E-commerce web design is a key service which we offer, so we thought it appropriate that we have a few tips for internet customers on how to go about purchasing safely on-line.
The Internet gives people access to a global marketplace of millions of potential retail outlets. Every year more and more transactions occur on the Internet as people become more comfortable and confident in the technology. The variety of products available are truly mind-boggling and for many of us the convenience and ease of shopping online means we don't even have to leave our homes anymore to do the banking, buy groceries, or do our Christmas shopping.
This power comes at a price. When dealing with merchants, especially overseas ones, you have to rely largely on faith that the product to pay for will arrive on your doorstep in a timely fashion. Faith is a poor business partner, so we recommend following the following 10 easy steps to minimise the chances of having any problems when shopping online.
You should have no trouble with any of these steps if the merchant is a reputable, established business operator who takes his business seriously. If this is not the case you probably shouldn't be doing business with them.
Ten things to check BEFORE shopping on the internet...
- KNOW THE BUSINESS
Know who the company is and their full street address. The company details, phone, fax, and full street address (not PO Boxes) should be clearly displayed on the site.
- KNOW THE PRODUCT
Check it has a valid guarantee, is legal, and will work in Australia. Goods or services you receive should match their description.
- CHECK THE CONTRACT
Understand and print out any terms and conditions. Check the due date and whether you need to be at home for the delivery.
- CHECK THE COST
Look for extras like currency conversion charges, taxes, customs duties, delivery fees, packaging and posting. Note who pays for postage if the goods are returned. Make sure you understand which currency the merchant trades with. You'd be surprised how many people buy items assuming they appear in Aussie dollars only to find out when they get the bill that they were in fact in US dollars. If in doubt ask.
- CHECK FOR PRIVACY
Find out how your personal details will be used and decide whether you want them to be passed on to anyone else. Reputable merchants will have a page dedicated to privacy matters.
- CONFIRM THE ORDER
You should be given the chance to confirm or reject your order before you pay for it. You can tell you're reaching the end of the checkout sequence when the site asks you for credit card numbers. Remember that until you actually enter your credit card details the transaction cannot proceed and you're not committed to the sale.
- KEEP RECORDS
Print out your order before you send it and note any reference numbers. this can be used should that dispute arises to cross-reference the stock that was ordered.
Use sites your browser recognises as secure - look for an unbroken key or padlock at the bottom of your screen. Don't enter financial information that isn't needed for the sale. Reputable merchants will take security very seriously and put a very high priority on secure credit card transactions.
- RESOLVE ANY PROBLEMS QUICKLY
Contact the merchant about any problem as soon as possible. If unresolved, contact the relevant industry dispute scheme or your local consumer affairs or fair trading agency.
- LOOK OUT FOR SCAMS
If something seems "too good to be true" it probably is. Crosscheck any information which is presented to you by using any of the major search engines to look for similar items. Incongruities with the facts can indicate a potentially suspicious trade.