Important Guidelines to online shoppers
The following 15 points may help the online shoppers for a good shopping experience.
1. Know your Vendor: The customer before buying the goods must collect information about the vendor through third parties and friends. It is better to get advice and recommendations about good sites from third parties. The online shopper must collect ample information about the company and its background to avoid getting cheated.
2. Physical presence of the Vendors: The customers must assess whether the merchant enjoys good business status in the society. There are few online merchants who may disappear after collecting personal and credit card information. There are many good online retailers but do not have physical presence on the streets. It is essential to check that there are proper contact details including postal address and phone number so that the customers are able to can get in touch if any queries arise.
3. Finding out the hidden cost: Hidden cost, shipping charges and additional charges can push up the price of online purchase. Postage and packing costs, VAT and customs duties for goods from overseas can add greatly to the final cost of the product. Sometimes, the final price of the product purchased through online may be expensive than the product available in the local physical store. The customer should analyze and find out the hidden cost before purchasing goods through the web.
4. Reputable websites only: It is advisable to shop through reputable third party online shopping sites. The sites after analyzing the credit worthiness of the merchant lists them on the website.
5. Know the Shopping Process: The shopper should get accustomed with merchants’ purchasing processes. The methodology of online shopping process may differ from merchant to merchant. It is better to know the online purchasing process before purchasing a product or a service.
6. Use only Secured Transactions: It is good to deal with the online merchants who use secured online transaction system involving credit cards. It is better to verify whether the merchant site is trustworthy to reveal personal and financial information before submitting credit card details. Credit card details should not be given in an e-mail as it is not a secured means of transmitting information and can be copied easily to others.
7. Ensure if encryption technology is in place: The customers must make sure that they are on a “secured” site before providing details with regard to name, address or credit card. It is essential to look for a padlock or a key symbol, which is usually in the bottom corner of the PC screen. On a secure site, the information is scrambled into code, (encrypted) before being sent over the internet, and stored on a secure database. It is important to look for a tick box on the site, and make a choice about disclosing the personal details. Customer must ensure whether encryption technologies like SSL have been used, as they prevent third party access of the data when it is transmitted over the web.
8. Be aware of law: E-commerce contracts and cyber laws, laws with regard to consumer protection vary from country to country. The customer must be aware of the laws when purchasing goods from international websites. The buyers should be familiar with all such laws.
9. Read the Terms and Conditions first: The buyer should go through the terms and conditions of the contract and after sale service available to the online shopper.
10. Avoid too much offers: If the online advertisement or junk e-mail offer sounds too good to be true or offers heavy discounts or cash rewards, it is better not to make online purchase as it may involve some kind of fraud.
11. Check Security Certificates: Before committing purchase, it is better to check the quality and/or security certificates if relevant.
12. Secure records of all transactions: It is essential to retain records of all the transactions, order numbers and copies of e-mail as they may be produced as evidence in case of any litigation. It is better to print details from the web page that has been used and write down the records of order numbers and billing address. It is better to keep copies of any e-mail that has been exchanged with the e-merchant. Customers should contact the legal authorities if problems arise because of online purchases,
13. Avoid disclosure of information before purchase: Customers should not buy goods from websites that request them to send personal or financial information before the purchase of goods.
14. Do not fall for special offers: If any site pressurizes the customer to send money to take advantage of a special deal, the customers should avoid purchasing from that site.
15. Avoid Websites about which you have Zero Knowledge: Customers should not make any investment in any site without analyzing about the institution, investment, product, service and return on investment etc.