Online Shopping Tips

Consider these online shopping safety tips before your next internet purchase.

In which country is the company located?

Look through the web site for a "Contact Us" page to locate their address. No address? See if the telephone number has a U.S exchange. No telephone number? Send an email asking for their location and other pertinent information. No email? Well, find another vendor.

Do they have a customer service telephone number?

Call the telephone number to see if someone answers. If you get voicemail, leave a message to see if someone calls you back in a timely manner.

What to ask customer service?

Ask the customer service person about the company's purchasing, shipping, and return policies. Ask them how the products are shipped and how long it will take for the products to arrive. Ask them who pays for the shipping if you return an item. For larger companies with retail stores, ask them if you can return merchandise to the store nearest you.

What are their web site shopping policies?

Do they have their online shopping policies posted on their web site? If they do, read them and then print them out for future reference. If not, shop elsewhere.

Not sure about the company, but still want to buy from them?

Considering using your credit card instead of your debit card. Your debit card is tied directly to your checking account and the money is taken out also immediately. Your credit card is billed monthly, giving you the opportunity to review all charges prior to sending payment and allowing you to question a transaction if the merchandise does not arrive or arrives damaged.

Is their shopping cart secure?

Once in the shopping cart, look for a "lock" icon at the bottom of your browser and look for the "s" (https://) in the address bar. If you do not see both of these, then the transaction is not secure and your credit card information can be intercepted by a 3rd party.