Shopping online has made life easy for consumers. Today, you can shop from the confines of your room at the global market, all due to e-commerce. However, some consumers fall prey to online scams, and do not adhere to safety precautions before making payment. This article sheds light on such common mistakes people make while doing online shopping.
Ensure that the site is secure while making online payment. If its address displays 'https', that site is secure.
Seating in the comforts of your home, you are able to shop for literally anything you want. This is what online shopping has done in our lives. The world has become one big market, and the gap between the buyer and seller has reduced due to Internet and technology. People no longer have to drive all the way to the brick-and-mortar shops and fish out what you want. Just sitting on your couch, simply filter your search, select the desired product, make the required payment and the shipment will reach your doorstep.
However, everything comes at a price, and so does online shopping. It is subject to more threats, and you do not get to inspect the item beforehand. Also, divulging your card details on any online site can be dangerous, with cyber crime on the rise. Cases of 'Phishing' and 'Spoofing' have increased by leaps and bounds, and many consumers have been victims of these issues.
The following are the most common online shopping mistakes, most of which are avoidable.
1. Not Checking Sizes and Product Descriptions Appropriately
Do not be an impulsive buyer and buy something at the spur of the moment without reading all the details of the product properly. While shopping for clothes, check the size chart, colors, and other product description details. If you do not read the product description carefully, there are high chances that the item which you receive might not match your expectations. Also, do not forget to read the details in 'fine print'.
2. Saving Your Credit Card Information on a Retail Website
This is an open invitation to the hackers out there. Do not be lazy and tempted to ease your future transactions. It might just be a click away, but remember, if someone hacks into your account, stealing your money might be just a click away too.
3. Not Reading Consumer Reviews of the Product
The biggest hurdle in online shopping is that you cannot inspect your product beforehand. Hence, take a cue from the experiences of other consumers. There are so many portals on the Internet that allow customers to post their reviews. Seek help from other consumers. Who knows, it might save you from a lot of potential trouble!
4. Not Checking Coupons and Discounts
Save yourself some money by checking on the coupons and discounts available. Usually, companies will send you a mail informing you about any special discounts during the season. However, do not immediately fall prey to it and buy at an impulse. Do yourself a favor, and use the coupons for discounts! Be a wise and well-informed customer; it will help you in the long run.
5. Remaining Too Loyal to One Website
Do not show your loyalty to just one website always, especially at the cost of your wallet! The online market is indeed competitive, and you may never know if you're missing out on some great deals and offers at other portals out there, unless of course the company you are dealing with often rewards you for your loyalty.
6. Not Comparing Prices
Do your research before buying any product online. Compare prices, discounts, offers, etc., before buying anything. Doing your homework will ensure that you get the best deal possible.
Not Reviewing Information before Placing an Order
Admit it; we usually tend to make these mistakes, such as giving an incorrect address, typing incorrect quantity details, etc. Such mistakes are a nuisance to both, the company and you, since you end up getting a delayed delivery. Also, while booking any show, we tend to goof-up in the number of seats, or the date of the show. Be vigilant, else you will end up burning holes in your pocket.
7. Not Asking Questions to Sales Personnel to Clarify Your Doubts
Do not shy away from asking questions to the sales personnel. You may end up buying something which is not as per your expectation, or misinterpreting the terms and conditions of the sale. Remember, it is better to be safe than sorry.
8. Falling Prey to the Clever Tricks of Online Sellers
Online sellers are really smart, and can make maximum the use of customer psychology. You tend to immediately click on other purchases, similar items, sales, etc. Most people end up feeling guilty for having shopped so much. Beware of the clear marketing tricks and tactics of online companies, and do not end up shopping for products that you don't need in the first place.
9. Unknowingly Buying an item From the Gray Market
Gray market products are usually available at a cheaper price than the actual market rate. As such, many are tempted to buy such items. However, these come in lower quality, or with an unauthorized warranty which may not have any legal implication. Hence, it is advisable to shop from authorized sites only, and ensure that the products you order are from authorized dealers. Check the market rate, and if what you see is available at a much lower price, something might be fishy.
10. Not Following Safety Tips While Shopping
The Internet world is prone to scams; hence, it is very important to ensure safety while carrying out any online transaction. You may not take into account other charges, forget to keep your documents printed as evidence, responding to spam mails, or use a public Wi-Fi to make a purchase, which may hamper your privacy and leak your card details. Hence, it is important to ensure online safety while making a purchase on the web.
Despite the best of your efforts to ensure safety, there are chances that something may go wrong.
What to Do When Online Shopping Goes Wrong
Of course, prevention is better than cure. But if some mistake has occurred, you can at least make an attempt to repair it. First of all, contact customer service and register your complaint. It is better to have a written record by also sending an email to the company. All companies have their own refund policies. Hence, go through the terms beforehand. It is advisable to have your purchase transaction well documented, so that you can provide evidence to the company as a legal statute. As consumers in United States, you're protected by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The shipping must be delivered to you within 30 days of purchase (exceptions for certain goods). If not, the company is required to refund the requisite amount, unless you agree for a delay. You can register your complaint with the FTC and the state or local consumer protection agency if the company does not pay heed to your complaints. Another option is to seek help from 'Better Business Bureau', one of the organizations that are dedicated to building a trustworthy market place for buyers as well as sellers.
The above were a list of the various blunders that people usually make while shopping online. If you were victim of any these mistakes, share it with other consumers, so that we all, as consumers, can help each other in having more security while shopping online. While every country has different laws for cyber crime and the protection of consumers, it is best to avoid these blunders while shopping online, rather than lamenting and regretting later on.