Online purchasing is becoming more popular as consumers enjoy the convenience of not having to leave home to shop. If you plan to join the growing number of internet shoppers, your BBB offers the following tips:
· Find out where a company is physically located to avoid overseas or offshore scams. Pay special attention to the company’s Uniform Resource Locator (URL)
· Never give out your bank account number, credit card number, or personal information unless you’re sure a company is legitimate.
· Pay for your purchases by credit or charge card which can be protected under the law
· Never send cash or pay by money order!
· Start with a small, inexpensive purchase to see how the company handles your order.
· Find out about a company’s privacy, return and refund policies before you purchase.
· Always use a secure internet browser that “encrypts” or scrambles your personal or financial information.
· Don’t rely on a professional looking web site as proof of a company’s quality or good reputation.
· Investigate a company or seller before you buy at www.bbb.org
If purchasing items from Ebay or similar auction services always be sure to read seller profiles carefully and research their seller histories. Make sure you are aware of delivery times, costs and return policies. Who pays for return shipping?
If a site asks you to create a password accessed account, select an alpha-numeric password which is different from any other you currently use elsewhere.
The same laws which apply when you shop by phone or by mail also apply on the Internet. All transactions which are paid in full with a credit card are subject to the Fair Credit Billing Act. Under this law, a consumer has the right to challenge incorrect charges or misrepresented merchandise.
For more advice you can trust from your local BBB on avoiding scams and fraud, go to www.bbb.org.