Are you making these costly online shopping mistakes?

How many of these costly online shopping missteps are you making without realising it?

Are you making these costly online shopping mistakes?

I hate shopping. I love a good walk, but not one that involves shops. So the obvious solution is … shop online. But there are pitfalls for the gullible. I’ve made them.

I was recently moved by images of a gorgeous dress on a website I was not familiar with. And the price was ridiculously cheap. Yes, I know, alarm bells should have sounded. At the very least, I should have sought reviews about the website. It took four months and about 100 emails to get my money back after I returned the items, which were nothing like the photos, but I got there!

So what are the golden rules when shopping online?

Don’t use a public wifi connection to do your online shopping.
Just as you wouldn’t use public wifi to do your online banking, don’t use it to buy goods online. Your information is not secure and you don’t want to inadvertently share your account passwords and credit card information.

Symantec Corporation, the company behind Norton anti-virus and other cybersecurity software, told “Sure, shopping doesn’t seem like it involves sensitive data, but making purchases online requires personal information that could include bank account and retailer login credentials. Shopping isn’t something you want to do on an unsecured wifi network.”

Use a credit card rather than a debit card.
Card numbers are vulnerable to theft and hacking. I know, though all three incidents had happy endings.

If a credit card is hacked, the money is generally refunded while your financial institution investigates. If your debit card is hacked, you’re out of pocket during that period and the risk is that an account may be drained before you realise there’s a problem.

Don’t assume that a discounted price is a discounted price.
My husband is adamant that sales staff re-tag all items with inflated prices before they mark them down. Whatever – do your homework and research prices on other sites before you buy.

Check out the returns policy.
This was another of my mistakes. While many well-known sites offer free, no-nonsense returns complete with return form, don’t assume this is standard practice. A certain clothing site made me pay for the return – to China – and then argued about the validity of my concern, i.e., the fabric was so poor you could almost see through it!

Also, check how long the return policy is valid for. If the product falls to pieces after two months, can you still return it?

Research the research.
It’s one thing to do your research about a certain website, but just make sure any reviews are bona fide. A recommendation from one random stranger does not mean you should trust that site. Reviews can be manipulated.

Is there a free option?
So you want to buy a stand-up paddleboard. Don’t forget to check such sites as Facebook Marketplace to see if someone in your area wants to get rid of one – for free or for a bargain price. A son recently bought a lounge suite in great condition for $50 just because the owner had a new one coming and needed this one gone before the end of the day.

Have you been caught out online shopping? Do you have any suggestions to add to this list?

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    23rd Jul 2019
    Tagging is rife. Before last Xmas I got a price for a carport for a DIY (builder friend was to erect). After Xmas was advertised '30% off'. But price was $124 dearer than price before Xmas. When I queried this they said there had been price rises due to factory being closed over Xmas. Yeah? - for an item on the floor? Didn't get my business. I have found the same with Seniors Card, mention that and price is dearer.
    23rd Jul 2019
    Yep lot of traps for the unwary. Simpleness is the answer. Dont shop online. Most of the junk comes from countries like china who are the main beneficiaries. And you end up like a hoarder as seen on tv !!
    23rd Jul 2019
    "Don't shop online"? That's a bit extreme johnp. I've been happily shopping online for ten years or more, and over that time I've purchased hundreds of items that I'm very happy with and which have been good value too.
    23rd Jul 2019
    thanks Ourjeff. Admit a bit extreme and people probably like to do that however its not really for me. BTW, what are the hundreds of items ??
    23rd Jul 2019
    johnp a few that I can think of off the top of my head : polo shirts, shorts, underwear, shoes, homewares, kitchen gadgets, computer accessories, electronic gadgets, books, CDs, stationery, hardware, gardening accessories, artificial plants, furniture, ...
    23rd Jul 2019
    ourjeffie - I am definitely with you! Definitely cannot, could not and do not agree with johnp. I would be lost without online shopping, purely for getting better prices.
    Example 1 - recently wanted a new doona cover. So drove 32kms to a well known bedding store. Found one I liked - but did not have in the size I wanted. Said they could get it in but I would have to come back to store to collect it. Price was a bit hefty, but was what I wanted and was good quality. $184.99 reduced down from $286.
    Went home did some research - found the EXACT SAME doona set - freight free - for $49.95. Was delivered 3 days later.
    Example 2 - wanted to get a doggie door in my glass sliding door. Went to local pet shop - wanted $185. Bought on line for $103.
    You just need to know your prices, check out reviews, only pay with Pay-Pal, and I always look for free freight.
    One good bonus - my neighbor has her groceries delivered each week. She was delivered the wrong order - and was told to keep it, and they would send out her correct order! Got over $240 worth of groceries free!
    23rd Jul 2019
    My advice for shopping online : shop at sites that allow you to pay with PayPal - this way you don't have to disclose your credit card/debit card details. Most sites accept PayPal these days.
    23rd Jul 2019
    OJ I only shop with PayPal and if you get ripped of they will get your money back I know from experience
    23rd Jul 2019
    yes Cupoftea ....same here
    23rd Jul 2019
    Yes I always use paypal. Once bought an item which I was not happy with. Contacted Paypal and they refunded my money. Then I contacted the seller to find out how to return the item. They responded " keep it no charge"
    23rd Jul 2019
    I shop on line (E-bay & others) but I always pay with PayPal that way if something goes wrong I get Refunded quickly.

