Using the internet is convenient and easy and it allows shoppers to compare prices from many more stores than they could on the high street. Price comparison sites can be used to compare prices and reviews, but remember that some retailers pay to be on the site and others that do not may be cheaper. Social network sites such as Facebook can be a good source of information and auction sites are also worth considering. Signing up to online deal sites can be another good way of saving money. Sites such as Coupon Crazy offer money-off coupons for thousands of items and companies. Finally remember to check delivery costs and consider that it may sometimes be worth paying a bit more to get a better after-sales service.
Online shoppers face a number of risks including goods which never turn up, goods which don’t match their online description, poor after sales service, misuse of credit or debit cards and hassles and delays with online purchases. However, all of these risks can be minimised by following a few rules.
Online shoppers should only buy from reputable sellers, especially if dealing with private individuals, and be cautious when buying from overseas companies. There are many sites on the internet that have reviews from ordinary shoppers who have bought items from online companies and their experiences are a good guide. Other precautions include checking for telephone numbers and addresses, checking the seller’s privacy and returns policy and using a safe means of online payment that gives some protection against non-delivery.
When paying always use a secure website and remember that simply because a padlock appears on the page does not mean that the site is secure. Check that the address begins with https: and that the address is spelt correctly for example eBay not eebay. Shops which use the latest website security will have an Extended Validation SSL Certificate and if your browser warns you about the certificate be particularly careful. Always choose passwords that are difficult to guess, not for example your date of birth. A mixture of upper and lower case letters, numbers and even some non-alphanumeric characters will make it harder to hack your account. Online shoppers can also protect themselves by paying with either PayPal or a credit card, but remember that debit cards do not offer the same level of protection.
To avoid scams don’t be taken in by deals that appear to be too good to be true, often they are. Buy from reputable companies and be wary of accepting anything that is offered in an unsolicited or spam email.
To avoid computer viruses always ensure that your browser software and other security software is up to date.
Many thousands of people shop online and save money whilst doing so. Often companies will offer better deals online than they will in their stores. Using coupons including those from sites such as Coupon Crazy is estimated to have saved American shoppers $3.7 billion in 2011.