For that perfect present, many of us will turn to the internet and our credit card, rather than taking a freezing stroll down the high street, web shopping is easy – and warm!
But before you tap your card details into your PC, think about how safe this is. A great looking website does not always mean a great deal. Anyone can set up a website so be careful when you shop online, especially if you’re new to it.
Safe sites have padlocks
Online nasties prey on first time users so think before you buy. Try to use companies you have heard of or which a friend can vouch for. The likes of Amazon and big online high street chains are a safe bet. Look at websites which have a secure way of paying.
A safe website should have a padlock key at the bottom of the screen which you can see when you’re filling in your personal info. A padlock means the page is secure and you’re safe to give them your details. If this is not there then you may want to ditch that site.
Privacy pages bare all
Also check if the company has a "privacy" page. This tells you what it will do with your personal information. Don’t be left wondering. Take care with the information you give and ask yourself if it’s really necessary.
You should also be told what the site will do with the information. Check the small print for this and save all the information that you are given. You should always also get a confirmation of your order so keep this safe as it is proof of your purchase.
Distance Selling Protection
Online shopping is getting bigger and more sophisticated so you need to be able to keep track of what you buy. Distance selling just means buying anything via the net, phone, mail order or TV. It is protected by a special law and all companies should follow it. This law makes sure you get a cooling off period, an order confirmation and clear information on your purchase. It’s also worth checking if the company is part of TrustUK. This means it has signed up to certain standards it must follow.
Credit Card Protection
Using your credit card is the safest way to buy online. If you have a claim against the seller, (i.e. the goods have not arrived or were faulty) you also have a claim against your credit card company. This is because you are likely to have online protection through your card provider, which gives you a better chance at getting your cash back. Switch and Delta cards do not normally offer this level of protection.
With your credit card you’ll be covered if you spend out more than £100 but less than £30,000. So if you do get stuck in an online scam, your card issuer should come to your rescue – but you have to notify them as soon as possible.
If it all goes horribly wrong
If you’ve stumbled across into a scam and your shopping never comes, get in contact with your card issuer. If you can prove to them you’ve purchased something online in the correct way you should have no problem getting back your money. If you don’t follow simple rules, however (for example if you emailed your credit card details to someone you didn’t trust), then you might find getting a refund a little more difficult.
It is good practice if surfing the internet to have your wits about you. Ignore sites which scream ‘over the top’ and ‘too good to be true’ as quite often they will be.
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