Shopping Safely Online
What are the benefits of shopping online
Shopping online is here to stay, and the reason it's become part of everyday life is because it offers many advantages...
Lower Prices and Greater Choice
Many retailers are operating solely online, while an increasing number of traditional retailers and service providers are adding an online component to their businesses.
In these situations, without the overheads associated with additional 'space' and with the efficiencies of computerised ordering and distribution systems, online retailers can often operate on lower costs creating savings that are passed on to their customers.
The added exposure businesses can generate globally across the internet not only increases the market available to the retailer but dramatically increase the customers' choice of products and services. Global markets promote fierce competition, another factor in ensuring great products and great prices .
No need to run around town all day - just point and click. Plus, online shops are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Do your shopping from the comfort of home or the office. No traffic hassles, parking problems, or crowded malls. You can purchase locally, but it's also just as easy to buy from a store located on the other side of the country or the other side of the world, and still have the product on your doorstep within a day or so. Now that's convenience!
Research Before You Buy
Price comparisons, detailed product information, user reviews and so much more, all at your fingertips on the internet. Do your homework and you'll pretty much guarantee getting what you want at the best possible price.
Saving Leo – the icing on the cake!
And, of course, when you start your online journey with Saving Leo you have the added advantage of knowing that a percentage of every purchase will be donated to worthwhile projects saving endangered animals around the world.
Preparation is the key
Preparation is the key to minimising nasty surprises when you shop online. Here are some things to consider -
Before making a purchase consider if the product or service is exactly what you want. If there's any doubt in your mind do a bit more research - for example, you could contact the merchant by phone or email and ask if it's suitable for the intended purpose. There are some other questions listed below that you could also find out the answers to. Make sure you know exactly what you're buying and how much you're paying for it.
Find out what the delivery charges are and the expected shipping date and delivery times. In most cases these answers should be easily found within the merchant's site information. If not, search for 'Freight', 'Shipping', or 'Delivery'.
Does the merchant have stock available or will your purchase be placed on back order? If this isn't shown clearly, contact the merchant to find out.
What is the merchant's policy and conditions on returns and refunds? Are you happy with these if the porduct is not exactly right?
Always keep an accurate record of your purchase (see "securing your online payments" below) in case you need to return the item for refund or exchange. Having these details also makes things much easier when enquiring about items that haven't turned up.
Securing your online payment
Using a credit or debit card online is very convenient and, due to their acceptance worldwide, has fueled the growth in online transactions.
Here are a few ideas on how you can protect your credit card details -
Use a web browser equipped with SSL security. Some browsers like Internet Explorer already have this encryption technology built in. This ensures the data you send over the internet remains private.
Always download the latest version of your preferred web browser to ensure you're using the most up-to-date security.
Make sure you can see the "locked padlock" or similar icon in your browser window before you enter your credit or debit card details. These icons indicate the SSL security is now active.
Keep a record of all transactions you make online, including the date, amount, reference numbers (such as invoice or confirmation), what the payment was for and the web address of the business the transaction was with. Most businesses email relevant paperwork to you - always store these communications securely or print them out and file them with your records.
If you think there's been an unauthorised entry on your credit or debit card account notify your bank immediately.
Many financial institutions will limit your liability for any unauthorised use of your card provided you take appropriate precautions. Visit your bank's website and find out what their conditions and policies are and what you need to do to limit your liability.