    I got a few problems like product that they do not have and only get your money or never delivered as promise but PayPal refund all Ok

    Never use your Credit Card .... join PayPal if you buy online and if the shop UR buying do not accept PayPal do not buy there ....

    My suggestion ..... hope will help
    23rd Jul 2019
    I only buy on line if I know the product and it comes on sale. If you use PayPal you can’t go wrong
    23rd Jul 2019
    Don't use a card at all for on-line shopping. Use PayPal instead. It offers greater protections if something goes wrong. And the seller never gets to see your card or bank details.
    23rd Jul 2019
    When I returned an item,to a legitimate retailer, my Debit account was scammed from the refund. Forunately the Bank refunded my money. However, someone has to pay & I think this is the bank's insurance.
    23rd Jul 2019
    Be careful when buying that it is $A, I recently got into a mess when the purchase was $US & I hadn't put enough cash in my Debit Card. Eventually it was sorted but the seller kept asking for another card. It was a reputable company & I had not had trouble before.

    I realised there was a button at the top to convert to Aus dollar!
    23rd Jul 2019
    Recently bought water filters online from company in Sydney. Unbelievable effort to get them thou. Big mistake by me was I used debit card as they did not use paypal. Long story after 5 months they sent me the wrong size filter. Also check out productreview if dealing with new business- can be helpful
    23rd Jul 2019
    I find using Paypal helpful. I can get things resolved with that. In the early days of Paypal, though, I was bitten badly. I ordered a part from a US company for my CPAP equipment. It didn’t turn up. I kept nagging the company but they always had a reason - can’t locate it in the warehouse; the company has moved to a new warehouse. And so on. I let it go on and on, until finally I realised that 1) they were never going to send the part and 2) I had left it to late to raise the issue with Paypal. I know more now. Check Paypal’s dates etc and raise the issue. I had lost not an enormous amount - less than $100, but as a pensioner it was money I could ill-afford.
    23rd Jul 2019
    Just curious rtrish - why did you order CPAP parts from the USA? There are two Australian companies that I know of who offer speedy delivery and free shipping.
    23rd Jul 2019
    I have had some unfortunate tranactions with online retailers, and the last one was the last one for me, as the size stated & labelled on the dress was about 2 sizes too small for me, even though I was within the size measurements as stated on their website. When i complained, I was told that I had to pay the return postage, if I wanted a refund. When I took this up with PayPal, they agreed with the retailer, so I cancelled both my PayPal account and my eBay account also. No more online shopping for me, if I can't get it in the local stores, it isn't worth having!
    23rd Jul 2019
    I have never had any problems shopping online, use paypal and only shop Australian websites, do your research, check out reviews, email the company or phone them to ask questions, check returns/refund policies, and sign up for emails first so you get free shipping offers or first time shoppers offers.
    24th Jul 2019
    The only time I ad any trouble with online shopping i hade used my PayPal and asked them to help was told to check every thing myself. When this didn't work Pay Pal would not help so haven't used them again.

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