase:
- Is the seller a reputable one? Make sure you do your research.
- Are there clear systems in place that guarantee the security of the details (both personal and financial) you are required to disclose?
- Does the seller have an actual address, a phone number and a business registration number? The absence of such things is a red flag.
- Does the seller have clear guidelines about under what circumstances a replacement or refund will be provided?
- What are the terms and conditions?
- Is the site secure (an address starting with “https://” and the padlock symbol are indications of a secure site)?
- Have you seen adequate pictures of the item and can you be certain of the condition of the item being advertised?
- Have you compared prices on different sites?
- Is there a means for you to check the progress of your order?
- Does the item meet Australian and New Zealand safety standards?
- Do any aspects of the item (e.g. the price, the condition, etc.) seem too good to be true? Because chances are if it seems to good to be true, it probably is.
Always be sure to keep copies of item descriptions, any correspondence with the seller and purchase receipts and confirmations.
If you find yourself having concerns over an online purchase, contact the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in Australia or the Commerce Commission in New Zealand. If the site you are having issues with is an international one, you can file a complaint via econsumer.gov, which is a global site that enables consumers to make cross-border complaints.