Internet Shopping Guide: Safety Tips

Buying products can be fun and can save money, but there are some risks you must be careful to prevent. Information on identity theft and other common problems with e commerce.

Ordering on-line has become an easy access way to shop for products and services. Being on-line is computer lingo which refers to your computer being connected to a modem utilizing and usually paying an internet service provider that provides you with the access to a whole host of electronic services from accessing websites to many differing optional services, as they see fit.

Each internet service provider is different. Although, through these electronic network provider systems often laid out in templates for easy button accessing you may browse, learn, shop or play.

You can purchase an item nearly at the click of a button when you are on the internet. But you should still have some knowledge and information with you before you click that button, and experience ordering on-line for yourself. Despite this ever growing market trend of electronic commerce, you still have the responsibility to be an informed consumer when purchasing on-line goods or services. Here is a list of six things that you should do before ordering on-line.

Six Things You Should Do Before Ordering Online

1)Price Shop.

Even in this new technological information age, you can still look for the great sales, lower prices, and extra savings before you buy while browsing on-line. Many stores that carry the same merchandise charge for the same goods or services very differently. Many stores have sales for the same merchandise at different times.

There are all kinds of malls, shops, and web-based stores on-line. Sometimes, the fun can be in the browsing. A lot of times, electronically made stores can afford to be more creative, animated or colorful because they do not have to pay the often heftier price of a brick and mortar storefront toting a huge, usually well trafficked parking lot. At any rate, in any place, price shopping should still be a part of your internet shopping experience, especially if it is part of your experience in any other marketplaces that are not on-line, if you are looking to get the best deal for your money.

When shopping for a service, you may have to do it a little differently. It is more complicated than shopping for a product. You need to consider the person or business giving the service more than any other factor. You have to enjoy them in that service capacity, and be satisfied with their overall approach when choosing a service, and it's cost.

Price shop around several places such as on-line major department stores, electronic mom and pop shops, and electronic malls. The on-line shopping ambiance is a good consideration. Really creative graphics and astounding animation by merchants that obviously poured a lot of work and creative juices not to mention cash into their stores could be a factor in making your shopping experience more enjoyable. If you like the store, even if it is a little extra, go ahead and shop there virtually. Some internet stores will even provide you with a virtual shopping cart for you to click your purchases into for your on-line shopping pleasure.

For the most part, when on-line price shopping, calculate shipping, handling and all other extras including finance charges of the product or service if you choose to pay on credit, to aid you in making your final decision of whether to purchase the good or service on-line. Make sure that there are not any hidden costs up front, even for a fancy service.

Also, it is an excellent idea to write down on paper the on-line stores listed physical address and phone number along with your ordered product description and coinciding order number to have on hand until you receive your service or merchandise for many reasons from their site having technical problems and going down to them disappearing with your money and not getting the merchandise to you.

2)Comparison Shop.

Compare prices. Compare values of one store over another, or one brand over another. See what a few places have to offer you product-wise before you buy. Whether you are comparison shopping for a product or service, shop wisely. Comparison shop for value and quality. This is important even on the internet.

Sign up for sales flyers mailed to you electronically, if you would do so at a regular walk-in merchant market so that you can be kept abreast of the sales, and sale times.

Keep aware of the product contents when you comparison shop. Many times what looks like the same item for less is actually a similar item, but less expensive for a reason unless you catch it on sale. In things such as sheets, clothing, and linens, lower thread counts are not usually a bargain because material put together more loosely will not last as long.

Also, if you have children, you may want to comparison shop keeping in mind durability for such items as shoes, tooth brushes, robes, etc.. For durability in products, you usually pay more, but you can look and wait around for the sales. In children's wear that changes every three months or sooner because of growth, you do not have to concentrate on quality so much.

Most on-line merchandisers are very savvy, and are trying more often to tailor stores to customers' demands. Mostly everyone that has been in the internet businesses community for a while is getting used to electronically showcasing their products in order to facilitate your judgement call on whether to purchase or not. Even if the ever expanding internet shopping experience is fun to you, don't forget to comparison shop for quality.

3) Check for availability.

On-line shopping differs from a brick and mortar store in that on-line merchants can commonly sell items that they do not have readily in stock, before you are made aware that the item you are ordering is not in stock. This is done mostly unintentionally by the e-merchant because of the unknown factor of supply vs. demand of the products. Availability may also be hampered or abundant depending on the manufacturer of the product, through no foreseeable error of the on-line merchant.

The availability of a product nowadays is often stated on the website location near the product in the bigger stores. Most every on-line merchant will want you to buy the product, and will want your repeated business, so they more than likely would have a product replacement on hand to avoid huge time delays, or offer store credit in place of a refund for your not in stock purchase. Be flexible, but knowingly. Sometimes you are in the mood to take a replacement item, or wait on a time delay in a product delivery, sometimes you are not. Either way, it is your decision, and is not wrong.

