Some Handy Tips about Online Shopping

There’s no doubt that the internet offers us many benefits.  Informational websites like Family Money tell us everything about money we need to know while online stores and marketplaces can satisfy our shopping needs.  A wide selection of goods, the ability to effortlessly compare prices and save money plus the ease of shopping from the comfort of our own home make it extremely convenient for today’s fast-paced lifestyle.  Problems may arise, but there are ways to avoid them happening to you. 

Carry Out Research Before Buying

Unless you’re shopping from a well-known store or brand, you should always do your homework before shopping from a site for the first time.  Before placing an order, look at the site itself.  Not only should it have a physical location (rather than just an email address/phone number), but you can also tell a lot about the reliability of an online retailer from the look of the site.  If it’s well-presented with an acceptable standard of grammar and spelling and if it has a section outlining its terms and conditions (for example, in cases of non-delivery, refunds, etc.), you’re less likely to be conned. 

To double check, you should also read online reviews.  This will tell you a lot about how it’s treated previous customers, and what their shopping experience was like.

What Are Your Rights When Shopping Online? 

You enjoy exactly the same rights shopping online as you do from a bricks-and-mortar store.  An online store or marketplace is required to:

  • provide clear and accurate information – about the product itself, its price and any additional costs
  • give the customer a full refund or replacement item for the non-delivery or damage of goods in transit
  • allow you to return goods if you change your mind (with some exceptions)
  • allow you to cancel a service or digital purchase   

Non-delivery or Faulty Goods

Unless agreed otherwise, you should receive the item within 30 days of placing the order.  If the goods don’t arrive, it’s the responsibility of the business.  A replacement should be sent, or you should receive a full refund. 

If the goods are damaged in transit or bear no resemblance to what was advertised on the site, you can return them and be refunded within 14 days.  In cases of faulty goods, the retailer is responsible for paying the return shipping costs.

Your Rights if You Change Your Mind

Sometimes you might purchase something online, but later change your mind.  You have a 14-day cooling-off period to notify the retailer, and then a further 14 days in which to return the goods.  In this case, you might be expected to pay the return shipping costs. 

This right to return doesn’t cover all goods you buy.  Customised or made-to-measure clothing, swimwearand perishable goods are examples of non-returnable items.

It’s very easy to get carried away because of the ease of online shopping.  If you need help with debt, there are many organisations which offer emotional and practical support.