Secure Online Shopping Tips

Due to a few bad apples the convenience of online shopping has come under the clout. Here you can find great tips as to how you can check if the supplier is genuine and how best you can shop Online without the fear of being a victim of Online Fraud

Secure Internet Connections

How do you tell if the Internet connections are secure?
Many web sites use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology to encrypt the credit card information that you send over the Internet. These sites usually inform you they are using this technology. Or, check if the web address on the page that asks for your credit card information begins with “https:” instead of “http:”; if so, this technology is in place.
A different security technology, which works on different principles, is Secure Electronic Transaction, or SET, technology. SET or SSL technology are designed to make your connection secure.

Be sure to open up a new web browser whenever you access your online bank or payment account. Never click a link in an e-mail or from another website that redirects you to an unsecure site, and give them your social security number, bank account number, etc. Whenever you access a secure site on the Internet, the URL usually starts with https://.

Phone-In Option
Would you rather give your credit card information over the phone?
Many web merchants allow you to order online and give your credit card information over the phone. If you’re more comfortable with this option, make a note of the phone number, company, the date and time of your call, and the name of the person who recorded your credit card number.
You should only give your password and credit card number in a secure connection on a web site, not in ordinary e-mail. “Theft of identity,” in which someone gets access to your bank account or gets credit cards or loans in your name, is a growing problem, and you should carefully guard personal information that might allow a thief to impersonate you.

The Individual - Do you know the individual`s reputation?
Some online auction sites offer “feedback” areas where customers discuss their experiences with a particular person

The Address - Will the seller be at the same web address tomorrow?
With a physical store or a catalog, you know where to turn to if you run into problems. But in cyberspace, all you may have is a web address. Look on the site for a street address and phone number. (Be wary if the seller’s only contact information is a post office box.)

International Buying - Are you buying from someone located outside the U.S.?
Since it’s the World Wide Web, sellers might well be located in other countries. If so, you might not have the same legal rights, or be able to enforce your rights as easily, as when the seller is located in the United States.

Company Experience - Does it matter if the seller has experience selling the product?
The law generally gives you more protection when you buy an item from a seller who regularly sells those items.

Authorized Seller - Is the company an authorized seller?
You may get better warranty service if you buy from an authorized seller. How do you know who’s authorized’ You can call the manufacturer of the product you’re interested in, or visit the manufacturer’s web site to check if the operator of the site has been authorized to sell the manufacturer`s product.

Electronic Agent – Shopping for the lowest price?
Some web sites offer an “electronic agent” to identify the sites that charge the lowest price for a specified product. Be aware that some sellers have taken technological steps to block these “agents” from gathering pricing data. In addition, “agent” sites might not take shipping costs or return/refund policies into account when comparing the prices.

Still Selling - Is the seller still in business?
You might wish to telephone or send an e-mail to be sure the seller is still in operation, particularly if the web site’s material appears to be old or out of date.

Check what you are buying.

Updates – Have you checked for updates?
If you frequently access a web page, you may be seeing outdated pricing or old inventory information. The reason: Some Internet browsers, that is, a program such as Netscape Navigator™ or Microsoft Internet Explorer®, save frequently-accessed pages. Check whether the seller indicates when the information was last updated. To insure you’re seeing the latest version, use your browser’s “reload” and “refresh” capabilities available under the “View” menu to update the page you’re viewing.

The Product – What are you buying?
Be aware that some claims are just someone’s opinion and the consumer has no legal claim if it is not true. For example, if the seller claims: “This is the best book ever written on this topic,” that is merely an opinion. However, you may have a legal case if an item that you buy does not conform to the seller’s specific description. For example, if the seller’s e-mail or web page states that the book is 1,000 pages long and published last year, you may have a legal claim if the book that`s delivered is half that long and ten years old.

Double Check The Price – Does the price of the product seem reasonable to you?
Whether the product is being sold as new or used, be suspicious of prices that are too good to be true. Also, consider carefully whether you may be paying too much for an item, particularly if you’re bidding through an auction site. You may want to comparison-shop, online or offline, before you buy.

Authenticity – How do you know your product is authentic?
Is the seller offering a real brand-name item, or just a replica? Review the site for a guarantee of the product’s authenticity.

Check Your Order – Have you checked the item number and amount?
After typing in your order, double check the online form. It’s easy to order “22″ rather than “2″ of an item if your finger stays on the keyboard a little too long.
Many electronic order forms will tell you the total price of your order before you buy. Pay attention to that total price so you can crosscheck the items and quantity. Also, check any confirmation e-mail that you receive from the seller. If it doesn’t agree with what you wanted, immediately notify the seller by e-mail or telephone.

Read the legal terms before you buy.

Terms – Where do you find the terms?

Different web sites have different ways of displaying legal terms; some ways are more conspicuous than others. You might find a link on the home page or order page to something like “Legal Terms” or “Disclaimers,” or you might find that the “(c) 1999″ at the bottom of a home page is such a link.

Other sites might display legal terms on a “click-wrap” screen, which requires you to mouse-click on a button that says “OK” or “I agree” to the terms displayed on that screen. Some courts have held that clicking will indicate that you agree to the terms, while other courts have held that the click doesn’t create agreement to the terms. In any case, if you aren`t comfortable with the terms displayed, you should shop elsewhere.

Shipping, Returns and Refunds – What if you don’t see the seller’s return and refund policies?
You might want to ask the seller, through an e-mail or telephone call, to indicate where these policies are on the site or to provide them to you in writing.

You may want to specifically ask:
* Does the seller charge a flat shipping fee (for example: $5 per order), a per-item fee(such as $1 per book), or some combination of these?
* Can you return an online ordered item to one of the seller’s retail outlets for cash or credit?
* Can you return a product if you`ve already opened it?
* Will the seller deduct a “restocking fee” from your refund?
* Will the company charge for a second shipment if it is shipping part of your order now and part later?
* When will the seller charge your account: only when each item ships, or at some time before that?

Warranties – Is there a written warranty?
If there’s a written warranty, it must be made available to you before you buy the item. When you review the warranty, look for the same information buying online as you would buying from a store or catalog:

What does it cover and how long does it last?
Whom do you have to contact for repair, refund, or replacement under a warranty?
Is the seller limiting its liability if the item doesn’t work or causes damage?
Under federal law, the seller must tell you whether the written warranty is “full” or “limited” if the consumer product costs more than $10.

A “full” warranty generally means that you’re entitled to free repair of the product during the warranty period, and do not have to pay shipping, removal, or re-installation costs. If the seller cannot fix the product after a reasonable number of attempts, you’re entitled to a free replacement or full refund.

Any lesser warranty is “limited.” As you’d expect, there are more limited warranties than full ones. Nonetheless, they often provide substantial protection and value to a consumer.

Any lesser warranty is “limited.” As you’d expect, there are more limited warranties than full ones. Nonetheless, they often provide substantial protection and value to a consumer.

If a product is sold “as is” or “with its faults” that means the seller gives no warranty. If the seller “disclaims the implied warranty of merchantability,” that means the seller does not promise that the goods are fit for ordinary use. In some instances, the law provides that you must be given this warranty of fitness for ordinary use. Then a disclaimer isn`t effective. A lawyer could advise you on when this is so.

Liability – Are there limitations of liability on the warranty agreement?
The seller might say that if something goes wrong with the item you purchased, the seller is liable only for a fixed amount of money. Or, the seller is only required to repair or replace the item. Even if you have suffered other damages–say you lost thousands of dollars in business because your computer crashed–you’d only collect for the value of the product or the cost of repair.

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