In service oriented on-line businesses you should have less of a problem with knowing about their availability, because you will know if you do not receive the service right away. Conversely, you would still check to make sure that when ordering a service there is nothing you need to do, or make sure you are aware of what your part of the transaction is. In addition, on-line service businesses may work by appointment. If that is the case, then you would have to check with availability before getting a scheduled service time, but you would still have less of a problem in the follow through than if you were ordering a product.

4) See what the guarantee or warranty of the item is before you buy.

Many on-line stores pride themselves on giving your product a warranty of workmanship, or guarantee. If you do not see an item guarantee or warranty posted somewhere on the on-line merchants website, write in to them via email or regular mail. Warranties are generally given for products to guarantee a products part, and can be given as part of the makers signature mark for the integrity of a product usually for a specific amount of time. Warranties are optional and usually given by product manufacturers that are more interested in your continued interest in purchasing their product than fly by night product persons.

A guarantee for a product is a promise usually to the consumer defining the quality or use of a product and backed up by a money back policy if the guarantee or desired outcome of the performance of the product, or the product itself, is not satisfactorily met in the eyes of the consumer. A product guarantee is optional to the product merchant, or product manufacturer, the original author of the product. If a guarantee is present, it usually has normal conditions that have to be met, or certain lengths of time that it is good for.

A new trend is in place for merchants that sell you a product, and then sell you a warrantee or guarantee separately from your purchased item. If you are involved in a sale with this type of optional guarantee or warranty that would cost you extra money in addition to the product purchase make sure that you know what it covers, how long it covers it, and if it is worth it for your own wanted use of the product. Some warranty and guarantees out there are worth what they charge, and others are not.

It is a good idea to make sure that you have a basic understanding of both a warranty and guarantee of the product you are going to purchase. Many times the retailer or manufacturer will give a written statement that easily accompanies a product for you to keep for your own benefit, as well as theirs whether you purchase it separately or it is included in the original purchase price.

When dealing with service businesses on-line, check for site specific refund policies or business statements of how they operate up front. The larger service companies on the net may offer some type of guarantee or warranty, but it is not so commonly done in the service industry because a service is not like a product that is much easier to gage in value.

5) Recalled, poor quality, or size considerations in merchandise.

In this modern day and age of scanners, faxes, digital cameras, and many other devices that are made specifically to transfer images onto the computer for your viewing pleasure or use, be cautious of merchandise shops that do not have at least some kind of image of their product for you to view, unless it is a service. You want a visual of an item more times than not when you are buying on-line because it gives you more than just a generalized idea of what it is that you are actually buying.

Also, pay special attention to the sizes and the weights of the purchase items. For example, you would not want to buy a Christmas tree for your nine-foot ceiling at home on-line, and end up with a nine-inch Christmas tree ornament instead. In addition, you would not want to pay as much for the shipping of an item that you paid for the purchase price. If you cannot tell what an item looks like, try to find the e-retailers phone number or an email address listed on the website, and call and ask for specifics or email them and then wait for the answer back on your questions before you buy an item on-line. That is what those contact numbers, customer service departments, or email contact avenues are there for. It much less work for you in the long run if your purchase goes smoothly the first time around.

There is also some news that has been going on through the media in the past urging consumers to be careful when buying on-line to not purchase recalled merchandise. That sometimes can be a difficult task to ascertain before a purchase. If you are looking for a specific item, make a sweep of the magazines at your local library or bookstore that conduct product reports for the public to be in the know about a product before you buy. If you still don't know if a product is recalled, ask around.

These are just six things that you should do or know about before you order on-line. We as consumers will continue to order on-line because it is fast, easy, and convenient. With the boom of the internet merchant industry, we now can shop all around the globe without leaving home. And there are many honest, hardworking e-merchants out there to choose from to make your on-line experience safe. Choose wisely, and shop smartly. There is nothing more savvy than a well-educated consumer. You do not need a degree in marketing or business to be careful, just common sense mixed in with a little consumer product knowledge.

6) Return policies.

Find out what the return policy on merchandise is from the store you are shopping at on-line, before you buy the item even if you plan on keeping the merchandise. If the website has a no return policy, and it is clearly stated on any of their pages, believe them. You never know what can happen during shipping, fitting, or common wear of an item. Sometimes one size just does not fit all.

Unless you are absolutely sure that you just really have to have the item as is, check the return policy. You may have to have your credit card statement as proof of purchase to return an item, a UPC label you may ordinarily throw away off of the package, packing slip or statement, or some kind of special letters or code that you need to know about in case you need to return it.

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