Three things you should definitely look for before buying online.
Whether you’re an online shopping pro or just a novice, these three things to look for at the online checkout will make your experience better, save you time and help you avoid problems down the track.
1. Check the cancellation policy
Once you’ve made an online order, the process of stopping it in its tracks if you change your mind can be tricky. But what if you find a toaster that’s $50 cheaper than the one you just ordered? It’s definitely smart to check the cancellation policy before you confirm an order. Some companies use a third-party vendor to supply their products, so you may have to go through several levels to cancel your order. Cancellation policies can also vary from one company to another. You shouldn’t always expect to cancel an order just because you want to.
Tip: Before you buy anything, carefully read the company’s FAQ page and make sure there’s a phone number you can call – email may be too slow if you need to process a cancellation.
2. Double-check the return policy
It’s exciting when you find a good deal online. You want to hurry to make the purchase before someone else gets the last one. You think to yourself, “I definitely want this”. But what if it arrives and you change your mind? Many people skip checking over the return policy but it’s important that you know what your rights and responsibilities are.
Points to check:
- will you pay a restocking fee?
- who pays for return shipping?
- does the item need to be in its original packaging?
- how long is the return window? (14 to 30 day is standard, though it can be less).
You should also know the conditions for returning an item. Defective or damaged products stand a better chance of being returned than if you just change your mind.
3. Make sure the website is secure
Before you give over your bank or credit card details, make sure the website is legitimate and will allow you to make a secure payment. A website’s site address can give you clues about whether it’s safe. Secure web addresses start with ‘https://’. Any variations, such as ‘http://’ are likely to be fraudulent and are best avoided. No matter how good a deal is, it’s not worth the risk if you suspect the company may scam you.
When you get to the checkout and payment page, there should be the image of a closed padlock on the screen, usually at the bottom right corner. This indicates the website has passed security tests. You should also use websites that offer at least two payment options, such as a secure credit card payment and PayPal.
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